A Disney Fan

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I was born in 1992 the same year Disneyland Paris was born. I am a true Disney freak, I have collected a room full of Disney Parks memorabilia and I am now studying landscape architecture at Cal Poly SLO, which should come in handy since I want to become an Imagineer. I made this site to share the amazing qualities of The Walt Disney Company for the world's enjoyment.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Autopia


    Autopia is an original Disneyland attraction that opened on July 17, 1955. The attraction is located in Tomorrowland and it was made to show the future of America's freeway system which were just being made at the time Disneyland first opened.
    When the attraction was being made they tried not having bumpers on the cars, but the test drivers soon found out that the shells on the cars would be destroyed if the cars did not have bumpers on them.  The original cars were made in Glendale California and the cars shells were (and still are) made out of fiberglass. The 40 original cars were powered by the Gladden 75 engine that had 7.5 horsepower. The engines were the same as the ones used in the Mustang motorcycle. Also amazingly when the attraction opened it did not have the center guide rail system that we love to hate, but still love anyway. The attraction was made to actually feel like driving a car on a freeway, but to many people were crashing on the course so they installed spring loaded bumpers to the cars and the center guide rail. The attraction has received some major changes in 1967 and in 1999.
    The Autopia in Tomorrowland was not the only Autopia like ride in the park. On Jun 23, 1956 the Junior Autopia opened in Fantasyland where the old Mickey Mouse Club Circus used to be. The cars looked the same as the original Autopia but booster seats and blocks on the pedals were added so that younger kids could drive them. The attraction later closed on September 15, 1958 because they had to make room for the Matterhorn bobsleds and the Monorail. The attraction was changed and later reopened back up again on January 1, 1959 as the expanded Fantasyland Autopia. The Fantasyland Autopia was across the way from the Matterhorn and it was almost identical to the Tomorrowland Autopia having two tracks and a double sided boarding area with senic routes, going over bridges and cloverleafs. At times the Fanastyland Autopia and the Tomorrowland Autopia came together to make Tomorrowland's four-lane superhighway.
Below is a picture of Fantasyland Autopia.
     In 1991 the Fantasyland Autopia was converted to the Rescue Rangers Raceway because of the Disney's Afternoon Avenue makeover in Fantasyland. The attraction changed back into the the Fantasyland Autopia when the promotion ended in 1992. The Fantasyland Autopia remained mostly open until 1999 when both the Tomorrowland and Fantasyland Autopias closed. In 2000 the two Autopias merged to become on gigantic Autopia presented by Chevron in Tomorrowland with a whole new selection of cars.

     But wait there's more! If you were still to short to drive Tomorrowland's Autopia  and the  Junior/Fantasyland Autopia then you could ride the Midget Autopia. The Midget Autopia opened on April 23, 1957 and was next to the Storybook Land Canal Boats in Fantasyland. The Midget Autopia was unique compared to the other Autopias because instead of the person behind the wheel being the driver it used the same ride system that we can find in Mr. Toad's Wild ride. This was the third and the smallest of the Autopias in Disneyland and the ride would go through barns and other farm like themed areas. The attraction closed on April of 1966 to make room for the pathway that leads to "it's a small world". The Midget Autopia did not get destroyed however, but instead Walt Disney donated the ride to his hometown of Marceline, Missouri were it operated for a couple years but had to be closed down because of high maintenance cost. You can still find one of the cars inside the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, but if you can not travel to Missouri don't worry because you can still see one of the Midget Autopia cars painted to look like a statue on Autopia in Disneyland.
Below are pictures of where the Midget Autopia used to be located in Marceline, MO. You can still see where the track, tunnel, and queue were.
Here is one of the Midget Autopia cars in the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.
Also below is a actual Midget Autopia car still located in Disneyland on Tomorrowland's Autopia.

Below is a video of Autopia.

Tomorrowland Speedway

     Every Disneyland style theme park has a version of the original Autopia. In the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort there version is called the Tomorrowland Speedway. When the Magic Kingdom first opened in 1971 the attraction was called the Grand Prix Raceway, and instead of it being themed as the roadways of the future it was themed as a international car race. The Grand Prix Raceway was located on the north end of Tomorrowland and was sponsored by Goodyear which supplied all of the tires for the Mark VII vehicles. 
 
     The attraction received a expansion in 1973, but in the late 1980's part of the track was shortened to make room for Mickey's Birthdayland. In 1994 the attraction got remodeled with the rest of Tomorrowland, and the named changed to Tomorrowland Indy Speedway but the track and the vehicles remained the same. On December 20, 1999, the Walt Disney Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway cam together to change the theme of the track. The ride was changed to add items from the famous Speedway, such as the famous Yard of Bricks, the Scoring Pylon, Gasoline Alley and the wheel and wing logo. The loading area featured panels with the three Indy events: the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and the United States Grad Prix. In 2008 the name of the attraction changed again to the Tomorrowland Speedaway, but the ride remained unchanged.

Below is a video of the Tomorrowland Speedway.

Grand Circuit Raceway

     Tokyo Disneyland's is called the Grand Circuit Raceway and it opened with the park in 1983 in Tomorrowland.  The attraction is sponsored by Bridgestone and has remained mostly untouched since the park opened. The Grand Circuit Raceway is like the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland Raceway, the attraction has multiple racing tracks and it is a large figure eight type course.

Below is a video of the Grand Circuit Raceway.



Disneyland Paris's Autopia

     Disneyland Paris's Autopia opened with Euro Disneyland on April 12, 1992. The attraction is located in Discoveryland and it uses the same theming as Disneyland's Autopia. The scenery though is unique to this ride and the cars feature a more rounded toy-like look to them to fit with the 1950's retro theme of the attraction. The ride is about 7-9 minutes long.

Below is a video of the attraction.


Hong Kong Disneyland's Autopia

     The Autopia in Hong Kong is the only Autopia themed attraction that did not open when the park first opened, instead it opened about one year later in the summer of 2006 as part of the park's first expansion in Tommorowland. This Autopia is very different than all of the others because it is all electric instead of gas powered, and it has lights on the cars. Also this is the only Autopia with an on board speaker system. The scenery on the attraction looks more futuristic and alien with lots of jungle plants. Hong Kong Disneyland's Autopia is sponsored by Honda.

Below is a video of the attraction.

5 comments:

  1. I love that you always show the rides as they appear in each park! Have you been to each of these parks?

    Keep the posts coming!

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  2. I have only been to the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort. I have been close to going to the Disneyland Paris Resort but haven't gone yet, and my goal is to go to all of them. Thank you for the support.

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  3. I think that is a great goal. Your blog is doing a great job at getting me excited about visiting the parks outside of the US, too!

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  4. just discovered the Disney museum in Marceline mo. planning on a road trip this year and that will be one of the stops.

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