Here at WDWNT, we’ve been monitoring the progress of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy nearly feverishly. Well, today is the day! Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy has officially opened for rookie trainees and we were there to get a first look. Racers, start your engines!
For its grand opening season, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has made Lightning McQueen the star of the new park guidemap, along with the 30th Anniversary logo for the park.
The Racing Academy is tucked away behind Sunset Showcase, or all the way to the right end past Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Racing stripes adorn the path that leads into the Sunset Showcase attraction building.
Cruz Ramirez, DJ, and their fun pit stop crew welcome guests as they arrive at Sunset Showcase.
Classic tunes like Al Green’s “Ride Sally Ride” blast throughout the courtyard, which is fun.
Guests, children, and bloggers alike are funneled in through the side of the building and directly into the show theater. At least there are plenty of umbrellas and fans lining this area.
As you enter the theater, Mack and Sally Carrera welcome all the rookie racers and test your knowledge of Lightning McQueen as you take your seat and get ready for the show. The theater boasts bench seating.
Here’s a finalized look at the animatronic, which we got a first look at back in January. A 200-foot wide screen surrounds the audience, completely immersing everyone in the experience. Imagineers used pre-visualization software to make sure each seat in the audience gets the same spectacular experience.
The Lighting McQueen animatronic is truly amazing and incorporates similar tech as what’s used in Frozen Ever After, but at a different scale.
And now, for the finish line, check out our full video of Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy! Try and see how many of your favorite Cars friends make an appearance throughout the 10-minute show:
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy shows run continuously throughout the day. Cast Member coordinators outside the show building have informed us that no FastPass will be available for this attraction. (Although you never know if this will be another “It’s Tough to be a Bug”, which ended up getting FastPass down the line.)
While it’s definitely just another “get out of the heat” attraction, it’s just long enough that it will feel worth the wait, considering that the queue area is small. For Cars fans and those looking for a cool respite from the heat, this is a welcome addition.
If you’re looking for more Cars fun, outside on the Sunset Showcase courtyard, “DJ’s Ready! Set! Party Time!” will be taking place several times a day as Lightning McQueen’s Pit Crew arrives on the scene, getting everyone around DJ engaged in entertaining Cars-inspired dances and games.
If you get hungry, thirsty, or feel a sudden urge to purchase your very own Lightning McQueen racer, a snack cart and merchandise kiosk are available outside the attraction.
Race, do not walk to Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! (No, but seriously… no running in the parks.)