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How to fly Luigi's Flying Tires

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Published: June 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Of all the new attractions in Disney California Adventure, Luigi's Flying Tires holds the most re-ride appeal for me. Why? Not only is every ride different on Luigi's, it's one of those rare and welcomed attractions where your input makes the difference in your enjoyment of the ride.

Luigi's Flying Tires

Luigi's Flying Tires rewards you for paying attention back in your math and physics classes. The tires themselves float on a cushion of air, like a puck on an air hockey table. But it's up to you to make the tires move around the platform. Take a look at this video:

For the TL;DW (too long; didn't watch) crowd: As you lean to one side, you're tilting the tire, changing the angle of the underside of the tire relative to the platform. That changes the angle at which the air coming up from the platform is hitting the underside of the tire, pushing the tire to one side. That is what moves your tire around the platform.

The trouble is, if you lean too far to the side, the edge of your tire will hit the platform and the friction between the tire edge and the platform will bring you to a stop. So you've got to find a balance that gives you a push without scraping an edge and slowing to a halt.

It's easier for beginners to get the feel for the ride if you go alone. But if you're in a group, breaking up is going to reduce the ride's hourly capacity and blow up the line - so at least try to get everyone in your group to work together when you ride. Select a leader who'll make the decisions when to shift direction, and try to steer your tire in a circle for a moment so everyone can get a feel for the ride when you start.

That's Tire Flying 101. Now let's move on to more advanced flying technique!

Remember momentum. If you keep leaning in one direction, your momentum will build, moving you faster across the platform. If you need to change direction, try to do so gradually, so you don't scrub off your speed with a sudden change in direction.

Watch for traffic. The last thing you want to happen is to get boxed in by a bunch of other tires. Look for open spaces on the platform and aim for them.

Use traffic to your advantage. This is the really cool part of the ride. If you remember force vectors, here's your chance to test that in a theme park. Look for tires going in your general direction, and try to glance off them to get a get a momentum boost. If you're really good, you might even be able to get your tire to start spinning when you do. Be careful, though. If you hit the angle wrong, you'll lose your speed.

As crowds settle down in Cars Land this summer, I recommend going to get a Radiator Springs Racers Fastpass first thing when you arrive in the park at opening. Then go make Luigi's your first ride in the morning, as it doesn't have Fastpass and a low hourly capacity will result in some pretty long waits later in the day. Keep riding Luigi's until the line backs up over 15 minutes or so, then move on to Racers, or wherever else you'd like to do in the park. But take a moment to think about the physics before giving Luigi's a try. If you know what you're doing, Luigi's Flying Tires can be one of the more unique and delightful ride experiences you've ever had in a theme park.

Readers' Opinions

From Mia McDaniel on June 19, 2012 at 11:43 AM
When I visited DCA this weekend, the wait for this ride was 2 hours!! We went around the back to actually WATCH the ride before standing in line. It was awful. The tires hardly move AT ALL- everyone was confused about how to make the tire move- the purpose of the giant beachballs was unclear. The ride was less than a minute and literally- NOTHING happened. That is going to go down as the worst disney attraction ever invented unless they go back to the drawing board.
From Brandon Mendoza on June 19, 2012 at 1:07 PM
I have to disagree that this is a bad attraction. People just need to learn how to drive the tire. It's not that difficult once you figure out what you're doing. Unfortunately, not everyone will listen to what Robert says or what other people say. If you understand physics/ air hockey then it becomes easy. However, I've noticed that people that don't go anywhere think you just lean in one direction and you'll automatically go there. Instant gratification is what so many people want.

If you want the worst attraction, it may be Superstar Limo.

From Dominick D on June 19, 2012 at 2:23 PM
Thanks Robert! I'll use these tips if I go next spring!
From Stevo B on June 19, 2012 at 5:21 PM
Two plus hours waiting for a less-than-a-minute ride, seriously. DCA will be an all day adventure all right, waiting in lines will eat up your day.
From N B on June 19, 2012 at 5:45 PM
I find it hard to believe this ride is less than one minute... off to YouTube to find out. I will agree a two hour wait for a very short ride has to be frustrating.

Cars Land is the new Potter... a lot of frustrated guests a long wait times until the excitement wears off a bit.

Search results: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDNT-UmvuLA

John Lasseter seemed to be moving pretty quickly on his test run, as you can see from the video.

From Eric G on June 20, 2012 at 1:28 PM
The criticism is not exactly fair. You can clearly see what you get in advance of getting in line. If you choose to wait two hours then that is your choice. Don't make it seem like you got cheated when the cards are face up on the table. I've ridden several times and it is more than a one-minute ride experience. It doesn't last long, but it is probably a two-minute ride cycle.

The single biggest issue in my opinion is the separate loading-unloading area for disabled. It is very problematic since it requires them to restart the ride and then direct the tire into this special area. This takes a considerable amount of time. I would not have included this if it were my attraction and if it were required I would've killed the entire project.

I love the separate load-unload areas on tracked rides. It works great and results in no inconvenience for the rest of the riding folks. In this case it is a disaster.

Anyone going to Cars Land right now and expecting anything less than long lines and big crowds is obviously living in false sense of reality.

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