The Midget Autopia was an attraction in Fantasyland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, allowing children too young to drive the larger cars of the Tomorrowland and Junior Autopias.
The Midget Autopia closed in April 1966 to make way for a walkway to the soon-to-open “it’s a small world”and was donated to Walt Disney’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri, where it operated for several years in Walt Disney Municipal Park until cost and maintenance issues lead to its closure. The rails of the tracks have since been removed, though the concrete path and load area structure remain and one of the ride vehicles is now displayed in the Walt Disney Childhood Museum. Recently, the museum has started an effort to raise funds to rebuild the Midget Autopia in a new location next to the museum.
You can still see a Midget Autopia car in Marceline. An original car is on display in the town’s Walt Disney Hometown Museum. The museum is open daily (except Monday) from April through October in the town’s former Santa Fe railroad depot—an appropriate place to honor lifelong train buff Walt Disney.
What happened to the other two Autopias? The Junior Autopia closed in 1958, and reopened in 1959 as the expanded Fantasyland Autopia. The Tomorrowland Autopia and the Fantasyland Autopia operated until 1999, when work began to combine the tracks into a single attraction. In 2000, the redesigned attraction opened as the “Autopia, presented by Chevron,” with a new fleet of cleverly designed cars.
If you look carefully while you’re driving your Chevron Autopia car, you’ll see a bronzed Midget Autopia car on a pedestal at the side of the track. This “statue” is a tribute to the Chevron Autopia’s long-gone relative. It’s an actual car that once operated in Fantasyland and Marceline.
For more than five decades, the Autopia rides have given many future Southern California freeway drivers their first experience behind the steering wheel.