Disneyland has been around for a long time, having just celebrated it’s 50th birthday. During that time, Disneyland has seen many rides come and go, and many others altered significantly from their original state. Many of the long gone rides make up what I knew as Disneyland as a child. Here are the top 10 closed rides from Disneyland.
#10: Country Bear Jamboree – The Country Bear Jamboree was built in 1972 as a remake of the version in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The jokes and songs are now lost on Disneyland, having been replaced by the new Pooh ride near Splash Mountain, but you can still catch their act in the Magic Kingdom. Fun for kids of all ages, the talking bears were always good for a laugh, and their holiday show was a not miss event for our family.
#9: Pirate Ship Restaurant/Skull Rock – Located in Fantasyland, the Pirate Ship Restaurant served good food and the dream of living on a pirate ship, even if for only a few minutes during lunch. Right behind the Pirate Ship was Skull Rock, a menacing sight indeed, with a cool waterfall and seating for those who couldn’t find space aboard the Pirate Ship. Both were removed in 1983 to make way for Dumbo.
#8: House of the Future – Located just off the hub in Disneyland, the House of the Future was unique at Disneyland, it was free, no tickets were required for entrance. This was Monsanto’s view of what houses would be like today. Some of the items in the house have come to fruition, such as the wall mounted color TVs. I am just glad the all plastic furniture thing never took off. The House of the Future was removed in 1967.
#7: Swiss Family Treehouse – While technically not gone, the Swiss Family Treehouse gave you a glimpse of how the Swiss Family Robinson survived after a shipwreck on a remote island. Clever contraptions abound, and it was always enjoying to “climb” the tree and walk back down. Prior to the Tarzan movie in 1999, Disneyland updated the tree with a second tree, and called it “Tarzan’s Treehouse”. Fortunately the Swiss Family Robinsons still have their home in three other Disney parks around the world.
#6: People Mover/Rocket Rods – The PeopleMover took you on an interesting, if slow, ride of Tomorrowland, including views of several rides. While not exciting, it was relaxing. It closed in 1995 to make way for Rocket Rods, which would use the same track, but instead of being slow, Rocket Rods would be a thrilling, fast paced thrill ride. The problem was that Disneyland didn’t spend the required money to bank the track, so the Rocket Rods had to constantly stop and start, making for a so-so ride, and constantly breaking equipment. Rocket Rods closed in 2000, just 2 years after opening, never to open again.
#5: Carousel of Progress/America Sings – The Carousel of Progress was originally built for the New York World Fair of 1964, and transplanted to Disneyland in 1967. It took passengers on a tour of homes throughout the 20th century, including what homes would be like in the future. Very entertaining and unique among theme park rides, the Carousel of Progress lasted only 6 years. It was replaced by America Sings in 1974, which took you through scenes of America, full of songs and jokes. Again, very entertaining and unique. America Sings was closed in 1988, and if you look closely, just about all of the animals from America Sings ended up in Splash Mountain. Fortunately, the Carousel of Progress continues to operate at Walt Disney World.
#4: Rocket to the Moon – A precursor to Mission:Space of Epcot, Rocket to the Moon took guests on a trip from Disneyland to the moon. A large screen on the floor showed where you were coming from, while the screen on the roof showed where you were going. A bit simplistic for what we are used to, it was updated through the years to include moving seats and animatronics. Rocket to the Moon changed to Flight to the Moon and then Mission to Mars without changing much of the ride. It finally closed in 1992.
#3: Captain EO – A 3-D show starring Michael Jackson, produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis For Coppola? A blockbuster for sure. Captain EO was a fantastic adventure in 3-D with plenty of signing and dancing by the gloved one. Eventually starting at Disneyland, it spread to all existing Disney parks around the globe, but as quickly as it spread, Captain EO disappeared. While it lasted over 10 years on Disneyland, the only place it can be seen now is on DVD via eBay.
#2: Adventure thru Inner Space – This is the only ride that I remember scaring me as a child. As you waited in line, you could see the guest, shortly after they board, actually shrink before your eyes as they ascended up the “microscope”. I couldn’t figure out how the ride worked, and what happened if it broke while you were on it, would I be stuck in Disneyland as a mini-me? A classic Monsanto ride that took you through snowflakes, water molecules and even inside the atom. Just watch out for that spooky eye that is watching you!
#1: Skyway to Tomorrowland/Fantasyland – A classic attraction at Disneyland (and WDW for that matter), the Skyway took you from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland, or the other way around. While it wasn’t necessarily an efficient way to get back and forth between the two areas, it gave you a great view of the park, and I loved going through the Matterhorn! This was my first experience with understanding Disneyland, as you were able to see the buildings behind the facades, and begin to realize how things were laid out, and how the rides worked.For a fantastic overview of all of the closed Disneyland rides, including some great vintage photos, check out Yesterland.