Most Disney “Castle Parks” around the world featured the chance to get behind the wheel of a car and cruise around Tomorrowland, Discoveryland, Fantasyland. I was lucky enough to be able to experience at least one version of each of these attractions before they started to be closed down.
A quick history:
The Disneyland Tomorrowland Autopia was an opening day attraction on July 17, 1955. Over the years Disneyland featured a Junior Autopia(1956-1958), Midget Autopia (1957-1966) and Fantasyland Autopia (1959-1999) too. Walt Disney World opened with the Tomorrowland Speedway in October 1971. Tokyo Disneyland featured the Grand Circuit Raceway from opening day (April 15, 1983) through January 11, 2017 when the attraction closed to make way for an expansion project. Disneyland Paris opened with Autopia in Discoveryland (April 1992). Hong Kong Disneyland was the first castle park not to open with an Autopia. They added their Autopia to the line-up on July 13, 2006. It has the unique distinction of featuring electric cars. It closed on June 11, 2016, just shy of its 10th anniversary. Shanghai Disneyland is the only castle park never to feature an Autopia style attraction.
Since it seems everyone wants to rank everything now a days here is how I would rank them (making the assumption they were all still in operation):
- Disneyland – The original attracting takes you through Tomorrowland with views of the Monorail overhead, Matterhorn Mountain, and the Sub Lagoon it is at the top of the list.
- Hong Kong Disneyland – The most unique experience due to the electric cars, elevated view of Tomorrowland from one of the tracks, mountain backdrops and trees throughout.
- Disneyland Paris – Cruising through the forest of Discoveryland was a peaceful drive (if you ignored the engines of the cars).
- Tokyo Disneyland – Had a very similar feel to it as WDW’s, but in the springtime with the Cherry Blossoms lining some of the path made for a great drive. Also noteworthy these cars featured sensors to stop you if you were too close to the car in front of you.
- Walt Disney World – The current version with views of the Walt Disney World Railroad, People Mover, and into Fantasyland. The course is relatively flat compared to the others with wide open views. Because of this it felt short to me, even though it was approximately the same length as the others.What do you think? How would you rank them?
Point of View (POV) Videos of each of the five experiences: