CARS 2 TOUR
By Gary Murray
The sun beat down on the asphalt parking lot outside of the Northpark Mall, as the line grew and grew. The hard wind was a slight comfort for the massive throng of parents and kids waiting to take part of one of the biggest media event of the season. The cars from Cars 2 were coming to town.
On a world-wide “Agents on a Mission” tour to promote the new Pixar Pictures release were three of the most anticipated stars from the film—Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and Finn McMissile. It was not the actors who voice the new film, but real full-size replicas of the computer generated feature.
Cars 2, the movie, is a continuation of the massively successful 2006 film. The story is of Lightning McQueen and his faithful sidekick Mater on a World Grand Prix Race. This race becomes more complicated when Mater is mistaken for a super spy. It is a story of high speed racing and international espionage that will appeal to every family.
The Imaginers from Disney have constructed three full size autos from Cars 2 that are out promoting the film. According to the people in charge of the event, the Dallas stop has been the most successful so far.
At 1PM when the event started, they estimated that the wait was going to be almost three hours. The crowd started gathering at 9 AM, with little tykes dressed not only in Cars t-shirts, but some in full Lightning McQueen costumes. One grandfather I talked to said that they had drove two hours just to be here. By 1:30, the line had almost wrapped around the entire parking lot.
These electric cars are true marvels to behold. Not just fiberglass props, they are fully functioning remote control cars, with R/C hand controls. The people in charge said that they could be driven around like their toy isle counterparts, just on a closed track.
The studio, along with State Farm Insurance, has gone all out on this promotion. There were character key chains and pens for those in line, as well as posters and coloring books. To one side of the event, there was a giant ‘racing stunt course’ that was much more of an air-inflated bounce house with slides and poles. The kids jumped and played in and around the massive structure. On the other side of the lot were interactive ‘fuel pumps’ that showed different scenes from the movie.
The biggest part of the event was free photos for everyone in line. The digital cameras shot picts of kids and families in front of all three of these autos. The parents could use a code and digitally download the snaps of their tykes with the giant four-wheeled beasts. Those photos were the biggest reason the line was so arduous.
As the Texas heat came down on the families, one father said aloud with a laugh, “The things we do for our kids.” It was a trying day for the parents, but a memory the little ones will remember for a lifetime.