Down Under Disney

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

The Australian Guide to Disney Parks

Carsland: The End and the Beginning

After years of struggling and being treated as a half day, second rate theme park, California Adventure finally hit its straps with Carsland. The reign of terror was over and a new dawn rose! Opening in 2012, Carsland became an instant hit due to its immersive nature and brilliantly themed attractions. Honestly, it is actually like walking down the main street of Radiator Springs. This is why in order to fully appreciate and enjoy this land it is integral that you are familiar with the first Cars film. Read more about Carsland in my California Adventure Overview. 

 

Radiator Springs Racers

Racing in Ornmanet Valley: December 2015

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: Slot Car, Dark Ride, Moderate-High thrills.

– Height Requirements: 102 cm

– Ride Duration: Max. 4.5 Minutes

– Max Speed: 64km/h

– Area: Carsland

– Fastpasss: Yes

-Rider Switch: Yes

– Year Opened: 2012

– Recommendation: Unmissable!

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 60-70 Minutes

 

Ride Overview

Radiator Springs Racers is a family thrill ride and a combination of a classic Disney Dark Ride and thrills (similar to Indiana Jones).

Since opening in 2012, Radiator Springs Racers didn’t take long to steal the Disneyland Resort’s “Most Popular Ride” Crown from Space Mountain. This does not mean it is necessarily better (that’s simply a matter of opinion) but it does appeal to a broader audience. It also comes close to earning the title of best themed ride but I still feel the Indiana Jones Adventure gets the chocolates here.

The basic ride system used for this attraction had been used a good 13 years prior, for the EPCOT (Disney World) attraction, Test Track and reminds me of a full scale version of the old slot cars I had as kid. With the patents in hand Disney Imagineers simply had to lift the idea and re-wrap to suit the Cars franchise.

 

Ride Description

Radiator Springs Racers is set within the picturesque Ornament Valley made famous by the film. You board your  generic (non-character based) car and take a ride around said canyon, passing a waterfall, while lovely music plays.

Eventually you end up in the dark part of the ride. Just like the first film you have no lights and chaos ensues. After almost crashing into Mack the Truck, you partake in a good ol’ fashioned game of tractor (cow) tipping with Mater, before the “bull tractor” chases you out of the field.

Following this chaotic beginning, you are brought into town to prepare for your race. You are sent to either Luigi’s Tyre shop, for new tyres, or Ramone’s Paint shop for a spruce up. Without going into too much detail (I’ll let the video do that for me), the special effects here are simple but quite good.

Before finally facing off against the other car of guests, you are given a pep talk by the one and only Doc Hudson. Your race takes place within the canyon but there’s not much time for sightseeing as you become focused more on who’s going to win! The result of the race is genuinely completely random but it’s always tight.

You are then returned to the loading dock after a congratulatory message from Lightning McQueen and Mater.

 

Verdict

Radiator Springs Racers has not only become a must do for California Adventure but for the whole Resort. Is it the fastest most thrilling ride? No. It is, however, more different and so much better than anything we have in Australia so get on it.

 

Top Tip:

Considering the queue time, even off peak, can easily be 70-75 minutes, you’ll want a FastPass for this attraction. However, even FastPasses run out quickly so be sure to grab a FastPass immediately after entering the Park!

If you don’t get a FastPass there is also a single riders queue, which can also significantly reduce your wait time.

 

Spolier Alert: If my description of Radiator Springs Racers is confusing you can view the full ride through here, thanks to The Coaster Views.

 

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters

The Dance Begins and Luigi’s Cousins Come to Life. Image thanks to “Theme Park Overload”

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: Trackless, Choreographed

– Height Requirements: 81 cm

– Ride Duration: Max. 2 Minutes

– Area: Carsland

– Fastpasss: No

-Rider Switch: Yes

– Year Opened: 2016 (replaced Luigi’s Flying Tyres)

– Recommendation: Fun for kids.

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 20-30 Minutes

 

Overview

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is a trackless, dancing cars ride starring the one and only Luigi. It is the first and only ride at the Disneyland Resort that uses trackless technology. This kind of technology makes the experience a lot smoother and a whole lot quieter.

Prior to the inclusion of this ride Luigi owned a different attraction entitled, Luigi’s Flying Tyres; a modern take on the the hovercraft style, “Flying Saucers” ride that plagued Tomorrowland in the 60s. Despite its modernisation Flying Tyres didn’t last long, experiencing the same technological and loading problems of its predecessor.

 

Description

The basic story for this ride is that Luigi’s cousins are visiting Radiator Springs, from Carsoli in Italy, for dance party in Luigi’s Tyre lot. Guests hop into the two seater cars and join in a classic choreographed tarantella.

 

Verdict

Not really that essential but it’s different and a bit of fun, especially for kids. Basically if you’re waiting longer than half an hour for this ride then it’s probably not worth it. I think it is actually more interesting watching from the outside and seeing how this ride technology works but I’m a ride nerd so I’ll leave it up to you.

 

Spoiler Alert: Please find the POV of Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters thanks to SoCal Attractions 360.

 

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Action: December 2015

 

Ride Specifications

– Ride Type: Carnival, spinning, whip.

– Height Requirements: 81 cm

– Ride Duration: 2 Minutes

– Area: Carsland

– Fastpasss: No

-Rider Switch: Yes

– Year Opened: 2012

– Recommendation: Fun for kids.

– Hours: Open-Close

– Average Queue Time: 20-30 Minutes

 

Ride Overview/Description

An opening day Carsland attraction Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is essentially the same concept as Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters but with a different theme and ride tech. You sit in the trailer of one of the anthropomorphic tractor cows and get flung around, while Mater’s toe-tapping, dosey doeing music plays. I like to think of it as a combination of the Mad Hatter Tea Cups and the old Cha-Cha ride from your local school’s fete.  It is somewhat milder than those attractions though.

 

Verdict

Again another non-essential that is aimed more at middle primary school aged children. It does, however, add a good bit of atmosphere to the land.

 

Spolier Alert: Not the most exciting POV I’ve got on here but here it is anyway thanks to Sharp Productions.

 

Carsland Wrap

Carsland announced the arrival of California Adventure as a destination park rather than a poor second cousin to Disneyland. It’s brilliant atmosphere and inventiveness can be seen, not only in the rides but in the shops and eateries too! Make sure you put it at the top of your list if and when you visit!

Next up we bring you the brand new area: Pixar Pier!

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