The Autopia ride that is still operating in Disneyland today, is one of the original rides from opening day in 1955; of course, the attraction has undergone some updates since first opening, but still has its original charm. In 1956, Walt introduced the Junior Autopia, with two steering wheels, so that smaller children could drive next to the parents, and then another year after that, on April 23, 1957, Disneyland opened the Midgit Autopia; it was a smallest of all three autopia rides, with electric cars on a winding track. The cars were designed specifically for small children, no one over the age of 4 or so could fit in the tiny cars.
The Midgit Autpoia operated for 9 years in Disneyland, until “Its A Small World” needed a space in the park; in 1966 the ride was closed and disassembled. And then something happened that had never been done before and has never been done since…Walt donated the ride to Marceline for operation outside of the park. The Midget Aupotia is the only ride that has ever left a Disney park for operation at another location!
The ride operated here in Marceline for 11 years. It was set up at the Walt Disney Municipal Park Complex, which had been named in Walt's honor and dedicated during a celebration ten years earlier, on July 4th, 1956.
Eventually, the cars and track become too difficult and expensive for our city to maintain, so 1977 was the ride’s final season in Marceline, afterward the cars were put into storage.
One of the original Midgit Autopia cars was on display as a lawn ornament among the landscaping of the Autopia track, for several years, you may have seen it without even realizing.
Another original car is on display inside the Walt Disney Hometown Museum. Next to the museum, in the back lot of Ripley Square, is the third edition of the Midgit Autopia.
Autopia 3.0 is a tribute to the Midgit Autopia attraction, as it was our last gift from Walt Disney, it holds a special place in our hearts. There are currently two replica cars housed in the little yellow barn, that operate on special occasions.