Luigi’s Flying Tires is one of three new attractions in Cars Land, found inside (well, actually in the backyard of) Casa Della Tires.
It’s not a tire shop–it’s a ride!
But before I talk about Luigi’s, I need to talk about the Flying Saucers.
The Flying Saucers was a much-loved but short-lived attraction at Disneyland, opening in 1961 and closed in 1966. Walt himself reportedly loved the idea. Picture a giant air hockey table with people sitting on the pucks and moving around on a cushion of air, bumping into each other like bumper cars. And also beaning each other with beach balls. Or just watch this short video I found on Youtube.
Cool, hunh? Unfortunately it was expensive to maintain and there were safety issues. Although my favorite part of the video is the guy at 0:15 taking a picture and smoking a cigar.
Talk about a different era.
Well, Luigi’s Flying Tires is an updated version of the Flying Saucers.
It’s like the Flying Saucers!
You sit on your very own tire, capacity 1-3 people, and ride around on a cushion of air, leaning in the direction you would like to go.
In fact, right outside the building, you can get a good look at your ride vehicle.
You can even take a picture in it!
Oh, just like in the movie, you can find Casa Della Tires by its distinctive leaning tower of tires!
Not a great picture to capture the leaning aspect. Derp.
Okay, so you go into the building right into a tire showroom.
It’s all like mahogany and stuff
Oh, and here’s probably the most BRILLIANT thing in all of Cars Land–roaming vendors.
Popcorn and cold soda/water
Not only can you find these vendors walking around on the streets, they also wander through the lines, so if you’ve got that long wait for Radiator Springs Racers and feel like you’re going to die of dehydration halfway through, there’s a vendor to the rescue!!!
Plus the popcorn smells so danged good I almost bought it right there in line.
Anyway, after the tire showroom, you think you might be getting closer but you’re kind of not, as you hit a bunch of switchbacks in a souvenir room.
Cars and Route 66 stuff
But finally, you make it out of the building! So you’re there, right?
But at least you get to see the ride!
And the top of someone’s head
There are fun signs telling you what to do
Lean. That’s basically it.
You might think you’re there, but around the corner are more switchbacks.
Over by the fence
There’s a cool-looking topiary Francesco.
Well, it will be cool-looking when it grows in and fills out, but hey, the land just opened.
I love Disney’s little details. Even the planters are stacked tires.
And the fence posts too!
When you go to board, you get your little…triangle. It’s like the feathers on Dumbo where you hold them up and they collect them to make sure nobody’s riding twice or something.
I’m not sure why it’s a triangle
It was at this point that I asked the cast member why there were beach balls. He answered in a very fabulous voice, “Because it’s festive!!! And also as an homage to the original Flying Saucers ride.”
The beach balls do tend to congregate around a certain corner by the end of the ride however.
And actually the MOST important thing (other than the leaning thing) is that you’re not supposed to step on the rubber part of your tire, you’re supposed to step on the platform.
No feet on the rubber!
Stepping on the tire part could cause it to deflate, which is bad, since the ride depends on being inflated.
There’s an unfortunate downside of Luigi’s Flying Tires, which is that the tires can be difficult to maneuver. You need to lean, but not too far or you’ll over balance. There’s definitely a sweet spot. I had fun, but I wouldn’t wait more than 45 minutes or so for it.
And my biggest piece of advice is that the lighter the tire is, the easier it is to maneuver around. Weighing the tire down just makes it less mobile. So when boarding, I think it’s worthwhile to break up your group into smaller numbers with a weight balance so you can get the maximum fun from the ride.