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What Happened to Ford's Magic Skyway?

From the Ford Mustang to "It’s a Small World," the 1964 World’s Fair in New York was home to many attractions whose legacies would extend far beyond the Fair's gates. One that didn’t: Ford’s Magic Skyway.

Designed by Disney Imagineers, the ride entertained visitors while simultaneously exposing them to new vehicles fresh off the Ford assembly line. The cars were affixed to a track which took riders on a journey through time, all the way back to the age of the dinosaurs. After watching dinos peacefully graze on vegetation and witnessing a battle between a stegosaurus and a tyrannosaurus, riders saw humans create fire and invent the wheel. This, of course, is where Ford comes in. From the invention of the wheel, folks aboard the ride traveled along the “Highway in the Sky” to “Space City,” a futuristic town full of Ford creations.

At the end, Walt Disney himself appeared via voiceover to give Ford a little plug, saying,

“This is Walt Disney speaking. Our Space City is a distant dream. But all such dreams must begin in the minds of men. Men like the scientists, engineers and automotive designers of Ford Motor Company. I hope you enjoyed our show and your ride on The Magic Skyway in a new Ford product as much as I've enjoyed the Fords I have driven through the years. Now step out and see a world where tomorrow is being created today."

As the largest Disney-designed attraction at the Fair at 273,000 square feet, and also one of the most popular, Disney expected Ford to have plans for the Magic Skyway after the Fair, whether it was at Ford headquarters in Michigan or as a sponsored pavilion at Disneyland. The Sherman Brothers even wrote a catchy song for the brand:

But Ford executives passed on moving the Magic Skyway to Dearborn, choosing only to keep “The Auto Parts Harmonic Orchestra,” a collection of real, working musical instruments made from Ford parts and pieces.

And though the pavilion at Disneyland didn't pan out either, Disney did salvage two things from the ride: The dinosaurs found a new home in the Primeval World diorama along the Disneyland Railroad, and the track system concept was used to create the WEDWay PeopleMover ride at Disneyland just a few years later.

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Design
This Is How Kids Envision the Cars of the Future
Charlotte, 12
Charlotte, 12
GoCompare

You don’t need a driver's license to have big ideas about how cars can be improved. Take it from these kids: When they were asked by the car insurance comparison website GoCompare to draw their visions for the cars of the future, they didn’t hold back. The sketches, first spotted by Co.Design, suggest there are cupcake boosters, rainbow headlights, and shark fin rooftops on the horizon for the auto industry.

GoCompare’s gallery features the original doodles alongside their professionally illustrated counterparts. Some designs take cues from science fiction, as is the case with 11-year-old Paula’s double-decker hover car. The magnetic bottom pushes against the magnetic roads beneath it to glide above the ground. Then, there's 12-year-old Charlotte’s Rainbow Convertible 3000, which uses giant wings to float over traffic.

Power sources include chocolate fuel and rocket boosters. On the practical side, some kids worked electric generators and solar panels into their designs, anticipating the real-world need for alternative energy.

Kids drawing of car of the future.
Zach, 11

Kids drawing of car.
Isla, 6

Kids drawing of car.
Kyre, 11

Kids drawing of car.
Paula, 11

Kids drawing of car.
Joel, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Boban, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Danelle, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Charlie, 11

Kid's drawing of car.
Harnitha, 11

Kids' dreams for the future extend far beyond cars. Here are some examples of what kids came up with when asked to draw the house of tomorrow.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of GoCompare.

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5 Questions to Ask Your Auto Mechanic
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iStock

Own a car long enough and you will eventually find yourself standing in an auto repair shop trying to decipher what the technician is trying to tell you. The only common language? How much it’s going to cost.

Even though you might not understand all the nuts and bolts of a repair job, it’s still important you have enough information to make an informed decision. We asked mechanic Charles Sanville of The Humble Mechanic blog to pass along five simple questions that should elicit some helpful information from a repairman before (and after) you commit to getting the work done.

1. “CAN YOU SHOW ME THE PROBLEM?”

Most mechanics are not out to rip you off. But if they are, they can often be tripped up by a simple request to see which part is in need of attention. “You always want to ask this,” Sanville says. “Tell them you want to see the part that’s failing.” While some issues might be with a car’s electronics and therefore won’t have a physical spot to point to, it’s still a good idea to try. Having a visual aid will also make a tech’s explanation easier to understand.

2. “WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T FIX THIS?”

Be sure to ask the shop what the consequences might be of not taking care of an issue right away. “You should ask what happens in the long term if something doesn’t get fixed,” Sanville says. While a timing belt might need replacement, it’s possible it might be good for another few thousand miles; a brake issue probably can’t wait.

3. “CAN YOU PRIORITIZE THESE REPAIRS?”

Some technicians make repairs seem like urgent matters, but not everything needs to be addressed immediately. “Having five issues isn’t uncommon, but a couple of them might not be a big deal and can wait,” Sanville says. “Have them prioritize what’s wrong with the car.”

4. “CAN I SEE THE DEFECTIVE PART?”

Before the repair has been made, request that the shop save the faulty part so you can take a look. “Sometimes they’ll let you keep it,” Sanville says, depending on disposal requirements. It’s tangible proof they did the work promised.

5. “CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW YOU FIXED IT?”

Don’t worry about understanding much—or any—detail about the repair work. What you really want, Sanville says, is to build a relationship with the technician and not just the service advisor behind the counter. “Ask them to explain in a technical way what the problem was, how they caught it, and how it was fixed. It’ll help build a relationship and then you’ll have your own tech. You can bring it to ‘Bill’ instead of just ‘ABC Auto.’ That’s a guy who will know you and know your car and do what he can to keep you on the road.”

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