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.”

The ride was created by Bob Gurr, who stated: “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. To achieve even greater capacity, the master plan for 1959 encompassed the MonorailSubmarine Voyage, the Matterhorn, and now two Autopias with two tracks each, and with new Autopia Mark V cars added to the existing mix of Autopia Mark IV models.”

The Fantasyland ride ran from 1959 until March 1991, when it became the Rescue Rangers Raceway.

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