With a June 24, 2011 release date coming up fast, the media blitz for the next Pixar film, Cars 2, is in full swing, and it’s really no surprise. The original Cars movie, released in 2006, was a cash cow of epic proportions for the Walt Disney Company. It’s made more than $450 million dollars in movie sales alone since it’s release – more money than any other car racing movie since 1980. That doesn’t even cover all the merchandising, toys, extras, etc.
For some time now Mater and Lightning McQueen have been appearing at on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Starting in June 2011 Lightning McQueen will start appearing in the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show because of the upcoming sequel. And as part of this year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Disney has also chosen to incorporate Cars 2 in a big way.
Epcot has always tried to find ways to keep children occupied while visiting the World Showcase. From passports that you can purchase, and then get stamped and signed in the country pavilions – something that dates back to when I was a teenager. To masks, and now Duffy the Bear images that you can color in, and also get stamped and signed. Some pavilions like Japan will teach kids greetings, while others will write out an approximation of their names using their native language. Or the highly interactive Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure.
Now, for a temporary time, they’ve added the Cars 2 Race Around World Showcase. If you’re coming from Future World the most logical starting point is the World Showcase entrance, but the other checkpoints can be found in Italy, the United States, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom. However, you can choose to start at any of the 6 “Checkpoints” around the World Showcase if you desire. The World Showcase entrance checkpoint is located off to your right if you’re standing in front of the awesome Mater and Lightning McQueen topiaries.
At each checkpoint you will get a sticker, six in all. The stickers are of the characters that will appear in the upcoming Cars 2 movie, including one of Lightning McQueen himself. The stickers can be found at the existing Kidcot Fun Stops, just walk up, show your booklet, and get a sticker. Adults take note, the game is not limited to children, just ask for a booklet and play.
The booklet contains a special map of World Showcase showing you all the checkpoint locations, and each checkpoint has a page devoted to it in the booklet. There are also word puzzles and trivia questions in the booklet – completion of these secondary puzzles is not necessary to win the prize. That’s right, there is a prize – a very nifty Victory Button to signify that you visited all 6 checkpoints. At the end of the race you’ll have two great Cars 2 keepsakes, the booklet itself, and your button. Which is really great if, like me you’re a Cars fan.
Sadly, according to the booklet I have, the race ends when the Flower & Garden festival ends – May 15, 2011 – I wish I had discovered it sooner. I think that Disney should really consider leaving up the Cars 2 topiaries, and letting the race run through the release weekend of Cars 2. It really is the perfect way to get kids, and even adults excited for the movie.