Tomorrowland Speedway has been a popular attraction at Walt Disney World for generations since it arrived with the opening of Magic Kingdom in 1971.
Since then, many parents have reminisced about their days on the track as they watch their own children take their first drive in a gas-powered car.
What Is Tomorrowland Speedway?
Tomorrowland Speedway is an attraction in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, where guests can take a nostalgic drive around the Tomorrowland Speedway race track.
This speedway, originally called Grand Prix Raceway, was an opening day attraction when the Magic Kingdom theme park first opened in 1971 and has changed gradually over the years into the popular attraction we know today.
On December 20, 1999, the park became the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway after a partnership between the Walt Disney Company and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
At that time, Disney designed it to look like the famed Indiana Motor Speedway. The race track included well-known backdrops of the motoring world, including the Scoring Pylon, Gasoline Alley, and the Yard of Bricks.
The Gasoline Alley featured panels with the three Indy events: the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400, and the United States Grand Prix. Today, Disney recognizes it as Tomorrowland Speedway, which came with its retheme in 2008.
Brief History About Tomorrowland Speedway Names
The Tomorrowland Speedway has undergone various name changes throughout its history. The track has been shortened throughout the years to make room for other nearby attractions and expansions of nearby lands.
- October 1971 – Grand Prix Raceway
In October 1971, Disney introduced the Tomorrowland Speedway as the Grand Prix Raceway, offering visitors the chance to experience the thrill of driving miniature gas-powered race cars around a track.
- September 27, 1996 – Tomorrowland Speedway
On September 27, 1996, the Grand Prix Raceway was rebranded as Tomorrowland Speedway, providing guests with an exciting journey through Tomorrowland as they maneuvered their own race cars.
- January 28, 2000 – Tomorrowland Indy Speedway (Inspired From Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
Starting from January 28, 2000, the Tomorrowland Speedway was renamed Tomorrowland Indy Speedway, taking inspiration from the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway and immersing visitors in a high-speed adventure through Tomorrowland.
- 2007 – Tomorrowland Speedway
Since 2007, the attraction has retained the name Tomorrowland Speedway, offering an exhilarating ride for guests of all ages as they navigate a winding track filled with twists and turns in futuristic-themed race cars.
Tomorrowland Speedway Location
Tomorrowland Speedway has been a part of Walt Disney World since day one as an opening-day attraction. You can find the Tomorrowland Speedway located close to Space Mountain, across from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.
What Is The Queue?
When you arrive at Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, you will wait in line, which is referred to as the queue. This line ranges from the entrance to the loading area.
Given the popularity of the attraction, you can generally expect a long line. Luckily, you can see the track from the line and watch the other races as you wait.
The wait can get hot at times. While most of the queue at Tomorrowland Speedway is covered, some of your time in line will be spent in direct sunlight.
In addition, you can smell the gas fumes pretty strongly from the queue. Some racers find that this enhances the experience, while others find it to be one of the downsides of the wait time.
Can You Skip The Line?
You can skip the line at Tomorrowland Speedway if you purchase Genie+, which you can purchase on the day of your park visit.
Genie+ allows you to reserve your ride time for specific rides and come back at that time rather than waiting in line. This way, you can enjoy other attractions such as Space Mountain, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, and so many others.
Furthermore, you can book your first lightning lane pass at 7 AM before the park opens.
What Will You Experience On The Ride?
You will enter the loading area once you reach the front of the line. Here, you will step down into the race car that sits low to the ground.
When they wave the checkered flag, you embark on an exciting and scenic drive along the 0.4-mile race track. You drive a gas-powered race car with a working gas pedal and steering wheel.
As you sit behind the wheel and accelerate around sharp bends and lush foliage, you can spot iconic attractions visible from the track as you zoom past each slow driver and speed down the track to the finish line. An announcer announces the event, and a checkered flag is waved for each racer as they enter the victory circle.
These electric cars reach a top speed of 7.5 miles per hour. The engine governor on these cars allows for safe, maximum speed. It also makes the experience last longer. Kids love these kinds of rides.
Each ride car has shock-absorbent bumpers and belt restraints that go across your lap to ensure a safe and fun ride. In addition, there is a guide rail on the track to help keep racers in their own lane and prevent collisions.
The ride is bumpy, and you may be jolted a little extra if someone suddenly stops in front of you. For some, this adds to the fun of the attraction. Some others find this to be one of the few downfalls of the experience.
Can Kids Drive At Tomorrowland Speedway?
One of the best parts about the attraction is that kids can drive their own cars as long as they meet the height requirements. The height requirement is much more inclusive in comparison to other attractions in the Magic Kingdom theme park.
Children and adults that are at least 54 inches tall can drive one of the race cars at Tomorrowland Speedway without another person present. In addition, children at least 32 inches tall can drive. They just need an adult riding with them that meets the height requirement is present.
If you have a younger child riding alone, it’s a good idea to give them an idea of what to expect. They may also need an idea of how the car will work.
However, those under 32 inches can still ride with an adult and even steer the car if they have an adult to work the pedals for them.
How Many People Can Ride In One Car?
The race cars at Tomorrowland Speedway have seating that is suitable for two adults to ride in each car.
However, these cars have bench seats. In most cases, two adults and one young child can ride if needed.
If you have more than one small child that will need to ride with an adult, you can use the Rider Switch option to avoid waiting in the queue more than once. The rider switch option lets one adult wait in the loading area with the other small children during the ride.
After the first ride, the children can switch out, and the others can take their turn riding with an adult without having to wait in line again. Just note that the same child cannot ride twice using this program.
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Who Shouldn’t Ride At Tomorrowland Speedway?
Some people may need to avoid riding this ride for health and safety reasons. It can be bumpy and can sometimes roughly jolt the passengers from side to side.
For example, expecting mothers and those who have back or neck problems shouldn’t ride this ride. Those with heart problems or high blood pressure should also avoid getting on the track.
You may also want to avoid the Tomorrowland Speedway if you’re prone to motion sickness or are not in good health.
Does Tomorrowland Speedway Have Special Events?
If you visit Tomorrowland Speedway during the Christmas season, you may be able to experience Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. During events like this, they usually give the attraction a holiday overlay to add a festive touch.
During some events, you may also be able to see fireworks from the attraction.