Let's Ride on the New Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters at Disneyland

March 4, 2016, 5:41 PM · Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters opened to Disneyland Resort annual passholders today, allowing them a preview look at Disney's first trackless ride in the United States.

The ride, which replaces Luigi's Flying Tires, officially opens to the public on Monday. But anyone can stop by and watch these cartoon Italian roadsters "dance" around Luigi's backyard. And, given the excessive wait times for any new Disney attraction, that might be the best way to experience Luigi's right now. Heck, that just might be the best way to appreciate this attraction when the wait times come down to normal, too.

Disney's next-generation trackless ride technology opens up fresh narrative possibilities by allowing vehicles to move and interact in ways that were not possible on traditionally tracked rides. Starting with Pooh's Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland and continuing through Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor and Walt Disney Studios Paris' Ratatouille ride, trackless systems have allowed riders to explore classic tales in unique new ways.

Here in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, Disney's placed these trackless vehicles outside - with no dark ride narrative, as found on those other attractions. Instead, Luigi's cousins, visiting from Carsoli, are dancing around the backyard of Luigi's Casa Della Tires. They'll let you climb aboard for a ride, but the real joy is watching the entire field of cars as they swerve and spin around one another, eventually driving into formation for a line dance. Ever since Cars Land opened, we could watch cars dancing around each other — up the road at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. That's nothing new. But seeing dozens of cars break out of their circles and into sharp lines, moving back and forth, then side to side, in perfect synchronization? That's new... and impressive.

Unfortunately, you miss that impressive sight when you're riding aboard the cars. Sure, it's fun to be out there spinning around, but without a vantage point at the edge of the action (which comes too rarely when on the ride), you feel like you're just riding another spinner. It's fun, but just not as impressive as it should be, or is from the sidelines.

Here's a look at Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters, from the front, back, and on the ride itself.

But, hey, at least these cars drive themselves, without forcing you to learn how to contort from side to side to get them moving, as was the case on the Flying Tires. For most fans, that's enough of an upgrade to make Luigi's a must on a Cars Land visit again.

Rate and Review:

Replies (24)

March 4, 2016 at 6:44 PM · Looks like a pleasant diversion. Certainly a few car lengths better than what was there before.
March 4, 2016 at 6:44 PM · Like Mr. Niles said, It looks better when offride. I couldn't make heads or tails of what those cars were doing with the POV. I don't know why, but it dosn't seem have the same fun factor as Auquatopia.
March 4, 2016 at 6:49 PM · Looks like a bad ride replaced a really bad ride.
March 4, 2016 at 8:10 PM · I'm wondering how well this is going to work in inclement weather. I'm sure even a drizzle would necessitate a closure and how long before they'd let vehicles run again?
March 4, 2016 at 8:16 PM · Seems like so many missed opportunities here. I'm not sure why they didn't put a steering wheel in the car. I know it wouldn't do anything, but at least it would give you something to hold onto instead of just sitting there with nothing to do until the ride ends.

Or maybe a horn and a way to flash the lights or maybe some windshield wipers to to spray the other cars while they dance nearby. Or maybe some indicators on the dashboard synchronized to the dance and you could get points if you turned the steering wheel in the right direction as it happened.

It does look really cute and I look forward to watching it in person some day, but I have yet to see a video of someone on the ride that seems to be having a good time.

March 4, 2016 at 10:40 PM · I will admit that the end product does look more like a proof of concept for the trackless system than a fully developed ride, but for a family friendly C ticket it seems that it would fit the bill. I heard the wait today was 90 minutes and there is no way any flat ride is ever going to be worth that kind of wait, but this does look like it might be pretty fun once the waits get to 15 minutes or so. I was going to go check it out next week, but due to weather and wait times I'm thinking I may wait until mid/late April instead when lines will hopefully be a little more reasonable.
March 4, 2016 at 11:26 PM · I don't think weather would affect track less rides. If so, then it might have been a terrible idea for Reign of Kong.
March 4, 2016 at 11:28 PM · So the ride is fun, and good to look at while in the queue. Not a bad package deal.
March 5, 2016 at 12:47 AM · We are a Disney family and was looking forward to this new ride. However, it was disappointing. 75 minute wait for a ride that was more fun to watch than ride. It seems they'll face the same wait time problem as they did with the tire ride that didn't move. Wish they' would have been a little more creative. They didnt change anything but the little cars. I have a 3 year old and it didn't interest her.
March 5, 2016 at 4:04 AM · Even if the trackless system does work in rain it will not be very enjoyable sitting in an open top car in the rain, maybe they should have had removable roofs for rainy days, or at least give you an umbrella. As for reign of kong it is my understanding that the ride can bypass the outdoor section during bad weather, not sure if that is because of the trackless system or because guests will not want to be outside in the rain.
March 5, 2016 at 7:24 AM · Am I the only one bothered that the cars slide sideways when the tires point straight ahead? Makes the movement sent unnatural.
March 5, 2016 at 8:55 AM · I feel like one of the problems with this ride is that the motions are too mild. On Ratatouille at DLP, the movements were sudden, which really made it an exciting ride
March 5, 2016 at 1:51 PM · I don't I understand what the problem wraitg the old ride. I thought it was unique and different and very enjoyable. I guess the problem was it relied on the rider to make the ride enjoyable. And we'll people don't listen.
March 5, 2016 at 4:23 PM · Simonjohn74 - Criticizing the ride because it won't be enjoyable in the rain is ridiculous!

It's a well known fact that rain is not a common occurrence in Southern California. There are far more sunny days than rainy ones and for a large portion of the year rain does not fall. Are you aware that Southern California is a desert climate?

Second, there are a dozen or more other rides and attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure which are impacted by the weather, yet it doesn't seem to be a real concern among guests or management.

The fact is the park isn't short of attractions and things to enjoy on a rainy day. And many guests dotting their yellow Mickey Mouse ponchos will still ride a ride like this in the rain.

March 5, 2016 at 4:51 PM · Just another way that WDC is forcing TDA to spend unnecessary money on turning a horrible ride into a really bad ride. Amidst the budget cuts that are plaguing the resorts, the money that was spent on creating this ride, which will probably never have more than a 10 minute wait, could have been used to fix up Splash Mountain or Indiana Jones. Instead, WDC forced TDA to spend millions of dollars fixing up a ride that will never be that popular or successful. The only nice thing about this ride is the queue. Complete waste of money.
March 6, 2016 at 12:44 AM · Disneyobsession, maybe you should judge it AFTER riding it, not before...
Personally, I think it's admirable that DLR invested the time and money to replace an unpopular attraction. Now if only WDW took the same attitude with Stitch's Great Escape.
March 6, 2016 at 2:32 PM · I liked the old one and the cars-ride at DLP more. Have they been the same? It was fun when they nearly crashed together - just cm's apart. This here looks like a not themed parc ride - not like a Disney ride!
March 6, 2016 at 4:33 PM · @Disneyobsession, what does TDA stand for?
March 6, 2016 at 8:55 PM · This seems like a miss to me. While it's great to see the trackless system, the attraction is too similar in action/feel to Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. It would have been better if they had stayed with the tire theme and sped it up a bit. It just looks so slooooooooow.
March 7, 2016 at 8:34 AM · I think if you have younger kids the ride looks great. My 3 year old would go bonkers for this. Of course there isn't much excitement for us adults. I think this is a good ride for cars land. Considering it is based off of a PG movie.
March 7, 2016 at 9:39 AM · Disneyobsession There are no budget cuts plaguing the Disneyland Resort. You've posted this rant on more than one occasion and yet there is zero evidence of cuts that are impacting the guest experience. Clearly you've already forgotten or failed to notice that Indiana Jones received some significant upgrades in the past two years.

Lastly, you shouldn't use absolute terms like "never", since your claim that Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters will never have more than 10 minute wait is already untrue.

March 7, 2016 at 3:53 PM · I rode this & thought it was fun & simple. It isn't a park (or even land) defining attraction, but it's not meant to be.

I enjoyed it more than the flying tires (which I didn't think were horrible)

There were a ton of smiles while people were riding. People were doing various versions of the "hands in the air" bit at the end, lol

March 7, 2016 at 10:24 PM · This seems like a fancier version of Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.

I am interested in this trackless ride theory. However, isn't Tower of Terror and the Great Movie Ride also trackless?

March 8, 2016 at 12:28 PM · Universe of Energy and Great Movie Ride are not considered trackless rides since there is a hidden track, a wire in the floor beneath the vehicles that guides them through the attraction. Like a train they can't change directions or easily move about within a given area.

The RFID technology used in Tower of Terror for the 5th dimension is quite a bit more advanced than the wire in the floor method, but again it keeps the ride vehicles essentially on a given route following the radio frequency.

Pooh's Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland was considered the first true trackless ride system. It uses electronic sensors embedded in the floor and a Local Positioning System that is connected to a master computer that monitors and controls the vehicles on the ride. It randomly decides the paths the vehicles will take, making decisions in fractions of a second and communicating the decisions to the vehicles via wireless technology.

The real difference is there is no wire or radio frequency devices in in the floor that are being followed. Also, the experience is very different since multiple vehicles can be in a given area and interact with each other in ways that track would prevent from happening. The props, doors, walls, and other vehicles are the only limiting factors of where a vehicle can drive so long as they remain on the electric sensors embedded in the floor. Basically, they can drive anywhere, any direction and steer any which way within the restricted footprint.

That's what makes this truly trackless. Following a route via wire or sensor is not trackless.

I think one of the flaws of Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters is the fact that the vehicles neatly line up in symmetrical ways for much of the ride, thus giving the impression that they're on a track and wiping away the trackless magic.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive