The ceremony began with a band rocking to Route 66, pumping up the crowd for what's sure to be a magical evening.
After the band wrapped up, Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company was introduced. Bob discussed when he and John Lasseter had a long conversation about what the essence of a great animated film is. John said, "A great Pixar film has a great magical world, one you believe could actually exist, with wonderful story and memorable characters - characters you would want to hang out with."
Bob continued to praise the film Cars with doing just that, creating a world so magical that the audience would want to experience it first-hand. With that praise also came recognition to the Disney Imagineers and Pixar animators who worked together by making a wonderful, physical embodiment of the Cars film.
Bob Iger then introduced Tom Staggs, Chairman of The Walt Disney Company's Parks and Resort Division. Tom stated that "Tonight is really a defining moment for the history of Disney California Adventure - really the whole Disneyland Resort." Tom went on to thanking Jay Rasulo (who was chairman of Disney's Parks and Resort Division for the first two and half years of the five year long Cars Land project), Bob Wies, Kathy Mangum as well as the countless Imagineers and cast members who brought Cars Land to life.
The final thank you went to John Lasseter and the fantastic team at Pixar Animation Studios.
Tom then introduced John Lasseter to the stage - who shocked everyone by wearing a jacket! Though, you could still see his signature Hawaiian shirt underneath.
Bruce Vaughn from the audience to hand him a coat - this was quite humorous. (Thanks to MissMegs comment on our post for letting us know who Bruce was.)
John started out by thanking the team for investing in Cars Land. The Cars films are near and dear to John's heart, not that he doesn't love the rest of the Pixar films - but the Cars films were almost destined to happen given John's childhood (his mother a high school art teacher and his father was a parts manager at a Chevrolet dealership).
"It's an amazing feeling to stand here right now and see the world that we created for this film actually come to life." - John Lasseter
This leads John Lasster to show sketches of what Bob Iger and Tom Staggs would look like in the Cars world.
"Bob is always amazingly dressed - so, here is Bob as a sports car."
"Bob is also an amazing family man - so, maybe he should be a station wagon."
"Most importantly, Bob is a great leader of this great company and carries a heavy weight on his shoulders - so, perhaps he is a semi-truck."
John goes over to Tom and squeezes his arm and thinks that he is suited as a muscle car.
"But, Tom is also one of the smartest people John knows, so he could be a Smart car."
"Above all Tom is bringing joy and good humor to millions of people", so John thinks he should be an ice cream truck.
It was now time for many of the voices of Cars and Cars 2 to be announced on stage. Our favorites were of course John Ratzenberger and Larry the Cable Guy.
In a tweet posted by Jeannie Catmull, you can see her dad Ed Catmull standing next to the neon Catmull Oil sign - classic.
Deb Willis of AllEars tweeted this picture of what is one amazing souvenir from tonight - WOW!
Congratulations to everyone who had a hand in creating Cars Land. We can't wait to visit Radiator Springs!
Don't forget to see our post on the Cars Land Red Carpet befor the Opening Ceremony.
Pixar Post - Julie & T.J.