Posts Tagged ‘Luigi’s Flying Tires’

All Tired Out

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Today is the last day of operation for the poor, beloved Luigi’s Flying Tires attraction at Disney California Adventure. The attraction was never as popular as Disney might have hoped, but it certainly had its fans. Here’s a picture taken this morning of the attraction so you can have one last look before it is replaced by something that is certain to be less delightful (and possibly Frozen-car themed):

Luigi's Flying Tires last day of operation

(Although the crowds had not yet descended upon the attraction when this photo was taken, the attraction had only been open for an hour at that point. We’re certain that it became very busy later in the day.)

It’s difficult to see in the photo — you might have to click it to see it larger — but all of the Flying Tires cast members wore black armbands on their left arms to mark the attraction’s final hours. It was a respectful, if subtly depressing, gesture.

The general feeling about Luigi’s can be summed up in a quote from a guest we spotted dressed in black and weeping quietly into a black handkerchief near where this photo was taken. Said the guest (only slightly muffled by her black mourning veil):

My parents first met on the original Flying Saucers attraction at Disneyland. They were sitting in their individual saucers, yelling and cursing about how then couldn’t figure out how to get them to move, when they caught each others’ eye. That started them laughing over their shared frustration, and the rest is Disney romance history.

I’ve been coming to Luigi’s every day since it opened, riding it incessantly and waiting for a love connection. After 976 days of trying, I guess I’m going to have to look for another way to find a soul mate. I might have to resort to hoping I get stranded for an hour on Pirates with Mr. Right.

The big question, of course, is “Why is this attraction closing?” It may have been seen as a risk to try a new version of an attraction that originally didn’t last long at Disneyland, and over the months since “Flying Saucers II” opened the company may have lost its nerve. As one former individual said, “Whoever gave the park permission to open Luigi’s Flying Tires sure had a lot of balls, but unfortunately they were removed a few weeks after attraction opening due to technical issues.”

The internet is rife with rampant rumors about the closure. Some are blaming Obamacare or feminist criticism of video games, while others say it’s related to an unfortunate incident that occurred near the end of 2014 during which a woman was caught throwing the ashes of her beloved former Ford Fiesta about the attraction to commemorate its passing after its engine seized up and she had it incinerated. But, as is often the case, the truth is far more mundane. Said a relative of a person who claims to know things:

Disney never anticipated that the Monster Truck Racing Association would want their tires back so soon. In retrospect, they really should have signed a longer contract, but nobody anticipated that there would be any difficulty in getting them to renew every three years. It turns out that some MTRA brass was really upset that guests entering attraction vehicles tended to step on the giant tires, getting footprints on them and leaving them all scuffed up at the end of the day. In MTRA management’s mind, that made the MTRA look unprofessional. They complained to Disney, and the park did try to modify guest behavior, but in the end it just couldn’t be done.

RIP Luigi’s Flying Tires: 6/15/2012 – 2/16/2015

Luigi’s Flying Tires

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The second of the three major attractions in Cars Land is Luigi’s Flying Tires, which is themed like a tire dealership and banks on the fact that a tire (British “tyre”), lying sideways with a series of evenly spaced radial high-pressure leaks, will slightly hover.

It is rumored that John Lassitire was very interested in Cars Land having a remake of one of the classic Tomorrowland attractions, and after narrowing his choices to three (the Flying Sucers, the Phantom Boats, or the Paint Chip Hall of Fame), he chose the Flying Saucers. The original Disneyland attraction was only part of the park for about five years due to its tendency to break down, injure guests, and draw uncomfortable amounts of attention from silently hovering black helicopters filled with expressionless men in black suits. By using improved technology, having riders sign an injury waiver, and disguising the vehicles as tires, Imagineers were able to get past all of these problems.

After walking through Luigi’s nicely themed queue, guests are immersed in a series of visual and spoken instructions such as this one…

…spelling out the copious rules and suggestions for enjoying the attraction. For example, no trying to fly over the attraction’s barriers; no standing tires on their side, connecting them with axles, and building a monster truck; and you may not ride if you are pregnant, hoverphobic, or tired (pun!).

The vehicles themselves are fashioned to look like large tires. This is a big surprise to guests who have not been paying attention.

Luigi's Flying Tires tire flying

The tires hover under the influence of massive electromagnets embedded in the attraction’s surface. The up side to this method of levitation is that it is very powerful, allowing the vehicles to hover with even the largest guest or group of guests aboard. The down side is that after each ride the surface must be searched for keys, glasses, retainers, etc., that have been sucked off riders. Guests passing in wheelchairs may also find themselves irresistibly drawn to the attraction when it is in operation, and the entire area is instantly fatal to anyone with a pacemaker.

In addition to the attraction vehicles, Luigi’s is littered with huge, inflated beach balls, which do not float (since they are non-ferrous) but which guests can pick up and throw during the ride. Being hit in the face with a huge beach ball looks like this:


It is a particular irony that an American park named for California would have an Italy-themed attraction featuring beach balls made in China.