Over 60 years ago, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California. In the decades since, Walt Disney’s original theme park vision has undergone changes both big and small. Rides, attractions, and entire swaths of land have sometimes been overhauled or torn down to make way for modern amusements.
But thanks to documentaries and numerous Disney bloggers, we can still look back at some of the most iconic rides that are now only a memory.
Keep reading for a look at nine extinct Disneyland attractions you probably never knew about.
The Flying Saucers ride was basically like a giant air hockey board, but with bumper car 'saucers.' Air from the circles on the ride's floor would push up the saucers, creating a floating effect. Thanks to the official Disney Parks blog, you can watch the Flying Saucers in action on the ride's opening day in 1961. According to the blog, the Flying Saucers were built in the spot where Space Mountain is now.
Rocket Jets was actually a replacement for a similar ride called Astro-Jets, but we've included it here because it had a much longer tenure. Rocket Jets was a spinning attraction similar to the well-known Dumbo ride. After it closed in 1997, Disneyland built a new rotating rocket ride called the Astro Orbitor. But the replacement was too heavy to build in the exact same spot as the Rocket Jets, so it was moved to the entrance of Tomorrowland on the ground level.
Many who visited Disneyland in its earlier years will remember the PeopleMover -- a train ride that ran along an elevated track. First built in 1961, the ride was a great way to relax and enjoy a unique view of Tomorrowland. Though a version of this ride still exists in Disney World, the original California park version was retired in 1995.
For a full look at the ride's history, watch David Oneal's mini-documentary.
Not to be confused to the extinct ride we just looked at (Rocket Jets), the Rocket Rods ride was a high-speed thrill ride that used the old PeopleMover track to jet parkgoers around Tomorrowland. Think of it like a rollercoaster but with no loops or major ups and downs. Rocket Rods was only open for two years, from 1998 to 2000.
Now the PeopleMover and Rocket Rods track sits unused above Tomorrowland, with no plans to install a new attraction in their place.
The Skyway opened in 1956. It was a gondola ride that transported people from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland and back. The colourful buckets were suspended from cables swinging high above the pedestrian paths.
The height combined with open sides made the Skyway a bit of a thrill ride for any parkgoers (especially younger children) who were intimidated by heights. But the Skyway closed in 1994 after popularity waned and the park operations team needed to re-allocate employees to work the brand new Indiana Jones ride.
One of the most scenic areas of Disneyland was always the blue lagoon which held the Submarine Voyage ride. Guests entered the submarine at a docking station, and then looked out of circular windows as the sub made its way around a track. The Submarine Voyage was closed in 1998 after surveys indicated that parkgoers wanted something 'more exciting,' according to the Los Angeles Times.
Though the Submarine Voyage closed in 1998, it was five years before Disney decided how to replace it. They found a solution in the 2003 Pixar hit 'Finding Nemo.'
Midget Autopia opened in 1956, giving youngsters the opportunity to get the same car-driving experience that older kids and adults had with Autopia. The ride was remote controlled though, so the children were never in control of the vehicles. Midget Autopia (whose non-politically correct name was meant to reference the cars, not the guests who would drive them) closed in 1966 to make room for It's A Small World.
Based on the movie 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,' this attraction was a popular addition to Disneyland. It replaced 'Captain EO' -- a 3D sci-fi movie starring Michael Jackson that had been shown in the theatre from 1986 until 1998.
For Honey I Shrunk the Audience, guests donned 'safety googles' (a.k.a. 3D glasses) in order to watch an award ceremony. But a series of goofs leads to the theatre and audience being temporarily 'shrunk.' The 3D experience was open until 2010, and then the theatre went back to showing 'Captain EO' after Michael Jackson's death as a tribute to the dead pop star. But 'Captain EO' was discontinued in 2014, and now the theatre sits unused.
Originally called Rocket to the Moon, Mission to Mars was rebranded in 1975 -- six years after NASA successfully put a man on the moon. Tomorrowland needed to update its vision, and so a Mars mission was born. Visitors sat in a circular room (meant to replicate the inside of a space ship) and a projected video on the ceiling mimicked space flight.
But instead of a new ride, Disneyland parkgoers received a new restaurant. Redd Rockett's Pizza Port reused the building (and the rocket design from Rocket to the Moon) as decor. Now people often pop into the Redd Rockett's for refuelling on salads, pasta, and (of course) pizza.
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