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Graphic design, show writing and kicks on ’66

Saturday, 19th May 2007 at 21:54

ImageSoon, Route 66 from Chicago to LA won't be the only place to get your kicks. Turning its attentions away from Crush's Coaster, the official 15th Anniversary Blog has released a new video featuring two short interviews with Imagineers working on Cars Race Rally, also featuring a look at a never-before-seen maquette for the much-discussed Radiator Springs queue buildings.,

This new video features two Imagineers working on the project talking about the ride experience and describing their intentions with its design and construction. Behind them, you might spot one or two props soon to appear at the attraction itself in Paris, such as a stop light, cans of motor oil, a poster for Fillmore’s organic fuel and newspaper cut-outs describing the triumphs of the Famous Hudson Hornet, Doc Hudson!

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Michael Sprout (Senior Show Writer) / Debbie Hofman (Graphic Designer)

First, Senior Show Writer Michael Sprout, confirms that the queue buildings are set up like a “visitor centre” for Radiator Springs, showcasing each of the stores and locales owned by the motor vehicle inhabitants. He also mentions “wild race music” and that Lightning and Mater will be positioned at the edge of the race area (rather than outside the entrance as expected before) shouting encouragements to guests on the spinning ride.

“The guest experience for the Cars attraction is that first you’re going to visit the town, see the sights, go through the visitor centre, and then you’re going to go out to the race course. Lightning and Mater are there to welcome you to the race. You go out to your new rookie car, get in the car and at a signal, your car starts up, doing this wild spinning race through the desert.

“As you race, Lightning and Mater are off to the side of the racetrack shouting encouragement to you. There’s this wild race music that will get your blood going and you spin around in this crazy figure-eight spinning course for about a minute and half, which is quite a bit of time in those conditions!”

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Circular entrance lobby, featuring various advertisements and the famous Piston Cup!

The second half of the video features graphic designer Debbie Hofman speaking briefly about how the Imagineers attempted to capture the feel of Route 66 for Europeans and “show what it means for Americans”, whilst a camera pans across a never-before-seen concept model depicting the full visitor centre complex from behind (imagine yourself stood on the spot of Art of Disney Animation looking towards Crush), the walls decorated in large posters featuring local brands such as Lightning McQueen’s Rust-Eze medicated bumper ointment and Tow Mater’s pick-up service.

When we developed the queue for the attraction we wanted to start with the outside as you’re walking in and the exteriors are featuring Route 66 and the kind of architecture you would see. And then walking into it, we really wanted to bring in that world of Route 66, some of the businesses you’d find, the cars, and really get that feel for the guests. Especially being in Europe, we wanted to really capture Route 66 for them and what that is for Americans.

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‘Backstage’ area of the queue under outdoor canopy, featuring more local advertisements.


The work of Debbie Hofman and the graphic design team has now made it to the attraction itself in Paris. We got a glimpse at a poster advertising Ramone’s House of Body Art back in April, and now a much more noticable banner has filled one side of the entrance lobby building.

Graphic design work completed and in place in Paris!

The large blue banner appears to proclaim “Welcome Travellers!” in typically Route 66-style – a part of America famed for its hospitality – with the route logo of the famous road also featured. As they head toward the checkered flag, representing what Route 66 means to Americans as well as recreating the Pixar impression, they’re certainly getting a kick out of it. And speaking of checkered flags, latest rumours are that Cast Members will come equipped with special race accessories – each and every Race Rally spinout will be finished with a wave of the famous race flag!

Concept images © Disney; Latest photo by Photos Magiques.

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