Can we have an honest conversation about Tomorrowland Speedway in Magic Kingdom? Not only has the ride far surpassed its expiration date, it occupies one of the largest pieces of land in all of Magic Kingdom. That land is just ripe for redevelopment.
First off, let’s talk about the smell. When the wind is in the right direction, you get that lovely petrol smell wafting over the Mad Tea Party, Dumbo, the Barnstormer and the entire circus area. It’s not exactly the ‘magic’ you want to smell when you’re riding Dumbo, the Barnstormer or eating something on the go from Cosmic Ray’s.
In fact, why ARE they burning fuel in 2022? This is TOMORROW-land right? Shouldn’t they be electric cars by now with some sort of futuristic design? Not something that looks like a 1960’s Indy race car. That would at least fit with the theme of Tomorrowland.
I understand why very small children might find this fun because they get to drive an honest to goodness ‘car’ on a ‘road.’ Of course there’s a big metal rail down the middle and there are so many cars on the track at a time the kids can barely get up to whatever the full speed is. As an actual ‘driving experience’ the payoff is not worth the amount of real estate that attraction takes up. Have you ever looked at Tomorrowland Speedway from above?
The amount of space utilized by Tomorrowland Speedway is larger than Space Mountain! That got me thinking, how many current attractions can fit inside the footprint of the Speedway?
We can roughly fit the entire Haunted Mansion, The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh show building including Sir Mickey’s Gift Shop and another Dumbo. Or, how about a Haunted Mansion and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train?
As you can see, this is a LOT of prime Magic Kingdom real estate taken up by a very outdated, smelly, slow loading and frankly, not that fun of an attraction. I hear you ‘traditionalists’ shouting from the back of the room. ‘How Dare You Mess with Tradition!’ Let us never forget that Walt Disney himself was a fan of ‘what’s next?’ He loved the evolution of technology and kept pushing to continually enhance and improve the family experience in his parks.
The magic of Walt Disney World is not replicating your old childhood memories by riding the exact same attractions with your children. It’s about creating new memories with your family each and every time you step into “The World.” Tomorrowland Speedway should make way for new family attractions that utilize the latest in technology to create those new memories.
Now that we know just how much space is available let’s consider potential replacements. Seeing that we can fit a show building the size of the Haunted Mansion, one new attraction I would propose is a brand new take on a classic, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride. The original classic is still very popular in Anaheim, but consider the advances Disney has made with trackless ride systems on Remy's Ratatouille Adventure and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Imagine, if you will, a trackless dark ride that features random programming offering the possibility of different experiences each time you ride. Utilizing a combination of practical sets like Remy and the incredible projection mapping of Runaway Railway, the scenes in the ride can change each time a new guest enters the scene rooms. And of course it would HAVE to feature that oncoming train at the end. I can only imagine just how scary that will be for the kids and adults with updated technology.
With the runaway success of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Disney could consider another family coaster, possibly themed with The Incredibles or Lilo and Stitch to fit with Tomorrowland. Maybe a couple of smaller rides like Dumbo or The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh.
Or, dare I say it, a brand new, fully modern Peter Pan’s Flight with dual loading capabilities? Imagine a similar ride vehicle that’s still suspended from the ceiling, but with all new projection and practical technologies drawn from Remy, Runaway Railway and Cosmic Rewind. Can you just imagine how breathtaking that transition to flying over London with today’s technologies? Talk about creating memories that will last a lifetime. If it’s installed at the transition next to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, it’ll still technically fit with the Fantasyland theme.
In other words, Tomorrowland Speedway can be replaced with two or three new opportunities to make amazing new memories with your friends, loved ones and families.
“But what about giving my child their first driving experience? It’s so magical!” I’m glad you asked.
How about a new driving experience themed around Cars allowing your kids to drive Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, Luigi and all their Radiator Springs friends? That’s a driving experience with an actual connection to the characters your children (and us adults) love. With the Lightning McQueen experience in Hollywood Studios, that seems like the most logical place to install that attraction.
So let’s say goodbye to Tomorrowland Speedway, you’ve served your time well. And say hello to new experiences, attractions and memories