After a week of fans drooling over the surpisingly lavish themeing of the otherwise quite simple Cars Race Rally, the very first tests of this new Toon Studio attraction were finally witnessed by guests - its 12 "zany" spinning cars skidding out of control in a Radiator Springs now complete with detailed storefronts, neon lights and even telegraph poles.,
You might have noticed Cars Race Rally missing from yesterday’s article updating progress in the general Toon Studio area, for this is a ‘tea cups’-style attraction that simply knows no boundaries. Compare it to its cousins – The Whirlpool at Tokyo DisneySea and Francis’ Ladybug Boogie at Disney’s California Adventure – and you’re spinning out into a totally different world, no – universe, of Imagineering.
After more than 50 years and countless half-hearted attempts ranging from Flying Carpets to TriceraTop Spin it looks like Disney might finally have an update of a 1955 fairground-style classic to really knock the socks off of its Disneyland Park original.
The first positive is attention to detail, growing day by day and with a strong inspiration from the film, such as the ‘Leaning Tower of Tires’ at the Casa Della Tires storefront or the neon signage for ‘Flo’s V8 Café’ next to the boarding area canopy themed to that same gas station from the movie. Both were added at the very end of March, just in time for the invited press and VIPs given a tour of the area after their 1st April morning press conference.
Jump to 7th April and these photos from Kyoto on Disney Magic Interactive forum show how the area has developed further still. The first horizontal pieces and fixings for wires are being added to the telegraph/electicity pylons in the distance, whilst the huge metal frame attached to the Art of Disney Animation building now features a sweeping backdrop of Cadillac Range and the Radiator Cap rock formations, with a warm blue sky. In the second photo, a new corrugated steel shack construction can be seen at the corner of the Race Rally area, appearing on first glance to be an additional shelter for Cast Members watching over the ride.
The backdrop can be seen in full in the photo by Alain Littaye below. Notice that whilst it covers the entire Art of Disney Animation building from view when in front of Cars Race Rally, it does not reach entirely to the ground as the backdrop of Flying Carpets. Either this will be left as a hint to the “backstage” feel of this part of the queue, or even more scenery and/or planting is still to come.
The second photo, dated 14th April 2007 from Disneytheque.com, shows the clever way the Imagineers have solved problems of the ugly metal frame behind the 2D board, with extra pieces at either end to make it appear a real part of the Art of Disney Animation building. Whilst still unfinished, this section at the rear of the building also confirms that the building will actually retain a small part of its original yellow/cream colour scheme.
Next, the attention to detail continues with our first look at some of the highly-antipicated neon lights of this new attraction, many of which are now installed and already illuminated. Green neons give a glow to the edges of the Flo’s V8 Café Canopy, whilst others stretch up the yellow, tiled tower of the entrance building toward the large ‘Cars’ logo signage, the metal surround of which has been installed in recent days.
These photos taken over the blue construction walls highlight the amount of work still to be done, particularly to the exposed backstage of the queue line, though other areas are looking much more complete. For example, finished wood and wire mesh fences now border the entire area, a nice rustic touch for what used to be a very clean-cut Studio. The supports of the boarding area roof have been fully themed to their engine inspiration (can anyone name that part?), the ride control kiosk has its final colours, automatic boarding gates are in place and the entire ride area – including its pale red “desert” floor – also looks to be nearing completion.
The sheer level of detail here is quite bewildering, with so many props, locations and Route 66 touches from the film all being recreated in real life for the first time, like the spark plug lights of Flo’s V8 Café…
With the film as inspiration, the Imagineers have obviously sought to recreate absolutely as much as possible within their space and budget constraints. This is clearly seen in the line of storefronts that appear like an Imagineering masterclass in how to theme various types of false walls – the yellow tiles and Californian-styled details of Ramone’s, the faded brickwork of the second façade (not visible), the worn and weathered wooden front of Lizzie’s store and finally the Italian style of Luigi’s Casa Della Tires. All of it tied together with the line of telegraph poles and fun little details like the strings of lights from the Leaning Tower of Tires.
Whilst the telegraph poles have already been claimed by several of the resort’s feathered residents (smaller ones than Donald Duck, don’t worry), the Imagineers obviously took note from the ducks of Adventureland and the birds nest atop the Castle‘s highest spire, since, unlike the film, the Leaning Tower of Tires now features various styles of hubcaps to block the holes inside of its tower.
With so many different details to pour over, you almost forget about the ride itself, but it’s certainly there and looks to be one of Disney’s cleverest fairground-style designs yet. Whilst spinning tea cups and “boogying” ladybugs are in a total land of fantasy, there’s something quite real and convincing about seeing these Pixar-designed cars spinning “out of control” on their figure-of-eight course. With less than a month to the official handover to its operators, the very first tests of Studios’ new race rally have begun!
It was also confirmed recently that one of the songs to be used whilst the ride is in motion will be ‘Life is a Highway’ by Rascal Flatts. Nothing has been confirmed yet about other area music, such as if the queue here will use the general Toon Studio loop as Flying Carpets Over Agrabah does.
If the film was all about taking time out from the daily rush to enjoy life and everything that surrounds us, the attraction looks like the perfect place to do just that.
Photos 3 & 4 by Kyoto on Disney Magic Interactive forum; Photos 5, 7 & 8 by Alain Littaye’s ‘Disney & More’ blog; Photos 6, 9 & 10 by Disneytheque.com. More can be found at all of these sources. Videocaps from video by DLRPN.com.