The Disney theme park might bring back a popular ride from the 1960s.
Walt Disney’s genius imagination inspired numerous innovative attractions and rides at his theme parks that persevere long after his death over 55 years ago.
The success of his first theme park, Disneyland, which opened in 1955, led Disney to plan what would become Disney World, which originally included a futuristic city he named Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or Epcot. Disney died on Dec. 15, 1966, before he could build Disney World or his experimental city. Plans for the experimental city never became reality, but Disney World opened in 1971 with what is now known as Magic Kingdom.
Epcot would open as a theme park in 1982 with international pavilions surrounding its World Showcase Lagoon.
Part of Disney’s vision of the Epcot futuristic city included an elevated transit system that would get the public around the city. Disney’s idea for a “PeopleMover,” as he called it, as well as the Monorail, were being planned for the Epcot city.
In the futuristic Epcot city, each system would be a method of transportation in various communities. Their appeal was being built above the ground and out of the way of traffic, pedestrians, and structures.
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Walt Disney Inspired Ride Might Have a Second Life
Disneyland’s Tomorrowland was also planned as a destination for the PeopleMover.
The PeopleMover was officially called the WEDway System, since it was inspired and developed by WED (Walt Elias Disney) Enterprises, the precursor to Disney’s Imagineering, according to Walt Disney Family Museum’s website, waltdisney.org.
The WEDway PeopleMover opened at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland on July 2, 1967, sponsored by Goodyear GT, featuring 62 cars colored red, yellow and green with white roofs, running at seven miles per hour and a ride run time of 16 minutes. The system allowed for 4,000 riders per hour.
The WEDway PeopleMover was later installed in 1975 at Tomorrowland at Disney World and still operates today.
Disney sold a WEDway System to Houston Intercontinental Airport and installed it in 1981, which in a sense completed Walt Disney’s vision of public transportation.
However, by 1995, Disneyland considered the PeopleMover ride outdated. The ride was closed and replaced with a faster ride, Rocket Rods in 1998. That ride no longer exists at the theme park, but much of the track still exists at Disneyland.
Classic Ride Might Return Using a New System
Speculation is now growing that Disneyland is considering bringing back the PeopleMover using a new ride system unlike its previous 1967 version using tires or Disney World’s magnetic system, according to WDWNT.
The new PeopleMover system would use widely available ride technology to develop a budget-conscious version of the ride, according to the report. The plan is to shorten the track length from the original route, which might eliminate use of the former track standing above Autopia and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
Much of the original existing infrastructure would be changed or removed to adhere to building code requirements that have been introduced since the ride first opened. Other speculation suggests a “Lightyear”-themed transformation of Space Mountain might be fading away given small numbers of viewers of the film at the box office, according to the report.
Big announcements of upcoming developments are expected to be unveiled at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., in September.