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Daniel Etcheberry

Walt Disney World Speedway; a good idea?

Published: May 9, 2014 at 10:56 AM

The Walt Disney World Speedway has brought parking nightmares in the past, and it doesn't hold race events anymore. Guests can drive or be a passenger of a race car and that's it.

Does even Mickey show up?

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Replies (8)

Robert Niles

Published: May 9, 2014 at 1:07 PM

As a long-time IndyCar fan, let me jump in here:

Basically, Disney's gotten too popular to enable it to host any significant events at what fans called "The Mickyard" (a play on the Indianapolis Motor Speedwway's nickname, "The Brickyard"). A major race at the speedway would require somewhere between 10,000-50,000 temporary bleacher seats, most along the side of the track facing the Magic Kingdom parking lots. Then the rest of the MK lots would be needed for actual fan parking, not to mention the many various sponsors' hospitality tents that travel from race to race.

It'd be a great way to occupy the lots on a weekend when hardly anyone comes to the Magic Kingdom... if only there were any weekends anymore when hardly anyone comes to the Magic Kingdom. Disney figured out years ago that it makes more money when it runs events during slow periods at the park than when it allows others (such as IndyCar or another race series) to promote and run events. That's why we get so many runDisney events at the WDW Resort during the old "off-season."

So why keep the speedway? At this point, it's a sunk cost. Unless Disney has some other pressing need for the land, it might as well bring it whatever the Petty Driving Experience pays for its use. The Magic Kingdom has no need for excess parking capacity at this point. What else could Disney put there?

It's too bad, from a race fan's perspective, that Disney didn't build the Mickyard at what became the Wide World of Sports complex. I think the track might have survived as a viable race facility there, where it could have taken advantage of some of the permanent infrastructure for sporting events.

Robert Niles

Published: May 9, 2014 at 1:10 PM

I also should throw in that the IndyCar races that did run at the Mickyard suffered as they were IRL [Indy Racing League] events run during the first years of the split with CART [Championship Auto Racing Teams]. Basically, during those years, almost none of the Indy Car racing teams that anyone had ever heard of ran the Disney event, which didn't help the event attract the sponsors and fan base it needed to be able to thrive.

It was easy for Disney to walk away from working with a lame event. If all the CART teams and sponsors would have been there, for a race weekend attracting 100,000+ free-spending fans, Disney would have had a much harder time walking away from the event.

Phil B.

Published: May 10, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Supposedly the land just East of the Mickyard, across World Drive is earmarked for a large attraction of some sort, possibly a theme park well off into the future. I could see the track being demo'd to allow for additional parking or a new resort in close proximity to the park if a 5th gate ever comes about.
Tyler Harris

Published: May 10, 2014 at 3:18 PM. Edited: May 10, 2014 at 3:19 PM

While I don't find a 5th park likely until 2024 (or never), I think Disney should turn the 'Mickyard' into the 'Extra Parking for the Magic Kingdom/ 5th park Resort-yard'. I know racing fans would not like to hear this, but Disney doesn't hold any more events here, the Mickyard name is awkward because there is no Mickey, and Disney should use the space for something that the resort might need in the future.
Robert Niles

Published: May 10, 2014 at 4:24 PM

There actually is a Mickey in the Mickyard:

Mickyard on Google Maps
Daniel Etcheberry

Published: May 11, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Maybe a meet n' greet with Pixar's 'Cars'or Herbie the Love Bug.
Jaiden Cohen

Published: June 9, 2014 at 4:39 AM

I don't get why it's there.
robert morris

Published: June 9, 2014 at 8:22 AM

They actually do a pretty good business as regards to group sales via their Driving Experiences.

I'm also curious as to what parking nightmares it causes?

Since the race tracks completion Disney has added countless rooms and allowing more guest to use transportation and even on the busiest days they still have spots available in TTC lots.

That premise would be plausible if the race track was not placed in the former furthest away parking spots.

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