Recently, my mom found her old View-Master along with some View-Master reels. Like a couple of big kids, we both proceeded to take a look at the reels. It reminded me of ordering dessert at the 50’s Prime Time Café, except we didn’t have any reels showcasing delicious desserts. I was thrilled to find a few reels with images from the 1964 New York World’s Fair, as well as, quite a feel reels with images from Disneyland.
On one of the Disneyland reels, I found an adorable picture of Goofy driving what I thought was an Autopia car. The caption on the photo “Goofy On Midget Autopia” seemed a bit strange to me. Midget Autopia? I’d never heard of this attraction. So I did some research and found out there was in fact an attraction called Midget Autopia at Disneyland.
Located next to the Storybook Land Canal Boats, Midget Autopia opened in 1957. It was the third Autopia track opened at Disneyland, with the other tracks being Tomorrowland Autopia and Fantasyland’s Junior Autopia. Midget Autopia’s smaller cars were designed especially for children who were too small to ride the other versions of Autopia. In fact, adults were not allowed on Midget Autopia. Each car contained two steering wheels so that if a car was occupied by two children, both of them would have the opportunity to drive. Unlike the other Autopias which give drivers a freeway driving experience, Midget Autopia gave drivers a more relaxed country driving experience. One of the highlights of the attraction occurred when the doors of a yellow barn swung open just in time for the cars to pass through.
As you know, Walt Disney wanted Disneyland to be a place where children and their parents could have fun together. He was disappointed with the Midget Autopia attraction because families could not enjoy the ride together. In 1966, Midget Autopia was closed in order to create a pathway for It’s A Small World which would soon open at Disneyland. However, this was not the end of Midget Autopia. The attraction was moved to Walt Disney Park in Marceline, Missouri. The attraction operated for several years in Walt’s hometown before maintenance issues forced the closure of Midget Autopia.
Though the attraction is not in operation today, guests at Disneyland can see a bronzed Midget Autopia ride car. Just look for the bronzed car on a pedestal as you drive your Autopia car.