Disneyland has done a favor for theme park fans by not only creating the incredible attraction Radiator Springs Racers, but also releasing a limited edition CD featuring high-quality versions of the exciting music and sounds heard throughout Cars Land and this new E-ticket ride.
Like so many Disney experiences, Radiator Springs Racers is greatly enhanced when illuminated after dark, as the glowing mountains of Ornament Valley seem to zip by at twice the speed at night. Moreover, the “fantasy” nighttime version of Radiator Springs depicted in the indoor dark ride portion of Racers blends much better with the outdoor racing portion when it’s truly nighttime all the way through. It’s subconsciously jarring to be thrust from day to night and back to day when riding this attraction while the sun is out.
I further enhanced a nighttime ride on Radiator Springs Racers by replacing most of the live audio with the attraction’s source audio mix, as heard on the limited-edition CD release, “The Music of Cars Land.” It took some careful editing to match the timing of the CD recording to the real-time video, but the result is a near-pristine and unique ride-through of Radiator Springs Racers at night, in the video below.
Video: Radiator Springs Racers full ride with source audio mix
The story behind this particular ride-through video is somewhat unique. On Cars Land’s grand opening night, I took my first thrilling ride on Radiator Springs Racers along with fellow first-timers Doug Barnes and Brent Young of the Season Pass Podcast, Arthur Levine, About.com’s Theme Parks writer, and my wife Michelle. This time through was my favorite of all the trips on Racers, not only because it was my first (spent laughing, yelling, and in amazement at all the surprises within), but also because it looked incredible at night.
But this grand opening night ended up being the only chance I had to ride Radiator Springs Racers after dark, with a packed press schedule and extremely long lines preventing me doing so before returning home to Orlando a few days later. Fortunately, I recorded it, doing so more for my own memories than any intention to share the video publicly, as we were all indeed excitedly screaming our way through. Needless to say, replacing our own voices with the source audio above was not only done to make a unique video, but also to spare your ears. Just imagine the joyful cheers that were coming out of our mouths when this on-ride photo was taken:
Radiator Springs Racers, on or off the ride, is indeed stunning after dark. The carefully crafted rock work of Ornament Valley shines in hues of orange and yellow while the towering waterfall in the distance crashes down, glowing from within.
I even caught Lightning McQueen grinning in amazement at the sights Disney’s Imagineers have created.
It’s a sight that must be seen in person to truly appreciate the immense scale of the wrap-around rocks that form the most visually striking portion of Cars Land. But “The Music of Cars Land” CD is available at Disney California Adventure to at least bring home the audio experience of being there. Here’s a closer look at it:
According to its liner notes, the original themes composed for “Cars” by Randy Newman were arranged and orchestrated for Radiator Springs Racers by Jonathan Sacks. Voice talents heard within the attraction recording mostly include “Cars” originals: Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, John Ratzenberger, Jenifer Lewis, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Richard Kind, Edie McClurg, Corey Burton (taking over for the late Paul Newman in the role of Doc Hudson), Michael Wallis, Lloyd Sherr, Paul Dooley, Guido Quaroni, and Steve Purcell.
Radiator Springs Racers, whether ridden during the day or at night, is an astounding feat of Imagineering that offers thrills, laughs, and sheer fun throughout its roughly 4-minute length. But given the choice, guests should definitely take a spin after dark, as the excellent attraction is enhanced to greatness.