As Disney announced today that Luigi’s Flying Tires will close on February 16, 2015 to make way for a new attraction opening in 2016, we thought it would be fun to look back at this Cars Land attraction that hasn’t exactly been the most popular with guests, but is an attraction that we’ve loved. We’ll start with some new commentary on the current attraction and some thoughts about the future, with our opening weekend photos below that.
Luigi’s Flying Tires is a ride in Cars Land that opened in June 2012 as part of Disney California Adventure 2.0 at Disneyland Resort. Even prior to the attraction opening, it was reportedly plagued with issues, from the last minute removal of a spin control to the last minute addition of beach balls to spice things up (later removed to reduce load/unload times) to additional guest instructions by Cast Members to explain how to operate the tires by shifting weight and leaning slightly to get the tire to change directions while still hovering. Despite all of these modifications, many guests have still had a difficult time getting their tires to hover, and have spent much of the attraction sitting in place.
We honed our strategy for Luigi’s Flying Tires early-on, and there was about a 1 minute learning curve on figuring out just how much to lean to achieve the best movement. We’ve had a blast with the attraction as a result, and have done it dozens of times over the last couple of years. This has been particularly true more recently, as waits have been non-existent because of other guests having a more difficult time operating tires and the attraction garnering poor word of mouth.
As for the new attraction, MiceChat has been reporting for months that it will be called “Luigi’s Festival of the Dance” and have a fairly simple premise of Luigi’s extended family of Fiats visiting from the old country, spinning and twirling on the floor in a choreographed musical production. The new attraction will keep the existing tire showroom queue and much of the existing infrastructure, but will have a new ride system utilizing a WiFi controlled system that guides autonomous vehicles across the flat area, similar to Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland.
Based on the concept art in Disney’s announcement, it seems MiceChat got the story–or at least the major details–right. It sounds to me like the attraction will utilize a lot of what is already there, and will essentially feature new ride vehicles and a new ride system on pretty much the existing flat area and in the existing facilities. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s probably better termed a “re-imagined” experience than a new one.
As for the ride system, although MiceChat mentions Mystic Manor and the Ratatouille dark ride, I suspect the end result here will be more akin to Aquatopia at Tokyo DisneySea, which utilizes an LPS ride system. I think this is the most apt comparison because that’s also a relatively simple ride, whereas the former attractions are complex dark rides. Aquatopia is one of those attractions that is fun “for what it is”, which is pretty much what I expect from Luigi’s Festival of the Dance. By that, I mean that it’s an ambitious ride system for what amounts to a fairly simple attraction.
While we have both enjoyed Luigi’s Flying Tires a ton, I applaud Disney for making the tough decision to replace it after only a couple of years in operation. For whatever reason, guests have had incredible difficulty understanding how to move the tires, a fact we have witnessed in person numerous times. On our most recent visit to Luigi’s last month, we saw multiple tires full of people rocking back and forth for the entire duration of the ride, not going anywhere as the front lip of the tire hit the ground when they rocked forward and the back lip hit the ground when they rocked backwards. The tires require a little finesse to really get going, but it isn’t that difficult. Unfortunately, people don’t listen to directions. Regardless of whether it’s user error or a failed ride system (I’d say mostly the former), the fact that so many guests have troubles enjoying the attraction means a change was necessary.
Even though we’ve enjoyed Luigi’s Flying Tires, we are looking forward to Luigi’s Festival of the Dance, and what is likely to be the first trackless ride system in the US parks. Kudos to Disney for making the change (even if it’s not one that affects us positively in a personal sense), and the 2016 opening should be a nice pull for the middle of Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary celebration.
Now, here’s our original post consisting of Luigi’s Flying Tires photos taken when the attraction debuted…
Here are Luigi’s Flying Tires photos from Cars Land. These photos include the exterior, queue, ad attraction. This attraction and Cars Land are based on the popular Pixar Cars film franchise. Luigi’s Flying Tires is a very fun “Flying Saucers” style attraction, despite its long wait times. It does take a couple rides to get a handle on the ride system, so make sure to visit Luigi’s Flying Tires early (right after Radiator Springs Racers–or after you get a FastPass for Radiator Springs Racers!) and often! While it’s not nearly as complex and stunning as Radiator Springs Racers (photos), it’s an excellent ride, too–despite reports to the contrary.
Now on with the photos….
John Lasseter shooting a video for Luigi’s Flying Tires on the attraction’s opening day.