As I've been sharing over the course of the week, last Monday we attended an Annual Passholder Preview of California Adventure's new additions, Cars Land and Buena Vista Street.
My oldest daughter had to work last Monday, so we ventured out to California Adventure bright and early yesterday morning, correctly guessing that since only Premium level passholders can visit on summer Saturdays, the park would be busy, but not as crowded as it was on Opening Day or as it's expected to be on Father's Day.
We headed straight for Radiator Springs Racers, and although there was a bit of a wait for the ride to be up and running, the line itself was quite short. We were even able to ride it a second time later in the day, thanks to the "single rider" line used to fill in gaps in the vehicles; it took less than half an hour and we even ended up seated in the same car. This is a great alternative to get on the ride more quickly for those who don't mind where they sit.
We had an absolutely fabulous day, spending over 10-1/2 hours in Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, and we even squeezed in Goofy's fun new "Instant Concert: Just Add Water!" at Paradise Bay, where we ended up getting quite wet!
As we enjoyed the day, we noticed Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis greeting guests and posing for photos at the Cozy Cone in Cars Land. The excitement and positive energy throughout the park was contagious! As the L.A. Times writes in its review, Cars Land is "totally delightful...it's Cars Land that truly, and finally, pulls the park together" and once in Cars Land, "it's easy to forget you're anywhere but here...California Adventure at long last has a heart."
We're looking forward to returning soon for Cars Land's neon lights being turned on at dusk, set to "Sh-Boom," and to check out the Mad Tea Party in Hollywood Land.
And now, at last, some photos of the park's new entrance, Buena Vista Street! Some of these photos were taken at the preview, with additional photography yesterday. Below, the theater and fountain at Carthay Circle at the end of Buena Vista Street; Carthay Circle in some respects now serves as the equivalent of the "Hub" and Castle in Disneyland.
Buena Vista Street lovingly recreates the Hollywood and Los Angeles of the 1920s, when Walt Disney arrived in California. Indeed, one of the Red Car Trolleys is No. 623, a nod to the month and year Walt arrived in the state. The park now has, in essence, its own "Main Street," but instead of the turn of the century theme next door at Disneyland, Buena Vista Street is all gorgeous Art Deco, with a dash of California Craftsman.
The street is filled with tributes to Disney history, such as this business sign for "Atwater School of Art and Animation," which pays homage to Disney's famed animators, the "Nine Old Men":
I still need some good photos of the very front entrance of Buena Vista Street, but upon entering, there's a Red Car Trolley stop and Mortimer's Market to the right:
Note the 717 on the Trolley, which is in honor of Disneyland's opening day, July 17, 1955:
A closer shot of Mortimer's, which sells fruit and chips:
Here's Oswald's and the Five and Dime to the left of the entrance:
My favorite touch in the Five and Dime windows are the beautiful hardcover books which inspired Disney cartoons and films.
The Hyperion Bridge crossing Buena Vista Street:
Elias & Company Department Store, which honors Walt Disney's father:
There's beautiful tile work everywhere!
I'll have more Buena Vista Street photos to share in a Part 2. I also highly recommend visiting MousePlanet's "Disney is in the Details: A Closer Look at Buena Vista Street" and MiceChat's "Dateline Disneyland: A Closer Look at Buena Vista Street."
Previously: California Adventure: Cars Land Preview!; Cars Land Preview: Flo's V8 Cafe and Luigi's Casa Della Tires; Cars Land Preview: Radiator Springs Racers and Mater's Junkyard Jamboree; Cars Land Preview: Around Radiator Springs; Disney California Adventure: More Buena Vista Street.