Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, the replacement for the much-maligned Luigi’s Flying Tires soft-opened over the weekend. The new attraction brings Disney’s highly-lauded trackless ride system to the United States for the first time in a choreographed “dance” across Luigi’s tire yard in Cars Land. But is the 90-second ride, even if an improvement over the problematic Flying Tires, worth the wait in line? Meanwhile, Disneyland continues to clear the wilderness and see big changes backstage as it prepares for its upcoming Star Wars-themed expansion. On Main Street, the Disneyland Railroad is getting come attention while it’s down for Star Wars construction in the form of its own exhibit at the Disney Gallery. And across the Resort, Disney’s annual “Eggstravaganza” Easter egg hunt returns.
Dateline Disneyland is a work of love and we appreciate your readership! If you’d like to support what we do, please consider donating via PayPal or by becoming a patron on Patreon (and get fun rewards in return!). Thanks!
Don’t miss your weekly Disneyland Resort crowd forecast — provided by our friends at Mouseaddict — in the Weekly News and Information Roundup at the end of today’s update!
Get a closer look! Don’t forget that you can always click on any photo in Dateline Disneyland for a closer look with a larger, higher resolution version of the image!
We’re back from our side trip to Universal Studios Hollywood this week with a huge Disneyland update for you. Let’s get started!
|Welcome to Disneyland!|
|Luigi dances back to Cars Land|
Over at Disney California Adventure, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters has finally opened in Cars Land after several delays. The new trackless ride replaces the beleaguered Luigi’s Flying Tires. The Flying Tires, a throwback to Disneyland’s classic (but also fatally flawed) Flying Saucers attraction, ran for less than three years (the Flying Saucers ran for 5 years in the 1960s) before being closed about a year ago to be transformed into the new Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters held Cast Member previews last week before opening to Annual Passholders on Friday. The attraction soft opened to the public on Saturday and Sunday and officially opens today, March 7.
The change from Flying Tires to Rollickin’ Roadsters has brought very few changes to the attraction’s facade and queue, save for a few updated graphics.
The ride itself takes place on the same “tire yard” that the former Flying Tires took place on. Instead of gray and black tires, colorful mini Fiats (Luigi’s cousins) have moved in and spin and dance in choreographed patterns for 90 seconds.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is an important attraction for the Disneyland Resort, as it’s the first attraction in the United States utilizing the much-lauded “trackless” ride system that has helped raise attractions like Pooh’s Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland and Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland to the next level.
Despite Disney Imagineer Kevin Rafferty telling the Los Angeles Times that this latest version of the trackless ride technology is a “jaw-dropping breakthrough” for Imagineering, the resulting experience is mostly underwhelming for riders. For me, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters is a disappointing lateral move from the Flying Tires — a mediocre ride experience that fails to leverage the potential its unique ride system. The biggest improvement here is that the Roadsters are incredibly cute and colorful and they actually move across the tire yard, creating a nice kinetic energy that the Flying Tires were never successful in creating. Despite the visual improvement, the actual on-ride experience isn’t great.
On-ride, the trackless vehicles are surprisingly jerkier than you’d otherwise expect but not in any way that adds to the experience. The choreographed “dancing” is a lot of fun to watch from afar but doesn’t translate very well when you’re on the ride, with much of your short 90-second experience feeling random and unfocused. The uninspired ride experience is really unfortunate as it simply comes off as lacking any real point or excitement.
Of course, it’s indisputable that the Flying Tires were wholly unsuccessful; they were aesthetically bland, nearly impossible for riders to successfully maneuver, and failed to offer any real kinetic energy for on-lookers. The Tires were often a walk-on, even as Cars Land’s other two attractions drew long lines. It may be too early to tell if the Roadsters will be a hit but even if they fail to impress adults, their undeniable cuteness and colorful curb appeal will attract kids in ways that the tires simply did not.
Despite Disney’s hyperbole about the new ride being “jaw-dropping,” Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters are nothing worth going out of your way to experience and is likely only worth a 10-15 minute wait, max. Of course, the ride isn’t meant to be a big E-Ticket ride, but even new C-Tickets can (and should) be good. Is Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters better than the Flying Tires? Yes, but that wasn’t exactly a high bar. With such great ride technology at work, it’s a shame that our introduction to it here in the United States is with this attraction — what a waste.
It’s also worth noting that the attraction is currently experiencing significant issues in the rain. Anaheim got some early morning showers Sunday and even after the rain stopped and the skies cleared up, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters was non-functional well into the early afternoon. The irony here is that the ride utilizes a newer generation of the ride system for Aquatopia at Tokyo Disney Sea — a trackless boat ride.
Below, our video shows you a full ride from its lookout point along the trail between Cars Land and A Bug’s Land, as well as a full ride from aboard the ride itself.
Returning this year is Disney’s “Eggstravaganza” egg hunt in both parks and, for the first time this year, in Downtown Disney as well. The “Eggstravaganza” is always a fun little diversion and this year some of the eggs are actually pretty difficult to find. Egg hunt maps are available at select locations in their respective areas for $5.95 and can be redeemed (completed or not) for a free plastic character-themed Easter egg.
|The Frontier Awakens|
Disneyland’s new Star Wars project will be unprecedented in terms of scale for the park, dedicating 14 acres to a single property with massive new facades, rock work, and massive E-Ticket attractions that dwarf even Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones Adventure. Below, a map showing how the new land is expected to impact Disneyland’s landscape once completed in late 2018.
Views from the top of the Mickey and Friends parking structure give great views at the work underway to clear the backstage land for Disneyland’s 14-acre Star Wars expansion. Last week, Disney announced the new land will officially break ground in April.
Inside the park, the Rivers of America now have cofferdams in place, which will allow the front half of the river to remain filled while the bak half can be drained while it is reduced and rerouted to accommodate the Star Wars expansion.
Along Big Thunder Trail, if you walk up alongside Big Thunder Mountain you’ll really get a glimpse at just how much of the wilderness has been cleared. Big Thunder Ranch is now completely gone along with all of the trees throughout the area. A bare berm is visible and the sight is pretty shocking.
The backwoods of Frontierland are now gone. While all the trees have been cleared for construction, Disney has saved around 20 of the existing, older trees and plans to replant them as part of Star Wars Land — which will be exceedingly lush — featuring over 1,000 trees, new and old.
Meanwhile, as the wilderness of Frontierland disappears, Disneyland has taken the downtime of the Disneyland Railroad as an opportunity to share with guests the history of the Disneyland Railroad and Walt Disney’s love of trains with new educational displays at Main Street Station and in the Main Street Opera House lobby.
The “Living in Disneyland” display case that previously featured photos from Walt Disney’s firehouse apartment and the Disneyland Dream Suite is now gone, replaced by a copy of the “Disneyland Locomotives” panel from Main Street Station
Kudos to Disneyland for putting together the great educational signage in Main Street Station and this great Disney Gallery exhibit on Disney’s railroads. It’s all very classy and well-executed, shining the light on the history of the Disneyland Railroad at a time when it would have been quite easy to pretend it simply doesn’t exist. Great job!
In addition to the major Star Wars expansion, several other projects continue around the Resort.
Main Entrance ticket booths continue to get fitted with new digital ticket menu screens following Disneyland’s adoption of demand pricing for one-day tickets, which we detailed last week.
The Jungle Cruise boathouse is under tarps while it gets some work done while the attraction is closed for refurbishment
Facade refurbishments continue in Mickey’s Toontown.
Jack-O-Lindquist keeps watch over Toontown, even after the respected original Disneyland President’s recent death.
In Tomorrowland, Autopia’s refurbishment continues…
In Disney California Adventure, a portion of bar seating in Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe has been removed along with a faux bulletin board prop to make room for a new merchandise case for Starbucks merchandise.
It’s unfortunate to lose nice thematic touches like the bulletin board, especially when all of this Starbucks merchandise is still offered in the queue for the Starbucks and had been offered previously in the adjacent Trolley Treats.
Over in Grizzly Peak, Grizzly River Run’s refurbishment continues through next weekend.
In Hollywood Land, Disney announced the new “Frozen” musical will officially open on May 27.
Nearby, Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post is now closed and its theming is being removed. We’re suspecting this space, along with the areas currently occupied by the Mad T Party, will be utilized as part of the upcoming Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival.
In Downtown Disney, Disney recently announced a second Starbucks Coffee location will open later this year the space next to the Disney Vacation Club sales center.
Enjoy retro fun just steps away from Disneyland at
Howard Johnson Hotel & Water Playground
A short walk from the park, HoJo Anaheim is conveniently located next to Matterhorn Mountain at Disneyland with nearby dining, freeway access, FREE parking and FREE Wi-Fi. For more information on HoJo Anaheim, room rates, or to book your stay today, visit HoJoAnaheim.com/MiceChat
Save with MiceChat & Passholder Discounts Every Day!
The HoJo Anaheim is now offering daily discounts for MiceChat members and even DEEPER discounts for Disneyland Resort Annual Passholders! For more information visit the HoJo Anaheim Innsider Boards which features an up-to-date listing of available nights, or call (714) 776-6120 and ask for In-House Reservations to book. If your date isn’t listed, the HoJo Anaheim still offers rooms for 20% off their best available rate if you call (714) 776-6120.
|Weekly News & Information Round-Up|
|Weekly Theme Park Hours
March 7-13, 2016
|Disneyland Park||California Adventure|
|Mon.-Thu.: 9 am – 10 pm
Fri.-Sun.: 8 am – 12 am
|Mon.-Thu.: 9 am – 8 pm
Fri.-Sun.: 8 am – 10 pm
visit the Disneyland.com Theme Park Calendar
The free Mouseaddict app for iPhone and iPad features more than five dozen categories of searchable resort information, weather forecasts, park and show schedules, the latest news and articles from MiceChat, and more. Download free on the App Store or at mouseaddict.com.
A quick look at noteworthy Disney theme park headlines from around the web.
|OK — That wraps up this week’s edition of Dateline Disneyland. Did you get a chance to ride Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters over the weekend? Did you enjoy your spin or were you underwhelmed? Let us know in the comments section below!
Before we say goodbye, a quick programming note: Dateline Disneyland will be on a vacation break next week but we’ll be back the following week! Stay tuned!
Special thanks to our Dateline Disneylanders!
Mark D., Bruno, Casey, Hastin Z.!
To help support Dateline Disneyland and get some fun swag in return, visit our Patreon page now!
Don’t miss our sister blog, Dateline Disney World – a fantastic weekly photo blog covering Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida!
Thanks for reading. See you at Disneyland!
|FTC-Mandated Disclosure: Promotional consideration for this edition of Dateline Disneyland was provided by the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel & Water Playground.|