Autopia Attraction signage
Last updated:
4.5

Autopia is a classic Disneyland attraction that has been thrilling guests since opening day in 1955. Located in Tomorrowland, Autopia allows guests to get behind the wheel of their own car and cruise along a winding road through futuristic landscapes. With a rich history and enduring popularity, Autopia is a quintessential Disneyland experience.

Different colored cars on a turn.

Ride Information

Average Wait Times: The wait times for the Autopia ride can vary significantly throughout the day, especially during peak seasons. On average, expect to wait between 20 minutes to 45 minutes, with even longer wait times during exceptionally busy times. It’s advisable to use the Disneyland app or check with a Cast Member for real-time wait information.

Height Requirements: Guests who are at least 54 inches (137 cm) tall may drive their own gas-powered car. Guests who are at least 32 inches (81 cm) tall are also invited to drive, as long as they are accompanied by someone at least 54 inches (137 cm) tall.

Single Rider Option: The Autopia ride does not offer a single rider line. Riders typically board the cars with their group or family members.

Genie+ and Lightning Lane: Genie+ system and Lightning Lane are not available for the Autopia ride at this moment.

Rider Switch Service: The Rider Switch service is available for the Autopia ride. This service allows parents or guardians to take turns riding while the other stays with a child who does not meet the height requirement. Once the first group has completed their ride, they can switch, allowing the other adults to ride without waiting in line again.

DAS (Disability Access Service): Guests with disabilities can utilize the Disability Access Service (DAS) to minimize wait times at the Autopia ride. The DAS allows individuals or groups to schedule return times based on the current wait time.

Location: The Autopia ride is located in Tomorrowland, near the entrance to the land as you pass the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle.

1978 Autopia Sign in black and white

History and Design

Autopia was one of the original attractions when Disneyland first opened its gates in 1955. It was Walt Disney’s vision of the “freeway of the future,” inspired by the new interstate highway system that was just being built across America at the time. The original Autopia featured little sports car-style vehicles designed by Disney legend Bob Gurr, which guests could drive along a single lane winding road. Over the years, Autopia has been updated and expanded. In 2000, the current larger track opened sponsored by Chevron, replacing the original version.

The fanciful sports cars were replaced with Volkswagen Beetle-style cars named Suzy, off-road style cars called Dusty, and Sparky sports cars. The new version also added more immersive theming and landscapes along the route. The architecture and design of Autopia is retro-futuristic, meant to evoke a utopian vision of the future as imagined in the 1950s and 60s.

The little cars have a cartoonish, toy-like appearance with bulbous shapes and bright colors. The road winds through rocky canyons, lush jungles, and an alien planet landscape, under a dark night sky filled with twinkling stars and a moon. The environment creates an otherworldly, fantasy setting for guests to explore in their vehicles.

Opening day 1955 with two actors

Ride Experience & Walkthrough

The Autopia experience begins by choosing a car. The ride has two separate tracks that run parallel – one allows drivers 32 inches and taller, while the other requires drivers be at least 54 inches tall. After selecting a car, guests climb in and take off down the ramp to enter the roadway. Each car is controlled using a steering wheel and gas pedal. Drivers can control the speed of their car from a slow crawl up to about 11 miles per hour at top speed. The road winds back and forth with gentle curves and turns.

Drivers must navigate their way along the route, being careful not to bump into the guide rail or other cars. The experience gives guests the sensation of driving a real car, while remaining safely on a guided track. As drivers make their way along the road, the scenery transforms around them. It begins passing through rocky canyons and tunnels, then emerges into a dense jungle landscape. Next is an alien world with strange rock formations and a crashed spaceship. The environment provides an immersive backdrop for the drive.

The ride lasts approximately three minutes from start to finish depending on how quickly guests drive. The Autopia soundtrack plays throughout the experience, matching the scenery. It begins with upbeat, adventurous music in the canyons then transitions into exotic drums and chants in the jungle. Otherworldly synth music accompanies the alien landscape. The music enhances the theming and creates an engaging atmosphere. After winding through the various landscapes, the road loops back to the start area. Guests exit their vehicles and can pick up a souvenir driver’s license with their photo taken during the ride. Autopia provides a fun, interactive driving experience perfect for kids and adults alike.

Walkthrough:

Queue Experience: As you approach the Autopia ride, you’ll find yourself in a lively and colorful queue area that immediately sets the tone for your upcoming adventure. The queue is adorned with playful road signs, bright colors, and whimsical automotive décor that captures the spirit of an open-road journey. Engage with your fellow travelers and take in the lively atmosphere as anticipation builds.

Boarding the Vehicle: Once you’ve made your way through the queue, it’s time to select your vehicle. Autopia features a variety of car models, each with its own unique design and color scheme. This is where the excitement truly kicks in, especially for younger visitors who get to choose their favorite car.

The Vehicle Controls: As you board your vehicle, you’ll find that Autopia cars are designed with a central steering wheel and a gas pedal. This design ensures that even younger riders can participate in the driving experience, as they don’t need to reach the pedals to enjoy the ride fully.

Starting Your Journey: Once everyone is settled in their vehicles, it’s time to start your adventure. Autopia provides a guided track system that ensures safety while allowing riders to experience the thrill of driving. You’ll find the following elements during your journey:

  • Tunnels: The ride features tunnels that add an exciting element to your journey, creating an atmosphere of exploration as you glide through them.
  • Curves: The track includes curves and bends, giving you a taste of the thrill of navigating a winding road.
  • Scenic Views: Autopia offers beautiful views, including a picturesque pond, that enhance the overall experience, making you feel like you’re truly on a cross-country road trip.
  • Safety Features: Throughout the ride, safety measures are in place to ensure that you and your fellow riders have a secure and enjoyable journey. The guided track keeps the cars in line and maintains a consistent speed, preventing any unexpected accelerations.

The Audio Experience: As you cruise along the track, you’ll be serenaded by the cheerful and lively music that fills the air. This background music enhances the sense of adventure, adding a layer of Disney magic to the experience. The music complements the visuals, making the ride enjoyable for all ages.

Different colored cars driving on the track

Conclusion

The Autopia ride at Disneyland is a true Disney classic, offering a delightful journey through a nostalgic automotive landscape. With varying wait times and an accessible height requirement, it’s a family-friendly experience for all visitors. While the availability of Genie+ and Lightning Lane may change, the ride still offers options like Rider Switch and DAS for those with specific needs. Autopia’s rich history, inspired design, and timeless architecture create an atmosphere that harkens back to the mid-20th century’s fascination with automobiles.

Autopia Attraction signage
Autopia Ride Review
The Final Word
Whether you're visiting for the first time or reliving the nostalgia of your childhood, the Autopia ride is a Disneyland gem that continues to charm and delight visitors with its timeless appeal.
4.5