A brand new attraction has taken up residence at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On March 31st, Lightning McQueen and all of his Radiator Springs friends opened to the doors to Guests for the first time at the grand opening of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy!
I was invited as the guest of Angie from This is the Motherhood to attend a media event for this new attraction. All opinions, however, are mine and mine alone. This post does contain affiliate links. Please see my Disclosure policy for more information.
Lightning McQueen Arrives at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Are you a Cars fan? Have you watched any or all of the three movies featuring #95 and his cronies? My boys grew up watching Cars religiously. We had the pajamas, toys, books, puzzles ~ you name it, the boys had some form of it. They were huge into race cars at that point and the movies simply became a part of their routine.
Well, ever since Disneyland in California opened its Radiator Springs attraction, Guests on the East Coast have been desperately wanting to see the crew come to Florida. Thankfully, the wait is finally over as Lightning McQueen just secured a parking spot for himself at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. “Enrollment” is now officially open to racers of all ages and the Piston Cup winner himself is fired up and ready to transform rookies into champions!
But where in the Park can you find the new attraction?
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy holds “demonstrations” over in the Sunset Showcase, just past Rock’n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. As Guests “pull into” the area, they will find themselves in a wide open space, one perfect for a dance party.
Wait – did I just say DANCE PARTY??
Ready! Set! Let’s Dance!
Whether waiting for the next class or wanting to keep the energy going after class, Guests can hang out with DJ, the ultimate party car from Route 66. DJ’s mission is to get everybody revved up with his incredible tunes. Between 10 am and 6 pm every day, families can walk into the Academy’s courtyard and find a reason to start moving to the beat as DJ kicks the festivities into high gear with Cars-inspired dances and games.
Is that…is that…..Cruz Ramirez?
Why, yes it is!!! Parking herself right next to DJ, the trainer-turned-racer Cruz Ramirez loves to come hang out and watch the party! This is the perfect opportunity to snap a photo with the Piston Cup winner. Guests can use their own phone or camera or even let one of the PhotoPass photographers snap a few to include for their Memory Maker package!
What – you don’t know what Memory Maker is? Click here to find out more!
What did we see??
As soon as we entered the courtyard on the day of the media event, the dance party had already started! DJ had the music pumping and the Pit Crew had the kids engaged in various games. At that point, they were playing something similar to musical chairs and then moved into one like a discus toss. From there, DJ turned up the volume so the younger generation could go all out on the “dance floor” alongside the Pit Crew.
Time for Class!
Before long, it was time for us to enter the “classroom.” All invited media and their families made their way into a large theater where we were greeted by a giant “95” acting as a wall between the entrance and the stage. As we peered around, there were three sections of benches fixed to the floor. The room was quite spacious, providing ample wiggle room for littles, if need be.
The walls were lined with an elevated, expanded movie screen and, up front, there was a rounded stage. As everyone took their seats, our host, Courtnee, welcomed us all to this very special event.
Start Your Engines!!
Once formal introductions and announcements were done, the music started and the show began.
NOTE: I am going to venture to say that, if seeing the entirety of the screen is important to you – the back is the best place to be. If seeing Lightning McQueen up close and personal is your priority, sit closer to the front or on the end…or even behind very short people.
The show is approximately ten minutes long and includes characters such as Tow Mater, Cruz Ramirez and Chick Hicks. Lightning McQueen takes the time to share what he has learned from his mentors and friends, lessons that helped him to become the champion racer that eventually won the Piston Cup and the hearts of many. Of course, not everything goes as planned during the demonstration and we got to see how the Radiator Springs crew overcomes obstacles on the course.
Overall, the show is great! While there is no true audience interaction, the animation and animatronics are no less than what we would expect from Disney Imagineers. The show itself is captivating, colorful and full of energy. It’s a “high octane” performance that will definitely be a favorite among the junior audience.
Who am I kidding? I loved it and I’m in my……well, that doesn’t matter, does it?
While there is no store in that showcase, there are kiosks in the courtyard with both stuffed Cars and miniature figures. The store on the corner of Sunset Boulevard also has quite an array of Cars paraphernalia, as well. Whether you are looking for a toy, a t-shirt or even a new hat, I’m sure you’ll be able to find it.
Should you be Racing to this Attraction?
Yes! I mean, obviously the younger generation is going to love it. There’s a life-size Lightning McQueen up there on the stage talking and moving around for them. I do, however, believe there is something for everyone in this attraction. As a mom, it brought back so many memories of my boys playing with their Cars or even wearing their Lightning McQueen t-shirts (that obviously do not fit them anymore). Teens, like my 13 year old who accompanied me to the event, will be reminded of how much fun these movies are, not to mention enjoy the upgraded technology Disney keeps bringing to the table. Littles will love the colors, the music, the excitement and more. It’s just an all around fun show to watch.
Of course, if anything, it’s a great place to plant for about ten minutes and enjoy the air conditioning! It does get pretty hot out there in the Florida sun! So, take a load off. Enjoy watching Lightning McQueen show off his new simulator in the brand new attraction, Lightning McQueens’s Racing Academy.
What are you waiting for???
Let’s have some fun
Print off this Cars Word Search for your littles by clicking on the graphic below ~ OR print off TWO and see which one of you can find all the words first!!
Finally, let’s get a conversation started. I want to know which Cars movie was your favorite. In addition to that, I also want to know your favorite Cars character! Ready? Set? Go answer below!!
HUGE thanks to Angie from This is the Motherhood for inviting Logan and me, as well as a huge thank you to Disney Parks for providing such opportunities for media to come in and get the inside scoop for our readers / viewers!
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