In Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy join the protagonist from Pixar’s Cars franchise in this show at the Sunset Showcase theater, where Lightning McQueen attempts to teach the audience lessons about both racing and life.
Opening Day: March 31, 2019
Type of Ride: Show
Age Recommendation: All ages
Duration of Ride: About 10 minutes
Typical Queue Time: Short; typically the duration until the next show
Single Rider Line: No
Chicken Exit Available: Yes
Baby Swap Available: No
Type of Vehicle: Benches
Type of Restraint: None
Attraction Open During Early Theme Park Entry: No. See our Early Theme Park Entry page for more information.
Ride Photo Available For Purchase: No
Height Requirements: None
Flash Photography or Video Allowed: No
Shopping: Cars merchandise can be purchased in the courtyard outside the Sunset Showcase theater. Additionally, a variety of souvenirs, including artwork, can be purchased at “Beverly Sunset Boutique”; many of the offerings here are based on Pixar films. Finally, the gift shop for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, “Rock Around the Shop,” is located adjacent to Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.
Dining/Refreshment: Numerous counter service eateries are situated in close proximity to Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy on Sunset Boulevard: Anaheim Produce offers assorted snacks, including a variety of fruits; Catalina Eddie’s serves personal pizzas; Fairfax Fare serves barbecue and Mexican options as well as hot dogs; and Rosie’s All American Café features burgers, sandwiches, and other typical theme park fare.
Restroom: Facilities are situated directly outside the Sunset Showcase theater.
Smoking Location: Smoking is permitted in designated smoking areas only. Disney parks are smoke free.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy Fun Facts
Did you know?
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is based on Pixar’s Cars trilogy: Cars (2006), Cars 2 (2011), and Cars 3 (2017). Elements from all three films are included in Racing Academy, including Chick Hicks’s tainted victory over Lightning McQueen from the first film, Mater’s exploits in Tokyo from the second film, and the simulator from the third film.
- Lightning McQueen’s goal in starting his racing academy was to provide “rookie racers”—the audience—with guidance comparable to the advice afforded McQueen by Doc Hudson in Cars. Sportsmanship and friendship are the major themes here.
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy operates within the Sunset Showcase theater. Prior to the debut of this attraction, Sunset Showcase housed “Club Disney,” a family-friendly dance party featuring popular Disney songs and characters, which operated from the theater’s opening day, December 1, 2015, to February 7, 2016. The theater has also housed special events, including “Club Villain,” a dinner party led by Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog (2009) and including other Disney antagonists.
- Outside Sunset Showcase, DJ from Cars and Cruz Ramirez from Cars 3 greet guests amidst music provided by DJ. DJ’s music also facilitates the fun atmosphere for “DJ’s Ready! Set! Party Time!,” a special pre-show entertainment offering that is hosted at various times throughout the day. DJ’s Ready! Set! Party Time! is an updated version of “DJ’s Dance ‘n’ Drive,” a similar dance party that operated in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure from that land’s opening day, June 15, 2012, to January 6, 2019.
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy features massive screens, laser effects, smoke, and an impressive audio animatronic of the title character. In addition to the McQueen animatronic, Mater, Cruz Ramirez, and Chick Hicks interact with the audience on screen.
- Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is the sixth attraction based on the Cars films to appear in a Disney theme park, following “Cars Quatre Roues Rallye” at Walt Disney Studios Paris; and the assortment of Radiator Springs Racers, “Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree,” “Luigi’s Flying Tires,” and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters at Disney California Adventure. “Cars Quatre Roues Rallye,” the first Cars-based attraction, debuted at Walt Disney Studios Paris on June 9, 2007. The next four Cars attractions were created for Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. The Cars Land attractions include “Radiator Springs Racers,” a more elaborately-themed version of Epcot’s exciting Test Track; “Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree,” a whip ride similar to Alien Swirling Saucers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Toy Story Land; and “Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters,” a dancing cars ride. This last attraction replaced “Luigi’s Flying Tires,” a bumper car-style attraction that operated from June 15, 2012 to February 17, 2015.
Top 5 Tips for Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
- As Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy operates continuously throughout the day, this show is a good offering for guests waiting for the more-daring members of their parties to ride the adjacent Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror attractions.
- If you feel a desire for speed after watching Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, consider riding the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. This thrilling coaster launches riders from zero to fifty-seven miles-per-hour in 2.8 seconds.
- Take in the Lightning McQueen animatronic.
- Watch the Cars films before your visit such as to better appreciate this attraction.
- Take some photos with DJ and Cruz Ramirez in the courtyard before or after enjoying Racing Academy.