Disney California Adventure – 3

What’s really notable about Cars Land is that they managed to take a property that didn’t really have widespread adult appeal and made it into something amazing. If they put this much effort into Avatar over at Animal Kingdom, they might make people forget how lamesauce that particular movie was.

Lasseter Car Disney California Adventure

This is a John Lasseter inspired car figure, John Lassetire. Get it? Okay, sometimes these puns are Flintstones-level bad. For the record, I respect the hell out of that man. He’s right up there with Disney and the Beards on my list of creative geniuses.

Cars Land Disney California Adventure

There’s no question that he was intimately involved with the overall design of this area. The level of detail on every level shows an almost obsessive attention. And it paid off in every conceivable way. The only problem I have with Cars Land is that it’s so far away.

Radiator Springs Panoramic Disney California Adventure

Like Radiator Springs itself, there is only one cross street. Turning right leads to Ornament Valley (and the Pacific Wharf section of the park). We’ll go left first…

A Bugs Land Disney California Adventure

…into A Bug’s Land. This section of the park was introduced in 2002, seemingly as a response to guest complaints that there simple wasn’t enough for children to do.

In A Bugs Land Disney California Adventure

It was not terribly well received, as many people complained that it came across as Disney cheaping out (remember, in 2002 there was a lot of animosity towards Disney senior management. Every detail was scrutinized and criticized, especially by fansites).

Lightpost Disney California Adventure

Honestly, I don’t think it’s bad at all. I love the small details like this bug light.

Bench in A Bugs Land Disney California Adventure

And come on – this bench is adorable!

Fliks Flyers Disney California Adventure

I can understand that some folks would bemoan that rides like Flik’s Flyers seem way more geared towards children than families, but wasn’t that exactly the hole it was supposed to fill? A Bug’s Land was treated as if Disney had just plopped a few Zamp kiddie rides in the middle of the park and themed it to the rip-off movie “Antz.”

Francis's Ladybug Boogie Disney California Adventure

Okay, maybe Francis’s Ladybug Boogie seems cheap. I’ll allow that.

Tuck and Roll Drive 'Em Buggies Disney California Adventure

And fine – bumper cars – even themed to Tuck and Roll – is pure amusement park territory. Go ahead and complain about that one all you want.

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train Disney California Adventure

But if I hear you say a single negative thing about Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, sir, I will have to ask you to step outside. This ride is freaking ridiculous, and it’s all thanks to the late Joe Ranft’s voice (oh good lord, I just went to Wiki to make sure I spelled his name right – I didn’t realize he had done Wheezy’s voice too and now I have a bigger sad).

Heimlich's Chew Chew Train 1 Disney California Adventure

Back to the ride itself: It’s absolutely charming, as Heimlich takes guests through the garden, eating everything along the way (and the scents are a nice touch). Of course it’s just a silly little kiddie ride, but is it really that much worse than the Casey Jr Train?

Radiator Springs Racers Panoramic Disney California Adventure

Okay, we’re going to head back to the other side of Cars Land, passing through the gorgeous Ornament Valley landscape. It’s pretty damn impressive looking.

Radiator Springs Disney California Adventure

Moving along, we get one more chance to see Radiator Springs Racers in action (since there’s still plenty of time until our FASTpass return window).

Radiator Springs 2 Disney California Adventure

For the record, the outdoor section of the ride is only part of the attraction. There’s an indoor section that’s equally charming.

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