Road Journals Blog—These days the Disneyland universe has expanded way beyond Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto. You can meet Darth Vader, Kermit, Buzz Lightyear, and on June 15th when Cars Land opens, you can cozy up to Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater, and Sally. An epic new series of attractions in the center of California Adventure, Cars Land is built around the characters of the 2006 animated movie, Cars. If you don’t know these guys, you probably don’t have a kid under the age of 18.
Invited to Disneyland this spring, I was able to peek over the construction fence to see the sunset-hued buttes of “Ornament Valley” rising over a busy crew in hard hats. I also spied Mater, the rusty, trusty tow truck waiting to receive visitors. Cars Land got me thinking. If I were a Disney Imagineer, what new “Land” would I propose for the ever-evolving theme park?
Walt Disney’s animated films and his original theme park were inspired by the most compelling stories of the day, from fairytales to King Arthur to Davy Crockett. So it only makes sense that over time, the park has come to embrace more recent sagas. I loved seeing the Star Wars galaxy in the 3-D Star Tours attraction and the highly entertaining Jedi Academy stage show, where “younglings” learn light saber tricks and duel with Darth Vader and Darth Maul. It was also a treat to see Jim Henson’s Muppets in a theater draped in red curtains with Statler and Waldorf heckling from the balcony. (Fozzie Bear’s gag boutonnière squirts real water out at the audience.) So what characters would I add to the Disney collection? What would be worthy of another new Land? My son suggests Dragon Land, which could be a lot of fun. Of course his idea of Dragon Land is probably full of all sorts of Medieval weaponry—battle axes, crossbows, and catapults. The more action-packed combat and fiery, dragon-breath explosions, the better. Maybe Disneyland needs two new lands: Tropical Paradise Spa Land, a parents-only realm sprinkled with hot tubs, cocktails, and foot-massage specialists, and Babysitter Land, where Medieval weapons enthusiasts can hang out without their usual grown-up supervisors. Yeah, I would’ve added on a few days to my trip for that. Whaddya think? Got a better idea?
This blog post was first published in May 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.