The Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling: Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park

Tyler Slater

by , Public Relations Manager, Disney Parks, Experiences & Products

Since Cars Land opened on June 15, 2012, no trip to Disney California Adventure park has been complete without experiencing Radiator Springs Racers. From the state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics technology to the thrilling race through Ornament Valley, this attraction truly is the definition of an “E-ticket” experience. In honor of the attraction’s second anniversary earlier this week, I’m thrilled to continue the “Magic of Disney Parks Storytelling” series with Radiator Springs Racers. With so much detail behind one of the largest attractions ever built for Disney Parks, today’s post will focus on the story of Stanley’s Oasis, which serves as the queue area for the attraction.

Stanley, the founder of Radiator Springs, sold radiator caps along Route 66. It wasn’t until he found the spring of water now known as Stanley’s Oasis that Radiator Springs became an iconic destination in the middle of the desert. To reach Stanley’s Oasis, turn right at the courthouse and follow the pathway under two bridges. The first bridge you pass under is a steel structure built in the 1940s and the second bridge was built out of wood in the 1920s.

After passing under the bridges, you have arrived at the entrance of the historic Stanley’s Oasis! You’ll immediately recognize the original Radiator Spring that continues to bubble after all these years. Directly behind the spring, notice the water tower where Stanley once invited customers to relax and enjoy a nice, cold drink. The pathway then heads into a covered structure – the first building Stanley established at the oasis. This is called the Cap ‘n’ Tap shop because of the various types of caps for sale. Next, the neighboring structure, called Stanley’s Service Garage, tells the story of Stanley’s once-booming auto-care business (remember the radiator caps he sold on Route 66?). Saving the best for last, you’ll continue on to the world-famous Oil Bottle House – the area’s most popular roadside attraction!

As you enter the wheel-well-shaped cavern, you’ll see Stanley’s Comfy Caverns Motor Court – a lodge nestled deep inside the expansive cave. Because the oasis became so popular, Stanley and his wife, Lizzie, built the lodge to accommodate the high demand from visitors who wanted to stay overnight. From here, you hop in your car and head back to town for the big race! Ka-chow racer!

What is your favorite Cars Land memory? Leave your answer in the comments below!


  • Fantastic storytelling. Now when I visit I can retell the story to my friends and family!

  • Tractor tippin with Mater and Chili Cone Carnes. Yuuuuum

  • Definitely the pre-opening Disney Parks Blog Cars Land Meet-Up with Imagineers Kathy Mangum and Kevin Rafferty Sr. Great fun and a wonderful chance to get the back story on the whole land. Thanks again Disney Parks Blog!

  • I love Cars Land! As a fan of the Cars movies. It’s awesome to actually be able to visit Radiator Springs, and to see things that were not shown in the films (like Stanly’s Oasis).

    On either side of the water tower, there are signs that tell the story of how the town was founded. I love Radiator Springs Racers.

  • It would be awesome if you could post the video of this story that ran in the Blue Sky Cellar prior to the opening of Cars Land.

  • My favorite memory is watching the construction take place for 4 years before it opened. Then finally being able to once it had opened I can’t wait to go back!

  • My family and I just saw Cars Land for the first time a couple weeks ago. My favorite part was being “wowed” by it all! It looks just like Radiator Springs. I just kept thinking “how did they do this?” My second favorite part is after we finished riding on the Radiator Springs Racers my eleven-year-old son enthusiastically said, “That was awesome! That’s my new favorite ride!”

    • That’s amazing, June – thanks for sharing! I remember feeling the exact same way, especially walking into Cars Land from Pacific Wharf and seeing all of Ornament Valley.

  • Our favorite memory – last summer we were staying at the Grand Californian and had early entry. They announced they weren’t opening RSR early, so we didn’t bother going over. By the time we got over there it was 8:30 AM and while the wait time was only 20 minutes, my wife and I decided to give the single rider line a try. We were the only riders in the line, and literally walked on the ride. When we got to the exit we went around again. And then a third time. We rode it three times in 35 minutes. We didn’t bother with a fourth time as people were swarming into the park and it looked like there was actually a single rider wait by then! That ride is so amazing.

  • Favorite memory was taking my then 4 year old and 2 year old boys to Cars Land a month after it opened. We surprised them that morning, as they didn’t realize we were at Disneyland (we told them on the long drive to Southern California we were going to Tahoe). We only had one day in the parks. We spent all day in Radiator Springs! We all loved it. Walking around looking at all the details. It was like walking right into the movie! (which we have all seen hundreds of times, it’ one of our favorites) I took over 200 photos that day. My favorites are in front of the Here It Is sign and the Radiator Springs A Happy Place painting. Watching the neon light up was magical. Each trip to Disneyland is special, but that trip was exceptional!

    • Thank you for sharing your memory, Crystal! I absolutely agree, the sunset moment in Cars Land is truly magical.

  • I am awed by Cars Land & the Racers every time, but the first time I entered, via Pacific Wharf & saw it for myself, I was a little vaklempt (sp?)! I had been watching the progress on line & saw photos of people hand painting the mountain ranges, and despite having seen photos of the finsihed product, nothing could compare to seeing it in person. The amount of work, attention to detail, and love that went into the building of the ride, Ornament Valley, and Cars Land overall just made me teary & so proud of everyone involved. I never tire of the view from Flo’s and still feel chills as I walk through the entrance to Cars Land from Pacific Wharf – especially at night!

  • I love this series… can’t wait to read more!

  • My favorite memory is seeing the neon signs light up for the first time… it was just like being in the movie.

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