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Tomorrowland Speedway

Put the pedal to the metal in your very own hotrod and cruise around a scenic miniature speedway!

Icon for height 32″ or taller

Icon of family All ages

There’s something undeniably nostalgic about getting behind the wheel of a little race car and putting the pedal to the metal, even if you’re only going 7 mph. Tomorrowland Speedway at Magic Kingdom captures that youthful thrill of driving, making it a beloved attraction for kids and adults alike. While simple in concept, this classic ride offers an immersive experience that harkens back to the early days of Walt Disney World. Join me as we explore the history, ride details, and insider tips for Tomorrowland Speedway.

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Ride Information

Wait Times

  • Standby wait times average 30–60 minutes on typical days, but can spike higher during peak seasons.
  • Lines move slowly due to the extended loading process.

Height Requirements

  • You must be at least 54 inches (137 cm) tall to drive alone.
  • Guests between 32–53 inches (81-134 cm) can ride as a passenger or drive with a taller rider.
  • Those under 32 inches cannot ride.

Single Rider Line

Ride Duration

  • The ride lasts approximately 5–6 minutes from start to finish.

Genie+ and Lightning Lane

  • Tomorrowland Speedway is included with Genie+ purchase.
  • Having a Lightning Lane reservation can significantly reduce wait times.

Rider Switch and DAS

  • Rider Switch is available to allow switching off between riding and waiting with non-riders.
  • The ride is also accessible for guests with disabilities through the Disability Access Service (DAS).

Location

  • Tomorrowland Speedway is located along the border of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, near Space Mountain.

Early Entry

Best Times to Ride

  • The first 1–2 hours after park open or the last 2 hours before closing tend to have shorter lines.
  • Use a Lightning Lane reservation to skip the bulk of the standby queue.
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History and Design

Origins and Inspiration

Tomorrowland Speedway traces its roots back to the iconic Autopia attraction that debuted at Disneyland in 1955. Autopia represented America’s embrace of the new Interstate Highway System and car culture. Its winding tracks and gas-powered vehicles gave guests a taste of the automotive future. When designing Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Imagineers sought to recreate that driving experience on the East Coast. Thus, the Grand Prix Raceway was born as an opening day attraction on October 1, 1971.

Evolution at Magic Kingdom

Over the decades, Tomorrowland Speedway has undergone several name and theming changes:

  • 1971-1994: Grand Prix Raceway
  • 1994-1999: Tomorrowland Speedway
  • 1999-2008: Tomorrowland Indy Speedway (sponsored by Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
  • 2008-Present: Tomorrowland Speedway

The track layout has also been modified and shortened multiple times to accommodate new attractions like Mickey’s Birthdayland, Storybook Circus, and most recently, TRON Lightcycle Run.

Architectural Style

Tomorrowland Speedway’s architecture pays homage to the Googie style popular in the 1950s-60s American car culture. This space-age design features sweeping curved roof forms, bright neon colors, and an overall retro-futuristic aesthetic. Elements like the raised observation deck, Indianapolis Motor Speedway theming, and roadside advertisements further reinforce the attraction’s racetrack ambiance. The winding track itself, while simplified, mimics the banked turns and long straightaways of a professional racing circuit.

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The Ride Experience

Queue and Theming

The outdoor queue winds through a series of switchbacks, providing glimpses of the racetrack ahead. Themed elements like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway logos and race imagery help set the racing atmosphere. As you approach the loading area, you’ll pass under the raised observation deck. This unique vantage point allows non-riders to watch the action on the track.

Loading and Vehicles

After snaking through the queue lines, you’ll be directed to one of the loading bays to board your race car. These classic two-seater vehicles are modeled after the original Autopia cars but have been updated over the years. Each car has a steering wheel, gas pedal, and a simple lap belt restraint system. The compact design is snug but functional for smaller riders.

On the Track

With the all-clear signal from the cast member pit crew, it’s finally time to start your engine! The track stretches over 2,100 feet (about 0.4 miles) with banked curves and a few small hills. Don’t expect blazing speeds – the top speed is governed at a mere 7.5 mph. But for kids, even that modest pace feels like they’re really racing as they whip around the turns and past roadside scenery and advertisements. Speakers along the track pipe in sounds of roaring engines and race commentary to enhance the driving atmosphere. At the finish line, a checkered flag waves to signal the end of your lap.

Post-Ride

After completing the circuit, you’ll pull into the unloading area. Be sure to check out the photo kiosk for a souvenir “driver’s license” capturing your racing exploits. There’s also a cart selling Tomorrowland Speedway merchandise like antenna toppers and car-themed toys for kids.

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Tips for Riders

  • Let kids take turns driving if heights allow – it’s part of the fun!
  • Go early or late in the day to avoid long lines.
  • Use a Lightning Lane if you have Genie+ to minimize waits.
  • Ride during cooler hours – being outdoors in the Florida heat can be brutal.
  • Secure loose articles and wear sunscreen in the outdoor queue.
  • Manage expectations – this is a tame driving experience, not a thrill ride.
  • For a different perspective, ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, which passes over the Speedway track.
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Comparison to Other Motor Cart Attractions

While Tomorrowland Speedway was inspired by Disneyland’s Autopia, today it stands apart from the motor cart tracks at other Disney parks:

Disneyland’s Autopia

  • Themed around freeway driving rather than a racetrack
  • Longer track at 0.4 miles
  • Covered queue area

Tokyo Disneyland’s Grand Circuit Raceway

  • Figure-8 style racetrack
  • Grandstand viewing area
  • Formerly sponsored by Bridgestone

Disneyland Paris’ Autopia

  • Unique 1920s retro-futuristic styling
  • Covered queue and track areas

Hong Kong Disneyland’s Autopia

  • Compact layout
  • Canopy covering parts of the track

While the Magic Kingdom’s version may lack some of the elaborate theming and effects of its counterparts, Tomorrowland Speedway’s nostalgic simplicity remains part of its enduring appeal.

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Conclusion

Tomorrowland Speedway may not be the most cutting-edge or thrilling attraction at Walt Disney World today. But for many guests, it represents a cherished rite of passage – that first time getting behind the wheel, even if just for a few laps around an enclosed track.

The ride’s longevity is a testament to its multi-generational appeal, carrying forth the spirit of Disneyland’s original Autopia into the 21st century. As Tomorrowland transforms around it, this classic piece of Americana will likely continue delighting kids and kids-at-heart for years to come with its simple but timeless driving experience.

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Tomorrowland Speedway Ride Review
The Final Word
A nostalgic driving experience for all ages, Tomorrowland Speedway lets you take the wheel of a race car and put the pedal to the metal, albeit at a leisurely 7 mph pace. While simple, this classic Disney attraction captures the thrill of driving with its winding track, racing theming, and the chance to create lasting memories behind the wheel.
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