How Disney's imagineers transformed Carland into Cars Landhttp://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2...0-20144305.jpgThe idea for a themed land at Disney California Adventure celebrating California's car culture had been kicking around at Walt Disney Imagineering for years.
The working premise focused on the classic cars, tourist attractions, auto-centric restaurants, roadside architecture and cross-country road trips popular during the 1950s and '60s when vehicles became less about transportation and more about personal expression.
The Carland concept, like many other lands and attractions at Disney California Adventure, lacked one key ingredient: Disney characters.
Then in the summer of 2006, "Cars" became a big box office hit for Pixar and the light bulb went off: Why not turn Carland into Cars Land?
"Let's build Radiator Springs," said John Lasseter, Pixar chief and Imagineering advisor.
A year later, Cars Land was unveiled as part of a $1 billion expansion of Disney California Adventure.