WEDway PeopleMover - Disneyland
The PeopleMover, sometimes referred to as the Goodyear PeopleMover and WEDWay PeopleMover, was a transport attraction that opened on July 2, 1967, at Tomorrowland at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Guests boarded small trains that ran on elevated tracks for a "grand circle tour" above Tomorrowland.
Attraction type: Transportation
Manufacturer: Walt Disney Imagineering
Designer: Walt Disney Imagineering
Speed: 7 mph
Vehicle type: Propulsion
Riders per vehicle: 16
Rows: 2 (Per Car)
Riders per row: 2
Duration: Approx 16:00
Propulsion: Motorized wheels embedded in track
Host: Jack Wagner (1977-1982) B.J. Ward (safety voice) (1982-1995)
Sponsor: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (1967-1981)
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. Rather, they were pushed by rotating tires embedded in the track once every nine feet, each of which had its own electric motor.
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.
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 attraction used an updated WEDway system based on the WEDway used for the Ford Magic Skyway at the 1964–65 New York World's Fair. When Disney asked Ford Motor Company to continue sponsorship by sponsoring Disneyland's new PeopleMover, they declined, because Ford was reluctant to support technology that appeared to replace the automobile. Goodyear was then approached to sponsor it, and accepted. The wheels used in the WEDway system were replaced by Goodyear's tires. The PeopleMover's logo was then fashioned after Goodyear's logo, sharing a similar typeface. Goodyear sponsored the PeopleMover from its opening until December 31, 1981. However, Goodyear's instrumental "Go Go Goodyear" advertising jingle still served as part of the attraction's soundtrack until at least 1990.
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 and also as part of Michael Eisner's program to save money by shutting down expensive and classic attractions. It was replaced by the short-lived Rocket Rods in 1998.
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. 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 later closed 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 served as the background area music in Autopia's queue from 2000 to 2017.
The ride track infrastructure which served both the PeopleMover and Rocket Rods still stands unused in Tomorrowland. The track, however, is still being maintained, as it was repainted in 2005 along with the rest of Tomorrowland, and foliage over the Autopia area was trimmed away or removed from the track. In September 2010 at D23's "Destination D" event, then-president of Disneyland Resort George Kalogridis said that while there may be plans to bring back the ride, the park would not be able to return the attraction to its original form due to stricter regulations. Kalogridis stated "Everyone understands the passion everyone has for it." He additionally stated, "Hang in there.
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.
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Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".