Thea Awards Recipients

Thea Awards 2013

Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement: New Theme Park Land

Cars Land, Disney California Adventure Theme Park

Image 1/4: Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement: New Theme Park Land: Cars Land
Image 2/4: Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement: New Theme Park Land: Cars Land
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Image 4/4: Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement: New Theme Park Land: Cars Land

Guests visiting Cars Land often remark that, “It looks like they took the plans for the Disney·Pixar movie and just pushed ‘Print!’” Cars Land is indeed a startlingly accurate realization of the town of Radiator Springs and surrounding Ornament Valley, but the reality is not nearly that simple. Walking down the main drag of Radiator Springs, all of the storefronts and businesses which appeared in the Cars films have been brought to life in careful and delightful detail. From Flo’s V8 Café, Fillmore’s Taste-In and the Cozy Cone Motel to Sarge’s Surplus Hut, Radiator Springs Curios and Ramone’s House of Body Art, each has been created as its own distinct experience, drawn from the films and further inspired by the lore and legend of Route 66. In addition to the big “E-Ticket” ride, Radiator Springs Racers, two other attractions, Luigi’s Flying Tires and, in particular, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are cleverly conceived reinventions of classic rides, each with a new twist.

Cars Land’s 12 acres are particularly notable for the overwhelming scale of the rockwork panorama that frames the land, providing spectacular vistas and a sense of scale and perspective that make the significantly large footprint of the development even larger, seeming to extend for miles. At night, spectacular lighting takes the entire land to a new level of immersion as the colorful neon lights of downtown Radiator Springs come to life against the glowing palate of the Ornament Valley landscape beyond.

The sensitive layout, sophisticated use of scale, extension of character details and the high quality of execution combine to make this an outstanding example of experiential design. Far beyond being a supporting element of the Radiator Springs Racers attraction, Cars Land is a destination attraction in and of itself.

Retail, food and beverage programming begins with inspiration from the films, but Imagineers have added humor, story and surprise extra touches throughout. Every element has been thoughtfully considered to maximize its character and story content, while simultaneously providing optimal (but often invisible) operational function and capacity.

Award Credits