The next phase of the Art of Animation resort – Cars – opened on June 18. I believe this will be the most popular of the four planned; the first one opened was “Finding Nemo.” All guests will check in at the Animation Hall, then from there they will go to their respective resort choices. For the guests choosing “Car,s” the Imagineers did not disappoint in their rendition of the town of “Radiator Springs.”
Much like “Cars Land” in Disneyland’s California Adventure, this whimsical resort will transport guests into the heart of Radiator Springs. After check-in you make you way to the three buildings that encompass the resort. Just as along a real highway, you’ll encounter billboards and road signs as you will walk along Route 66, right down the center of town. Scattered about are eleven of Radiator Springs most famous citizens, including Lighting McQueen, Sarge and Mater. In fact Sarge is parked right next to his own Quonset hut. These are beautiful detailed models, bright and colorful, it’s hard to not believe that at any moment they will start their engines and talk to you! Route 66 winds past the resort buildings and ends up at the “Cozy Cone Motel” This amazing nod to the movie is the entrance to the “Cozy Cone” Pool, but inside are bathrooms and changing rooms. This themed pool has “Cone Shaped” cabanas that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The three resort buildings are named after places in the movies…The first resort on the right side is “Tow Maters Towing and Salvage” with Mater parked right out in front. Continuing on past The Cozy Cone Motel on the left is “Luigis’ Casa Della Tires.” In front is a detailed tire shop, with more residents of Radiator Springs parked outside, along with a tall stack of tires. The features are extraordinary; it’s hard to believe that a Disney resort lies behind those doors! Continuing on past Luigis, you walk along Route 66 until coming to “Fillmore’s Organic” fuel stop. Past that is the last building, The “Wheel Well Mote.l” This is another beautifully themed recreation from the movie. Three “Butte” gas pumps are in front along with Mater. What is striking about the whole of Route 66 is that you can actually visualize being in the desert. The road winds past sparse vegetation, sand and rocks, just as in a real desert.
Each of the three resort buildings has four floors with 40 family suites on each floor for a total of 160 rooms a building, 480 suites in all. I had to opportunity to visit and shoot pictures of one of the suites. The 565 square foot rooms are spacious enough for six guests sleeping on three beds. What is innovative is the dining room table converts into a Murphy bed, along with the living room couch that does the same. All the resort rooms are themed to the movie they represent. The living room couch is modeled after a car’s rear seat; the lampshades are “Cone shaped.” Even the sink cabinets and dresser drawers are fashioned after a tool chest roll-a-way. And like the shower curtain with a Nemo picture in that resort, the shower curtains have a cars motif here. I found the rooms comfortable; they defiantly will fill a need for Value Resort rooms here at Disney. None of the rooms have a balcony. The rooms have two full baths, a split bath for the kids, and the adults have a full sized unit. There are other nice themed touches, pictures on the walls, a map of route 66, Carburetor County and Radiator Springs on the coffee table. Even the TV stand resembles a tool chest. There is a small kitchenette with microwave and fridge and of course a coffee maker.
All the rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi and hookups for DVD players and computers. I was told the guest reaction to the new “Cars” have been tremendous, even to the fact that some requested to transfer from Nemo to Cars! I cannot wait for the rest of the resort to open, and when it does, I will have pictures and any updates from Disney.