10 New Things Coming to Disney California Adventure in 2012

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2012 is going to be a big year at the Disneyland resort!  The reconstruction of Disney California Adventure (DCA) will finally be complete, and so many great things are going to open!  Of course, dates aren’t set in stone and Disney parks are always growing and changing, but DCA should have a whole new look by the summer of 2012. Disneyland fans have waited patiently through all the construction of the last few years, and I for one can’t wait for it to be done.  Here are 10 things I’m especially excited about.  Some of the details below may change, but this is how things are looking right now.

1. Radiator Springs Racers – One of the most expensive attractions Disney has ever built, Radiator Springs is definitely the most anticipated new ride.  All of Cars Land looks to be great, but this will be the highlight/E Ticket Ride/Headliner (you get the point).  And if you are not a Cars fan, consider this–Radiator Springs is like Test Track on steroids.  Instead of one car racing against the speedometer on Test Track, at Radiator Springs you’ve got two cars racing side by side along steeply banked turns that would make the Daytona International Speedway jealous.  This. Looks. Awesome.  That is all.

2. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – Of course, Cars Land is bringing more rides to DCA than just Radiator Springs.  Mater’s is composed of several tractors pulling trailers that hold the passengers.  The tractors swirl around in a circle flinging their passengers around in their seats—kind of a crazy tea cup ride for the Pixar fan in you.  Mater himself will apparently be singing while riders try to hold in their lunch and remember why they fell in love with Mater in the first movie.  Unfortunately, due to the overexposure he received in Cars 2 that may be a little difficult, but I’m confident Mater can win us over again.  You can see a great video of Mater’s here.

3. Luigi’s Flying Tires – The third new ride in Cars Land is Luigi’s Flying Tires.  Luigi’s fascinates me.  Those tires really seem to be flying!  Check out the video of John Lasseter testing the technology (really—check this out!).  Riders are seated inside a giant Fettuccini brand tire.  When the ride begins, the tires float and spin on a cushion of air.  Riders can control the direction of the tires with their body weight, and can even make their tires spin with the push of a lever.  Many Disney fans have noticed the resemblance to the former Tomorrowland Flying Saucers.  Who doesn’t love the re-imagineering of a vintage Disney ride that was gone too soon?

4. Cars Land Shopping and Snacks – Cars Land promises to have some new stores and dining options too.  Fillmore’s Taste Inn will apparently be a snack station with a hippy theme.  I will assume Flo’s V8 Café will actually not sell V8, but I could be wrong.  Maybe I’m misjudging the popularity of V8?  There is currently a Flo’s V8 Café on the Disney Dream and it serves paninis, chicken fingers, pizza etc.  Perhaps it’s a preview of Flo’s at DCA?  Cozy Cone Motel will be recognizable by its 5 giant orange traffic cones .  The cones will reportedly serve various snack options with “punny” names like “Cone on the Cob”.  At least two new stores include Ramone’s House of Body Art and Radiator Springs Curios.  I can’t wait to explore them all!

5. Carthay Circle Theatre Don’t think all the new attractions at DCA will be at Cars Land-related, however!  Carthay Circle Theatre will be the new icon of DCA and the centerpiece of Buena Vista Street.  Steeped with Disney history, the theater is the perfect addition to DCA.  On December 21, 1937, Snow White premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles and blew the critics away.  This version of the theater will have a new high-end restaurant located inside that’s being developed by the chef of the award winning Napa Rose restaurant in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.  Details about the restaurant have been fairly scarce so far.  Could this have anything to do with a rumored expansion of Club 33?

6. Buena   Vista Street Shops and Dining – The list of shops and snack options along  Buena Vista Street   is extensive.  Trolley Treats will sell   your favorite candy.  Mortimer’s Market   will sell fruit.  Clarabelle’s   Hand-Scooped Ice Cream will, of course, sell delicious ice cream.  Oswald’s Filling Station will sell   Sundries.  Los Feliz Five and Dime will   be the main merchandise shop for souvenirs, and Big Top Toys will have a   circus theme.  The list goes on and has   the shopper inside of me counting the minutes until I’m there!

7. Red Car Trolley – How neat will it be to see a red trolley zipping by you as you stroll through DCA?  Or better yet, riding on one?  Modeled after the Pacific Electric Red Cars which were once part of the largest electric railway in the world, these trolleys will take guests to and from DCA’s Main Entrance, Buena Vista Street and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror while travelling under a re-creation of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge with stops on the way.  It’s a great new form of transportation in the parks!

8. New Turnstiles and Entrance – And speaking of the Main Entrance…the new turnstiles are already open, but I can’t wait until the construction walls are down and I can fully appreciate the new entrance.  Right now, it’s reminding me a little too much of the entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but I’m hoping once I can see the entrance to Buena Vista Street and the Carthay Circle Theatre in the distance, it will all make sense.

9. Ghirardelli – Did someone say Ghirardelli is coming to DCA?  Did someone say awesome?  Ghirardelli is scheduled to open in the late spring of 2012.  It will be back in the Pacific Wharf area of the park, which is the perfect spot since Ghirardelli’s got its start in San Francisco near the waterfront.  The offerings should be similar to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World.  I’ve never seen it without a line, even on the worst weather days inFlorida.  That’s a testament to the level of true deliciousness that is available inside.

10. Storytellers – Storytellers is a new statue of the man himself and our favorite mouse.  This statue depicts Walt in his younger years wearing more casual clothes than the current Partners statue inDisneyland.  It’s like Walt just stepped off the train upon arrival inCalifornia.  Mickey is perched on Walt’s traveling trunk.  When he arrived in theGoldenState, Walt hadn’t made a name for himself yet as he was just beginning his career as an animator.  To represent that “common man” theme, Storytellers won’t be up on a pedestal or be located in the middle of a planter like Partners.  Instead it will be located on ground level and accessible to all guests.  Despite the part of me who is horrified to think of the children who will feel the need to climb on Walt and Mickey, and the parents who will try to prop said children precariously on top of the statue for a picture, I do love the idea!

What about you?  Are you looking forward to anything at DCA in 2012?  Did I leave anything off the list, or are there any of these you are excited about too?

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Posted on January 6, 2012

8 Responses to “10 New Things Coming to Disney California Adventure in 2012”

  • V8 in Flo’s references a car engine size/horsepower not the vegetable drink…

  • I am really looking forward to the new Buena Vista Street and the Red Cars! Maybe almost more than Cars Land.

  • by hope morrison on January 8, 2012, at 10:15 pm EDT

    So far, ‘summer’ is the most specific opening estimate for Cars Land opening that I can find. In your experience, does a summer opening estimate usually mean they open something *in time for* summer, or open *during* the summer? We may go this summer specifically to take my nephew to Cars Land – looking at June dates but don’t want to commit yet in case it doesnt open until later in the summer. Is there any way to know when they will announce a specific opening date?

    • by Tammy Whiting on January 9, 2012, at 8:27 am EDT

      That’s a hard question, Hope! A quick google search will tell you it’s being asked all over the internet right now! Disney does not like to be very specific on these opening dates until the time gets closer. It’s possible they are trying to coordinate a Buena Vista Street opening with the Cars Land opening which makes it even trickier. If I had to guess, I am sure Disney is trying to get them both done by early summer, i.e. early June. Even if it’s not officially open by then, I would guess the odds are good there will be “soft” openings by then. Notice I said guess twice in the last two sentences. :)