Cars Road Trip: Immersion Through Landscaping

In Cars ROAD TRIP, which will soon open at Disneyland Paris, landscaping plays an important role so that our guests can immerse themselves in storytelling on their journeys through the emblematic streets of the American West. Let’s meet with the landscapers at Walt Disney Imagineering, whose mission is to bring these new natural spaces to life.

Cars ROAD TRIP takes guests on an unusual journey along the mythical Route 66 into the world of Pixar’s cars and discovers natural and mechanical wonders in the process. The transformation posed a challenge to the Walt Disney Imagineering teams as the landscaping of the American West had to be completely rethought. From choosing the vegetation to transporting the trees to planting and daily maintenance, the Walt Disney Imagineering teams are constantly paying attention to the flora of this attraction as it is an integral part of the guest experience.

Extensive research was required to identify plant species that could adapt to the climatic conditions and soils of the Seine-et-Marne area, thus guaranteeing a feeling of immersion in the west regardless of the season. To make cars as alive as possible, the Walt Disney Imagineering teams at Disneyland Paris worked closely with the creative teams in Glendale, California. Landscape architect Julia Malichaud says she was inspired by the great national parks and vegetation along these famous roads … and of course she admits she keeps watching Cars’ films!

Another element the teams considered was the Livrain Woods, which the attraction is physically located in. You had to make sure that the species you selected fit in harmoniously with the species that were already there. Picea omorika (Serbian spruce), field maple, bloodwood and Colorado spruce, all of which can be easily recognized by their bluish tint – the teams in European nurseries selected every tree, shrub and bush with the greatest care. As a result, more than 500 have been planted to transform the attraction! The most impressive include giant sequoias and three particularly large trees: a Metasequoia glyptostroboides and two Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’ – one more than 14 meters high – all of which were carefully brought to the site.

As Marc Boulanger explains, who is responsible for bringing the landscaping designed by Julia to life, the presence of each species helps create contrast in the passage between attraction scenes and fuel storytelling.

“Nothing is done randomly,” says Julia. “We picked every tree in the nursery and each was planted in a specific location that plays a role in terms of the landscape and utility. Be it to draw the guest’s attention or to add an element of history, these plants also serve to naturally hide what is behind the attraction and invite guests to this experience, as the imagineers did is told.

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