Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is now open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! The attraction is located at Sunset Showcase near Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and features Lightning McQueen in animatronic form along with his friends onscreen. They include Tow Mater, Cruz Ramirez, Doc Hudson and more. Outside in the Cars Courtyard, Cruz Ramirez and DJ visit with guests. DJ was brought from Disney California Adventure, but don’t expect the show like in Cars Land – there is a “DJ’s Ready! Set! Party Time!” dance party but it it isn’t anything like DJ’s Dance ‘n’ Drive. Lightning McQueen doesn’t meet here.
This is a fun show and just 10 minutes, which allows for a full storytelling but won’t be too long for young children. Plus, it allows for several shows per hour. I was asked about Fastpass, it is stand-by only. We went twice – opening day and then during a media event a few days later.
First, here is our first full video and then over 40 photos! We have more coming in the next couple of days from the experience, including talking about it on our Mousesteps Weekly YouTube Show!
The new Disney’s Hollywood Studios guide map features Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.
There are banners along Sunset Boulevard, including this Tow Mater banner near the Tower of Terror.
Lightning McQueen is nearby as well.
Here is the sign for Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy.
The Cars Courtyard is past Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with a great view of The Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Sunset Showcase is the setting for the attraction, and the line looked long on opening day but hundreds of guests can be seated inside. Cruz Ramirez and DJ are in the Cars Courtyard.
“DJ’s Ready! Set! Party Time!” is a dance party in the Cars Courtyard, and DJ was taking photos with guests.
Cruz had a line for meet and greets.
We waited in line just a few minutes before being let in for the first non-early entry Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy on opening day. The number 95 is right inside the doors. Behind it, you can see the screen – the theater features a 17-foot-tall wraparound screen that stretches more than 200 feet end to end.
Tow Mater starts the show off. He introduces Lightning McQueen. I sat both times in the back row, and liked having a great view of the entire screen.
Mater sings a song that I recognize from Cars Land at Halloween (Mater’s Graveyard Jam-BOO-ree) but with new lyrics.
Lightning McQueen has been hidden all this time. He is unveiled and mentioned as “Mater’s best friend”.
Mater says that “Nothing’s too good for my best buddy”. Mater even adds a little smoke to the occasion.
Lightning is enveloped with it.
During the media event, I was able to stand in the back and you can see the road to Lightning McQueen.
Lightning McQueen says he had a great teacher in Doc Hudson and that is why he now has a racing academy, so he can pay it forward.
The Lightning McQueen animatronic is very lifelike. We now have another video that shows him much closer (from front row).
Lightning says he is going to take a few laps on the simulator with the help of Cruz.
Mater initiates the simulator and Lightning McQueen turns around.
Cruz tells Lightning McQueen how to get around the cars ahead of him.
Lightning says it is important to train on a variety of tracks.
But apparently there is a commercial that was “only supposed to air overseas”.
Chick Hicks arrives and calls Lightning “McLoser”. He hacked into the simulator.
Hicks wants to race.
Lightning McQueen isn’t happy about it.
But of course he should race.
Hicks tells Mater to start up the simulator and Chick Hicks Motor Speedway is on the screen.
Cruz is helping as crew chief.
Luigi and Guido help out with tires.
Flo helps with oil.
Fillmore with gas.
And spoiler, Lightning McQueen wins with the teamwork he receives (as expected!)
Lightning McQueen poses.
Miss Fritter tells Chick Hicks that she is Lightning’s friend.
She then pushes him off the screen.
Lightning McQueen says that Chick Hicks reminded him that it is about the journey you take to get there, not about the speed and flash.
And also, “who you’ve got driving alongside you”.
Many of Lightning McQueen’s friends are on screen.
Panning to the right.
Lightning McQueen says goodbye before heading back behind the wall.
Outside, guests were waiting for Cruz.
The Cars Courtyard will get busy, it isn’t huge. But guests will enjoy seeing Cruz and DJ.
There is a wall saying “I Crossed the Finish Line at Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy”.
And signage is up in the courtyard.
We will be adding more to the article in the coming days! Definitely stop by the attraction when you head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.