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Arthur Levine

Steve Jobs and Cars Land

By June 14, 2012

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When Steve Jobs passed away, I wrote about the ties that bound the Apple visionary to the Walt Disney Company. That connection was driven home today when I had the chance to sit down with John Lasseter, who serves as both chief creative officer of the Disney company and principal creative advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering, at the event marking the opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. Lasseter is also the head honcho at Pixar and was the writer, director, and chief mechanic of Cars, the charming movie upon which the new land is based.

The affable exec had lots to say about the re-imagined Disney California Adventure, and I look forward to providing details later in an expanded piece. But one of his comments touched me, and I wanted to share it with you now. Lasseter said, with a hint of melancholy, that Jobs would have loved Cars Land and he wished that he could have been with him to see it. Jobs bought Pixar and served as its CEO. He once told Lasseter that Macintosh computers might last three or four years before they become obsolete. "But if you do your jobs well," he said to the Pixar creative team, "your films will live on forever."

Cars is indeed still relevant today, and its world is now immortalized in splendid fashion at the Disney park. "This," Lasseter said, as he gestured to the bustling scene along Route 66 in Radiator Springs, "will surely outlast me." Unfortunately, Cars Land outlasted Steve Jobs before it even had a chance to open.

Photo: (L to R) Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger, and Lasseter at the opening of Cars Land. Disney. Used with permission.

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