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Disney's Cars Land opens to public; some people waited all night

June 15, 2012|By Laura Hautala
  • Employees from Cars Land escort the first visitors through the gates at the redesigned entrance to Disney California Adventure.
Employees from Cars Land escort the first visitors through the gates at… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

The opening day of Disney’s California Adventure has begun. Characters from the "Newsies" film and musical danced on stage Friday as company Chief Executive Bob Iger lauded the changes to the park.

“We believe the transformation over the last five years, culminating in Buena Vista Street and Cars Land, created a totally new experience and deserves a grand opening,” Iger said.

The Disney California Adventure park, next door to Disneyland, opened in 2001 and has had underwhelming returns, even by the admission of company executives.

PHOTOS: Inside Cars Land

On Friday morning, Iger especially thanked the company’s Imagineers, who also contributed to California Adventure’s new installments of Toy Story Mania, Ariel’s Grotto and the World of Color, in addition to Cars Land. “You can really see and feel their dedication” in the park’s new features, Iger said.

Disney has invested a reported $1.1 billion in the park’s remake.

A crowd of 2,400 people were let in for the ceremony, but 4,000 total had lined up by the day’s start. Disney representatives said that guests started lining up as early as 8 p.m. Thursday night.

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