At Disneyland, innovation and new technology have been important foundations of the park since its inception. While this leads to a constant influx of new rides and attractions, limited space sadly leads to the demise of others. The Disneyland rides that no longer exist in the park often remain as fond memories of past visitors.
Rocket to the Moon was one of the earliest Disneyland rides, opening in 1955. Guests sat in a circular chamber with one screen below and one on the ceiling, to simulate a thrilling rocket blastoff and ride through space. This ride blasted off from 1955-1967, when it updated to become Flight to the Moon and in 1975 became Mission to Mars. Sadly, the simulator closed permanently in 1992, but a replica of the famous Moonliner rocket can still be seen in Tomorrowland.
One ride transformation continues to cause Disneyland ride designers and fans headaches years after its last gasp. In 1967, the People Mover was opened to carry guests on a leisurely tour of the Tomorrowland attractions, including Space Mountain and Adventures through Inner Space. Although popular, the ride was replaced in 1996 by a speed-track ride called Rocket Rods. Massive technical problems and a consistent 90-minute wait time followed by a less than three minute ride spelled early doom for the Rocket Rods. The ride closed in 2000, although dilapidated parts of the track still criss-cross Tomorrowland, leading some fans to refer to it as the "eyesore of tomorrow."
One of the most beloved Disneyland rides to go was the Submarine Voyage. The semi-submersible ships took guests on a thrilling underwater ride past strangely inanimate fish, mermaids and a cross-eyed sea serpent before returning them safely to land. The Submarine Voyage opened in 1959 and carried passengers until closing in 1998. In 2007, Disneyland fans were thrilled with the reopening of the submarine ride, now using underwater video projection to bring guests into the colorful world of Pixar’s Finding Nemo. Fans of the previous version will be thrilled at the many sly references to the original ride.
In Frontierland, home to Davy Crockett and Tom Sawyer, guests could once take a scenic train ride through hidden sights. The Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland replaced the original train ride in 1960. Hardy frontier visitors traveled through dazzling waterfalls and the colorful waters of Rainbow Cavern, past good Old Unfaithful Geyser, and could even spot a fishing bear or busy dam-building beaver- just watch out for those cacti! Guests who boarded the ride late in the evening would be treated to a unique view of the fireworks atop the Living Desert. In 1979, the train was replaced by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a high speed roller coaster that still contains many of the original props and sights.
In the treetop now styled as Tarzan’s home, the Swiss Family Treehouse once resided. Opened in 1962 and themed after the popular Disney film, the ride allowed visitors to explore a replica of the home used in the movie. Although the Robinson family has been tossed out in favor of the more popular Tarzan, subtle tributes to the original exist throughout the ride, including the “swisskapolka” playing on Tarzan’s gramophone.
Disneyland rides exist on a limited plot of space, leading to the end of boarding for many favorites. Yet the company strives to maintain the nostalgia of the park, and many early Disneyland rides, such as Peter Pan’s Flight and Snow White’s Adventures, still remain. Most park regulars will admit sadness over the vanishing of favorite rides, but these losses come with silver lining. For each of the Disneyland rides that no longer exists, shiny new ones stands in their place, winning the love of new generations.