Peoplemover

Peoplemover

Never mind those pesky jet packs or flying cars from The Jetsons, in the future man will travel in groups of four, roughly at the pace of a hurried snail. At least, that was the vision put forth by Disneyland’s glimpse into a futuristic tomorrow called the Peoplemover. And while this form of transportation never quite became the preferred method of travel for future generations, it managed to provide a service not to be discounted; a peaceful journey through the land of the future.

The Peoplemover opened in 1967 and offered a scenic round trip journey through every nook and cranny of Tomorrowland. Guests traveled up a moving sidewalk to the boarding area, anxious to enter their own transportation vehicle. Each vehicle held up to four adults and each “train” consisted of four vehicles linked together. Each group of vehicles were one of four colors: red, blue, yellow, or green. In 1987, the cars were repainted white with colored stripes.

As you approached your Peoplemover vehicle, the roof would raise to allow easier entry and the doors would slide open in a similar fashion to the doors on Star Trek’s “Enterprise” starship (although, sadly without the whooshing sound). You and your fellow passengers would take your seat and head at a white-knuckled two miles per hour towards the entrance to Tomorrowland before making a sharp left turn and entering the show building that housed either “Monsanto’s Adventure Through Inner Space” or the Star Wars themed, “Star Tours” depended on which era you were visiting in.

Moving forward, you would pop out over the Starcade video game arcade and (again, depending on the decade) enter another show building to catch a glimpse of Space Mountain, a thrilling roller coaster through the darkness of space. Of course, this darkness meant that you were more likely to hear the screams of Space Mountain riders, rather than actually see much of anything, other than a few stars and maybe an asteroid that looked suspiciously like a chocolate chip cookie.

From here, the Peoplemover would travel over the now-extinct Mission to Mars and head onward to a section added in 1977 that would, at least momentarily, give you the impression that you were traveling much faster than you actually were. This “Superspeed Tunnel” later became the futuristic world of Tron and provided the once in a lifetime experience of traveling through a 1980’s video game, though luckily without a Pacman trying to devour your vehicle.

Upon your survival of Tron, you would take a leisurely jaunt over the submarine lagoon and Autopia racetrack before entering the final show building to get a glimpse of the 360-degree film America the Beautiful. Then, it was back to the loading platform, having given your feet a full sixteen minutes of much needed rest.

Sadly, the Peoplemover at Disneyland closed in 1995 (the Florida version is still running), to make room for one of Disneyland’s shortest-lived attractions of all time, the ill-fated Rocket Rods. And yet, the ghostly track of the Peoplemover still winds its way through Tomorrowland, reminded every visitor of its former presence, when colorful cars meandered throughout the area and lent a never-ending kinetic motion to the area. Rumors abound that the Peoplemover may someday return to these tracks but to date, plans have moved almost as slowly as the Peoplemover cars once did.

Then again, the Peoplemover didn’t travel much slower than the rush hour traffic of present day. Maybe the Disney Imagineers weren’t so far off with the speed they chose for the ride. Two miles an hour seems to be the norm these days.

If you have fond memories of riding the Peoplemover at one of the Disney parks, we welcome your recollections in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this futuristic transportation from the mind of Walt Disney.

4 Responses to “Peoplemover”

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  1. Gina says:

    I enjoy the Tomorrowland Transit Authority/WEDWay People Mover at Disney World. I’m glad they didn’t rid of this East coast version of the Disneyland classic. It’s just a fun and simple ride and you can get right on. It gives you an overview of Tomorrowland. My favorite part is going through Space Mountain and watching its cars go down hills, but now they’ve taken off the glowing strips on the side of Space Mountain’s cars, so now the trip inside is mostly pitch black.

  2. jennifer harris says:

    I’m not sure if I rode this at Walt disney world.

  3. Brandon says:

    The late, great… I would go as far as to call it “Grand!” Tomorrowland Peoplemover will forever remain sadly missed in my heart as well as in those of countless others I have visited the park with over the course of it’s absence. After the premature still-birth and inoperable failure of the Rocket Rods replacement ride, why they did not revert the track back so that they could have simply reinstalled the Peoplemover cars is as beyond me as anything! I also greatly miss the Carousel of Progress / America Sings!, Adventure thru Innerspace, the Skyway, Country Bear Jamboree, Captain Hook’s Pirate Ship and Skull Rock, the Circlevision theatre, the original placement of the Rocket Jets atop the Peoplemover platform as well as basically all of the rest of what USED to be the complete, cohesive construct that WAS the original Tomorrowland… what it is like today always saddens me, compared to what it used to be like and could be again!!

    • Brendan says:

      Brandon,
      I hate that they didn’t put them back and got rid of all that other stuff too. I loved the people mover, I have 2 ride-through mp3s on my ipod. Anyway, the reason they never put back the peoplemover is that they couldn’t Since they built the peoplemover safety regs. have changed and they would need stairs or some sort of escape method every 50 feet or so. (Don’t know the exact number) They couldn’t put them back if they wanted to without having to rip up Tomorrowland. I was told this by several Disney employees. To be honest don’t really miss Circlevision, I think the Buzz Lightyear ride is a net gain. Other than that I’m totally with you. The bogus reason they pulled the country bears is so they could install their cash-cow “Winnie The Poo” ride, which coincidentally ends in the largest Winnie The Poo store on Earth, Happy accident I’m sure. Can’t really figure out what they replaced Capt. Hook’s pirate ship and Skull rock with, can’t be that spectacular. The Skyway just cost too much. Ridership wasn’t that high and maintainance costs were. Getting rid of America Sings/Carousel of Progress and replacing it with inoventions baffles me. Lame all the way around!!!!! If the show was getting dated, add some new music, last I checked we did have music in America after 1976, or just leave it alone as the time capsule it was, either way. Beats the hell of what’s there now. All those years closed and vacant and “Innoventions” is the best you can do? I understand that Carousel is in Florida now and that America Sings was split between Splash Mountain and Star Tours, (Those are the droids you’re looking for, the one’s doing all the talking in the second room. Look familiar don’t they?) but still. Put something better than what is there now.

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