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Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree Ride Review

Last updated:
4.6

Here’s our take on Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree ride. We’ll go over the ride services, history of the ride, the ride experience and everything else you need to know about this swingin’ ride.

Location: Nestled in Cars Land, this attraction captures the essence of Radiator Springs and Mater’s love for junkyard fun.

Average Wait Times: Typically, the wait times range from 15 to 30 minutes but can be longer during peak seasons and weekends.

Height Requirements: Riders must be at least 32 inches tall, making it family-friendly but still offering some thrills.

Single Rider: There’s no Single Rider option for this attraction.

Genie+ and Lightning Lane: Unfortunately Genie+ and Lightning Lane are not available for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.

Rider Switch: This service is available if some family members do not meet the height requirement or don’t wish to ride.

DAS (Disability Access Service): DAS is provided, allowing eligible guests to schedule a return time.

Tow truck with Santa hat

History

Opening with Cars Land on June 15, 2012, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is themed after the tow truck character Mater from the “Cars” movies. It is designed to look like a spontaneous jamboree set up by Mater himself.

  • Inception & Design Vision: When Disney California Adventure Park underwent a massive expansion and redesign in the early 2010s, one of the new additions was Cars Land, inspired by Pixar’s “Cars” movies. This 12-acre expansion aimed to immerse visitors in the world of Radiator Springs, the fictional town from the films. Within this expansion, one of the anchor attractions envisioned was Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.
  • Design Inspiration: Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree was designed to reflect the quirky and fun-loving nature of its namesake character, Mater, the tow truck. The Imagineers wanted to create a ride that was both family-friendly and also encapsulated the lively spirit of a country hoedown, in line with Mater’s persona. To achieve this, they combined elements of traditional teacup-style rides with a whip-like motion, resulting in the jamboree’s unique figure-eight dance pattern.
  • Ride Mechanics & Aesthetics: The ride’s mechanics are ingenious, employing a system where each tractor rides on a series of turntables that move in sync with the larger floor’s rotation. This design allows for the unpredictable and fun swinging motion of each individual trailer. In terms of aesthetics, the attraction area is replete with details that hark back to the “Cars” movies and the character of Mater. From rusty parts and tires to the country-style fences and even the signage, everything was designed to give the feel of a genuine junkyard, albeit one with a lot of heart and charm.
  • Music and Voice: Integral to the ride’s design was its music. Knowing the importance of capturing Mater’s essence, Larry the Cable Guy, who voices Mater in the movies, recorded several original tracks specifically for the attraction. These tunes, which play during the ride, add layers of authenticity and joy to the experience.
  • Evolution: Over the years, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree has undergone subtle changes, primarily in terms of seasonal overlays. For instance, during Halloween, the ride gets a spooky makeover, both in terms of theming and music. However, the core experience remains true to its initial design, continuing to delight guests of all ages.

Ride Experience

Guests board trailers pulled by tractors, while Mater “sings” some catchy tunes. The tractors then whip around in a figure-eight pattern, swinging riders from side to side in a lively dance.

  • The Queue: Upon entering the queue for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, guests are transported into Mater’s world from the “Cars” films. The area is adorned with rusty old parts, charmingly shabby signs, and other memorabilia which sets the scene of a genuine tow truck junkyard. It perfectly captures the ambiance of Radiator Springs. As you wind your way through, you can’t help but notice the humorous touchpoints, inspired by Mater’s comical personality.
  • The Ride: The ride itself is a delightful spinning attraction. Guests board trailers attached to baby tractors which swing around in time with the music. As the tractors whip and whirl in a figure-eight motion, riders experience a surprising amount of pep in their spin, reminiscent of a good old-fashioned barn dance. The best part is that the movement is unpredictable; sometimes you’re led by your tractor, other times you’re swung around, leading to delightful surprises and laughter throughout the ride. The attraction is balanced in a way that it’s gentle enough for younger riders but still enjoyable for the older crowd due to its zippy movements.
  • Music: A highlight of the attraction is the toe-tapping tunes that accompany the experience. Voiced by Larry the Cable Guy (who voices Mater in the “Cars” movies), there are multiple tracks, each bringing a unique flavor to the ride, making repeat rides enjoyable as you might get a different song each time. Some of the catchy numbers include “Mater’s Square Dance,” “Let’s Go Driving,” and “Welcome to Radiator Springs,” among others. The music lends a lively and fun atmosphere to the ride, ensuring that everyone leaves with a song in their heart and a smile on their face.

Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree

During the Halloween season, the ride transforms into “Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree.” This spooky yet fun twist retains the charm of the original attraction but adds a layer of festive eeriness perfect for the Halloween spirit.

  • Music & Sound: The jaunty tunes of Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are swapped out for Halloween-themed tracks. These tracks still feature the iconic voice of Larry the Cable Guy as Mater, singing about ghouls, ghosts, and all things spooky. It’s a delightful twist that gives riders familiar with the standard jingles a fresh auditory experience.
  • Theming & Décor: The entire attraction gets a thematic makeover. You’ll notice a variety of Halloween decorations scattered throughout the queue and the ride area. Rusty old parts, which once were just parts of the junkyard, now take on eerie shapes and might resemble bones, spiders, or other spooky creatures. The tractors themselves might don ghostly or ghastly attire, fitting for the haunted hoedown they’re participating in.
  • Lighting: Evening and night rides during the Halloween season are especially enchanting. The lighting changes to accentuate the spooky atmosphere. Shadows, eerie glows, and a host of Halloween colors light up the junkyard, making the experience even more immersive.

These seasonal changes ensure that Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree remains fresh and engaging for guests, even if they’ve ridden it multiple times before.

Mater in Cars area in Disney's Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World Resort

Personal Experience

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is one of those rides that surprised me with its sheer joyful simplicity. The music, Mater’s voice, and the unexpected force of the whip-around made me laugh out loud. The whimsical setting and fun-loving spirit of the ride genuinely captured the character of Mater. I particularly enjoyed how the ride could be fun for both kids and adults, providing unexpected thrills without being too intense.

Best Times to Ride

Early mornings or during meal times often have shorter wait times. If you enjoy a little nighttime sparkle, the ride’s lighting adds a charming ambiance in the evening.

Conclusion

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is a wonderful example of Disney’s attention to thematic detail and character embodiment. It may not be the most thrilling ride in the park, but its fun-loving spirit, catchy music, and unexpected enjoyment make it a standout in Cars Land. For me, it’s not just a ride; it’s a dance with Mater, filled with laughter and joy. It’s a testament to how a simple concept, executed with creativity and heart, can become a memory to cherish. Whether you’re a “Cars” fan or simply in the mood for some good ol’ jamboree fun, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is a pit stop well worth making on your Disney adventure.

Attraction signage at night with lights
Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree Ride Review
The Final Word
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree is a testament to how detailed design, inspired by beloved characters and stories, can create memorable and enduring theme park attractions. Not just for kids but adults as well.
4.6