I love seeing Mickey and his friends in vehicles. Many of the original Shorts feature some kind of transportation theme and so it seems like a natural fit to carry this over into merchandise.
Many believe that the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World doesn’t quite fit the whole ‘future’ theme of the Land it’s in. And being as it features gas-powered go carts, it’s hard to argue the point! Recently, I heard a Vlogger opine that the attraction could be converted to electric cars with a sponsorship from Tesla. Now that would be a better fit!
But until that does or doesn’t happen we still have a really cool ride, with some awesome merchandise. Behold the Tomorrowland Speedway friction cars:
This version would have been sold in the Park closer to when it opened. It is made in Japan and features better fit and finish than the later version. Both versions have a metal body sitting on a plastic base.
I only have Mickey in the driver’s seat, but there are versions with Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck as well. Although I haven’t seen one, I imagine Goofy must also take the wheel!
Mickey sports his 1970’s clothing here. Red pants and a blue shirt with yellow shoes and white gloves to finish off the look. He wears this outfit in other collectibles of the period and so it helps to date such pieces.
Most versions of these cars I’ve found or seen have the number 45 on them. So I was happy to find a variant with a 60, even though it’s fit and finish is somewhat lacking. Maybe this Mickey isn’t as good a driver as Number 45! He’s even lost his steering wheel!
Again, the Japanese models are much better made, as you can see from the level of detail in the undercarriage. Some effort was made to simulate what the bottom of a real car actually looks like.
This car still has its original price tag of $12.95 US affixed to the axle. I feel this adds to the collectability.
Now let’s have a look at the versions that came out later in the ride’s history:
Notice he has also moved to the center of the car for some reason. And the car itself is slightly wider and shorter. Obviously the new manufacturer created their own tooling for the process.
So here Mickey has changed back to his classic red shorts, yellow shoes and white gloves.
Yellow, Blue, and Red are the only colors I’ve seen these cars painted. So far. But I’m on the hunt for more variations!
This later model is made in China, obviously to cut the cost of manufacturing. The cars are now lighter, but still with metal bodies on a plastic base.
Now the fun thing about these cars is the friction movement. You simply pull them back and they will shoot off across the floor a good 20′ or more. Pedal to the metal!
Is the Tomorrowland Speedway (or Autopia in Disneyland) a must-do during your Disney Theme Park visits? It definitely is for me!