Could the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Speedway be getting a more eco-friendly makeover?
That’s been a rumor circulating ever since the aging Speedway got a reprieve. Originally it was believed that the TRON Lightcycle Power Run would take the place of the go-kart attraction, but it was revealed at D23 that the TRON coaster would in fact go next door to Space Mountain.
So where does that leave the gas guzzling opening day attraction? Well, clearly the Speedway is in dire need of an update, if for no other reason than theming. It’s hard to promote Tomorrowland as a vision of the future when a large part of the land is taken up by an attraction using fossil fuels.
(But hey, at least Herbie the Love Bug approves.)
Enter Tokyo Disneyland. Or rather, look at the go-karts that have exited Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo’s version of the Speedway, called the Grand Circuit Raceway, closed earlier this year to make room for a Beauty and the Beast attraction. Attractions Magazine snapped a photo of those vehicles parked at the Magic Kingdom.
We spotted some of the Grand Circuit Raceway cars from Tokyo Disneyland behind Space Mountain at Magic Kingdom. Tokyo Disney closed their Grand Circuit Raceway earlier this year to make way for a Beauty and the Beast attraction. Photo by @traveljac #disney #waltdisneyworld #tokyodisneyland #speedway #grandcurcuitraceway #magickingdom #cars #racecars #spacemountain #wdw #disneyworld #twitter
This sighting is fueling speculation that Disney may be testing cars without fuel, converting the Tomorrowland Speedway to electric cars and giving the whole attraction a makeover to better fit in with Tomorrowland. The current vehicles may be taken offline for the eco-friendly overhaul, and temporarily replaced with the Tokyo karts.
From the Orlando Weekly…
Strong rumors point to the cars being used as backups while the current cars go down for a significant overhaul that would include an entirely new fully electric engine, similar to the cars that were used at the Hong Kong Disneyland park before their speedway closed in last year. The fumes from the gas-powered cars at Magic Kingdom’s track drift throughout Tomorrowland, and the noise from the engines can be easily heard from nearby attractions. The shift to electric engines while using the same car shells wouldn’t be that difficult but would require numerous cars to be taken off line as they get the update.
In the concept artwork for the TRON coaster presented at D23, the Speedway looks a bit different than it does now, leading many to speculate than an overhaul is imminent.
It should also be noted that Disneyland’s version of the Speedway, Autopia, recently received an upgrade that included an ASIMO robot animatronic thanks to a sponsorship with Honda. Could a similar sponsorship deal be in the works for the Tomorrowland Speedway? Could Disney perhaps be courting a company like Ollie, maker of self-driving electric automobiles, to sponsor the attraction? Rumors are also circulating that Disney is looking into self-driving cars to transport Guests around the resort, with Ollie believed to be in the running.
Whatever the future may hold for the Tomorrowland Speedway, its likely that work will be completed by 2021 to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World.
[Source: Orlando Weekly, Photo: Reddit]