Photo by: Corey Martin
Review by William Perry
Many thrill seekers that travel to Orlando have no clue where the best thrill ride in Central Florida really is. Most would easily guess a theme park, perhaps something at Islands of Adventure or a high-speed roller coaster, right?
Located just outside the Magic Kingdom sits a little jewel called the Walt Disney World Orlando Speedway. You’ve probably driven right by it on your way to the Kingdom and may have not even noticed it was there. Inside this mile speedway awaits an experience of a lifetime, the Indy Racing Experience.
Here is your chance to get up close and personal with an Indy Car. The Indy Racing Experience offers a couple options at the track. One is a ride along and the other is to actually drive an Indy Car. I had the opportunity to experience both the ride and drive programs and glad I did, as they are very different from each other.
A ride along is a great way for anyone to get the ultimate thrill ride (in my opinion) and feel the true power of a race car as you circle the track at 120mph with a professional driver behind the wheel. You won’t find that at any theme park. The ride along is absolutely amazing and is very reasonably priced for the experience. You’ll reach speeds around 120-130mph while a professional driver rockets you around the mile speedway. This experience gets you up to speed quick and gives you a taste of what these cars can actually do. Very exciting experience, well worth the money for the ride along I’d have to recommend it for any thrill seeker.
The Walt Disney World Orlando Speedway is one of two places where you can actually get behind the wheel and drive one of these $250,000 machines that have graced the famous bricks of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If you’ve chosen to do the drive experience you’ll first be given a safety class going over the on track instructions and details of the car, pedals, switches, etc. No need for shifting in this experience, however you are required to use the clutch when leaving and returning to pit road. You’ll be following a lead car around the track; the goal is to keep pace about six car lengths back. The lead car will gain speed, as you get faster and more comfortable. You will instantly feel the power of this car, you only sit about three inches off the ground when you’re in the vehicle. This makes the gravity force that much stronger and it takes a little getting used to. You're also sitting in the middle of the car, sunk down in a jet fighter like cockpit. The feeling is absolutely unmatched to anything I’ve ever been in or drove. The responsiveness of the vehicle is completely amazing and handles like you think it would. Trust in the vehicle, these cars are meant to do one thing, go fast!
If I had the chance to do the programs again for the first time, I’d do the ride along first and then the drive experience. This way I would have really known and felt what these cars were capable of doing. All programs require you to wear a full NOMAX racing suite, helmet, shoes, and gloves. You must be at least 18 years old, 250lbs or less, and under 6’5”. I will recommend wearing shorts, and don’t forget to bring socks.
The Walt Disney World Orlando Speedway offers the ultimate Orlando thrill ride in my opinion. For anyone that seeks thrill, or just has a passion for cars or going fast, this is a must-do and well worth the money.
Having experienced both the Richard Petty Driving Experience (NASCAR) and now the Indy Racing experience its nice to be able to compare the two. Here is how all my experiences stack up: Indy drive along, Indy ride along, and then Richard Petty drive.
I think its safe to say its hard not to have a good time at the Walt Disney World Speedway. Every time I’ve been there I’ve absolutely had an experience I’ll never forget and memories to remind me forever. If you’re still on the fence, book a ride along and thank me later!
Have questions? Feel free to email me. Also, be sure to let me know about your experience at this ride! I'd love to hear from you.