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Ornament Valley, the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Walt Disney Imagineering is always pushing the corporate fiscal team to give enough budget to add that last layer of details that completes the theme park experience. The original DCA is the perfect example of what happens when the budget isn’t there. Ever since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Orlando and wowed everyone with the detail in the land, those controlling the purse strings have been more willing to let Imagineers do what they do best.

 the town of Radiator Springs at night

Out east we’ve been focused on New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom as the first project to get the full treatment, but in the west, Cars Land is in soft openings and the verdict is that Imagineering has re-staked their claim on the top of the hill.

LUIGI'S FLYING TIRES

The magic, as they say, is in the details. Disney has just released a series of beautiful photos showing those details and a list of figures that show how in-depth the detail in the land actually is. It’s a big update, there are 20 photos, each of them is available to view larger if you click on it:

It’s the finals, you guys! The quest for the mirrorball trophy is almost over. I’m usually so stressed out by this night that I record the show and watch it later. But, since I’m writing this blog, I put my big girl pants on and watched every second as it happened. Here we go!

After getting some advice on attitude from Carrie Ann, Ricki and Derek performed a sassy cha cha. Judging by Ricki’s phenomenal body transformation, this show is a great workout program. She sizzled in a short, sparkly red dress. Len declared it a dance deserving of the final, even though it lacked fluidity. Bruno called it fantastic, but agreed with Len on the fluidity issue. Carrie Ann said Ricki was living the dance. Triple 9s gave the pair a 27.

Rob returned from last week’s stellar performance to waltz with Cheryl. Bruno was pleased to see Rob follow his advice, and declared the dance fluid and glowing, despite some footwork mistakes. Carrie Ann said he’s like the male version of Cinderella, and he made it to the ball! Len felt it was simply beautiful. Another set of triple 9s from the judges gave the couple a 27.

I attended last year’s inaugural ESPN RISE Games at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. It was a rain drenched opening ceremony but all the student athletes were really into it and a lot of fun was had by all. Since then the park has finished its rebranding and is now ESPN Wide World of Sports with a new look, more for athletes to do, and a great tie-in to the ESPN brand and technology.

This year over 13,000 Student Athletes are expected to attend ESPN RISE and events will even air on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. Even if your student’s team isn’t competing, ESPN RISE games is a great place to see some elite level competition across a range of sports. I’m looking forward to seeing as much of it as I can.

Note, the opening ceremony is July 17th, but some competition begins on July 14th.

For more details see the full press release below the jump: