Yesterland

Tuck and Roll’s
Drive ’Em Buggies


Flik’s Fun Fair at “a bug’s land”
Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Don’t call them bumper cars. They’re not cars. They’re bugs. Pill bugs, to be more precise. Hungarian pill bugs.

Their names are Tuck and Roll. You can tell them apart by their eyebrows. Tuck has a unibrow, while Roll has two separate eyebrows. You might remember them from the movie a bug’s life. They worked as Armadillidiidae cannonballs at P.T. Flea’s Circus.


There’s a another reason you might not want to call them bumper cars. Real bumper cars are known for their jarring collisions. In comparison, these bumper bugs are quite tame.

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Under the umbrella “big top”

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Smiling Armadillidiidae sign

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Warning!

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Roll and his silly grin

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2015

Tuck and his unibrow

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Family fun

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Pill bug traffic jam

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Chris Bales, 2005

Directional crayon

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Two Tucks colliding

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2006

Spectators

Each buggy has two gas pedals. That’s useful because there are often two drivers—an adult and a child— and only one of them is tall enough to reach the pedal.

During the ride, Tuck and Roll talk to you. Don’t worry if you can’t understand them. They’re speaking faux-Hungarian gibberish.


Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies opened at Disney’s California Adventure (now Disney California Adventure) on October 7, 2002. It was one of four rides and a water play area that comprised Flik’s Fun Fair, based on the Disney-Pixar animated feature a bug’s life (1998).

When Flik’s Fun Fair opened, the Internet was rife with complaints about the “off-the-shelf rides,” but it was not a fair criticism. Although the mechanisms were manufactured by established ride manufacturers, the many clever details were unique to Disney-Pixar.

The Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies ride was manufactured by Majestic Manufacturing Inc. of New Waterford, Ohio. Majestic makes a wide variety of body styles for theme parks, amusement parks, and carnivals around the world—but, not surprisingly, the Tuck and Roll bodies were never anywhere but at Disney California Adventure.

Another criticism was that the rides of Flik’s Fun Fair were aimed entirely at children—even though Walt Disney had described how sitting on a park bench while his daughters rode Los Angeles’ Griffith Park Carousel had inspired him: “I felt there should be something built… some kind of an amusement enterprise… where the parents and the children could have fun together.”

While it’s true that Flik’s rides were for children, adults could ride with their children—or even without children—and still enjoy the details.

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2016

Traditional Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars at Knott’s Berry Farm

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2013

Alternating metal strips to provide electricity to the “bugs”

Traditional bumper cars get their power from a metal ceiling grid and metal floor. That’s why each car has a pole to the ceiling. Conductive brushes under each car complete the circuit, powering an electric motor. This is called Over Head System (OHS).

The “buggies” of Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies were powered through a newer method, Floor Pick-Up (FPU). As the name suggests, all power came from the floor. Alternating strips of metal, separated by insulating spacers, provided the two electric polarities. FPU allowed the ride to be under the high “umbrella” without a ceiling grid.

Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies at Disney California Adventure

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! looming over Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror loomed over Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies for most of its existence. The 2017 transformation of the tower into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! portended the end of the bumping buggies.

After a run of almost 16 years, Flik’s Fun Fair closed permanently September 4, 2018, to make way for a Marvel-themed land. And that was the end of Tuck and Roll’s Drive ’Em Buggies.


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Updated June 7, 2019.