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  1. #1

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    August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Are you too small to drive an Autopia car? If you’re around four years old, the answer is undoubtedly “yes.” Don’t worry. You’re not too small for a Midget Autopia car (but only in Yesterland).


    (This is a major update to the previous Midget Autopia entry.)

    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    My questions about Midget Autopia are unanswered in this article. #1. Was there a gas pedal? #2. If the children drove with a gas pedal, surely they must have been crashing into each other constantly!

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyJr View Post
    My questions about Midget Autopia are unanswered in this article. #1. Was there a gas pedal? #2. If the children drove with a gas pedal, surely they must have been crashing into each other constantly!
    That was my question as well. Was it that the cars were started by a CM from that blue control pedestal, and just completed the route by themselves?
    Disney FAQ#275: What is DCA?
    DCA stands for Disney Construction Area. All the Cast Members are themed with hard hats and steel toed boots.

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    For the ride mechanism, think "Mr Toad" or "Alice in Wonderland" -- not internal combustion-powered Autopia.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Does anyone know what happened to the ride after it was closed and dismantled at Walts Boyhood home? Was it returned to Walt or are the remaining cars and track no on display at his museaum and at Disneyland still stored somewhere in MI????

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Quote Originally Posted by a-net-fan View Post
    Does anyone know what happened to the ride after it was closed and dismantled at Walts Boyhood home? Was it returned to Walt or are the remaining cars and track no on display at his museaum and at Disneyland still stored somewhere in MI????
    We visited Marceline a couple years ago. The track is still in place, and you can 'walk it'. There is one car in the Walt Disney Museum. We had heard that all of the other cars were taken to the dump, and were often used as target practice for people with shotguns. One little car supposedly lives in someone's barn near Marceline, dangling from the rafters, waiting to be refurbished. Sad, isn't it? Marceline had NO idea what a gem they had there.

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    i love this weekly Article !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Im always impatient until the next report !
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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    I always found the title of this old attraction surprising. Luckily Disney managed to evade the PC attacks on this one!

    I hope you'll have coverage of the other yesterland Autopias soon, Werner...I remember the Tomorrowland and Fantasyland separate versions vaguely from my childhood and wonder where exactly they were placed in terms of the park now etc.

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyJr View Post
    We visited Marceline a couple years ago. The track is still in place, and you can 'walk it'. There is one car in the Walt Disney Museum. We had heard that all of the other cars were taken to the dump, and were often used as target practice for people with shotguns. One little car supposedly lives in someone's barn near Marceline, dangling from the rafters, waiting to be refurbished. Sad, isn't it? Marceline had NO idea what a gem they had there.
    Thank you very much for the information. That is really sad! Some ppl have no respect for history or know how to take care of such a gift! Its too bad the museaum doesnt try to restore it and make it part of their facility.

    PINEAPPLEWHIPADDICT had a very cool idea when they suggested knowing what is now where the other long gone Autopias were. E Ticket Magazine had a neat photo section in some of their earlier magazines that showed the evolution of a specific spot at Disneyland. Like in Tomorrowland how it used to have that area with all different Flags I believe....and then eventually a Astro Rocket Ride went in there....etc. It showed step by step with photos the changes that happened in that exact spot over the years and most of the photos were taken from the exact same angle. This I think would be very cool to see.......or at least when a ride heads to Yesterland.....show a picture of what replaced it preferably taken from the exact angle / spot as one of the pictures shown in the article. Great thought!!!

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapplewhipaddict View Post
    I hope you'll have coverage of the other yesterland Autopias soon, Werner...I remember the Tomorrowland and Fantasyland separate versions vaguely from my childhood and wonder where exactly they were placed in terms of the park now etc.
    I expect to write Yesterland articles about the Tomorrowland Autopia and the Fantasyland Autopia in the next six months. I have some good vintage photos of both.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Quote Originally Posted by monotonehell View Post
    Was it that the cars were started by a CM from that blue control pedestal, and just completed the route by themselves?
    As I recall from riding it, that's correct. The car was electric and ran at a constant speed. You "steered" -- or, when unfortunate enough to be stuck riding with your dumber-than-a-box-of-hammers little brother, you fought his steering with your steering (dual wheels).

    For us kids, the upside of the Midget Autopia was no height limitation. The downside was when you considered yourself quite grownup, but were still barely not tall enough for the Tomorrowland Autopia, you had no choice but to ride the Midget Autopia, where to your humiliation you were taller than 90% of the kids riding it.

    Another downside was since the steering did nothing (though we all pretended it did), you wildly spun the wheel in the direction the track led the car. Then when you finally grew tall enough to graduate to the Tomorrowland Autopia, years of training on the Midget cars made you oversteer. Kids with a half dozen trips on the Tomorrowland Autopia (which made them veterans) would wink knowingly to each other at the curb-slamming steering of the recent Midget-to-Tomorrowland grads.

    All in all, the Midget Autopia was really fun. Lots of classic Disneyland detailing in the landscaping, the track layout and inside the garage. Especially in its later years, when the bushes had grown and shielded portions of the ride from the rest of the Park, it had its own sense of magic -- its own little world. And even for us kids who went back for a ride long after we were tall enough for the "real thing," it never felt like a kiddie ride.


    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 08-02-2009 at 03:44 PM.
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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Just think, many of these kids have been driving the I-5 for decades now. That's incredible they actually had 3 different Autopias at one point! And look at how close the scenery was to the car. That's one thing I can't stand about the "Autopia presented by Chevron", the road is a mile wide and the scenery just doesn't *immerse* you. You also feel how slow it is because there's nothing around you for reference.

    It's kind of amusing that Disney used to use the word "midget" during the Walt era. I've always felt that PC stuff brings more attention to something than just a simple word. Minorities have many, many more problems than the way other people refer to them. Most people (by definition, the majority) have the enviable position of never knowing what people from minority groups experience every day. Personally, I'm part of the mainstream majority, and I would say 99% of people are very respectful and tolerant, but I've seen what that other 1% is capable of and they are not going to use PC terms, even though they are the ones who need enlightenment the most. Disneyland is probably the most trouble-free audience you'll ever find, but I'm sure these small people, or whatever you call them nowadays, have to put up with a lot of nonsense from a few people every day.

    Excellent article, Werner! Can't wait for the Tomorrowland and Fantasyland versions! I remember the Tomorrowland one quite well, but I never even realized there was a Fantasyland one until it was too late. I had ridden it quite a few times, but I was too young to distinguish between the different lands and always assumed there was only one Autopia. It really frustrates me today because I don't remember the Fantasyland one at all, the Tomorrowland one just completely supercedes all my memories of it.

  13. #13

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    This ride was a real favorite of mine when I was little. I rode it for the last time in 1965 with my 3 year old brother when I was 8, and I remember feeling at the time like maybe I was outgrowing the ride and that would most likely be my last time. So sad.
    On our next visit to Disneyland in 1967, the little cars were gone, but I was so excited about the new Tomorrowland and all its attractions, POTC, and Small World (little girl heaven), I hardly missed them.
    Today, the only reason I ride Autopia is to catch a glimpse of the little midget autopia car that's on display. So cute! Those pictures brought back some great memories!

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    All I can say is those cars were really stylin' ! I'd love to have a full sized one!

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    Re: August 1, 2009: Midget Autopia

    Great update!

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