Saturday, June 30, 2012

Disneyland's PeopleMover (video)

One more nostalgic post before we move on: the Disneyland PeopleMover. An absolute fan favorite, it ranks among the top things people miss in the Disney parks today. 

This PeopleMover opened in 1967 (before Magic Kingdom itself opened in Orlando) and closed in 1995. Like Orlando's present version, it roamed Tomorrowland, but the Anaheim version went out into the Autopia area, and it went up and down more rather than stay on a level surface. It was powered by tires in the floor, the same thing that gives a boost to bobsleds in the Matterhorn. Both systems had been inspired by the Ford factory, where Disney workers touring the place (prepping for the Ford-sponsored 1964 World's Fair attraction) saw a similar system for moving materials, and realized it could be used for Moving People... and the placeholder name stuck. The Ford pavilion used a similar method of moving people... in Ford cars. When the ride came to Orlando, a new direction for propulsion was taken that was tire-free and more constant.

Here's my video from 1994, about a year before this ride closed.

The PeopleMover track was vacant for a while, then it was replaced by the faster Rocket Rods, which developed tire problems and track stress issues, and the track is again unused.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.