In a colorful grand reopening ceremony hosted by Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, along with his pal Mickey Mouse, Disney California Adventure Park welcomed guests Friday to the premieres of two highly anticipated themed lands, Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, home to the Carthay Circle Theatre. The ceremony celebrated more than 20 new attractions and shows that have been added to the Disneyland Resort during a five-year expansion.
The ceremony was held in Disney California Adventure in front of the iconic Carthay Circle Theatre on the new Buena Vista Street, which transports guests to the California that attracted Walt Disney in his early days as an animation pioneer. Ceremony highlights included music, fireworks and a flood of Disney and Disney•Pixar characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck.
“Today as we celebrate the reopening of Disney California Adventure, we mark a defining moment in the history of the Disneyland Resort,” Iger said. “Cars Land and Buena Vista Street are the spectacular finale to our five-year transformation of this park, which now stands proudly on its own as a worthy neighbor to Disneyland.”
“From the thrills of Cars Land to the romance of Buena Vista Street, the work that’s been done throughout this entire expansion is extraordinary,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Disney California Adventure is a testament to what we at Disney Parks do best – connect our guests to the iconic stories, characters and music they love, helping them make shared memories to last a lifetime.”
Throughout the morning, as thousands of guests lined up outside the Disney California Adventure entrance, the Goodyear “Spirit of America” blimp flew overhead transmitting live aerial video of the historic occasion to television and online viewers.
Cars Land and Buena Vista Street celebrate a five-year expansion that has brought more Disney and more experiences to guests of the Disneyland Resort, a world-class, family vacation destination with two theme parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district.
Disney California Adventure offers guests a full day-to-night experience with four new attractions – Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Cars Land and the Red Car Trolley, which traverses the length of Buena Vista Street – along with nine new shops, eight new food locations including Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, and more than a dozen new entertainment experiences such as the “Red Car News Boys,” who performed in Friday’s grand reopening ceremony.
The 12-acre Cars Land is a fully detailed, three-dimensional re-creation of Radiator Springs, known to fans of the Disney●Pixar movie “Cars” as “the cutest little town in Carburetor County.” Radiator Springs Racers is one of the largest and most elaborate attractions created for a Disney theme park, taking guests on a tour of the scenic Cadillac Mountain Range before their big race begins. Guests are immersed in the story of the movie as they encounter all the familiar landmarks of Radiator Springs, including its shops, restaurants and neon signs.
Guests now enter Disney California Adventure through another lively and richly detailed land, Buena Vista Street. The newly themed and designed entrance brings the spirit of Walt Disney into the park as never before, immersing guests in a locale reminiscent of Los Angeles in the 1920s, a time and place full of hope and optimism. With its familiar shop names, period costumes and architecture, Buena Vista Street is inspired by the “city of dreams” Walt Disney found when he arrived by train in California.
The icon of Disney California Adventure, the Carthay Circle Theatre, is a majestic building at the end of Buena Vista Street that recalls, in name and architectural style, the great California movie palace where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937. Carthay Circle Theatre, home to the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, anchors the newly designed plaza from which guests set out to experience all the thrills, excitement and wonder of Disney California Adventure. Upstairs, guests enjoy Southern California cuisine and the ambience of a post-gala party at Carthay Circle Restaurant, while the ground floor Carthay Circle Lounge offers appetizers and bar service, along with historic photographs and exhibits.
The Red Car Trolley, based on Los Angeles’ historic Pacific Electric Red Car Line, transports guests from Buena Vista Street down Hollywood Boulevard, to the footsteps of the famed Hollywood Tower Hotel, home to The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror. Street characters and entertainers such as “Five & Dime” add to the lively fun along Buena Vista Street, engaging guests as they step back in time.
The expansion of Disney California Adventure, announced in 2007, has produced a succession of new entertainment and attractions.
- Toy Story Mania! opened in 2008, inviting guests into an interactive, ride-through, attraction where they enter a 4-D carnival midway hosted by characters from the Disney●Pixar movie “Toy Story.”
- “World of Color,” the nighttime water spectacular, debuted in 2010 and the popular show has been seen by more than 5 million guests.
- In 2011, the park reached its next milestone with the premiere of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, a ride-through attraction based on the Disney animated classic movie.
- Additional highlights include new entertainment such as “Phineas & Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party,” new restaurants such as Paradise Garden Grill, and the enhancement and re-theming of such attractions as Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Games of the Boardwalk, Silly Symphony Swings and Goofy’s Sky School.
The transformation of Disneyland Resort, a world-class, family vacation destination, began in 2001 with the opening of Disney California Adventure, the Downtown Disney district and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Since then, the Disneyland Resort has continued to grow with the addition of popular attractions and shows such as Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, now in 3-D; Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage; Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror. In 2009, the resort completed a major expansion of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which included the first West Coast destination for Disney Vacation Club. A magical renovation of the signature Disneyland Hotel was completed in early 2012, including re-imagined guest rooms, a new restaurant and bar, and a new pool with monorail-themed water slides.
- Walt & Mickey Welcomes Dreamers to Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure Park (chipandco.com)
- Grand Opening Today: Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park (chipandco.com)