We hadn’t heard all that much about Luigi’s Rollikin’ Roadsters when it replaced Luigi’s Flying Tires in DCA’s Cars Land. It would be more fresh that way—not to mention, less biased. So, we didn’t know what to really expect when we rounded the corner of Luigi’s Casa della Tires.
The cars were cute. Really cute: little sherbet-colored Italian convertibles ready to motor along the Riviera in the 1950s. A very different look and feel from the inflated discs on steroids with people leaning and craning to navigate themselves in any direction and particularly into each other.
Next thing we know, music and song fill the air and the cars begin to move—to the music. The riders aren’t actually doing anything, we observe. There’s beeping of horns as the cars glide, spin and pass each other in a whacky and zany interchange, never actually colliding. Yet the riders aren’t actually doing anything!
All the while, we’re standing agape and mesmerized by the cars performing a lively dance to the lively Italian song as the captive riders go along for the ride. It’s always hard to discern people’s reactions as they pour from a ride, but we were entertained!
We walked away smiling if not laughing (there was definite chortling) as we tried to imagine the experience that we weren’t going to get a chance to try until the line got shorter.
We were in the right place: Car’s Land, and at the right time: Late October. We fell in line behind a couple with their young daughter just as the man was realizing what the ride really was. “Guess they don’t want people bumping into each other,” he exclaimed, and we all laughed, appreciating the attraction’s former incarnation as a people-sized air hockey table.
The couple and their daughter was in the group ahead of us, and as they stood waiting for their turn the music began to play: “Hey, mambo, mambo Italiano…” And the mother began to dance, part forgetting herself and then enticing her daughter to join in, teaching her little moves they could do together as Dad smiled and clapped. We, too, smiled and clapped, happy to see a family being happy together.
Everyone looked like they were having a good time, but we would know for ourselves soon enough.
We nabbed the bright blue car and immediately noticed the absence of a steering wheel—on either side—and the lack of any controls altogether, hence the inability even to beep. The seatbelt pulled all the way across, which made for a cozy situation, and soon the music began to play and our little roadster began to glide.
In the golden afternoon light our cars were shiny and bright as we swung and spun in time to the beat: “Eh Cumpari, ci vo sunari Chi si sona? U friscalettu…” There was controlled mayhem, much like the roads of Italia, and then, all of a sudden, we all came to a stop. Is it over? Already? No, it was just time to end the free-for-all and all get in alignment. For the final chorus our cars danced in chorus, a final celebration Italiano style with all of us passengers happy to play our parts.
We waved goodbye to our little blue car and headed for the gate, our shadows leading the way and our glee in tow. We knew we were in for a unique experience, and unique it was. Our arms wrapped around each other as we meandered past the Cozy Cone Motel. “Well, that was sure different,” Amy finally voiced.
“Just as we’d expected.” We kept smiling.
“Fun.” We agreed, marveling at the strangely absurd nature of the ride that manages to unify a group of strangers without things ever getting too intimate and awkward. Like a line dance at a wedding: everyone always has a good time and nobody ever looks stupid. In the end, everyone walks away happy and liking everyone.
It would be cocktail hour soon and we were headed towards toasting a uniquely perfect day.