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Behind the Scenes of Disney’s ‘Destination: Cars Land’ 2013 Rose Parade Float

Behind the Scenes of Cars Land Rose Parade floatWaking up early on New Year’s Day to watch the Rose Parade has been a tradition of mine that dates back to my childhood in El Salvador where it used to be broadcast live, dubbed in Spanish. There was just something magical about watching these enormous, artistic and colorful floats parade down a usually sunny California winter day that has stuck with me always. Never did I think back then that I would one day be thisclose to an actual float and get to witness first hand how these beautiful artworks on wheels are created. But thanks to Disney, my family and I got to go behind the scenes of the making of the Disneyland Resort‘s entry into the 124th Rose Parade: “Destination: Cars Land.”

On Saturday my husband, daughter and I walked into a giant wearhouse in the city of Azusa — just a 20-minute drive from the city of Pasadena, host to the Tournament of Roses — to find the town of Cars Land’s Radiator Springs in the midst of a transformation to become a 125-foot long float. The float has been on the works for months now, with the initial design stages starting during the summer, but when we visited they only had two more days of decorating to go before it had to make its 5 mph drive down the freeway to its spot in the Rose Parade. At this stage the float, which has the shape of the state of California, was divided in two main parts, with several of the characters and pieces being worked on separately.

“Destination: Cars Land” is not the Disneyland Resort’s first entry in a Rose Parade. In fact, they have a relationship that dates back 75 years when in 1938 characters from the newly premiered “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” were prominently featured in the parade.

We certainly can’t wait to see our favorite new attraction in Disney’s California Adventure along with Lightning McQueen, Sally and other “Cars” stars make their grand debut as a Rose Parade Float this New Year’s Day. The parade, with the theme “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” starts at 8am PST and you can catch “Destination: Cars Land” at 9am.

Check out the pictures below from our behind the scenes adventure to get even more excited and find out interesting facts about the float itself.

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  • Posing with the Cars Land Rose Parade Float 1 of 15
    Posing with the Cars Land Rose Parade Float
    My girl poses with a picture of what the final Cars Land float will look like when it's unveiled this Tuesday, January 1st in Pasadena. You can see that it's shaped like the state of California and features prominent landmarks from the Cars Land attraction, as well as a floral recreation of Radiator Springs Racers, California Adventure's newest hit thrill ride.
  • The man behind the design 2 of 15
    The man behind the design
    Brad Kaye, senior art designer who designed the art work for the float, shared with us the many details that go into making sure everything in the float is as exact as possible. He says that Pixar was very involved in the approval process and even shared design elements of Lightning McQueen and other "Cars" characters to get them perfect.
  • Welcome to Cars Land 3 of 15
    Welcome to Cars Land
    At the front of the float, is a postcard-style "Welcome to Cars Land" sign, flanked by a trio of "baby tractors" emitting puffs of smoke while their eyes move in a playful manner.
  • Tow Mater Tractor Tipping 4 of 15
    Tow Mater Tractor Tipping
    Remember the tractor tipping scene on "Cars?" You'll get to see a replica of Mater and friends playing the tipping game aboard the Rose Parade float.
  • Lucky winners! 5 of 15
    Lucky winners!
    Guests aboard the float will ride vehicles from two Cars Land attractions: a tractor from Mater's Junkyard Jamboree and a bouncing tire from Luigi's Flying Tires.
  • Cozy Cone Motel 6 of 15
    Cozy Cone Motel
    Floral replicas of the Cones in the Cozy Cone Motel area of Radiator Springs in Cars Land.
  • All about the flowers and seeds 7 of 15
    All about the flowers and seeds
    The rules for participating in the Rose Parade dictate that all floats must be covered only with organic materials such as plants, seeds, leaves, barks, etc.

    These flower lights are the same ones that adorn Radiator Springs, but these have been covered in seeds and leaves.
  • That’s my rose! 8 of 15
    That's my rose!
    Each of us got to leave our own little mark on the Cars Land float: a single red rose. Here's my girl placing her red rose into one of the holes. The rose's stem was inside a small vase with water to keep it fresh.
  • The rear end 9 of 15
    The rear end
    This is a view of the back of the float. You will notice that high above everything, Barney Stormin' the airplane tows a banner that reads: "The Happiest Place on Earth Just Got Happier."
  • Radiator Springs Mountain Range 10 of 15
    Radiator Springs Mountain Range
    The iconic Radiator Springs mountain range, a Cars Land landmark, is re-created on the float, with characters Luigi and Guido perched on the rocks.
  • Paint-by-Number 11 of 15
    The paint you see in this picture is only there to guide volunteers on where the corresponding flowers and seeds must go. Think of it as classic paint-by-number fun! Once finished, this area will all be covered in flowers.
  • So many details! 12 of 15
    So many details!
    These cacti are covered in leaves and are sprinkled throughout the mountain range.
  • Close up 13 of 15
    Close up
    Here you can see a close up of the Radiator Springs mountain range being recreated with lentils and seeds.
  • Ligthning McQueen 14 of 15
    Ligthning McQueen
    The star is almost ready for his close up! The floral likenesses of Lightning McQueen and Sally, will be at the front of the float and moving forward and backward as if jockeying for race position.
  • Onion Seeds 15 of 15
    Onion Seeds
    These tiny onion seeds are used anywhere black is needed on the float, as in Lightning McQueen's tires.

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