(Mark Boster/Los Angeles…)
The opening of the new 12-acre expansion at Disney California Adventure Park fueled big crowds and long lines at the Anaheim park this weekend.
Disney officials declined to disclose attendance numbers for the park, except to say that lines were long and the crowds were manageable for the opening of the newest attraction, Cars Land, on Friday.
But Al Lutz, the founder of Miceage.com, an online blog about Disney, reported Monday that California Adventure drew a record 43,000 guests on Friday and a record 45,000 visitors on Sunday.
Although Disney officials declined to comment on Lutz's report, he has a long history of disclosing behind-the-scenes information on the two parks in Anaheim.
Lutz and Disney officials confirmed that Cars Land's most popular ride, Radiator Springs Racers, broke down temporarily at least twice, pushing the wait time for riders from two and a half hours to five and a half hours.
"During the initial opening period for a new attraction, it is not uncommon to experience more down times than with other attractions while we are testing and adjusting," said Suzi Brown, a Disney spokeswoman. "Overall, our attractions are available to our guests more then 99% of the time, and over time, we expect the same from our new Cars Land attractions.
At least 500 people camped outside of the park Thursday night in anticipation of the opening of Cars Land on Friday. Park officials hired traffic control officers from the city of Anaheim and freed up additional parking for an onslaught of visitors over the weekend.
Despite the big crowds, Brown said the flow of visitors into the park was smooth and manageable.
Cars Land is part of an estimated $1.1-billion overhaul of California Adventure to boost sluggish attendance numbers since the park opened in 2001 adjacent to Disneyland. Cars Land's rides and landscape are inspired by the 2006 animated Pixar studios movie "Cars."
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