October 27, 2012

Autopia: Treasured Classic or Waste of Space?

Autopia Disneyland Tomorrowland ride car space tear down drive
Autopia takes up soooooo much room, yet it shares the real estate with the Monorail above and the Submarine show building beneath. One casual glance around while riding, however, says it all; this is prime future E-ticket space.

Truth is, I'd hate to see Autopia demolished. It's one of the best miniature car rides on Earth. To youngsters, it's a real adventure and a family tradition. I'm sure many present-day adults experienced this familiar chain of events:


Stage 1: You start by riding Autopia (or Tomorrowland Speedway at WDW) as a passenger with a parent. Once underway,  you're invited to reach over and handle the wheel -- and send the car banging against the center rail over and over again.

Autopia Disneyland Tomorrowland ride car space tear down drive
Stage 2: You can sort of reach the gas pedal, and take your role as driver for the first time....but your foot quickly tires and your guardian, without a word of complaint, reaches their own foot over to provide the power while you steer.

Stage 3: You're old enough to complete the entire ride with your guardian nodding approval as you slip farther and farther down in the seat, determined to keep that darn pedal pressed down.

Stage 4: Your first solo drive! Your parent or older sibling is now in the car behind you, shouting encouragement. You're heart's actually racing, and you'll have an odd flashback to this moment when you turn 16 and take your driver's test. Halfway through, you suddenly realize that, yeah, you're doing this and you're going to finish it just fine. A wave of satisfaction sweeps over you. At the finish, you accidentally ram the car in front of you, but no one minds.
Autopia Disneyland Tomorrowland ride car space tear down drive
Close enough to read the license plate. KFC?
In a perfect world, I'd like to see several great new attractions built on Autopia's sprawling spot, with a Cars Land Autopia opening simultaneously over in DCA (there's still room over there). Disneyland needs the space, but the next generation of kids shouldn't miss out on this wonderful tradition.


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