No matter what age you are, a visit to a Disney theme park has a way of awakening your imagination and reminding you of your childhood innocence — when the most important decision in your life was what ride to go on next. That was certainly the case during my latest visit to Disneyland’s grand opening of Cars Land. I watched Disney Pixar’s Cars on the flight over and visions of Radiator Springs and Route 66 were fresh in my mind. But when I entered the park, I couldn’t believe it. The town of Radiator Springs had jumped off the big screen and scenes from the film were playing out before my very eyes.

I bounced from Luigi’s Flying Tires ride to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree to Radiator Springs Racers, where I screamed like a 10-year-old girl as we hit hairpin turns and steep drops. But as an adult Disney-goer, I have an even greater appreciation for the ingenuity and detail that goes into creating a three-dimensional wonderland like Cars Land. I was lucky enough to sit down with the genius behind the film, John Lasseter, as he shared his vision and passion for cars, travel and Disney.