Your Guide to Cars Land – Disney California Adventure Park

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that a visit to Disneyland is quite different from a visit to Walt Disney World. If you are new to Disney parks altogether, or a Walt Disney World veteran that will soon take your first trip to Disneyland, you need to read this post to find out all the interesting facts about my favorite area of Disney California Adventure Park: Cars Land.

Cars Land opened in 2012 and has been very popular ever since. I am in good company with the number of visitors who are really delighted with Disney’s real-life re-creation of Radiator Springs.

Since it is very popular, you should know some information (such as the rides, restaurants and experiences), along with a few tips and tricks about Cars Land. So, before you take your walk down Route 66, consider these tactical maneuvers.


There are 3 rides at Cars Land: Radiator Springs Racers, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.

Radiator Springs Racers is a thrill-ride that takes guests into the world of Lightning McQueen, Mater and the gang. Similar to Test Track at WDW, right down to the 40-inch height requirement, it uses the same technology but is a much smoother ride. The first half is more of the classic ride-style but the second half picks up quite a bit of speed. Along with the speed there are some majorly fun dips during the ride. I absolutely love it!

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree was inspired by the tractor-tipping scene in the original Cars movie. Guests sit in their tractors and spin around while Mater sings along to the music of Disneyland faves Billy Hill and the Hillbillies while you ride, and while you wait in line. The ride is mild but, with a height requirement of only 32 inches, it’s extremely family-friendly. This ride is a great ride to ride with toddlers.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is a really fun ride. Guests sit in cars that “line-dance” on a trackless ride system to snychronized Italian music faves. The height requirement is 32 inches so many toddlers can ride. Every time I ride this ride I giggle until I almost can’t breathe. It is just so cute! And, spinning around at the end with your hands in the air is so much fun!

Other Entertainment in Cars Land

Character Meet N Greets with Lightning McQueen and Mater (or sometimes Cruz Ramirez or Red) take place right in front of the Cozy Cone Motel. They take turns parking in this spot for photo ops (PhotoPass photographers are positioned here). Lines can vary wildly from a couple of minutes to half an hour or more.

DJ’s Dance and Drive is an oldies dance party that takes place several times a day in the main crossroads of Cars Land. The music is loud and the entertainers are high-energy and are great at getting the kids to participate. It’s a fun time, although I enjoy just watching from a comfy seat.

Shopping is available at 3 stores in Cars Land: Radiator Springs Curios, Sarge’s Surplus Hut, and Ramone’s House of Body Art. Many different Cars products, including toys, pins and Vinylmation, can be found here; along with other Disney merchandise.

Dining in Cars Land

Although there are no table-service restaurants in Cars Land, there are some fun quick-service locations that have some unique and tasty options.

Flo’s V8 Cafe is a nice-style quick-service location that serves American faves like BBQ ribs and mac and cheese. You can get breakfast, lunch or dinner at Flo’s. Both outside seating and indoor, air-conditioned seating are available here.

Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel Snacks is where you can get treats at each of the 5 giant cones, like chili “cone” queso, flavored popcorn, bacon mac n cheese in a bread cone (yes, you heard me), pretzel bites, churros, “route” beer floats and limeade.

Fillmore’s Taste-In is a snack stand that has lots of fresh fruits and veggies, along with trail mix and chips.

Since Cars Land is so popular, lines build quickly, especially at Radiator Springs Racers. Here are some tips you’ll want to consider before your trip.

Time-saving Ride Tips

If you’re staying at a Disneyland hotel, such as Disney’s Grand Californian, the Disneyland Hotel or Paradise Pier, then definitely take advantage of Extra Magic Hour. California Adventure offers extra magic hour on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Plan to make a beeline to Radiator Springs Racers. Then, go straight to the other 2 rides.

Another great way to beat some of the crowds is Rope Drop. Line up at least 30 minutes before opening time. This works best on non-extra magic hour days if you’re not staying at a Disneyland hotel, so this means Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.

Fast passing Radiator Springs Racers is a great idea. These will be gone by mid-day, so don’t wait too long. NOTE: Fast pass distribution for Radiator Springs Racers is not by the ride. It is over by It’s Tough to Be A Bug, so be sure to plan accordingly using your park map.

You can also ride Radiator Springs Racers by taking advantage of the Single-Rider Line. When regular lines are more than an hour, guests can ride single-rider in minutes.

All 3 rides in Cars Land offer the Rider Switch option for families with children too small to ride.

In addition to ride tips, here are some more tips to help you to enjoy your day and maximize your experience.


There are great places in Cars Land to take a great family photo. Some are:

  • At the main entrance to Cars Land, right next to the sign
  • In front of the Cozy Cone Motel at the character meet n greet
  • On the highway in front of Flo’s
  • With Cadillac Range and the Radiator Springs Racers as a background

Top Tip

Don’t miss Cars Land at night!!! The Sha – Boom Lighting Ceremony takes place each night right after sunset. The neon signs light up and Cars Land comes alive! It’s great to just sit and take it in, but definitely ride the rides again just for more fun!

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you will use it during your next trip.

Will you be visiting Disneyland soon? What are you looking most forward to doing and seeing there?

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