Sunday, August 17, 2014

#Disneyland60.....Today in Disneyland History.....August 17, 1981

First Disney Transportation Used Outside the Park
The PeopleMover
August 17, 1981

On August 17, 1981 the WEDWay PeopleMover opened at the Houston International Airport in Houston, Texas. The People Mover System was originally constructed by Disney's Community Transportation Services division and with it’s debut in Houston, history was made as it marked the first time ever that a Disney transportation system was used outside of the theme parks.
The PeopleMover, sometimes referred to as the Goodyear PeopleMover or the WEDWay PeopleMover, was a transport attraction that operated from July 2, 1967 to August 21, 1995 in Tomorrowland at Disneyland.   Guests boarded small trains that ran on elevated tracks for a "grand circle tour" above Tomorrowland by entering the attraction's vehicles that were always in constant motion, and were accessible by a large turntable 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 that 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.
The tour continued from the center of Tomorrowland through many of Tomorrowland's buildings, for a look inside, and then over Disneyland's Submarine Lagoon and Autopia areas, before returning to Tomorrowland.

In 1977, the SuperSpeed Tunnel, located in the Carousel Building, then housing America Sings was added to the ride. Here race cars were projected on the walls all around the trains. In 1982, the scenes were changed to clips from Tron's light cycle race scene, and the tunnel was renamed Tron SuperSpeed Tunnel. These were edited clips of World of Motion's SuperSpeed Tunnel movies designed to look like computer generations.

Sadly, the PeopleMover closed on August 21, 1995 and was replaced by the short-lived Rocket Rods in 1998. The ride track infrastructure, which served both the PeopleMover and Rocket Rods, still stands unused in Tomorrowland.  And that’s what happened today in Disneyland’s history.

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