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Which attraction in Tomorrowland should be replaced and why is it Autopia?

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  • Which attraction in Tomorrowland should be replaced and why is it Autopia?

    Autopia - an attraction I've never understood ever since being a young child. It's like a go-kart track except horrible - slower cars, stuck on a track, and long lines. Let's talk about how insane it is to keep around such a steaming pile of a garbage in a luxury destination such as DL:
    • Scent pollution - Like the smell of churros? How about the smell of exhaust?
    • Noise pollution - You thought people were driving whisper-quiet electric motorcars in the future? Wrong! Behold the sound of a herd of go kart engines
    • Little-to-no future theming. You see a robot on the side of the road. He must be lost in the past where we drive loud gas-powered, exhaust-pumping go karts
    • Your'e stuck on a metal track. Even Legoland lets you drive around with freedom at their Driving School ... which uses electric cars, by the way
    • The cars are very slow. You thought people drive fast electric-powered cars in the future? Nope.
    • It takes up a LARGE chunk of real estate
      • Fantasyland could fit in its footprint
      • Half of the landmass of Tomorrowland is dedicated to that exhaust-pumping monstrosity
      • Check the map below to behold the chunk of precious DL land dedicated to this "attraction"

  • #2
    I agree Autopia is well past it's prime, but the cost to remove it and replace it with something else no CEO (who's salary and bonus is based on profit) is willing to green light. It currently is a very cheap attraction to run. It uses 1960's tech and requires very few CM's compared the amount of guests is serves. It's an opening day attraction (yes it's been modified but still was there in 55) that draws all ages.

    I could see them adding more elevation to the attraction to lessen the footprint and going to electric power with sensors rather than the "rookie rail" but even that would require an expense not likely to happen in the chapek era. He is not willing to fix something that isn't obviously broken or that wouldn't be so new that he could make a video about it starring himself.

    I also often wonder since the future of transportation is self driving what if they made an attraction with self driving cars that featured two or more competing autonomous vehicles that would become self aware and then as they left the depot decided they wanted to race each other leading guests into a high speed run being narrated buy the vehicle though a screen and speakers through a concrete track but then a decision to try a "short cut" through a dirt section and even a water crossing almost like a more elaborate RsR they could theme it to any of their existing IP's that deal with alternative worlds like Tron, Wall-E, Tomorrowland, Meet the Robinsons, Big Hero 6 etc. The tech we currently have for a self driving vehicle even at high speeds is pretty stout and safe especially at the speeds this ride would be under since you're so low to the ground in an open air vehicle the sensation of speed is easily achieved at like 15mph.
    Last edited by Starcade; 07-12-2021, 02:13 PM.
    Disneyland Fan since the 70's

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Starcade View Post
      I agree Autopia is well past it's prime, but the cost to remove it and replace it with something else no CEO (who's salary and bonus is based on profit) is willing to green light. it currently is a very cheap to to run. It uses 1960's tech and requires very few CM's compared the mount of guests is serves. It's an opening day attraction (yes it's been modified but still was there in 55) that draws all ages.
      Not only is it cheap to run, it's easy to find sponsors for something that is basically a running advertisement for two very powerful industries (automotive and oil).

      Can we perhaps hope for CAL-OSHA to have it shut down based on the health hazard for CMs that work alongside that track?
      Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

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      • #4
        Kids still enjoy the analog prospect of being able to drive someday -- to them it is "Tomorrowland." Old fashioned thrill though it might be, that ride creates some of the biggest smiles in all the park. Look down from the Monorail (too bad PeopleMover is gone) and see the wide grins! (Not that it couldn't use an upgrade).

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        • #5
          Yeah, the cost is the issue for sure. It's just a shame what has become of Tomorrowland. I know I'm beating a dead horse here, but it's just such a bad land with so much potential to get back to its former prime. If the opening day attraction argument is being used, they should at least update it with electric motors. Then they could eventually change out the rail for sensors. It could be done over time. The gas-powered motor thing is just a hot mess especially when you have small town go-kart tracks using electric.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by merlinjones View Post
            Kids still enjoy the analog prospect of being able to drive someday -- to them it is "Tomorrowland." Old fashioned thrill though it might be, that ride creates some of the biggest smiles in all the park. Look down from the Monorail (too bad PeopleMover is gone) and see the wide grins! (Not that it couldn't use an upgrade).
            Beyond pure logistics, this is the only argument that I find persuasive. I strongly believe that certain attractions should be preserved for children as the target audience even if adults don't find it as appealing.

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            • #7
              It needs to be electrified or replaced with a trackless "self driving" car. Gas powered cars in Tomorrowland is obviously incongruous.

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              • #8
                Tomorrowland as a whole needs to be reimagined. Bring back the Carousel of Progress and renovate the Peoplemover while they're at it. Autopia can be a dream for green transportation. The lagoon can talk about sealife and how we can be more responsible with our oceans, lakes, and rivers. Yeah, I sound like an old man, but let's be real. The current vision of tomorrow is Wall-E. Death and destruction. A desert planet. We need a little hope and guidance in Tomorrowland.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by brerphysicist View Post
                  Tomorrowland as a whole needs to be reimagined. Bring back the Carousel of Progress and renovate the Peoplemover while they're at it. Autopia can be a dream for green transportation. The lagoon can talk about sealife and how we can be more responsible with our oceans, lakes, and rivers. Yeah, I sound like an old man, but let's be real. The current vision of tomorrow is Wall-E. Death and destruction. A desert planet. We need a little hope and guidance in Tomorrowland.
                  Gonna have to disagree on these two points. If the goal is to "reimagine" and "revitalize" Tomorrowland, we can't just put everything back the way it used to be. We need new ideas. And I do mean ideas, not reflexive references to IP that only has a tenuous connection to the themes of the area. For example, if it were up to me, the Autopia would not only get an all-electric makeover, but would be entirely re-themed to be surface rovers on an exoplanet, with tons of imaginative creatures and plants and fantastic landforms as scenery. (And the Subs would likewise be reframed as subsurface exploration of the same planet.)
                  Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by brerphysicist View Post
                    Tomorrowland as a whole needs to be reimagined. Bring back the Carousel of Progress and renovate the Peoplemover while they're at it. Autopia can be a dream for green transportation. The lagoon can talk about sealife and how we can be more responsible with our oceans, lakes, and rivers. Yeah, I sound like an old man, but let's be real. The current vision of tomorrow is Wall-E. Death and destruction. A desert planet. We need a little hope and guidance in Tomorrowland.
                    Time have come to replace Autopia with a green transportation car's....I AGREE
                    Like your concept ,how we can be more responsible with our oceans, lakes, and rivers.
                    IMO
                    Soaring like an EAGLE !

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                    • #11
                      The problem with replacing the Autopia is that's it's over the submarine. The easiest fix for the Autopia is going electric or CNG. Another fix would be to change the bodies and add skirts so the wheels can't be seen, then raise the body and soften the suspension. The car would give the impression that it was hovering. Add some sound effects to hide the electric motors and have some fun with the landscaping. It's still the Autopia but different.
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                      Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

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                      • #12
                        They missed a huge opportunity to move Autopia when they designed Carsland. They could have integrated the track throughout Carsland, made the cars electric instead of gas powered, had each car be one of the characters from the "Cars" movies, and talk to you as you drive. Why didn't they do that? Now they're stuck with an antiquated attraction taking up valuable real estate, and Autopia really isn't "tomorrow" any more.

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                        • #13
                          While I am not a particularly large fan of Autopia and have not ridden it in years I am always a little weary at the prospect of losing a "kid centric". Autopia's draw audience is the younger kid demographic. A demographic that hasn't had much added to the park for awhile. Taking out Autopia and replacing it with say a TRON coaster removes yet another family centric thing from the park in favor of a thrill ride aimed at older audiences. Sometimes even if an attraction is not particularly well liked, you just need to let it go because it may not be for you.

                          That being said, if they could replace it with something family friendly that better fits the concept of "Tomorrow" then I would be all for it.

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                          • #14
                            I love the Autopia. I always have, and I’m in my 50’s. Electric cars may be the future, but an electric autopia would be boring to me. I like the sound of gas engines, and enjoy the smell of gasoline powered exhaust. This ride has always been fantastic for kids to get their first taste of the autonomy you get driving a car.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by merlinjones View Post
                              Kids still enjoy the analog prospect of being able to drive someday -- to them it is "Tomorrowland." Old fashioned thrill though it might be, that ride creates some of the biggest smiles in all the park. Look down from the Monorail (too bad PeopleMover is gone) and see the wide grins! (Not that it couldn't use an upgrade).
                              100% this. Never understood how people think the theming is supposed to be that cars are the way of the future, not at all, it's that the kids get to drive and control the car like they will get to when they are adults. I never go and see Autopia struggling to get kids to ride it, always has a decent sized line in the afternoon.

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                              • #16
                                I completely agree with you. Let's suppose an electric go kart, trimmed with whatever theme they desire, runs $2,000. Fifty of those babies is a mere $100,000. You could even leave the damn center rail installed on the track, so wayward 8-year-olds don't go careening into the lagoon. This alone would provide a "zippier" experience (23mph instead of 15 or whatever sad speed the current cars are capable of), a quieter experience, and a much more Tomorrow-ish vision of transportation.
                                Now don't close your eyes, and don't try to hide...

                                Next trip to Disneyland: December 3-6, 2011. I can't wait!!!

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by motrcolt View Post

                                  100% this. Never understood how people think the theming is supposed to be that cars are the way of the future, not at all, it's that the kids get to drive and control the car like they will get to when they are adults. I never go and see Autopia struggling to get kids to ride it, always has a decent sized line in the afternoon.
                                  Well, it's complicated. When Disneyland opened in 1955, the national highway system was in planning but had not been built yet. Cars themselves were not the way of the future, but a national transportation system--which the original Autopia was purposefully emulating--was. The similarity to amusement park go-karts made the ride approachable, but the ambitious scope made it exciting and part of the Tomorrowland theme.

                                  By now, of course, it is thoroughly old-fashioned. Kids still love it, but I'm sure they'd love a quieter, less stinky, more fanciful ride across an alien planet just as much if not more.
                                  Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

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                                  • #18
                                    I think Autopia is one of those rides that's always on the chopping block in places like this because it (and I know I'm generalizing heavily here!) tends on average to appeal to a different set of guests than those who post on such forums. Same with Toontown, IASW, etc. Autopia does gangbuster business with families with small kids, it'll stick around.

                                    Originally posted by Karalora View Post
                                    By now, of course, it is thoroughly old-fashioned. Kids still love it, but I'm sure they'd love a quieter, less stinky, more fanciful ride across an alien planet just as much if not more.
                                    That could be cool, but if it were me, I might go less ambitious .... I think if you installed some tasteful, future-istic, cars-y, sculpture along the track that might be nice in a quaint and charming kind of way (sort of like what they do at botanical gardens sometimes).

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                                    • #19
                                      All points are valid for replacing or updating, but, when is the last time you rode this in the evening when the lighting is just right, beautiful. Also, if you ever seen the smile of your kid when he/she is finally big enough to ride by themselves, it can't be replaced.

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                                      • #20
                                        Before replacing The Autopia, there are several things that need to be done. Put in a 3-D movie in the Tomorrowland Theater that is not a Star Wars clip show. Replace the Star Wars meet and greet show in the Carousel of Progress building with an attraction based on space travel other than Space Mountain. Tear down the Peoplemover tracks because it is out of code and in poor condition.

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