My Need for Speed at Walt Disney World Speedway

IMAG0967 I love all the attractions at Walt Disney World, but on a recent trip, I decided to kick my thrill riding up a notch.  The Exotic Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway was just the way to do it!

I made a reservation a couple of months in advance.  My choice was the Lamborghini Gallardo 560-4.  I know nothing about cars.  My choice was simply because my son loves Lamborghinis so I figured it was as good of a choice as any.

IMAG0989On the day of the drive, I showed up a little early with all the completed forms and waivers in hand.  I needn’t have been early because I spent a lot of time just waiting around then for the classroom training to start.  Fortunately, I could spend my time watching earlier participants go around the track.  Unfortunately, my son got completely bored watching in just a few minutes.  I should have gone ahead myself earlier and had my husband and son come later, but it was too late for that.

They called us in for the classroom portion of the training and I found myself starting to get nervous.  When I was young, 90 miles per hour was as fast as my car would go and I was not afraid to drive at that speed (I hope my mom and dad aren’t reading this!!!).  As I’ve gotten older, 80mph on a freeway is still comfortable, but I knew from a trip to Germany that I didn’t like going over 125mph, at least when my husband was driving on the Autobahn.  Now I’m getting behind a $220,000+ car going even faster?  Anyway, I did pay attention to the classroom portion and watching the video that showed me what to do and made me a little less nervous.

IMAG0978Finally it was time to drive!!!  Three people had signed up for that particular car so I had to wait, but not long.  I got my helmet on, got in the car, was connected to the headset, and the instructor who rides along in the passenger seat said to go.

We did 6 laps around the track.  For the first one, I was instructed to go “slow” so I could get a feel for the lay of the track and where I needed to turn.  Apparently I wasn’t going slow enough as I missed the turn the instructor wanted me to take down the middle of the track so we ended up going around the whole track, which I was not supposed to do.  The second lap I was allowed to go a little faster, but this time with lots of warning so I didn’t miss the same turn.  That turn took me into the curves running through the center of the track, which was very different from handling the car on the larger curves and straightaway of the main track.  There are cones set up and the instructor tells you when to turn and how sharp and the car handles very well, but I didn’t have confidence in my ability or the car yet.  On the third lap, I was finally told to “give it some gas.”  I discovered that my definition of that and the instructor’s were two different things.  He didn’t mean drive like I do daily.  He meant push the gas pedal to the floor and let the car do its thing.   I was finally comfortable doing that by the fifth lap.  More disconcerting was braking.  When the instructor said to “hit the brakes” again he meant to send the brake pedal to the floor.  I’ll admit it took me all the way to the final sixth lap to be comfortable that slamming on the brakes wouldn’t send me slamming into my seatbelt.  In reality, even hitting the breaks hard slowed the car smoothly and it was so easy to control.

Suddenly and quickly, my six laps were done.  I will admit that I was disappointed.  I wasn’t disappointed in the car or the experience.  Not at all.  I was disappointed in myself that it took me all the way until the end to drive the car like it could have been driven.  If I had known what I knew on lap six in lap one or two, it would have been so much more amazing!  I have vowed that I will do that next time and there definitely will be a next time.

After the drive, they gave me a printout of my speeds throughout the drive.  I also purchased the in-car video, which includes the audio of the instructor and me talking, and a plaque with a couple of photos of the car and me.

As I mentioned, I am going to do this again.  I just need to save up the money and get back to Walt Disney World to do it.  This time, I’m also going to see if my son wants to do the new Piston Cup Junior Ride-Along where kids ages 6-13 can ride shotgun with a driving instructor in a “Cars” Piston Cup racecar.  Hmmm… those cars are so cute!  Do you think they’ll let me ride in one, too?

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