Friday, September 5, 2014

#Disneyland60...Today In Disneyland History.....September 5, 2001

Rocket Rods Close
September 5, 2001

On September 5, 2001 Rocket Rods, a high-speed Tomorrowland attraction closed. The Rocket Rod took riders through the building housing Star Tours, Star Trader and the Starcade, offering views of all three through a glass tunnel.  The ride, meant to evoke a futuristic rapid transit system.  Opening on May 22, 1998 as part of the New Tomorrowland, this high-speed attraction ran on a renovated PeopleMover track. Riders entered the attraction through the former Circle-Vision 360° building at the front of Tomorrowland.

Guests boarded an unusual 5-seat Rocket Rod before moving forward to a staging area similar to one used for drag racing. Anticipation was built by the lights changing from red, to yellow, to green, and then having the vehicle zoom down a straightaway toward the entrance of Tomorrowland, before quickly decelerating at the curve in the track. During the development phase, Disney was unable to obtain sponsors to aid in the funding of the attraction; thus, the turns remained without any super elevation, requiring the sudden acceleration/deceleration. When the attraction was open, this straightaway was used for a small wheelie as well. Segments of the tunnel were entirely opaque, and one turn created the effect of nearly colliding with an oncoming Rocket Rod. In reality, this was only the vehicle's reflection in a mirror. 

Afterwards, the Rocket Rod took guests into Space Mountain, during which the riders could catch a very brief glimpse of the ride. The vehicle then took riders back outside again before entering the Carousel Theater, home of Innoventions. Due to the long, slightly curved nature of this stretch of track, the Rocket Rods were able to accelerate to a comparatively high speed here. After leaving the other side of Innoventions, the Rocket Rod took riders through a series of turns and dips above Autopia and the Submarine Voyage, which closed only a few months after the opening of Rocket Rods.
Finally, the Rod passed next to the Disneyland Monorail station before entering the Rocket Rods queue building, where the riders were surprised by a strobe light and blast of air. The vehicle then traveled along the straightaway from the first leg of the ride back to the station.

Rocket Rods was the first Disneyland attraction to house a Single Rider line due to its long lines and limited capacity.  Throughout the years, rumors continue to surface about new uses for the still remaining tracks, but the thrill of riding the Rocket Rods will live on in the memories of those lucky enough to blast off.  And that’s what happened today in Disneyland history. 

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