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Creating Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters at Disney’s California Adventure Park

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

Photo courtesy of Disney

We all shed a tear when having to say ‘Arrivederci’ to Luigi’s Flying Tires, but Disney’s California Adventure Park is going to be rockin’ starting March 7th with the debut of the all-new attraction, Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. We got a unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes earlier this week to take the new ride for a test spin, and talk with Kevin Rafferty, from Walt Disney Imagineering, about the creation of the all-new ride.

Casa de Luigi's Tires

“This has been such a joy for me because I worked on the original Cars Land. It’s wonderful to be back here in Cars Land.” Kevin Rafferty

It’s race day in Radiator Springs. Sally has set-up her cozy cone for snacks for the racers, and Luigi wanted to do something very festive, colorful, and fun. He invited his cousins from Carsoli, Italy to perform traditional Italian village dances for the guests on race day. They are anxious to dance, and some of them are so excited that they didn’t unpack, and their suitcases are still on the racks.

When Luigi was getting on the boat back to America from Italy, he was sad to leave his family behind. The theme song from the attraction is about the promise that they made to one day come dance for him in Radiator Springs, and today they are here.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters with guest

Photo courtesy of Disney

The cousins love music, and they love dancing. They are the show, and guests get to ride along and dance with them. One of the newest additions is the invention of the Danza tire. “The Danza tire is music to your ears,” said Rafferty. When Luigi’s cousins arrived, his gift to them was a brand-new set of Danza tires. To pay tribute to their hometown of Carsoli, Luigi put a ‘visit Carsoli’ poster on the wall of his tire shop.

In the tire shop are display cabinets that tell a different aspect of Luigi’s life. One is about his hometown in Italy, one is on Route 66, and one is about racing and his world tour.

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters Sign

When creating the attraction, they invented the Frizzante Car Company. Frizzante in Italian means bubbly or excited. There were only twenty cars that the Frizzante Car Company manufactured, and the cousins are all proudly wearing their Frizzante badges. The designs were inspired by the Italian microcars of the late 50’s, and some of the colors of the cars were inspired by gelato colors. Micro cars of the late 50’s were rear-engine vehicles, and so are the cousins. The male cousins have a metal grill mustache, they all have different eyes, personalities, names, and characters. All the cars have real car parts. They feature real chrome, headlights, taillights, tires, and wheels.

Cars Land Flowers

“It is just as much fun to watch as it is to ride.” Kevin Rafferty

The magical part of the attraction is at the end when they all come together for the “ta-da” moment. The ending of the ride was inspired by the sister of Rafferty, who was a dancer at the Golden Horseshoe, and a Radio City Rockette. “What I marveled about the Rockettes, was as wonderful as they were on stage, is that human beings can come together in that perfectly synchronized dance line and do that kick thing. Just like the Rockettes do in that final dance move, there’s a little bit of magic that happens here,” said Rafferty.

the front of Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters

The cousins will greet guests with a smile. During the ride, they each have their own signature move. When guests come back to ride the attraction at a different time, they’ll have a different experience. The cousins honk along with the songs, and Veto is the one with the wonky horn. “Veto is named after my Grandfather Veto, who came over from Italy, and he had a funny laugh himself,” said Rafferty.

“I love to ride veto because it brings it all back.” Kevin Rafferty

When creating the attraction, the team of twenty Imagineers who worked on the attraction did a lot of research. They watched countless hours of Italian dance videos from all around Italy. Rafferty said, “I came into it with knowledge of my family, but there are moves in there that are inspired by the research we did.”

“If someone comes here from a village in Italy, they are going to say, ‘they are doing the thing.'” Kevin Rafferty

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters guests riding

Photo courtesy of Disney

The personalities of the cousins are not just different in their look and name but also with how they behave when they are dancing. When they are all out there doing their thing they all have their own idiosyncrasies and moves that they do. The cousins are dancing on the first trackless system in the United States. When the operation host and hostesses bring guests to their car, they will say “your dance partner today is….”

“In my 38 years as an Imagineer, I’ve never worked on an attraction where my colleagues have wanted to hug a ride vehicle.” Kevin Rafferty

Your family is invited to meet Luigi’s cousins, and join them for a dance starting on March 7th at Disney’s California Adventure Park.


We attended a preview of the ride as a guest of Disney

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