The Tomorrowland Speedway has been part of Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom since opening day in 1971. I believe it should never have existed. But if Disney removes the Speedway at this point, what should take its place?
There are three reasons the Speedway should have never been part of the Magic Kingdom:
- It doesn’t fit the Tomorrowland theme. There is nothing futuristic about it. Even in 1971, an attraction that consisted of driving a small car powered by a fossil-fuel combustion engine was old news.
- It doesn’t fit the Magic Kingdom theme. There is nothing magical about this prosaic attraction. Only the youngest children will find it exciting to drive a slow (max speed 7 miles per hour) vehicle bound to a permanent track – but the youngest children can’t even have the relative thrill of taking to the open-ish road on their own, as the minimum height for a solo rider is 54 inches. For reference, the bucolic Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover averages 6 miles per hour, and has the added entertainment value of views inside Space Mountain.
- It’s wildly impractical for Florida summers, with its unshaded asphalt and suffocating exhaust fumes.
Perhaps the strongest argument against the Tomorrowland Speedway is the enormous amount of real estate it occupies, situated in what should be a prime location between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Here are a few ways this space could better be utilized:
- Use the area for something that actually does bridge futurism with fantasy – a Star Wars attraction. Yes, I know that there is an entire Star Wars land going into Hollywood Studios, but can we ever really have too much Star Wars? There is precedent for featuring successful intellectual properties across more than one park, with Finding Nemo attractions in both Epcot and Animal Kingdom, character dining with princesses in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and Toy Story attractions appearing in both Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom. Disney paid a lot of money for the Star Wars brand; they should leverage it as much as possible
- More Fantasyland! The 2012 Fantasyland expansion has by all accounts been successful, with long lines for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and sold-out dining at Be Our Guest. My vote is for a Tangled attraction that’s more than themed restrooms, plus more table service dining.
- Bring back the classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. There’s plenty of room to dig out a lagoon and put even-more-terrifying-than-in-the-past giant squid in the water. And there are thousands of Gen Xers who remember this attraction fondly and want the chance to experience it again with their kids.
What do you think? Has the Tomorrowland Speedway kept pace with the evolution of the Magic Kingdom, or should Walt Disney World move on from this dead end attraction?