10 Facts and Secrets About Tomorrowland Speedway at Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Tomorrowland Speedway is Disney’s version of not-so-bumper cars. You get to drive your own ride vehicle and have bumpers to help keep you within your own lane to prevent accidents, but you aren’t encouraged to ram and bump into other cars that are ahead of you. These are so much fun and let you take control of your ride experience. Here are ten facts and secrets that you may not know about this attraction:
10 – What’s in a name, right?
The attraction first opened as Grand Prix Raceway. In 1996 it was changed again and was then known as the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway when it first opened. They decided to ditch Indy in the title and change it to Tomorrowland Speedway as we know it today. The name change occurred in 2009.
9 – That are a LOT of race cars on one track.
The total number of race cars for the attraction is up to 146 cars! There are always cars in loading while cars are out driving on the course, so the cars are spread throughout the attraction at any given time. They are actual Autopia Mark VII race cars. Autopia is the racing attraction at Disneyland, and the cars are a modernized version of the technology that was used in the Disneyland Autopia attraction. The rides function mostly in the same manner.
8 – Height restrictions.
Due to the nature of the attraction, the ability to drive the vehicle and operate safely is very important. To protect the younger kids, the height requirements to ride as a passenger are 32 inches tall. They have to be able to be buckled in their own seat using the seat belt. To ride on their own, the person must be at least 54 inches tall. Individuals under 54 inches are allowed to drive, just as long as there is a second passenger that is 54 inches or taller. Be sure to check your heights before you get in line so you don’t spend time waiting if the heights won’t work out!
7 – You won’t be going super-fast!
It might feel just a little bit faster when you are behind the wheel, but these cars don’t go very fast at all. The speed that they top out at is 7.5 mph. If you have a need for speed, then you might satisfy a little bit of your appetite, but it won’t exactly be the Richard Petty experience!
6 – Watch for the checkered flag.
The checkered flag is waved for every single racer as they are finishing the “race”. This is a tradition in real Nascar events and racers get to have a little bit of a taste of being a real racer with a real checkered flag.
5 – It was an opening day attraction.
The attraction, when it was known as Grand Prix Raceway, was part of the attractions lineup the day that the Magic Kingdom opened in October of 1971. The attraction still maintains really long lines day after day, which is extremely impressive for an attraction that has been around for over 50 years! We have a feeling that this one is going to be around for a while.
4 – There have been a few different refurbishments.
The attraction underwent a few different changes that impact the whole look and feel. In 1973 the track was expanded, but in 1987 the track was shortened again in order to allow for extra room for Mickey’s Birthdayland to be created. When the first name change happened in 1996, the attraction was also revamped to fit in better with Tomorrowland in the theme and colors for the updates that were completed to all of Tomorrowland at that time. This has remained the same even after “Indy” was dropped from the name.
3 – Indianapolis Motor Speedway used to be the sponsor.
The sponsorship started with the name change to Tomorrowland Indy Speedway and the refurbishment was complete. Other additions during that refurbishment to include the new sponsorship were famous items from the actual Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Items that were added include: Gasoline Alley, The Scoring Pylon, the “Wheels and Wings” logo, the Yard of Bricks, plus actual panels from the Indy 500, Brickyard 500 and Grand Prix Raceway. Pretty cool, huh? The sponsorship ended in 2009 when the name changed.
2 – Tomorrowland Transit Authority shout out.
When riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority the announcer would give a traffic report as you went over portions of the track. Each time the report would begin the announcer would always say, “Hi there Tomorrowland travelers. This is Mr. Johnson in Skyview Hovercraft One, bringing you the latest Tomorrowland traffic report. As usual, everything is perfect on Tomorrowland’s Super Highways.” This spiel was in place from 1994 until 2009. It was an awesome way to tie the attraction into Tomorrowland as well since it is on the outskirts of the land.
1 – 4/10 mile.
What does that mean? Well, that is actually the length of the track! It seems much longer than that from just looking at it! The track is also 4 lanes, helping to make room for all of those cars making their way through the track all day long.
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