Radiator Springs Racers is a dark ride attraction in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure that simulates slot cars. The attraction uses a third-generation version of transport technology created for the Test Track experience at Walt Disney World’s Epcot. Radiator Springs Racers is based on the world from Disney Pixar’s Cars. The ride is the most expensive at Disneyland Resort and one of the most expensive theme park attractions in the world, costing more than $200 million. It represented for roughly 18% of the $1.1 billion expansion of Disney California Adventure Park. The attraction transports visitors in a six-person car through encounters with Cars characters. Guests then race another vehicle around bends and hills, with the race outcome determined by a random number generator.
On October 17, 2007, the attraction, along with the remainder of the Disney California Adventure multi-year development, was announced. However, the first clue of the attraction and the new land was some concept art included in The Walt Disney Company’s 2006 annual report in the Dreaming section. Construction on the attraction and the surrounding land began in late 2009 and was completed two and a half years later. On June 11, 2010, Imagineer Kathy Mangum offered a quick overview of the attraction’s plot during the “What’s Next?” presentation at Disney California Adventure. Ride testing began in early 2012, with soft openings following in the spring of the following year. On June 15, 2012, the ride was opened to the public, with wait times of up to six hours. The line would go all the way to Paradise Pier, avoiding Cars Land.
Radiator Springs Racers was named the second best new ride in Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards for 2012. Incidents Radiator Springs Racers was closed down on May 24, 2022, shortly after 8:30 PM PST, after a ride vehicle began releasing black smoke just before crossing the finish line of the ride, with riders demanding to be let off. As a result, on May 24, 2022, the ride will be temporarily closed. According to an unidentified Disneyland spokesperson, the ride would be closed indefinitely due to work being done on the ride vehicles.
The marquee for the attraction is erected on a massive archway near the Radiator Springs courthouse. Before accessing Stanley’s Oasis, situated amid the rocks of Ornament Valley, the queue travels through the archway and beneath two bridges. Guests enter the Comfy Caverns Motor Court after looping through three of the town’s original buildings, where they board a convertible race car and the ride portion of the attraction begins.
After leaving the motor court, the automobile travels through Ornament Valley. It then enters the dark ride section of the attraction, when customers almost collide with many Audio-animatronic automobiles. This begins with a near-head-on collision with Mack, followed by near-misses with Minny and Van, then nearly avoiding a fast train at a grade crossing. Sheriff emerges as the vehicle swerves out of the road, warning the guests to slow down and follow Mater into town for the big race. Mater takes the ride vehicles “truck tipping” along the route, but this wakes up Frank the combine harvester, who furiously chases the trespassers off his field. After that, the truck returns to town, passing Fillmore, Sarge, Lizzie, and Red before being hailed by Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera. The track splits at this point, and the ride vehicle is routed to one of two scenarios before lining up at the starting line. If the vehicle makes a left turn, it is serviced by Luigi’s Casa Della Tires; if it makes a right turn, it is serviced by Ramone’s House of Body Art. Both tracks next pass Doc Hudson, who is dressed in his “Hudson Hornet” uniform and announces himself as the new crew leader for the visitors. An exuberant Luigi waves the flag to indicate the start of the race once two ride vehicles have arrived at the starting line.
Both ride vehicles then accelerate out of the cave on parallel tracks into an outside portion with bunny hills and high-banked curves around the rock formations of Ornament Valley, reaching a top speed of 40 mph (64 km/h). An on-ride photo is taken during a short descent down a steep bank. One of the two vehicles (at random) crosses the finish line first, bringing the race to a close. After that, the cars enter Taillight Caverns, where Lightning and Mater congratulate both vehicles on a fantastic race. The ride vehicles then return to the boarding station by merging back onto a single track.
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