Magic Kingdom visitors drive past holiday decor being added to Tomorrowland Speedway for the first time. Their lit-up version will debut Nov. 8.
Magic Kingdom visitors drive past holiday decor being added to Tomorrowland Speedway for the first time. Their lit-up version will debut Nov. 8. (Dewayne Bevil / Orlando Sentinel)

Walt Disney World is shifting into a higher gear for its holiday decorations. Among its fresh offerings are a new Christmas-lights package to enhance the Tomorrowland Speedway.

It’s the first overlay in the history of the attraction, which was part of the opening-day lineup of Magic Kingdom in 1971.


“Tomorrowland Speedway: Race Through the Holidays is what we like to refer to it as,” said Steve Barkofski, scenic designer for the enhancement.

The attraction will have “11 zones throughout the track where we use different sorts of lighting techniques that let’s just say that the townspeople of Tomorrowland put together and illuminated. They’re different sources of light,” he said.

The overlay officially kicks in Friday, Nov. 8, which is also the first day of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, an after-hours/extra-ticket event at Magic Kingdom. Visitors have been able to see elements of the Tomorrowland going up already. The first turn for the miniature cars on the track — the one that curves by Space Mountain — features a dozen triangular tree figures.

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“Every zone has different types of geometric shapes,” Barkofski said “Like, we introduced the triangles in the beginning, and then we moved to light up cubes, and then we move to different types of spheres and how they’re laid across the intricate landscape that are what the Speedway is known for.”

Down the straightaway, there are atomic structures and shapes that represent motion, such as diamond patterns and stream of light.

In daylight hours, the Speedway’s holiday structures will appear plain white, but at dusk, the light show will kick in.

“We introduce many spectrums of color, through the 30,000 controllable lights that are introduced throughout the track,” Barkofski said. A futuristic audio track that will play during the light show.

“Basically, it’s supposed to get you in the holiday feel in a futuristic kind of way,” he said.

Tomorrowland Speedway was under refurbishment for several weeks this year.

Disney: New fireworks’ debut will be livestreamed

The debut of Walt Disney World’s new nighttime spectacular, “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” will be livestreamed and available to folk not at Magic Kingdom theme park that night.

“When our team was integrated in with the attraction, the Speedway was set up for us to load in properly and make these installations work well in the space,” Barkofski said. The 30,000 lights “require a lot of energy and a lot of power and a lot of programming,” he said.

There are additional new experiences set for Magic Kingdom, including a holiday version of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. Space Mountain and Mad Tea Party will have new sound and light packages during the Very Merry Christmas Party. New fireworks dubbed “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” also debut during Very Merry this year.

Elsewhere at Disney World, Animal Kingdom is expanding its holiday décor throughout the theme park. Other holiday festivities set to return include Candlelight Processional at Epcot and “Sunset Season’s Greetings” and “Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.