Today In Disney History ~ August 21st


From Wiki:

The PeopleMover, sometimes referred to as the Goodyear PeopleMover and WEDWay PeopleMover, was a transport attraction that operated from July 2, 1967 to August 21, 1995 in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Guests boarded small trains that ran on elevated tracks for a “grand circle tour” above Tomorrowland. The ride’s station and track infrastructure remain standing but not operating. A second PeopleMover, known as the WEDway PeopleMover, of a somewhat different design, opened at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida in 1975, and operated from 1994 to 2009 as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority until being renamed “Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover” on August 5, 2010, and is still operating today.

The term “people mover”, now in wider use to describe many forms of normally automated public transport, was first coined as the name for this attraction. PeopleMover was originally only a working title but became attached to the project over time. Originally the attraction was seen as a serious prototype for intra-city public transport.

The attraction’s vehicles were always moving. Passengers boarded and alighted by a large speed-matched rotating platform inside the station. The trains were not powered by motors within themselves, but rather by being pushed by rotating tires each with its own electric motor, embedded in the track once every nine feet.

Each car included its own sound system which broadcast a continuous audio commentary and soundtrack, relative to the train’s location. The commentary pointed out Disneyland’s attractions along the way as well as announcing promotional items.[3]

The tour continued from the center of Tomorrowland through a few of Tomorrowland’s buildings, for a look inside, and over Disneyland’s Submarine Lagoon and Autopia areas, before returning to Tomorrowland.

The PeopleMover opened as part of New Tomorrowland in 1967. Originally, each four-car train was colored either red, blue, yellow or green with white roofs. They were repainted all white with colored stripes in 1987. In 1968, each of the 62 trains were retrofitted with safety rails for each car, to deter guests from climbing out. They ‘semi’ wrapped around each car. In 1985, these safety rails were modified to completely wrap around each car, making it even more difficult for possible accidents to occur.

In 1977, the SuperSpeed Tunnel was added to the PeopleMover. It was located in the upper level of the Carousel Building, which then housed America Sings. Race cars were projected on the walls of the tunnel all around the trains. In 1982, the projections were changed to scenes from the film Tron and the tunnel was announced as the Game Grid of Tron by the on-board audio guide. After this addition, the attraction was advertised as the “PeopleMover Thru the World of Tron.”

The PeopleMover closed in August 1995 since Imagineers thought the ride was past its time and no longer a prototype, but rather a place to rest one’s feet. It was replaced by the short-lived Rocket Rods in 1998.[7]

A few of the retired PeopleMover cars were used in other parts of the resort after its closing. Three cars from train #45 used to sit outside the Team Disney Anaheim building, but they were removed in 2007. One of the cars from train #45 is now in display at the cast members cafe called the Eat Ticket.[citation needed] Another car from train #45 is now in the hands of a local resident. Two cars were repainted with a blue and orange grid to resemble a blueprint (along with Rocket Jets vehicles and the front of a Mark III Disneyland-ALWEG monorail train) and placed in the queue display for Rocket Rods, which would later close in 2000. These were later sold on Disney Auctions after Rocket Rods closed.

The checkout counters at the Little Green Men Store Command in Tomorrowland resemble PeopleMover cars and the store has former Rocket Jets vehicles retrofitted as merchandise shelves. The store also had Skyway buckets hanging from the ceiling when it was the Premiere Shop.

In 2000, almost five years after the attraction’s closure, an updated version of the Autopia attraction opened. The old on-board audio music from the PeopleMover now serves as the background area music in Autopia’s queue. The ride track infrastructure which served both the PeopleMover and Rocket Rods still stands unused in Tomorrowland.

TMSM Today in Graphic by Sherry Rinaldi DeHart

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