Disneyland Is Making A Massive Change To An Original Tomorrowland Attraction, And It’s About Time

 Disneyland Tomorrowland.
Disneyland Tomorrowland.

When it comes to Disneyland attractions, usually, the older something is, the more untouchable it is deemed by fans. There are several Disneyland opening day attractions that are still in operation today, and if you announced tomorrow you were going to close Dumbo the Flying Elephant or re-theme Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, fans would riot. Many don't like the impending changes to Splash Mountain, and that ride wasn't even that old. But a different Disneyland classic is getting  major overhaul, and I could not be happier.

This week Disneyland Resort confirmed to the L.A. Times that a process is in place that will eventually transform the gas powered vehicles of the Autopia car driving attraction into electric vehicles. This is a change that should have happened years ago. Autopia is literally my least favorite attraction. It is at the bottom of our best Disneyland rides list for a reason. Or more specifically two reasons: it’s loud and it smells terrible. But not much longer, as Disneyland spokesperson Jessica Good told the Times…

Since opening with Disneyland park in 1955, Autopia has remained a guest-favorite most popular with young kids experiencing driving for the first time. As the industry moves toward alternative fuel sources, we have developed a roadmap to electrify this attraction and are evaluating technology that will enable us to convert from gas engines in the next few years.

Ever since electric cars became a viable option, and even before, it was suggested by many (myself included) that Autopia should transition to them. The attraction is currently sponsored by Honda but many thought that Tesla, which was the only major name in electric vehicles for a long time, could take over the sponsorship and cover the costs of the retrofit of the vehicles. Today every major car company has electric vehicles in their fleet, so any company could justify the sponsorship.

The ride is inside Tomorrowland after all, it’s supposed to show us the future of things. An attraction showing even a potential future for the automobile makes sense where the currant attraction simply does not. Even Bob Gurr, the Disney Legend and Imagineering icon who originally designed Autopia for Walt Disney thinks it's long past time for the ride to change, saying...

Get rid of those God-awful gasoline fumes

No timeline is given for the overhaul or how it could be handled. We could see Autopia closed at Disneyland for a period while the cars or replaced. Or we could potentially see the ride continue to run, with individual vehicles pulled out of service to be replaced a few at a time, similarly to the way Universal Studios Hollywood has been replacing its gas powered trams with electric ones for the Studio Tour.

Eyes will likely now all turn to Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Speedway. This announcement was specific to Disneyland’s Autopia, but if plans are now in place to update the one attraction, it seems likely the sister attraction in Orlando will be getting the same treatment at some point as well.