When we heard that Disney Pixar’s Cars 3 “Road to the Races” tour was kicking off at Disney Springs this past weekend, we decided to make a quick weekend trip to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Our son is McQueen’s #1 fan (after Mater, of course), so we knew this event would be a hit with him. Because, you know, we’ve only watched Cars at least once a week for the past two years…
And of course these three shiny Cars cars are lined up in front of none other than an actual Mack truck. You can get your pictures taken with them, but there are a few rules.
First, you can’t touch the cars. This makes sense, as they are shiny and new. However, our son is used to seeing the Cars characters at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, where you can touch them for photos, so this was a little hard for him to understand. The solution – family photos with him held in the middle.
He did decide he wanted one by himself with Lightning McQueen though.
Also, you are not allowed to take your own photos. Instead, there is someone at each car to take a photo with your phone or camera. We thought this was a little odd, but it did keep the line moving. Everyone was also very nice and took decent photos (one woman did have an issue getting a good photo, but she quickly offered me the opportunity to take one myself).
Seeing the cars is a cool experience – but it’s a very quick one. If you have small kids, just prepare them ahead of time so they know they can’t touch the cars.
Also, be prepared to wait in lines. We had to wait about 25 minutes to even enter the event, and then the line to see the cars was another half an hour. Once inside the event, you also had to park your stroller, so we couldn’t use that to help in line.
Tip: Have one adult wait in line while the other takes the kid(s) to play at the activity tents. Numerous families did this, and no one in line seemed to mind.
At the Alamo Rent A Car tent, there was a huge Cars-themed mural for kids to color.
Very friendly attendants were letting kids select which color marker they wanted to use, and when they were done, they got a small pack of colored pencils to take home. (We also took home a streak of blue hair from another kid’s marker… but it was washable and matched his shirt.)
Cut and fold printouts of the three cars, as well as a car printout to color, were offered at the NASCAR-sponsored tent. They had safety scissors and crayons, but it was it a little crowded, so we now have a fun activity to do later at home. (Note to parents: The cutting required is a little intricate, so be prepared to help younger kids.)
Our favorite activity, though, was the Coppertone tent, where my son got to fulfill his dream (okay, maybe mine… it’s my favorite part of the movie!) to perform a pit stop like Guido. On a cutout of a car, you can use a drill to tighten all of the nuts on the tire. I was able to line up and hold the drill while my son squeezed the trigger. There was also a countdown timer, but they were kindly letting families with young kids take the time they needed to complete the task. Additionally, they were handing out sunscreen samples (but we were already covered up). Peet stop!
Another huge hit for our family was the refreshing smoothie samples at the Dole tent. They were serving the Pineapple Pit Stop Smoothie, inspired by Cruz Ramirez, which includes pineapple, spinach and banana.
Heads up for anyone with nut allergies: There is almond milk in the smoothie, but they were doing a great job asking if anyone had allergies, and there was a huge sign posted with the ingredients.
Dole also provided a recipe card so you can make the smoothie at home – and we definitely will!
At the very popular Mattel tent, kids could play with some Cars cars and a Cars track set. The top of the table was also angled to allow for car “races.”
However, kids who are fans of Cars LOVE playing with cars. There was only one double track set and about half a dozen cars- but more than double that amount of kids wanting to play. It would have been great if there were more cars and play sets at the table. (There was also a Cars display case, and several kids – including my own – were trying to open it to get out more cars to play with.)
At the Crest and Oral B booth, you could create a virtual postcard and spin the Piston Cup prize wheel, where you were guaranteed to win either toothpaste or a sheet of Cars temporary tattoos.
Finally, there was a Cars 3 “Sneak Peak” being shown inside a trailer. As interesting as it sounded, we ended up skipping it because our toddler had reached his limit with lines.
So should you go?
If you have a Cars race fan at home, sure! There’s enough kid-friendly activities to stay busy for an hour or two, and you get to see Lightning McQueen, Cruz Ramirez and Jackson Storm. Just make sure your younger ones know they can’t touch the cars (it’s tempting!) and that it’s just a quick photo with each.
And as a nice surprise when we were leaving, we each received a $5 off coupon to see Cars 3 when it opens in theaters on June 16. Ka-chow!
Click here to see the other 26 “Road to the Races” tour stops around the country.