Luigi’s Flying Tires is closing forever on February 16, 2015. The attraction opened on June 15, 2012. The TouringPlans Math and Science Department has informed me that the length of time between those two dates is 976 days. That big of a number may have seemed like a lot when I was a child, but as an adult I can tell you that it is, in fact, not. How does that rank with other notoriously short lived Disney attractions?
1. Tomorrowland Boats aka Phantom Boats – Disneyland – 331 days*
The Phantom Boats have the honor of being the first attraction removed from Disneyland. This simple ride was made up of small four-person boats in a lagoon (where the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently located) that were motor powered, and unbelievably, controlled by guests without guide rails or cast members. Information is sparse on this particular attraction, which is why there is an asterisk next to the total number of days. The Tomorrowland Boats ran for approximately three weeks in 1955, but then is August of the same year they were renamed to “Phantom Boats.” The attraction was closed again in October, 1955. The Phantom Boats made a short return in the Summer of 1956 but were then retired for good.
2. Superstar Limo – DCA – 337 days
It’s safe to call Superstar Limo Disney’s biggest theme park flop of the modern era. In the concept stage of Disney California Adventure this strange dark ride started life as a roller coaster similar to what we now know as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As budgets were cut the stretch-limo-racing-through-Los-Angeles theme was kept, but changed to a wacky dark ride where you’re a new movie star in town that is trying to avoid the paparazzi. Do yourself a favor and check out a ride through video on YouTube because it’s insane.
3. Discovery River Boats – Animal Kingdom – 487 days
Discovery River Boats was a transportation ride that may have been the victim of bad timing and bad luck, rather than being a bad attraction. When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened there were… not very many rides to experience. Anything that was in the park that could have a line, did have a line, including the Discovery River Boats. Legend has it that guests were waiting in very long lines for the attraction, only to find out that it was a simple transportation ride that took guests from one section of the park to another. This did not sit well guests and the complaints poured in. Disney tried to revamp the ride by bringing small animals on board for a little show and tell but that change was short lived and the boats were closed for good.
4. Journey into Your Imagination – Epcot – 708 days
Epcot originally had a great ride called Journey into Imagination. It was a beloved and wonderful attraction. Also, its mascot, Figment, sold millions of dollars in merchandise each year. But then in 1998 Disney and its sponsor Kodak decided it was time for a change. When the new Journey into YOUR Imagination opened in 1999 the original ride’s main characters Figment and Dreamfinder were removed. Beyond that it was universally hated and a huge flop. The attraction closed again in 2001 to add Figment back in and is still running to this day. To make a long story short the current version of the ride is still awful. It is so bad, and I wish I was making this up, but in one point of the ride a skunk farts in your face.
5. Junior Autopia – Disneyland – 784 days
The Junior Autopia is one of four, yes four, former Autopia attractions at Disneyland (including Fantasyland Autopia, Midget Autopia, and the original Tomorrowland Autopia). Junior Autopia was added in 1956 because the original was very popular, and the Junior version was made to accommodate younger/shorter drivers. The attraction was closed in 1958 to make way for Fantasyland Autopia.
6. The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 700 days
I don’t know of any way to sugarcoat this so I’ll come right out and say it, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow was the worst attraction in Disney’s worst American theme park. Our staff had this to say when the attraction premiered: “For one thing, guests are instructed at various points to chant, roar, and stomp their feet in order to vanquish each threat, as if the entire audience were three-year olds taking part in a Dora the Explorer meets Pirates of the Caribbean episode.” Ouch. I almost didn’t include The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow on this list because it had the look and feel of a temporary attraction. On the plus side, the projection mapping special effects were very impressive, you just had to get through a bad show to see them.
7. Rocket Rods – Disneyland – 858 days*
Some may say it was crazy to replace the slow moving and beloved PeopleMover with a high speed thrill ride, but Disneyland did exactly that in 1998. Rocket Rods were meant to be the centerpiece attraction of Disneyland’s New Tomorrowland but constant breakdowns and technical problems caused Disney to retire the ride after a couple of years. To this day the ride track can still be seen throughout Tomorrowland making it a highly visible failure with no replacement in sight. I used an asterisk again here because near the end of the attraction’s life it was closed but Disney insisted to media that it would reopen some day.
8. Luigi’s Flying Tires – DCA – 976 days
Opinions among Disney fans on the internet for Luigi’s Flying Tires are mixed. Some found fun in bumping other tires, or racing around the tire yard. Others did not like it or found the controls too confusing to give it a second chance. I think it’s safe to say that there was some hype surrounding this attraction when it was first announced. The ride system was based off of Flying Saucers ride from Tomorrowland which had gained a mythical status over the years. Rumors have spread ever since the ride opened in 2012 that guests satisfaction ratings were low. Whatever the problem may be is debatable, but something did not click with park guests. Here at TouringPlans we’ve observed that Luigi’s wait times have plummeted since opening, while other DCA attractions remain consistent. Disney is fixing the problem and will debut a new ride in it’s place in 2016.
9. Sinbad’s Seven Voyages – Tokyo DisneySea – 1823 days
Forgive me if I sound hyperbolic, but Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage is one of the best Disney attractions on the planet. That makes its original version, Sinbad Seven’s Travels, an interesting subject. The scope and scale of the current version of the ride was present in the original, but something was missing and Sinbad Seven’s Travels was a flop. The current version, Sindbad’s Storybook Voyage, is charming, beautiful, has epic soundtrack from Alan Menken, and starts a much friendly and endearing version of the Sindbad character.
10. Flying Saucers – Disneyland – 1826 days
Flying Saucers were basically the same ride as Luigi’s Flying Tires is today, with the exception of having to rely on 1960s technology. Because of this the attraction suffered from frequent downtime. Also like Luigi’s, the Saucers themselves were hard to control. Disney did keep the Flying Saucers open for about 5 years. Like I said before the Flying Saucers had a mythical status among old and young Disneyland fans. I’m curious to see if this still remains after the failure of Luigi’s Flying Tires.