Le Taxi Tour
Manufacturer: Arrow Development
All Time Maximum Capacity: 1,392 an hour
Located in the Europa section of the park, Le Taxi Tour is one of a handful of rides left from the 1973 Inaugural season of Worlds of Fun. Taxi's like Safari once did, operates drive-your-own vehicles, manufactured by Arrow Development of Mountainview, Ca. In the case of Taxi's, each car is built to resemble a French taxi car, which seats up to four guests at a time. The ride experience itself is relatively unchanged in the last forty-plus years, complete with gently curved hills, its a fun ride for all ages.
The concept of the drive-yourself ride can be traced back to at least 1930 when Harry Traver introduced the Auto Race ride, of which only one is still in operation at Kennywood near Pittsburgh, PA. Though a forerunner to today's "drive yourself" ride, the Auto Race actually operates cars within a wooden trough. The idea of the track with a middle rail came much later. Autotopia at Disneyland, introduced in 1955 is considered by many the first modern version of the "drive yourself ride", but even it lacked, originally, the center rail which has become a staple safety feature on these types of rides. Arrow Development, a major player in the original rides at Disneyland didn't actually build the first Autopia cars in 1955, but did build the Midget Autopia cars in 1957 which most likely paved the way for their introduction of the antique car ride only a few years later. In 1962, Six Flags over Texas introduced the first antique car ride, named Chaparral Antique Cars, built by Arrow Development, a ride which still continues to operate. Arrow then introduced its first "taxi" themed cars with Le Taxi at Astroworld (the park is currently defunct) in 1968. Worlds of Fun is still currently operating the original Arrow cars. For a few years, between 2009 and 2011, Worlds of Fun attempted to operate cars from two other Cedar Fair parks, Geauga Lake (closed in 2008) and Kings Island (which had an antique car ride removed in 2004). The attempt to include cars from other parks was most likely to increase the capacity (riders per hour) of the ride, due to the age of the original cars. The park encountered various problems with the alternate vehicles, with some issues stemming from the frequent stalling of the cars on the rides various hills. The augmented cars were removed from service at the park after only a few years and as mentioned the park is currently only using original Taxi cars as part of its Le Taxi Tour fleet.
As mentioned previously, Le Taxi Tour is very much unchanged from its original form, however there have been small changes made to the ride over the years, most of which involve removals. For example, a large red water tanker, added for thematic purposes, once sat at the top of the highest hill, which was removed in the late 90's and has not been seen since. Also, a framed poster which provided details about the ride and photos once adorned the wall near the turnstile, and was removed also in the late 90's, it was most likely removed due to its deteriorated condition, but the sign is currently in our possession after being given to us by the park to save it from the dumpster.