Tomorrowland Speedway is an oldie, but a goodie. In fact, following its success and popularity at Disneyland in California, it became one of the original Walt Disney World attractions.
First called Grand Prix Raceway, the miniature motorway debuted as an opening day attraction at Magic Kingdom back in October 1971. Since then, it’s been rebranded a couple of times. Indianapolis Motor Speedway sponsored a major refurbishment and track expansion in the 1990s.
After this project was completed, the ride reopened as Tomorrowland Indy Speedway in 1996. Another name change came in 2009 when the attraction was given its current name: Tomorrowland Speedway.
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I can remember the joyous feeling of getting behind the wheel of a gas-powered car as a child. I can also report that the experience of watching that same joy bloom in your kids as a parent might be even better.
As a mom of five boys, Tomorrowland Speedway is a must-ride attraction on every trip my family takes to the Magic Kingdom. We love watching the race cars zoom past as we wait in line. My kids even weirdly love the gasoline smell.
The ride has generous height requirements, so most preschoolers and even some taller toddlers can enjoy it. The track is less than half a mile long, but with a top speed of around 7.5 mph, it will take a little bit of time to reach the finish line.
Do you actually drive on the Tomorrowland Speedway?
Yes, you do actually drive the Tomorrowland Speedway racers. The ride vehicles are outfitted with bumpers and restrained by a guide rail on the track that prevents major collisions.
Intentional bumping is discouraged. There’s a gas pedal that must be depressed for the car to move forward. There’s no brake pedal. If you let off the gas pedal, the car stops very quickly.
The steering wheel is operable, but not especially sensitive.
My kids love to drive on Tomorrowland Speedway. The ride is popular and the wait time can get pretty long, especially around the middle of the day.
We typically try to ride first thing in the morning or in the evening when the crowds lessen and the temperature starts to cool off.
If you’re using Genie+ service, this is a ride that is frequently available as an option.
Does Tomorrowland Speedway use gas?
Yes, Tomorrowland Speedway cars run on gasoline-powered engines. All doubts about this are swiftly put to rest once you hop in line for this classic Tomorrowland attraction.
You can smell the gas fumes in the air while waiting your turn to board your Tomorrowland Speedway racer.
Can kids drive Tomorrowland Speedway?
Yes, even very little kids can drive on Tomorrowland Speedway. The ride has a minimum height requirement of 32 inches.
That means the average two-year-old will be tall enough to ride Tomorrowland Speedway. Young children will need an adult to depress the gas pedal for them, but they can take the wheel and steer the real car.
Older kids who are 54 inches or taller can drive without an adult, which can be a very exciting rite of passage.
There’s significant variation in this age range, but most kids will reach this height between the ages of 8-10. A couple of my kids are tall enough to drive on their own now.
They love reaching the maximum speed and zooming past each slow driver until they make it to the checkered flag at the end of the track.
How many passengers per car are allowed?
Cars on Tomorrowland Speedway can accommodate up to three passengers if these passengers include children. So two adults can ride with a small child, or one adult can ride with two small children.
The maximum adult capacity is two per vehicle.
If your family has an odd number of kids like mine, I’ve got a special Tomorrowland Speedway tip for you. If one of your kids is tall enough to drive by themselves, then there’s no problem. Let that big kid experience the simulated freedom of the open road.
Each parent can ride with one of the remaining younger kids.
If you have three or more small children under 54 inches, you’ll have to split the kids up between cars. For example, kid one rides with dad and kids two and three ride with mom.
As you approach the cast member in the first loading area, the parent riding with multiple kids can ask if the kids can each have a turn driving.
The cast member will place a special marker on your car. The marker will flag your car for a second trip around the 2000-foot track. Once you return to Victory Circle, you’ll switch seats so that each child has a turn to drive around the race track.
Who should not ride the Tomorrowland Speedway?
Pregnant women and guests with high blood pressure or neck problems are advised not to ride Tomorrowland Speedway.
Additionally, if you experience motion sickness or are otherwise not in good health, you might want to skip this attraction.
How does Disney’s Rider Switch Service work?
If you have very small children in your party not yet 32 inches, you can take advantage of Disney’s Rider Switch Service.
Ask the cast member manning the height requirement station to help you set up Rider Switch. This service allows one adult to experience the ride with the kids while the second adult waits with the non-rider(s).
Once the group completes the ride, the adult who waited with the non-rider can take a turn on the attraction without having to wait in the regular line. This way your party doesn’t have to wait in the queue twice.
Just check back in with the cast member who helped you set up the Rider Switch.
It’s important to note that the Walt Disney Company has made some changes to this service in recent years.
In the past, up to three guests could be included on the Rider Switch. This was great for big families because Mom could ride with the big kids while Dad waited with the baby.
Then Mom could wait with the baby while Dad got to ride with the big kids. Both parents got to ride with all the kids, and the kids got to ride twice! But now, the parent who waits first can only take one child with them when it’s their turn.
Of course, policies are subject to change.
What do you think about Tomorrowland Speedway? Let us know in the comments!