Radiator Springs Racers review

Radiator Springs Racers review
Radiator Springs Racers” by HarshLight licensed under CC BY 2.0

Radiator Springs Racers is one of Disneyland California Adventure’s most popular and loved rides, and with good reason. Located in Car’s Land, this attraction was opened in June of 2012 and takes six guests for a wild ride through the land of Radiator Springs. 

If you love all things Cars, Lightning Mcqueen and racing, this ride is sure to make its way onto your list of favorites. Once you ride Radiator Springs Racers, you will surely understand why so many guests of all ages love this attraction and are sure not to miss it every time that they visit Disney California Adventure.

One of the favorite things that truly stands out about this ride is the features of all of the characters and locations in the movie. From the shops owned by each character, to racing past the sheriff in town, to tractor tipping with Mater in the fields, there is nothing this ride misses when it comes to your favorite scenes of Cars. 

Even those who have not seen this movie love the ride for the amount of thrill it brings. Being one of few rollercoaster type rides in Disney California Adventure makes this ride popular amongst people who have both seen or not seen this movie together.  

One great thing about Radiator Springs Racers is the ability to sit three people in a row, totaling six people per car. This is ideal for both small and large families being able to ride together rather than having to split up as you may often have to on rides that only seat two or four people. 

Also if your little one is feeling a little apprehensive, rows of three can allow them to sit in the middle of two of their favorite people, offering a bit of a security blanket that may boost their confidence for this attraction. 

Overall, I absolutely love this ride. Its authenticity, attention to detail, and perfect mix of thrill and storytelling are something that is hard to beat. And while the long wait time can be a bummer for this ride, I’m hoping that the introduction of the new Genie+ system (to replace the popular FastPass system) will resolve the long wait time issue.

So in this Radiator Springs Racer review, we’ll dive deep into what you can expect out of this ride, whether it’s the right ride for various age groups, and whether it’s worth standing in a long line to board this attraction.

Radiator Springs Racers Queue

The line for Radiator Springs Racers is located at the end of the street that runs through Cars Land. Once you go through town, passing the stop light, courthouse, and cozy cone motel, you will see Stanley’s statue at the end of the street. 

On the right, you will find the entrance to Radiator Springs Racers. There is an overhead display that tells you how long the approximate wait time for the ride is, as well as stroller parking and a gift shop off to the right. There are typically cast members standing by the line’s entrance that can help you with any questions you may have. 

Unfortunately due to COVID policies that have been implemented since Disneyland and Disney California Adventure reopened in 2021, all fastpass programs have been suspended. And they have been replaced with something brand new called Disney Genie.

Here’s how it works.  First, Disneyland has introduced the Disney Genie to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. This program will allow guests to navigate and plan their day in both parks efficiently and conveniently. Disney Genie+ will allow guests, for $20 per day per ticket, to choose the next available time to arrive at certain attractions using the lightning lane. This will serve as a shortcut around the line, cutting your wait time down significantly. 

Individual attraction selection will also be available with Disney Genie+ which will allow guests to schedule a specific time to arrive at up to two popular attractions each day, including Radiator Springs Racers. Pricing for this option will vary by day and attraction, and just like the FastPass system, the hope here is that this cuts down not he wait times for this ride (although, let’s be honest, nobody likes having to pay extra for this feature).

Given this ride’s immense popularity amongst guests, Radiator Springs Racers usually has a pretty long line.  If you opt to not pay for Genie+, be prepared to stand for quite a while in order to ride this attraction.

The good news? 

Well, in my opinion, the atmosphere while waiting in line is pretty fun and entertaining, as it winds through Stanley’s Oasis, located in beautiful desert cliffs of ornament valley and featuring three of the town’s buildings. 

Mobility access is fairly simple for this ride as well. If you or someone you are with is in a wheelchair, simply hop in line with everyone else, and there will be transfer assistance when you board the ride. 

If someone in your group waits in line with you but at the last minute decides they do not want to go on the ride, they can simply step through the car to wait at the exit. Sometimes little ones get scared at the last minute or things arise that prevent one from being able to ride, and in this case there is an easy out you can use to exit before loading. 

Radiator Springs Racers Height Requirement

Radiator Springs Racers does have a minimum height requirement to ride, which is forty inches. This may be disappointing for some little ones who love the movie Cars if they have not yet grown tall enough to ride this ride. 

If you are traveling with a preschooler, try and keep this in mind as some children under five years old may not quite reach the height requirement to ride. This ride is suitable for children over three who reach the height limit. If you are unsure if your little one is tall enough to ride this ride, there is a measuring point located at the entrance to the line that will easily let you know if they are able to. 

If your little one isn’t yet tall enough to ride Radiator Springs Racers, consider trying some of the other Cars themed rides within Cars Land. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin Roadsters may be better options for younger children. They are more mild rides that both do not have height restrictions and are just as fun. These rides can be a great way for young Lightning McQueen lovers to experience the world of Radiator Springs before they are able to go on Radiator Springs Racers. 

In addition to Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin Roadsters, Cars Land has a wide variety of Cars themed attractions for little ones to experience that are not rides. Flo’s V8 Cafe, Cozy Cone Motel and Fillmore Taste-In are fun spots to stop for a drink or bite to eat with your little ones. 

Here you can enjoy Cars themed dishes as well as the ambiance that is Radiator Springs. Any Cars loving little one will surely greatly enjoy visiting their favorite make believe town and visiting a shop owned by one of their favorite characters.

If you’re lucky, you may even spot a life sized Lightning Mcqueen or Tow Mater while in Cars Land. These fun characters often make stops at the pretend town, revving their engine and clattering their metal parts for guests to enjoy. Those who are not tall enough to ride Radiator Springs Racers will usually be very satisfied by seeing their favorite characters instead. Check the Disney app for scheduled times of character appearances to ensure you don’t miss out on the fun.

Disneyland is very strict on their height restrictions for the safety of their younger guests. These requirements ensure no one gets hurt or in danger by riding rides that are not suitable for them. Even if you wait an hour or two in line and reach the front, if someone is too short to ride, they will absolutely not let them get on the ride. 

If your child is not tall enough to ride a variety of rides, it is best to simply avoid those rides rather than listing all of the things they cannot do. Focusing on the rides they can do that they are tall enough to ride is a good way to prevent them from becoming upset or feeling like they are missing out on the fun stuff.

Thankfully there is no height limit on any Disney rides at any park. If someone in your group is extraordinarily tall, you don’t have to worry about them getting turned away. All of Disney California Adventure’s rides are made safely for people of all heights above forty inches, or three feet and four inches.  

Radiator Springs Racers Speed

Radiator Springs Racers is the perfect mix of thrill and storytelling. A portion of this ride goes relatively slow, while once you get outdoors, the race is on and you will hit maximum speeds while flying through the outdoor racetrack you have seen in the movie Cars. 

The majority of this ride is at slow speeds, taking you on a tour of Radiator Springs and running into a majority of the characters along the way. This portion of the ride does not go above 15 mph, making it a nice cruise through the town. Expect some jerky turns as you avoid collisions with Minny and Van as they try to navigate the town and rush to make it over a narrow grade crossing to escape a high speed train barreling towards you. After this, you will enter town again and see some favorite characters as you cruise with Mater, avoiding reprimand from the Sheriff from high speeds. 

Once you have enjoyed the scenery, the next portion of the ride is a race against another car. After a tire change by Luigi at Casa Della Tires or a paint job at Romone’s House of Body Art, get ready for the ride of your lifetime on the outdoor racetrack, zooming side by side to beat another car full of guests. This is the more rollercoaster based part, reaching speeds of 40 mph. There are some turns and dips, making it a nice thrill for the second half. 

While Radiator Springs Racers is a relatively fast ride, it also does have some elements of surprise. At one point, guests enter a dark space where you will nearly run into several of the other characters. There are some jump scares, including almost a near head-on collision, which can be frightening for some riders.

This ride is not the fastest in Disney California Adventure, coming in behind the Incredicoaster, which hits speeds of 55 mph, 15 miles per hour faster than Radiator Springs Racers. With a speed of 40 miles per hour, this ride is a total time of about six minutes from start to finish. 

In addition, while this ride is generally pretty smooth, there are some jerky movements when inside the dark portion. 

In addition, it does have a fast, thrilling track during the race through the beautiful cliff and rock scenery when outdoors. Expect some big turns, dips and high speeds. If you do not enjoy these components, this ride may not be one to add to your Disney to-do list when you visit Disney California Adventure.

Radiator Springs Racers vs Test Track

Test Track, located in Epcot, has a very similar layout to Radiator Springs Racers. Both tracks have many similarities in layout and are ridden in slot car style vehicles. While they are similar in many ways, they also have some big differences. 

Test Track is focused on GM vehicles, featuring different models of this car manufacturer. Radiator Springs Racers has a Disney theme, focusing on the motion picture film Cars.

Radiator Springs Racers also focuses on telling the story of cars. You meet all the characters and live out various scenes from the film, walking you through the plot and setting as you go through the ride. 

Test Track is also much faster than Radiator Springs Racers. While the Disney California Adventure attraction hits speeds of 40 mph, Test Track has that beat by a long shot- reaching speeds of up to 65 mph. In comparison, it seems Radiator Springs Racers is geared towards a younger crowd than Test Track, given their focus on the Disney Pixar film and slightly lower speeds.

Given the mix of thrill and theme, this Radiator Springs Racer review still is on the high side even though it does not reach the speeds of Test Track. This ride is family friendly, fun and exciting, earning it a similar score that many may give to Test Track despite the differences. If you have enjoyed Test Track in the past, odds are you will also love Radiator Springs Racers just as much. 

Another upside of Radiator Springs Racers is that it does take your photo during the ride, making for a great keepsake from your trip to Disney California Adventure. Once you are racing through the outside portion of this ride, take notice of the scenery around you. 

When you come to the only part of the ride with a rock overpass, you will go through a few bumps before the camera flashes when you go under the tunnel. Make sure you say cheese and give your best smile to make an awesome photo to purchase before you go home! Those memories will last a lifetime, along with your awesome souvenir, showing just how much fun your Disney trip really was. 

Taking Children On Radiator Springs Racers

Disneyland is the most magical place on earth- especially with your little ones. There is nothing more exciting than jumping into a world where you get to meet all of your favorite characters and experience your favorite films first hand. 

Cars is a popular film amongst the younger Disney guests, making Cars Land a huge hit. Ever since it opened in 2012, people have been flooding the mini town to eat at Flo’s Cafe, visit the Cozy Cones owned by Sally, and try and count if each third blink truly is slower on the only traffic light on this one of a kind street.

If you are visiting Disney California Adventure with your children, odds are they will too want to partake in living in this amazing film for a little while. If they are tall enough to ride, Radiator Springs Racers is a good ride for children who are comfortable with speed and a little bit of thrill. Given this ride does have some fast turns and dips, it is best that children who are not afraid of mild roller coasters ride this attraction.

This ride is not nearly as fast as some of the other Disney attractions, such as Space Mountain and Incredicoaster, but it does still have moments of significant speed. A good comparison for Radiator Springs Racers would be Big Thunder Mountain. They are both mild roller coasters with around the same speed, some quick turns and drops. 

If your child has rode Big Thunder Mountain and enjoyed it, that may be a good gauge that they will enjoy this ride too.

If they have not rode Big Thunder Mountain and want to try Radiator Springs Racers, consider warning them what to expect about the ride. There will be some mild drops and speedy turns, but knowing what to expect can help take away the fear factor.

In addition to drops, there are moments of darkness and surprise when you are dodging characters and obstacles. If your child is easily startled, this ride may be a little overwhelming. Older children, such as elementary school age, usually are not too afraid of these components of the ride and enjoy it greatly. If you have a preschooler, it may be best to postpone giving this ride a try until your trip next year.

Sometimes seeing others ride this ride can help make your child feel more comfortable. If your child is feeling apprehensive, seeing others around their age in the line may make them feel a little bit better. 

But remember, once you have informed your child that this ride does have some speed, hills, turns and close calls with other characters and they still don’t feel ready to go, don’t push them! There will always be another trip for them to give this ride a go when they feel excited about it instead of nervous. 

In Conclusion

Radiator Springs Racers is a thrilling ride that takes you through the story of Cars. You get to see some of your favorite characters from the film, as well as step into the beautiful desert and small town scenery that is shown through the film. This ride does a great job of mixing excitement and beauty with their high speed race and tour of the town. 

If you are a Cars lover, and want to feel some butterflies while flying down a racetrack, this ride is the one for you. Adults and children alike have grown to love this ride, and you will too. 

Our Radiator Springs Racers review has thoroughly examined all aspects of the ride from speed and thrill, to accessibility, plot line and photo opportunities. 

After carefully examining what this ride has to offer and areas it lacks in, we feel confident that 4.5 stars is a good fit for this ride. Being such a favorite amongst many people, it is not a surprise that it scored as well as it did. If you have not had the chance to experience this ride, we hope you do too and that you enjoy it just as much as we have.

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