Radiator Springs Racers is a simulated slot car type dark ride attraction in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. The attraction features a third-generation version of transport technology originally developed for the Test Track attraction at Epcot in Walt Disney World. Radiator Springs Racers is themed to the fictional world in Disney·Pixar's Cars. At a cost of over $200 million, the attraction is the most expensive at Disneyland Resort and one of the most expensive theme park attractions in the world. It accounted for about 18% of the entire cost of the $1.1 billion expansion of Disney California Adventure Park. The attraction takes guests in a six-person vehicle through encounters with characters from the film series Cars. Guests then race another vehicle through turns and hills, ending with a randomized race result.
The attraction, along with the rest of the Disney California Adventure multi-year expansion, was announced on October 17, 2007. However, the first indication of the attraction and the new land was some concept art published in the Dreaming section of The Walt Disney Company's 2006 annual report. By late 2009, construction on the attraction and the land within it began, and was finished two and a half years later. At the "What's Next?" presentation at Disney California Adventure on June 11, 2010, Imagineer Kathy Mangum gave a brief rundown of the attraction's storyline. Ride testing began in early 2012 with soft openings the following spring. The ride officially opened to the public on June 15, 2012 with wait times of up to six hours.
On July 16, 2017, it was announced that Cars Land will receive a Halloween Makeover called Haul o Scream.
Starting at an archway near the Radiator Springs Courthouse, the queue travels to the oldest parts of Radiator Springs to the original roadside attractions and buildings constructed by Stanley. Signs in the style of National Parks describe the geology of Ornament Valley upon a viewpoint of the Cadillac Range. Also featured are the original Radiator Springs, a natural spring emerging from a rock formation shaped like a radiator that Stanley discovered while traveling through Ornament Valley desperate for water. He built a radiator cap shop, a house partially constructed of empty oil bottles and a small hotel in the Tailight Cavern system nearby. This is where the load area is located. Sheriff provides safety instructions in English and Ramone covers them in Spanish.
The attraction's marquee is mounted on a large archway near the Radiator Springs courthouse. The queue passes through the archway and beneath two bridges before entering the "oldest" part of the town, Stanley's Oasis, (Stanley was the founder of Radiator Springs)nestled between the cliffs of Ornament Valley. After winding through three of the town's earliest buildings, guests enter the Comfy Caverns Motor Court, where they board a convertible race car and the ride portion of the attraction begins.
Leaving the motor court, the vehicle takes an idyllic drive through Ornament Valley. It then enters the darkride portion of the attraction as guests nearly run into several audio-animatronic vehicles. This starts with a near head-on collision with Mack (similar to a scene on the original Test Track), followed by near-misses with several other cars, and narrowly making it over a grade crossing ahead of a speeding train. As the vehicle swerves out of the way, Sheriff appears, warning the guests to slow down and to follow Mater into town for the big race. Along the way, Mater takes the ride vehicles "tractor tipping", but this awakens Frank the combine, who angrily chases the trespassers off of his farm. The vehicle then reenters the town to be greeted by Lightning McQueen and Sally. At this point, an automated switch on the track will lead to one of two ride experiences: If the vehicle makes a left turn, it receives a tire change at Luigi's Casa Della Tires, while if the vehicle makes a right turn, it gets a fresh coat of paint at Ramone's House of Body Art. Doc Hudson introduces himself as the guests' new crew chief as both vehicles pull up to the starting line. The car that goes through the Luigi's Casa Della Tires scene will line up on the left track and the car going through Ramone's House of Body Art lines up on the right hand track. An enthusiastic Luigi waves the flag to signal the start of the race.
Both ride vehicles then accelerate on parallel tracks out of the cave, into an outdoor segment containing bunny hills and high-banked turns around the rock formations of Ornament Valley, with the vehicles reaching a top speed of 40 mph. During a short drop down a sloped bank, an on-ride photo is taken. One of the two vehicles (selected at random) reaches the finish line slightly earlier, bringing the race to an end. The attraction concludes with a short drive through Taillight Caverns. Tailight Caverns is a dark cave full of glowing stalactites. This is where Lightning and Mater congratulate both vehicles on a great race.
The ride is randomly programmed to select a different winner each race. You have a 50-50 chance of being in the winning car!
The steepest degree of banking on the track is 45 degrees.
Each vehicle on the track is estimated to do more than 36,000 miles a year, that's equivalent to more than 14 trips down the original U.S. Route 66.
The peaks of the mountain range, from left to right, represent classic Cadillac tail fins from 1957, 1958, 1959 (the Pinnacle), 1960, 1961 and 1962.
Doc's appearance and Lightning being in his original paint job from the first film would mean that the events of the ride take place before Cars 2. This is contradicted, however, when, while Lightning and Mater congratulate the racers, Lightning occasionally mentions having raced around the world, as well as by several World Grand Prix-related posters appearing in Luigi's. As for Lightning's paint job, it is possible he reverted to his old paint job sometime after the second film.
When Mater takes the guests tractor tipping, two Mater animatronics are used. The first one hides behind a bush on the way to the tractor pasture before going back to greet the next car while the other Mater comes out from the other side of the bush, creating the illusion that only one Mater is present. This was done due to Mater having an extended interaction with the guests that one animatronic could not sustain.