Autopia at Disneyland puts kids of all ages behind the wheel

Autopia at Disneyland places children of all ages behind the wheel


Disneyland
Autopia at Disneyland nonetheless attracts large crowds and all generations | Pictures by Abby Watkins and Larry Edsall

Earlier this week, Hagerty Every day shared a story headlined “65 years in the past, children of all ages couldn’t wait to get their arms on the wheel at Disneyland’s Autopia.”

My first response was, “yikes!” I’m sufficiently old to recollect being a 7-year-old watching my grandparents’ grainy, black-and-white tv that Sunday night as an ABC particular introduced the opening ceremonies from Disneyland.

Frontierland and Fantasyland regarded like enjoyable, however what I actually wished to do was to go to Tomorrowland, the place children might drive automobiles! 

Right here’s a photograph from the early days of Autopia | Hagerty Media and Disney Historical past

OK, so perhaps I didn’t discover the tall curbs designed to maintain you heading in the right direction, however youngsters might really take the steering wheel of what regarded like actual automobiles, or at the least like amusement-park bumper automobiles unfettered by these trolley-style poles that reached to the ceiling. 

Oh, and to maintain issues secure, along with these curbs, the automobiles had been geared up with wrap-around bumpers. 

As Jeff Peek reported for Hagerty Media, Disney’s Autopia automobiles had 7½-horsepower, single-cylinder, 318cc Gladden Mustang bike engines, albeit ruled to a high velocity of 11 mph. He additionally famous that the automobiles had been designed by Bob Gurr, who simply earlier than becoming a member of Disney had been designing Lincoln Continentals for Ford.

I nonetheless have vivid reminiscences of being Four or 5 years outdated and assembly my dad down on the nook as he was driving dwelling from work, climbing into the automobile and up on his lap, and being allowed to take the wheel  and steer dwelling on the dead-end avenue the place we lived. 

That was nice, however with these Disney automobiles, I might be the motive force, not simply the steerer. 

Grandson on the wheel

Whereas household holidays took us from Nova Scotia to Alberta and from South Carolina to Montana, Disneyland was by no means a part of our itinerary. I did get there as a younger father, however the rides we did concerned tea cups and Small World wonders and a bunch of pirates.

Lastly, a few years in the past, and properly into grandfatherhood, a grandson’s youth baseball workforce was enjoying in a event so near Disneyland we might watch the night fireworks from the motel window. Clearly, you may’t be that shut and never go, so we did. 

And we drove the Disney automobiles, we being not solely grandpa and the 13-year-old however his 4-year-old little brother, however the remainder of the household, too, although not time and again and over but once more like grandpa and his grandsons.

Luckily for the terrified passenger, this automobile was for show solely

I simply received again from my daughter’s home and whereas there I requested the boys, now ages 15 and 6, about their favourite Disney experience and so they stated it was the automobiles (for the file, their little? sister’s favourite was the Dumbo, the Flying Elephant carousel, as a result of she might management how excessive she flew).

My level is that youngsters nonetheless love automobiles. Certain, they’re rising up with a cellphone seemingly glued to the palms of their arms. However from in regards to the time they flip 14½, my grandchildren can’t wait to get their driving permits and, once they do, they begin the countdown of days till they’ve their licenses.

Hopefully, some day they’ll use these licenses to take their own children to Disneyland to drive the Autopia automobiles. In fact, by then, these automobiles may properly be electrical powered.





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