Opening Ceremony of Cars Land Coverage

On Wednesday evening at 8:00 PM PST, the Disney Parks Blog had live video coverage of the Opening Ceremony celebration of Cars Land.  This article is a wrap-up of the live, streaming event (with the full video of the official Disney live stream below). 

The ceremony began with a band rocking to Route 66, pumping up the crowd for what’s sure to be a magical evening.

After the band wrapped up, Bob Iger, Chairman, and CEO of The Walt Disney Company was introduced. Bob discussed when he and John Lasseter had a long conversation about what the essence of a great animated film is. John said, “A great Pixar film has a great magical world, one you believe could actually exist, with a wonderful story and memorable characters – characters you would want to hang out with.”

Bob continued to praise the film Cars with doing just that, creating a world so magical that the audience would want to experience it first-hand. With that praise also came recognition to the Disney Imagineers and Pixar animators who worked together by making a wonderful, physical embodiment of the Cars film.

Disneyland Cars Opening Ceremony Tom Staggs

Bob Iger then introduced Tom Staggs, Chairman of The Walt Disney Company’s Parks and Resort Division. Tom stated that “Tonight is really a defining moment for the history of Disney California Adventure – really the whole Disneyland Resort.” Tom went on to thank Jay Rasulo (who was chairman of Disney’s Parks and Resort Division for the first two and half years of the five-year-long Cars Land project), Bob WiesKathy Mangum as well as the countless Imagineers and cast members who brought Cars Land to life.

The final thank you went to John Lasseter and the fantastic team at Pixar Animation Studios. 

Tom then introduced John Lasseter to the stage – who shocked everyone by wearing a jacket! Though, you could still see his signature Hawaiian shirt underneath.

Tom, feeling a little underdressed asked Bruce Vaughn from the audience to hand him a coat – this was quite humorous.  (Thanks to MissMegs comment on our post for letting us know who Bruce was.) 

John started out by thanking the team for investing in Cars Land. The Cars films are near and dear to John’s heart, not that he doesn’t love the rest of the Pixar films – but the Cars films were almost destined to happen given John’s childhood (his mother was a high school art teacher and his father was a parts manager at a Chevrolet dealership).

During the development of Cars, John took his wife Nancy and their five sons on a trip down Route 66 to experience life on the mother road.  A touching moment during this portion of the ceremony was when John looks and points out his “beautiful wife Nancy” for the crowd to see – we loved this!

“It’s an amazing feeling to stand here right now and see the world that we created for this film actually come to life.” – John Lasseter

All of a sudden an interruption occurs – it’s John Lassetire! (John Lasseter’s alter ego from Cars 2) John Lassetire has an idea for the next Pixar short and suggests that it be about a pick-up truck with wood paneling.

This leads John Lasseter to show sketches of what Bob Iger and Tom Staggs would look like in the Cars world.

It was now time for many of the voices of Cars and Cars 2 to be announced on stage. Our favorites were of course John Ratzenberger and Larry the Cable Guy.

The absolute BEST part of the ceremony was the official “turning on the lights” segment, which had Tom Staggs and John Lasseter clamp jumper cables onto a car battery – this was too genius for words! What resulted was the entire Cars Land illuminating under the evening California sky (which brought chills to us while watching over the web).  I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like to have been there in person.

Comments 4
  1. Wow, what an awesome night! I wished I had been able to watch it. Thanks for the great post and all the pictures! There were a couple parts I really enjoyed – John wearing a jacket (so Tom asking for one from the audience!), Bob & Tom as cars, and that whole lighting segment, wow! Too much fun!

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