JOHN LASSETER, Chief Creative Officer, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios
Q: Why is Cars Land meaningful for you?
While I love all of the movies we’ve made at Pixar, the ‘Cars’ films are particularly close to my heart, so seeing Radiator Springs come to life at Disney California Adventure is a dream come true. The artistry and attention to detail throughout Cars Land is absolutely incredible, and I couldn’t be more proud of the teams at Pixar and Walt Disney Imagineering who worked side-by-side to make this project a reality.
Q: How does Cars Land pull guests in the story of the film “Cars”?
The closer you get to that rockwork, it wraps around you. You look around and you are transported to Ornament Valley … It’s so beautiful, you can take a vacation in Cars Land.
To be authentic, I asked the Imagineers to get out and travel Route 66. It’s feeling it, seeing the light and hearing the stories of the people on the road. We were all focused on the storytelling to create the home of Lighting McQueen, of Mater, Doc Hudson, all of the residents of Radiator Springs, and to make it as authentic as we can.
KATHY MANGUM, Executive Producer and Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering
Q: How does Cars Land connect with guests at Disney California Adventure Park?
The magic of our parks is we take you to places you can’t otherwise go to.
What Disney does so well is immerse guests in experiences and that’s what Cars Land does so well. As you walk down the street and you walk towards the mountain the real world goes away, and Cars Land reaches out and hugs you. You are surrounded by Radiator Springs and you are in the middle of a movie.
Making cars as audio-animatronics was something we had never done before. There we some challenges there. They are just so big, and how you engineer their mouths with bumpers acting as lips is part of making them look realistic. We are delivering a really linear story and being able to see and hear the actors with authenticity is really important to us.
KEVIN RAFFERTY – Concept Writer and Senior Director, Walt Disney Imagineering
Q: Why are you so excited for guests to experience the Radiator Springs Racers attraction in Cars Land?
Radiator Springs Racers is going to be one of the greatest attractions Disney has ever designed and built. A great attraction takes you somewhere, it takes you to another place, and that’s what Radiator Springs Racers does.
Q: What would you like guests to take away from their visits to Cars Land?
When our guests step into this land and they see the spectacle and the panorama of the landscape, I want them to feel like this is the greatest road trip they’ve ever been on.
BUENA VISTA STREET
LISA GIROLAMI – Director, Senior Show Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering
Q: Sometimes it’s the things guests don’t really “see” that tell the story. How have you created an emotional connection for guests on Buena Vista Street?
Every piece has to be there when you walk into a story, to know where you are, what time it is, what’s happening and to really be able to take in the music, the colors and the ornamentation on the architecture. The whole street coming alive is meant to put you right there in the steps of Walt when he first stepped off the train in California and all the optimism and opportunity he felt was there for him at the time.
The sense of optimism will be very obvious on Buena Vista Street, and that story is told at the highest level of detail. Then there are many more levels of details, which our Disney fans will recognize and discover. I think we accommodate everybody as deep as they want to go, and the more you want to know, the more you’ll get out of it. I think we’ve covered it, too, for people who may be visiting a Disney park for the first time.
Q: What are some favorite aspects?
I love Los Angeles and there are so many details I could say are my favorites … I think it’s going to be the feel of that street and how different it’s going to appear to everyone as they just enjoy being in the moment.
RAY SPENCER – Creative Director Buena Vista Street, Walt Disney Imagineering
Q: What’s the Disney history behind the shop names and other items along Buena Vista Street?
At the front of the park, we have the gas station, which is called Oswald’s, and Oswald was an early Disney character … Then we have Los Feliz Five & Dime, a merchandise store that features everyday consumer products. The names of the shops, and the names of the restaurants, are all based on Disney history — and especially the history that surrounded Walt Disney and the Disney brothers’ arrival in the 1920s. We have Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, which is named after the Three Little Pigs from the Academy Award-winning animated short. We also have a merchandise location called Atwater Ink & Paint. It refers to the Atwater Village district of Los Angeles where Disney and the animators from Disney Studios spent a lot of time.
We have a new Walt and Mickey statue, called ‘Storytellers.’ We made a conscious decision to put the statue down on street level with the rest of our guests, rather than up in a monumental planter, like at Disneyland. Set in this time period, Walt Disney could have been you or I, or anybody at that time, out on the street. It’s part of the story of the street, a story of humble beginnings. It’s a story of a wonderful, inspirational time period with a wonderful, inspirational, gifted man who created what we can now enjoy as The Walt Disney Company.
COULTER WINN – Concept Architect and Principle Dir., Walt Disney Imagineering
Q: Will this be just like a street in Los Angeles?
You can’t go to Los Angeles and see a building that exists like you’re going to see on Buena Vista Street. The buildings that we referenced have been torn down so we found them through historical photographs and began to design from there. Transporting our guests to another place and time like this, in the traditional Disney storytelling way, gives Disney California Adventure a much more enriched environment to start the day for our guests.
ANDREW SUTTON – Executive Chef, Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge
Q: Tell us about this beautiful restaurant serving Southern California cuisine, and who will be drawn to this experience.
Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge is serious Disney, and that means serious fun for the whole family. It’s casual, friendly and the food will feel like old Santa Barbara with all the ethnic flavors. At the Lounge, families will get one of these tapas and try one of those, and there will be a lot of sharing and interaction.
DISNEYLAND RESORT EXPANSION
GEORGE A. KALOGRIDIS – President, Disneyland Resort
Q: What does the expansion of Disney California Adventure park mean to Disneyland Resort and regional tourism?
Every component of our expansion – from attractions, merchandise and dining locations, to new entertainment and re-imagined hotels – have been crafted to add exciting, new pages to our 57-year-old story. Now, more than ever, the Disneyland Resort makes the Anaheim/Orange County region a multi-day, family vacation destination second to none.
The completion of this expansion does not mark the end of our California Adventure journey, but rather, a new beginning. Walt Disney once said, ‘We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.’ Our “new path” is built firmly on Walt’s legacy, enriched with traditions that could only be found in the park that felt his footsteps.