Taking nearly a fifth of the entire $1.1 Billion Budget to Renovate Disney California Adventure. Radiator springs racers was a huge investment and rumored to be the most expensive ride at Disney of all time! That is a lot to live up to! So was the huge investment worth it? Is this the best ride at Disney California Adventure? And is it worth queueing upwards of 90 minutes for a ride? Find out and more in our Radiator Springs Racers Review.
- Location – Disney California Adventure – Cars Land
- Type – Dark Ride / Slot Car
- Duration – 4:20+ Mins
- Height Restriction – 40 In
- Average Queue time – 50 mins – 110 Mins
- Fastpass – Yes
- Single Rider – Yes
- Additional Info – Heavily themed 2in1 ride for most age groups.
What is Radiator Springs Racers
When Disney invested over 1$billion in expanding and renovating Dinsey California Adventure park one of the key investments was Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racers was the centerpiece and Headline attraction of the land. The Ride is themed on the Pixar Film Car’s and set in the fictional Radiator Spring. No expense was spared to turn this little corner of Los Angeles into the Arizona Desert. On our first ride, we had literally just arrived from a Road Trip through there and were in awe of the attention to detail, accuracy, and completeness of the landscapes. It is quite simply breathtaking!
The Ride is an updated version of Epcot’s Test track ride. Right down to the interior dark ride section and the much faster outdoor blast. However, if you haven’t ridden Test Track that description is not much use to you. Essentially the ride is in two parts a detailed and fun dark ride where you encounter the inhabitants of Radiator Springs from the film, followed by a more intense outdoor race sequence where you are pitted against a rival car as you blast through the desert over ramps, through tunnels and around tight bends to a randomized finish where you will be victorious or not!
Queue And Theme
There is good news and bad news about the Queue. First the bad. This is a very popular ride. If you like theme parks, which is a good bet as you are at or going to Disneyland, and you are over 40ins tall, then you will want to ride Radiator Springs Racers. This means queues are BIG. Most days this ride has the biggest queue in all of the resort, and what is worse, Fast/MaxPass sells out earliest of all rides.
Queue lines regularly top 90mins and FastPass bookings can be gone before lunch. Meaning a long wait. Keep Checking the MaxPass via the App however as once sold out they do occasionally return if people cancel their plans. The best plan is to make this your FastPass or MaxPass PRIORITY. Get in the park early and secure your Return time early even if that return time is much later in the day.
However, we did say there was good news too, and that is the theming. This is one of the best queue lines in the world. Ok, it is not so amazing you will be happy to spend two hours there but the incredible detail and theming do help take the edge off it. Certainly, the FastPass queue is usually too short and fast.
The Queueline meanders through the heart of the ride scenery, taking in the track, the races, along with the backdrop and rock formations. There is plenty to see along the way as you pass by a wishing fountain and radiator springs water tower and plenty of other props and artifacts from Radiator Springs. It is still a queue, but it is a very intricate and detailed queue with a fantastic backdrop.
The other possible savior to the long queue is Single Rider.
This is the first ride at Disneyland built with a dedicated Single Rider Entrance. The Single rider works really well as the cars themselves are 2 rows of three, so that opens up a lot of opportunities for single riders. The Problem with this is the Ride is a really fun and interactive ride and having your family or friends on board really helps the experience. But if the queue is upwards of 50mins…you have to balance that out against the time spent in the queue.
While the theming is incredible, most of this can be appreciated from the paths and lookouts surrounding the ride. There is no need to spend 60-90mins in a queue just for that. However, the ride itself is a seriously fun, thrilling, and generally excellent ride.
The individual cars are 2 rows of three seats with standard 3 point seatbelts and a windshield, there is no steering wheel, however. The cars leave the station and start out with a nice scenic drive up the valley complete with tunnels bridges and a beautiful waterfall, it is very pleasant. You then enter a tunnel and the Dark Ride segment begins.
In most video’s this section appears very tame and boring but in reality, it is much faster and more fun than expected. The near head-on collisions are genuinely alarming and when the Cops appear I was transported back to a possibly misspent youth, just for a second. The Ride features Tractor Tipping, Narrow escapes from a locomotive, and an enraged Combine harvester. It’s all really good fun and would be a decent ride all by itself. However, this is simply the halfway point.
As you Reach Radiator Springs the track splits and you go one of two random ways. Either left to Luigi’s for new tires or right to Ramones for a new paint job! Either way after a short cut-scene you line up alongside your rival ready for the BIG race! Remember the ride is a lot more fun if you indulge in a little friendly banter with your new adversaries!
The Outdoor section is where things really heat up and the ride takes on a whole new persona. The cars are launched off the grid and into the first hairpin where the ride builds speed, then you fly down the main straight which is seriously bumpy, and get plenty of air time. Another tight bend and you fly under the tunnel that seems to narrowly avoid removing your head!
The Winner or loser is decided randomly and there is no obvious way of knowing or affecting the result, but don’t let that stop you from celebrating your victory! The final section is a gem-encrusted cave where McQueen and co congratulate both teams on a great race.
The ride is really good fun from start to finish. The Dark Ride segment is far better than any video shows it to be and really good fun and surprising at points. The Outdoor race segment is fast and thrilling enough to excite anybody but not so quick, at only 40mph, to scare younger kids or more sensitive adults. The bunny jumps, banked turns, and head slicer, along with the added element of competition, all add up to a really fun blast through the desert.
This is combined with a theme that was without comparison and still stands up to the best-themed areas anywhere in the world. It is a masterclass of ride design and the end result far exceeds its individual parts and that is saying something as those parts are pretty excellent on their own.
The only downside is its popularity. The Ride really appeals to most demographics. Only very young kids 6 and under are likely to not make the height restriction and the fun over fear factor means it appeals to all tastes. If you get a Fast/MaxPass or get into the park early or use the single rider then you are laughing but those queues are horrendous and you will miss a lot of the park waiting in line…but this ride cannot be missed.
We asked at the beginning if this was the best ride in Disney California Adventure? We have to say yes, we think it is, in fact, we would go as far as to say this is the best Ride in the whole of Disneyland California Resort it really is that good!… Of course, we wait with bated breath the arrival of “Rise of the Resistance” to see if that crown can be taken.
Have Yor Say
The best Disneyland Resort Ride? That’s a bold statement, do you agree? Did the ride blow you away as much as it does us? Was the queue worth it for the end result? Or were you let down by the experience? Let us know in the comments below if you have anything to say about the Radiator Springs Racers? Also, feel free to ask any questions about the ride in the comments below.