For Disney fans my age, there’s a long list of Disneyland attractions we never had the chance to experience thanks of the cruelty of being born after their departure. On the top of that list for many were the famed Flying Saucers that once had a home in Tomorrowland. Despite every text written about the attraction insisting its failure was due to constant issues with the ride system, footage of the Saucers — such a featured spot in “The First 50 Magical Years” — left me dreaming of how amazing the bumper cars meets air hockey ride must have been.
Flash forward a couple of scores later as John Lasseter along with the Imagineering team for Carsland announce that they’ve revived the long dead attraction to be part of the upcoming expansion and will be themed to Luigi’s tire shop from the film. Despite the controversy Carsland courted in the Disney community, this swipe at missed nostalgia was hard to deny.
Upon the ride’s arrival, however, it was also hard to attain. It was always expected that Radiator Springs Racers would see horrendous wait times, but a 90 minute wait for one round of Luigi’s Flying Tires seemed a bit much especially when the darkhorse-hit of the Carsland, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, was maintaining queues under 30 minutes.
It took months before I finally rode Luigi’s Flying Tires and when I did I realized why the wait time had been so astronomical. No, it wasn’t because the attraction was amazing but because the loading of the attraction was devastatingly slow. As I would stand in line, I’d notice some of the vehicle coasting around with ease while the guests riding laughed hysterically. Meanwhile, other tires inched side to side while the child on board held their beach ball high waiting to get close enough to even throw it at someone.
Those beach balls disappeared soon after my first experience which, for the record, was pretty fun. My second time on Luigi’s was also decently fun. However, those are the only two times I rode the attraction. Even as the ride’s wait was almost always 5 to 10 minutes, I just never felt the need to do it. Apparently I wasn’t alone as Disney finally confirmed this week that Luigi’s Flying Tires would be closing within two weeks’ time. Incidentally, Luigi’s didn’t even last as long as its fabled inspiration.
The story of Luigi’s is also one that rings true for other attractions Disney has resurrected. Call me a bad Disney Fan but I’ve only seen the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln a handful of times since its return. Similarly, while Captain EO was a fun throwback to experience with those who had never seen it, the last time I watched the film was in Tokyo and that was just out of curiosity regarding a possible language dub (it was mostly subtitled instead — not as funny).
Still these past experiences don’t stop me from demanding the return of other extinct attractions like, gee I don’t know, THE PEOPLEMOVER. Though I never rode Rocket Rods because — shocker — it was 101 the only day I went during its tenure, I actually do have memories of riding the Disneyland Peoplemover as a kid and loving it. Furthermore, I ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover in Magic Kingdom a minimum half-dozen times during my Walt Disney World trips, so I can’t imagine its return would suffer the same fate for me as those other attractions.
Following the Peoplemover, the other attractions I would like to return would be Epcot (or EPCOT, in this case) attractions. Two of the attractions I hear the Disney community clammer most about — Horizons and the original Journey Into Imagination — I am sad to say I either never experienced or just have no memories of. I would love to correct this, but what’s to say they wouldn’t hold the same one-and-done properties the Flying Saucers turned out to have?
Maybe the best way to describe my experience with Luigi’s Flying Tires was that I was catfished. Alas those videos showcasing an amazing attraction were all too good to be true. As fun as it can be to look back for inspiration, perhaps it’s best for Imagineers and all of us to just look forward instead.
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV