Disneyland Childhood Part 4

Hope you're ready for two attractions in one article!
August 11, 2010
Hello, fellow Retrojunkies! Are you ready for another Disneyland Childhood article? Well, you got one. This is my first requested article for this series. For this edition, I am going to be talking about the Peoplemover.

Now, the Peoplemover was a Tomorrowland attraction that ran from 1967 to 1995. There were a few different versions of it, but for this one, I am going to talk about the version of the ride that I fondly remember. So, if you're all ready, let's go for a ride on the Peoplemover!

We start by going up a moving ramp to the boarding area. The boarding area for the Peoplemover, which was right below the Rocket Jets. The ride was an omnimover ride that ran on wheels that continuously moved, so you had to move fast to board. Also, the vehicles had doors that closed automatically.

As you start the ride, we hear the Good Year theme playing along with a woman as your tour guide. As we leave the station, she tells us that the Peoplemover has carried more than 50 million guests since it opened in 1967.

Soon, we come across Star Tours. As the vehicles move inside the building, C-3PO comes in and greets the guests welcoming them to the Star Tours Spaceport.

We now move inside the queue for Star Tours and see both parts of the queue on both sides. It is kind of sad seeing vids of this attraction on YouTube and seeing how crowded the line to this ride was back then. Tell me about it; we'll talk about this attraction next time.

As we leave the spaceport, the Peoplemover starts speeding up, as we bypass the Star Trader. We make a sharp turn just to avoid a Storm Trooper about to blast us!

We then pass by the Starcade. The narrator doesn't talk about the Starcade, but she does tell us about what we're about to enter: Space Mountain. Later, we bypass some windows that look into the Space Mountain ride, which thankfully were hardly noticable on the ride itself. I'll always remember seeing that big red ball, which seemed very unrealistic to have on Space Mountain, but they took it out for the 2005 update.

As we come back outside, the narrator now talks to us about Captain EO at the Magic Eye Theater, which is now below us.

Then, we approach Mission to Mars, which she talks about as well. When the attraction closed in 1992, this part of the speil was taken out. Maybe I'll talk about that attraction too in some future time.

As we approach the Carrousel Theater, we suddenly hear a villainous computer voice telling us that we're about to enter the game grid of Tron.

This is the part where the Peoplemover goes behind the Carrousel Theater and enters this huge room that shows all these bizarre designs and sounds. We have entered the world of Tron! There were two rooms. The first room was out in the middle of a cyber ocean, and the second room showed the famous motorcycle race.

As we exit the realm, the computer voice comes back and says that we got lucky this time, but next time, he'll get us.

The Peoplemover now goes down and rides over the Autopia track and under the Monorail track.

As we continue to wind around, we can now see "It's a Small World" in the distance. Even though that attraction isn't part of Tomorrowland, the narrator still talks about it.

Later, we are now over Submarine Lagoon, and the narrator talks about the Submarine Voyage.

Now, the Peoplemover comes right up to the Monorail station and runs right along it. As we bypass it, the narrator tells us a brief history of the attraction.

We now go inside another attraction. This time, it's the Circle-Vision Theater. (Ooh! There's another attraction I can talk about!) As we go though, we see some lit up pictures that show scenes from the show that's playing there. In this case, it's "American Journeys".

Then, just before we exit, we bypass a window that leads into the waiting room for the attraction.

As we come out of the building, the narrator introduces us to the Plaza, the heart of Disneyland.

As we approach the Peoplemover station, we now see this muril of children right over the Premeire Shop. Now, it's time to exit the Peoplemover.

Now that I've finished giving the synopsis of the ride, it's time to do a little history of the attraction. Obviously, I was never around to experience the past versions of the attraction, but here's what I know about it. The thing about the ride that changed the most was the part where it goes behind the Carrousel Theater. When it first opened in 1967, when the Theater housed Carrousel of Progress, it bypassed a window that looked into the Progress city on the upper level of the attraction. When the attraction closed in 1973 and was replaced with America Sings, the Peoplemover began going through what was known as the Tomorrowland Speed Tunnel. In 1982, the Peoplemover cars were given new designs, and the Speed Tunnel became the Game Grid of Tron.

The Peoplemover officially closed in 1995. The following year, an announcement had been made that Tomorrowland would be getting a huge makeover in 1998, and replacing the Peoplemover would be a new thrill ride known as Rocket Rods.

Of all the updates being made to Tomorrowland that year, Rocket Rods was the most anticipated. This was basically an attraction where guests rode on 5-passenger hot rods that ran on the Peoplemover track at 35 miles per hour (four times faster than the Peoplemover itself). While the attraction did serve as a huge hit, it sadly did not last very long.

This attraction suffered many problems. First of all, the line was always ridiculously long (at least 3 hours). The ride was also infamous for breaking down a lot, plus Disney Imagineers were never able to get all the effects on the ride to work right.

Six weeks after the attraction first opened in May of 1998, it closed for maitenance. It was supposed to be closed for only five weeks, but instead, it wound up being closed for three months. After it reopened in October of 1998, it closed again two years later. Disney announced it would reopen in the spring of 2001, but it never did. Before the time came, they announced that Rocket Rods would never reopen. Since then, the old Peoplemover track just sat empty with no activity whatsoever.

However, for the last few years, rumors have been going around that the Peoplemover was coming back. According to the rumors now, it's going to return in 2012. That would be cool if it did happen, but as of right now, the plan is not set in stone. If this was to happen, I'm sure they would update it with a new speil and maybe also some new vehicle designs. Well, that would be something to look forward to, but as of right now, all us Disneyland nostalgics can do is hope for the best and just keep the old Peoplemover in our memories.

In memory of the Peoplemover
and Rocket Rods
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