Before Cars Land opened, Disney California Adventure was simply a nice diversion from Disneyland on a crowded day. The park had a few great rides, but it lacked a certain Disney magic, especially for the younger crowd. The opening of Cars Land is what put California Adventure on the map as a Disney destination worth the drive. With its breathtaking backdrop of red rock hills and neon lit décor, not to mention the most popular ride in the park, Radiator Springs Racers, Cars Land delights toddlers to grandparents. If you are at California Adventure, be sure to pull into Radiator Springs. Here is our list of Must-See Cars Land attractions and entertainment, including the most recent addition, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.
Must-See Cars Land Attractions & Experiences
Radiator Springs Racers
This E-ticket ride through the desert is a hit and consistently has a line. If you meet the height requirement of 40 inches, this is a don’t-miss attraction. But here is how we frogs do it: We either get a FASTPASS or wait in the single rider line (which is usually less than half the wait). On our most recent trip, we waited only 5 minutes in the single rider line, while the regular line wait was 70 minutes! If you want to ride together in the same car, then a FASTPASS is the best route, but they are distributed as fast as those speeding cars zoom by! Make the FASTPASS kiosk a priority first stop in the morning — but slow down there, partner. The FASTPASS distribution is nowhere near the ride. It is located outside The Bugs Life Theater before you even reach Cars Land. We overshot it the first time we tried to get a FASTPASS and missed out on getting one that day.
You can also try hitting the ride first thing in the morning, but the line builds quickly. We jumped into the single rider line first thing one morning and literally hopped into a car without a wait —so of course we ran around and rode it again. Lucky day. We don’t mind being split up and sometimes end up in the same car anyway or even get to race each other, which is even more fun! Stow your hats. Tad lost a favorite cap in the race once. You can read more about this ride and more of Tad’s favorite tween/teen rides at California Adventure. Be sure to smile for the camera before the finish line.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters
The newest Cars Land ride involves trackless technology — a first for Disney parks in the United States. Luigi’s Italian cousins from Carsoli are visiting and want to take you (and anyone else 32 inches and up) for a spin on the dance floor in the back of Luigi’s tire lot. This ride officially opened on March 7, 2016!
It is a cute ride with different dances and fun music, but the day we visited was Luigi’s first day open to guests, and we waited two hours despite being there at park opening. It is fun, but not two hours’ wait fun. There is no FASTPASS. If you visit and see a long wait, you might have just as much fun watching the ride from the back fence, listening to the music, and then riding Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree for something more along the lines of a 10- to 20-minute wait. Spend your extra timesavings on Radiator Springs Racers and save Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters for another trip when the excitement and newness wears off. Don’t get us wrong; every guest getting off the new ride was all smiles, and we know you will enjoy it too. But we do not find waiting in long lines to be the best use of our time, especially for a short ride. Lily was not the only froglet we saw getting impatient in line. But if you have good strategies for entertaining kids in line or kids who don’t mind a wait, then hop on in. Just visit the restroom first and bring a snack.
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree
Younger tadpoles 32 inches and up will enjoy this ride in Cars Land. Grab yer partner and hop in a little tractor-trailer for a “tow” tapping musical twirl around Mater’s junkyard. Be sure to visit the petting zoo when you are done.
Cars Land Food and Drink
We recommend making a pit stop at Flo’s V-8 Café any time of day to fuel up with some diner food or shakes with “road gravel” sprinkles. The Frog Family deemed Flo’s V-8 one of the best quick-service restaurants in California Adventure. For a snack or refreshing drinks, you might peruse the stands at the Cozy Cone Motel for “popcone,” ice cream cones, chili “cone” queso, pretzel bits high-octane adult limeade and more. There is always the Fillmore’s Taste-In for fruit, drinks, trail mix and convenient snacks if you are fuelin’ groovy.
Meet the Residents of Radiator Springs
There is almost always a car available to meet you and take pictures with you, from Lightning McQueen himself to Red the fire truck, Mater and DJ. They often park in front of the Cozy Cone Motel, but they are on wheels and do move about so keep your eyes open for meet and greet opportunities with Radiator Springs Residents anywhere and anytime from park open to close.
Get Your Kicks on Route 66
The entertainment and party happen right in the street with DJs Dance ‘n’ Drive. The show times vary but usually happen the afternoon through the evening right in front of Flo’s.
While Cars Land is amazing during the day, it is absolutely breathtaking at night when the streetlights come on and the hills light up. We recommend taking a stroll back through at night either just to check it out, do some shopping or to have dinner. We frogs find Cars Land to be the most "hoppening" place to be in California Adventure.
Related: 33 Tips to Maximize Your Time at Disneyland