Satisfy Your Need for Speed with The Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway

If you like fast cars and have "drive like a NASCAR driver" on your bucket list, then you need to check out The Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway.

Yes, that's right. There is a speedway right in the middle of all the magic at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The "Mickyard" (as it's been dubbed by the Orlando Sentinel and AutoWeek magazine) is a three-turn tri-oval track designed by Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief engineer Kevin Forbes. The track is near Disney's Polynesian resort, and you can often hear the roar of the engines from the resort.

The track was home of the Indy 200 at Walt Disney World in 1996, but professional racing only lasted a few seasons at the track.

Now, the Walt Disney World Speedway is home to The Richard Petty Driving Experience where guests have a chance to drive a real NASCAR race vehicle.

One of the NASCAR race vehiclesOne of the NASCAR race vehicles

Guests who take part in the Richard Petty Driving Experience can choose from several experiences including The Rookie Experience which is a two and half hour experience that includes 8 laps around the track and costs $449. Or if guests are feeling really adventurous they can choose The Experience of a Lifetime that includes 30 laps around the track for $1,299.

Before guests get their chance behind the wheel, they have to take part in in-car and on-track training from the instructors. Once you're on the track you'll be following an instructor's car as you drive at speeds up to 120 mph. At the end of the experience all drivers "graduate" the driving school and receive a printout of the performance on each lap of their experience.

Professional drive instructors at the SpeedwayProfessional drive instructors at the Speedway

If you aren't ready for the driving experience, the speedway also offers a Ride Along experience with one of the professional instructors.

And if that is still too much excitement, the speedway has a viewing area where friends and family members of the "racers" can sit and watch. When my brother-in-law took part in the Rookie Experience a few years ago, the instructors were kind enough to let the kids in our group sit in one of the race cars before the drivers came out to "race." That was a nice touch and made everyone feel as if they were part of the experience.

Guests interested in The Richard Petty Driving Experience can visit the website for more information or to make reservations. While The Richard Petty Driving Experience operates on most days, there may be days when it is closed due to inclement weather or private events. (We did witness an Experience get cancelled due to rain a few years ago).

Take a spin around the SpeedwayTake a spin around the Speedway

Reservations are not required for Ride Along experiences and they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Ride Alongs start one hour after the start of the day's first driving class.

If you are visiting the Walt Disney World Speedway there is a complimentary shuttle that picks up guests near the Lost and Found at the Ticket and Transportation Center. Parking is also available at the Speedway Infield.

In addition to the NASCAR experience, the Walt Disney World Speedway also offers an Exotics Driving Experience where guests can get behind the wheel of a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Audi, or Porsche on the Exotics Course.

The Exotics Driving Experience includes packages with 6 or 10 laps around the 1-mile circuit and reservations are required.

Have you been part of the Richard Petty Driving Experience or the Exotics Driving Experience? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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