(note - i put spoiler tags on sections where it would reveal stuff not already in the press).
edit - oops, I meant 2012, not 2912. It's not TomorrowCars Land.
If you take anything else from Carsland - it will be this.
Worth.... Every.... Penny.
So the Blog held a contest. first 33 to sign up can bring a guest to get a tour of Carsland on May 29th. No ride guarantees. I was able to grab a spot so I went with my son, Mark.
We checked in at 5pm and after waiting for a decent sized group to be led into DCA and down to Blue Sky Cellar. There we checked our phones and cameras (which were not allowed) with ID and then waited for the remaining guests to arrive. When all arrived, Erin Glover, the Blog's rep for Disneyland Resort, announced to us that we would momentarily be led over the Carsland in an entrance most have not yet seen and that we would have a surprise at the beginning and a surprise at the end.
Our group would be split into two and we would be led on tours by Kathy Mangum and Kevin Rafferty - two of the Senior folks at Imagineering responsible for Carsland (Kathy is an Executive Vice President, Producer; Kevin is Senior Concept Writer/Director). They also provided us with the headsets used on the tours.
So we were all led out of BSC and over to the Wharf area. We went through the Cast Member entrance to a side panel that opened to the alternate avenue of Cross St. Walking under the stone arch and towards Ornament Valley just blew me away. And as we approached the track two cars came roaring over the hill (no one was in them). It was great. This to me is just such a wonder. You'll see my note why later in this text.
So they brought us over to an area near the back of Ramone's body art. There, Erin had us all gather around. We were told that they would be taking a group picture with the Blog photographer - and that these pictures (along with candid shots on the tour) would be available on the Facebook page. So they had the two Imagineers in the front and the group, very cozy, behind them. They asked for a few of us to kneel in front - and I volunteered us two. We had to look DIRECTLY into the sun for the shot. very tough.
We were then split into our groups. Mine was led by Kevin, which was great because as a show writer/producer he is responsible for a lot of the back story that makes up the attractions and the land. Also, it's really fun to listen to him speak because a lot of the Cars-based puns and lingo comes comes right off the tongue, without hesitation, as if you are in the land.
And that's the wonder I am speaking of. When you are in Radiator Springs, you are REALLY INSIDE Radiator Springs. There is no view of the outside world (except for Tower of Terror), and the grandeur that is Cadillac Range and the whole area is just amazing. You are so immersed in the theme, the detail, everything you possibly could think would happen in order to make Radiator Springs really feel like a real place that you are taken too. Funny, it's exactly what Kathy says in the promo video that runs in Blue Sky Cellar - you really are transported to this place that you could not necessarily go to.
The photogs would be taking our pictures throughout the tour and during our surprises (maybe a ride perhaps?) so we'll see what they release.
Flo and Ramone and Doc's clinic
Back out to Route 66 - and we went up the street towards Sarge's and Fillmore's places. Not open but you can see the great detail in the buildings. Fillmore's looks to be simply a place for fruit and bottled drinks. Lots of the open-bin containers to hold ice and food/drink items.
Then we gathered in front of Mater's Junk Yard Jamboree. Some of the story is on the disney website - link here http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disn...yard-jamboree/ - but Kevin gave a little more explanation.
Kevin and Kathy said goodbye and walked down Route 66 towards the court house. Kind of a neat image - these two senior imagineers have been here for about 5 years remaking DCA.
After this, they had us back in a group and we were led back down to Ornament Valley , under the arch, and out the side gate. We were hoping for an Extra Special Surprise but alas no ride on RS Racers. Back to Blue Sky to pick up our things and get three gifts. A DisneyParks Blog pin, a Carsland drawstring backpack, and a tin sign Mater's Junkyard Jamboree attraction poster, mounted on a wood framed backing, and with a small plaque at the bottom commemorating the event. (the drawstring will be available in the park). They gave us passes for the remainder of the night, and had a special viewing area at the top of the Yellow section for World of Color 9pm show. It was about 730pm when we walked out of Blue Sky
Overall it was really great. To hear the passion and excitement in Kevin's voice - even after riding RS Racers 852 times (and he said he will get that up to 870 by nights end). The love and energy that these folks put into the land is very evident. They truly feel this is the most extensive, expansive, detailed, immersive environment they have every created at a Disney park. It could very well be.