Cars Land Characters: Lightning McQueen and Mater talk with Disneyland guests, Red and DJ offer street entertainment

in Disney, Disney's California Adventure, Disneyland Resort, Entertainment, Theme Parks

While the thrilling Radiator Springs Racers ride is home to many familiar “Cars” characters from the Pixar-created universe, guests wandering the streets of the new Cars Land at Disney California Adventure have a chance to get up-close and “Ka-chow!” with several Radiator Springs residents.

Cars Land characters

Throughout each day, Lightning McQueen, Mater, Red the Firetruck, and the dance-driving car called DJ make appearances, rolling into town, posing for pictures, and even exchanging a few words with fans.

The two biggest stars of the “Cars” franchise are inarguably Lightning McQueen and Mater, both of whom are eager to meet all the humans who have made the trek down Route 66 to arrive in Cars Land. These two larger-than-life characters are often found parked just outside the Cozy Cone Motel. Though they’ve been seen at Disney California Adventure before, in Cars Land they’re able and excited to speak for the first time.

Video: Talking Lightning McQueen meets and greets with Cars Land guests

Video: Talking Mater rolls through Cars Land

McQueen’s excited utterances include his famous catchphrase “Ka-chow!” and “Smile like you won the Piston Cup,” while happily bobbing back and forth while revving his engine. And as Mater sputters his way through Radiator Springs and poses for pictures, he can be heard saying amusing Mater-isms like, “Welcome to Radiator Springs, the cutest little town in Carburetor County!”, “Hey everybody, if you feel like gettin’ yer dancin’ tires on, roll on down to the junkyard for my Junkyard Jamboree!”, and “Hey I just filled up at Fillmore’s… I’m all gassed up now.”

Cars Land characters

Cars Land characters

Red the Fire Truck occasionally shows up for a photo op, but guests posing with this massive “Cars” characters should beware – he squirts! He also has a small street show called “Red to the Rescue” but due to overwhelming crowds packing the streets of Cars Land since its grand opening, Red’s appearances have largely been reduced to simple meet-and-greets.

Cars Land characters

By night, DJ steals the show when he wheels in with music thumping and neon glowing all over his tricked-out body. Like Red, DJ is supposed to be part of an organized street show – a dance party – but heavy crowds have often required smaller appearances. Parked across from Luigi’s Flying Tires, accompanying Cast Members, along with DJ himself, encourage guests to groove to tunes that include (no surprise) “Life is a Highway,” among other beats.

Video: DJ meets and greets in Cars Land at night

Cars Land characters

Cars Land characters

Cars Land characters

Unlike the fully-animated characters seen in Radiator Springs Racers, these street variations do not move their mouths while talking, nor do they actually converse with guests, instead cycling through a set of phrases that guests can expect to hear multiple times if they stand around and watch for a while. But guests are no less excited to see these recognizable “Cars” characters drive into Cars Land and share a few words before riding away.

Though there are set times character appearances and shows, the current crowd levels in Cars Land may prevent them from taking place as scheduled, so guests visiting the new Disney California Adventure area should be ready at any time to stumble across them. After all, they are residents of Radiator Springs and could decide to show up at any time.

More photos of the Cars Land characters:


  1. cranio

    do the cars really move

  2. zach

    yes they do

  3. Aidan

    are the cars in cars land remotely driven or is there a real person inside driving them?

    1. anonymous

      They are remotely driven. I have seen the people who drive them. They usually wear all black and use an iPad to control them

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