Walt Disney World sets an opening date for its new 'Cars' show

January 17, 2019, 12:58 PM · Walt Disney World this morning announced an opening date for its new Cars-themed show coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios: Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy.

The new show will play in a revamped Sunset Showcase theater and open on March 31. The show will feature Lightning McQueen on stage showing off his "racing simulator," a 200-foot wrap-around video screen in the theater. Other Cars characters including Tow Mater and Cruz Ramirez will appear in the show, as well.

Replies (12)

January 17, 2019 at 1:06 PM

I'm sure my 4 year old son will love this. I'm not very enthused about it, but at least it'll give people something to do instead of waiting in 4 hour lines in the blazing heat for Slinky Dog Dash. :-)

January 17, 2019 at 1:27 PM

Jeffery that’s exactly the point. More specifically, its filler for people as they wait 10 hours for their Star Wars Fastpasses. And personally, I don’t think its enough. With Galaxy’s Edge, Hollywood Studios will finally be a full day park, but most of that time will be in line. Once all the Star Wars lines fill up, people go go to everything else, and those lines will be full too. I know they want to keep things exclusive, but a clone of Radiator Springs, or something else should have been made. Or instead of tearing down half the park to make room for Star Wars and Toy Story, they should have refibursished all the existing attractions, and really expanded the park. Hopefully I’m wrong, but we have about 10 months until we find out.

January 17, 2019 at 1:53 PM

@Randy Keith - Disney is giving guests "something else" by opening Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway in the fall. I'm still skeptical as to how good this replacement for the Great Movie Ride will actually be, but I think that will be the real counterbalancing attraction for Galaxy's Edge.

This Lightning McQueen show is really just something new for Disney to promote for the summer to clueless guests visiting WDW before Galaxy's Edge opens at the end of the year. I kind of see this attraction along the lines of Turtle Talk, Stitch, or Monsters Inc - Laugh Floor, but I question the placement of this attraction with so many show-based attractions already littering DHS (Little Mermaid, American Idol, Indy Stunt Show, Beauty and the Beast, Disney Jr., Muppets, and Jedi Training Academy). If you actually try to catch every one of these shows, DHS was already a full day park, but the problem is that most of these shows are "if you've seen them once, you never need to see them again" experiences, and I get the feeling that this Lightning McQueen show will fall into the same category.

January 17, 2019 at 6:34 PM

I thought American Idol closed.

January 17, 2019 at 6:53 PM

You have to admit, they`re adding a hell of a lot to this park.

Now (permit me to dream) if they could just replace the Indy show with an Indy ride...

And yes, American Idol closed a long time ago. Makes me wonder if Russell even visits the resort (he sure has a lot to say about it!).

January 17, 2019 at 8:14 PM


January 19, 2019 at 6:33 PM

I do think Hollywood Studios is heading in the right direction. There just needs to be a few more things to make the park complete. There’s a lot of E ticket attractions and shows, but that’s about it. Maybe the Fox sale will help. A Greatest Showman stage show would be a lot of fun, and it would go with the Hollywood and entertainment theme. But as others have mentioned there’s already a lot of shows. Hopefully there is still more to come, because as amazing as Galaxy’s Edge looks, the park is still missing A-C attractions. And I’m not counting the ones at Toy Story Land because they’re too generic.

January 18, 2019 at 9:45 AM

"I thought American Idol closed."

Yes it did, I mistyped, and can honestly say that I had never spent time watching that show or its current replacement, Frozen Singalong.

"You have to admit, they`re adding a hell of a lot to this park."

Well, I guess they had to since they had stripped the park down to just a handful of attractions after closing Catastrophe Canyon/Backlot Tour, Lights Motors Action, Great Movie Ride, Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground, Wandering Oaken's Trading Post, Animation exhibits, and the rotating walk-through sound stage. Disney deserves credit for finally giving this park the attention that it has needed for decades, but let's not sugar coat the fact that they continued to downsize the park year after year with very little added until just recently.

I agree with Randy that DHS could use some more "quick hitting" attractions. As I noted above, the park contains a lot of show-based attractions that are time consuming but have little value to returning guests. The park could definitely use some smaller flat rides or shorter walk-through/show-based attractions that can occupy guests for 20-30 minutes at a time while they're waiting to do the bigger draws like Galaxy's Edge and other e-tickets. DHS is becoming a very top-heavy park, and while the new additions should more than warrant a full-day visit, it would be beneficial for guests to have some other things to do in the park that don't require a significant time investment. Maybe this Lightning McQueen show will become a "quick-hitter", but something tells me it will be on a timed schedule with guests needing to arrive 20-30 minutes ahead of time to ensure a seat in the theater, making the overall time commitment for the show @1 hour.

January 18, 2019 at 1:50 PM


January 18, 2019 at 2:11 PM

Yes "decades". Before TSL, the only major unique attraction that was added to DHS was ToT (built in 1994). LSM (2005) and TSM (2008) were imported "clones", so yes, Disney has been neglecting this park for a long long time. Even if you ignore the fact that LSM and TSM are clones, Disney added just three (3) major new attractions to the park from '94-'18. Even the "minor" attraction were few and far between. By the end of 2019, Disney will have added more new attractions to DHS in the span of 18 months than it did over the previous 24 years!!

January 19, 2019 at 9:34 PM

Russell with the smack down to TH!! Somebody get this guy an ice pack!!


January 20, 2019 at 1:37 AM

Very good remarks from Russell Meyer. Disney Studios in Paris, however is even a lot more ill with a flimsy offer, and unbelieveble bad theming (actually, NON theming in most areas). The rehab plan with the little lake in the back of the park, will not help brush up this imago, as the plan nowhere touches the actual bareness of the park, nor bring it to a level of make belief in few really themed areas. There it is suffering from the "well meant but only 1/2 side built" disease. (Like Paris' Ratatouille area, which does not have a second streetside, so destryoing the premature total experience goal : "try" not to look in the wrong direction...)

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