8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Autopia Ride


Autopia is one of the attractions at Disneyland Park. Known for its specially-designed cars, the ride allows you to drive through a race car track, which runs through Tomorrowland.

For kids, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity where they can sit behind the wheel. Outside of Anaheim, the attraction also exists in the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Paris—albeit under different names.

On this page, we’ll be going over 6 different things that you might not have known about Autopia.

1. Autopia is One of the Original Rides at Disneyland Park

Autopia is one of the attractions that opened with Disneyland Park in 1955. A representation of what the future would look like with multilane highways—which were still in development at the time—the ride quickly became popular among park-goers. E

ven Frank Sinatra himself rode on the ride on the first day!

2. The Cars Originally had no Bumpers

Disney mechanics testing the Autopia cars in 1955 (Photo courtesy County of Orange).

When Imagineers were still working on Autopia, the cars had no bumpers. As a result, the test drivers nearly destroyed all of the vehicles (and who can blame them?).  

With that, they eventually fitted the vehicles with basic bumpers—however, there were still many collisions. In the end, it wasn’t until they equipped the cars with spring-loaded bumpers that the number of crashes started to go down.

3. The Ride was Given a Makeover in 2000

A picture of the different Autopia vehicles.

In 2000, the Autopia ride in Disneyland was given a makeover—courtesy of Chevron. Not only were the tracks swapped for something newer and bigger, but the vehicles were replaced as well.

Other changes included new visual show elements, a pre-show area that featured animated dioramas, and new background music.

When the sponsorship ended in 2012, Chevron did not renew. As a result, many of their logos—which had been scattered throughout the ride—were removed.

4. The Autopia Ride in Tokyo Closed in 2017

Autopia existed as Grand Circuit Raceway in Tokyo Disneyland.

For many years, Tokyo Disneyland had a version of the ride called the Grand Circuit Raceway. Opened in 1983, it bore many similarities to the original in that it featured gas-powered cars on an enclosed track.

In 2017, however, the attraction was permanently closed to make room for a Beauty and the Beast themed area, which is to be finished by Spring 2020.

5. One of the Rides was Donated to Walt’s Hometown

In 1957, an attraction called Midget Autopia—a smaller version of the ride—opened in Fantasyland. It didn’t last long though; it was eventually dismantled in 1966 to make room for It’s a Small World.

Following that, the ride in its entirety was donated to Walt’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri, where it became a part of Walt Disney Municipal Park.

Due to a lack of available parts for the cars, however, the ride closed down in 1977.

6. The Track has been Shortened Significantly in Magic Kingdom

The Autopia ride at Magic Kingdom has been shortened considerably since the early ’70s.

When Autopia first opened in the Magic Kingdom, the track stretched over 3,100 feet. With the construction of Space Mountain 1974, however, its length was reduced to 2,700 feet.

From there, an even larger section was taken out to accommodate for Mickey’s Toontown Fair in 1987; this left a total of 2,200 feet.

Over two decades later, the final curve was shortened by another 70 feet to make room for Dumbo the Flying Elephant. As a result, Autopia has lost more than 30% of its original length since its opening in 1971.

7. There Hasn’t Been Any Major Accidents

Unlike some of the other attractions, Autopia has not seen any major accidents. The only noteworthy case happened in 2003 when a four-year-old boy suffered minor injuries after falling in front of one of the slow-moving vehicles.

Allegedly, he had been running on the upper platform, when he slipped and fell.

8. The One in Hong Kong Featured Electric Cars

In 2006, Autopia opened in Hong Kong Disneyland, as part of their phase one expansion. As opposed to the other versions—all of which utilized gas-powered vehicles—their variant featured electric cars that were sponsored by Honda.

Like several of the other Autopia rides, however, the attraction was eventually closed in 2016 to make room for a Marvel ride.

Are You a Fan of the Autopia Ride?

Perhaps you’ve ridden on the Autopia ride before? What was your favorite part about the attraction? Let us know in the comments below!


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