Disneyland’s Fantasyland Autopia Opened On This Day in 1959

Autopia in 1996, before its complete remodel in 2000. The Autopia cars at this time closely resembled the Corvette Stingray. | Ellen Levy Finch

What began as Junior Autopia in 1956, the Fantasyland Autopia ride opened on this day January 1, in 1959 in California’s Disneyland as an expanded version of its predecessor. The attraction was located between the Matterhorn and the Disneyland railroad, in a space now replaced by the modern Autopia and It’s a Small World. The name Autopia was derived from the words “automobile utopia.”

Disneyland’s Fantasyland Autopia is a unique and unrivaled attraction that epitomizes the magic and innovation of the iconic theme park. It is a testament to Disneyland’s commitment to create immersive experiences that engage visitors and transport them into a world of pure imagination and wonder.

Fantasyland is a realm within Disneyland where beloved childhood stories come to life, and Autopia is one of its most popular attractions. This captivating ride offers visitors the opportunity to take the wheel of a miniature car and navigate through a scenic landscape that mirrors a real-life motorway. The Autopia ride, which has been a staple attraction since Disneyland’s opening in 1955, still manages to thrill and delight visitors of all ages.

The creation of Fantasyland Autopia is attributed to the genius of Bob Gurr, a Disney legend who designed most of Disneyland’s ride vehicles. Gurr commented on the early success of the ride, saying, “From Disneyland’s opening day, the Autopia in Tomorrowland was wildly popular. A couple years later, the Junior Autopia was added as a quick capacity addition and specially configured for younger (shorter) guests.” Gurr’s ingenuity is evident in the creation of Autopia, which effectively simulates the experience of driving a car, adding an element of realism to the fantasy world of Disneyland.

Despite its vintage charm, Fantasyland Autopia has evolved over the years, incorporating new features and updates to keep it fresh and relevant for contemporary audiences. The attraction has been revamped several times since its inception, with changes ranging from updated car designs to new track layouts. These transformations are indicative of Disneyland’s continuous efforts to enhance visitor experiences and remain at the forefront of theme park innovation.

Disneyland’s Fantasyland Autopia holds a special place in the annals of the theme park’s history. It stands as a testament to Bob Gurr’s creativity and Disneyland’s ability to blur the line between fantasy and reality, providing visitors with an unforgettable experience.