Recently, the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando added a Junior Ride-Along to its popular driving and ride-along experiences. Since we were in the area, we decided to check it out (and use our 8-year-old son, West, as a test subject). I don’t think he minded much.
West isn’t really a fan of NASCAR, but he is a fan of speed. California Screamin’ and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster are two of his favorite attractions, so we knew this would be perfect for him. Once we checked their calendar to make sure they were open, we headed over. No appointment is needed for ride-alongs.
Getting to the Speedway is easy even if you don’t have a vehicle. Just look for this sign near the Central Lost & Found located at the Ticket & Transportation Center and take the free shuttle.
They were expecting us, so after completing the necessary paperwork, we headed over to get West fitted for his racing suit. He wore the largest kids size they had….too many buffets on the cruise. I’m going to try to go into detail about the preparation process, in case you have a child that’s hesitant about the Ride-Along.
Kids might need some help from Mom to get it on and zipped up.
Once you’re in your suit, you gotta pose with the Richard Petty sign. For the Junior Ride-Along, kids must be 6 to 13-years-old and must be at least 48 inches tall (in comparison, you must be 54 inches tall to ride alone on the Tomorrowland Speedway or the Autopia). Also, you must wear closed toed shoes.
Next, it was time for the exciting walk out to the Speedway!
We were told that this shade structure is new at the Speedway.
Now to complete the preparations…first comes comes the hood…
…then the helmet…
…and finally the neck harness. The Richard Petty Driving experience has partnered with The Joie of Seating to create special racing seats specifically for this program.
Now, the moment of truth.
This IS a real race car, so you have to climb in through the window. Kids do get a little help though.
Some last minute instructions from the crew chief and driver…
…and they’re off.
The Junior Ride-Along features 3 laps of the track with speeds up to 120MPH (the adult ride-along features speeds up to 145MPH).
I think this face says it all.
West had a great time and felt very special being able to do the Ride-Along (especially on Mom’s birthday).
The cost of the Junior Ride-Along is $59, which I think puts it in the same range as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutque or The Pirates League….not something you would do every trip, but great for a special occasion or a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
I’m sure we’ll be back.
NOTE: Richard Petty Driving Experience provided the ride-along and onboard video for the purposes of review, however the opinions are our own.
Category: Disney World