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Disney nearly finished making mountain out of a parking lot

February 16, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • An artist rendition of Radiator Springs Racers, part of Disney's new Cars Land at California Adventure.
An artist rendition of Radiator Springs Racers, part of Disney's… (Disney )

It took Mother Nature hundreds of millions of years to build and shape the sandstone mesa in America's southwest region.

It took Disney's rock-work art director Zsolt Hormay about two years to build a smaller version as part of the $1-billion expansion at Disney's California Adventure. The 125-foot-tall mountain range will be the most visible landmark in the 12-acre expansion, dubbed Cars Land, scheduled to open in June. Much of the expansion is being built on a former parking lot.

Disney officials announced Thursday that a team of artists is wrapping up construction of the peaks, hoodoos and canyons, painted in bands of red, white and pink.

At the base of the mountain, the Anaheim theme park is building Radiator Springs Racers, a ride that puts guests behind the wheel of race cars that zip through the desert landscape.

Hormay said the workers building the mountain were hired because they have a unique combination of construction skills and artistic talent to create the landscape that resembles the scenes in the animated "Cars" movie.

"A rock is like a human figure," he said. "It's got its qualities, its proportion and look that we are trying to match."

[Updated at 4 p.m.: Disney officials said workers devoted 28,000 hours to designing the structural system for the rock work and Radiator Springs Racers. When completed, the mountain and the ride will have used 4,000 tons of steel. The mountain peaks were designed to resemble the fins from classic cars from the 1950s and '60s.]

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