Since Disneyland’s opening in 1955, there have been a long list of rides and attractions that have come and gone. Some gave way to more modern and exciting rides, while others became too expensive to maintain. You can still experience a number of these old rides through vintage Disneyland photos and YouTube postings from Disneyland visitors who brought their old movie cameras to document their experience. Who would have thought that years later, thousands of people from all over the world would be watching their home movies? Luckily for us, we can relive our experience regarding these Disneyland rides and attractions that are closed for good.
You’ll note that Tomorrowland has the most ride turnover for obvious reasons, but there are also a number of early attractions that didn’t last long as Walt and company learned more about what visitors wanted in those early days of the park.
Adventure Thru Inner Space 1967 – 1985
Opening date: August 5, 1967
Closing date: September 2, 1985
Replaced by: Monsanto Hall Of Chemistry, which was then replaced by Star Tours.
Flying Saucers (1961 – 1966)
Location: Tomorrowland in the area Space Mountain now occupies.
Opening date: August 6, 1961
Closing date: September 5, 1966
Replaced by: Tomorrowland Stage then Space Mountain in 1977
The Flying Saucers is the only ride in Disneyland history to only seat one person.
Rocket Rods (1998–2000) – Disneyland Rides and Attractions That Are Closed for Good
Location: Tomorrowland. Riders entered the attraction through the former Circle-Vision 360° building at the front of Tomorrowland.
Opening date: May 22, 1998
Closing date: September 25, 2000
Replaced by: Nothing, but the queue that was once the Circle-Vision pre-show theater became part of the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters attraction in spring 2005.
The ill-fated RocketRods was built on the old PeopleMover tracks and covered the route that once took 16 minutes in a PeopleMover car in just 3 minutes. The seating configuration was most unusual seating 5 in a 1-1-1-2 car. The attraction was closed for good in September 2000. The relatively high-speed ride was never suited for the PeopleMover track and budget conscious Disney executives did not want to invest the money required to retrofit the tracks unbanked PeopleMover tracks.
RocketRods holds the distinction of being the second-shortest lasting attraction at Disneyland behind the Phantom Boats from 1955-1956.
Tomorrowland Boats/Phantom Boats (1955–1956)
Location: Tomorrowland Lagoon. Roughly where the submarine lagoon is currently located.
This attraction posed problems from the start. The engines overheated very quickly and produced a lot of smoke. The back end of the boats was quickly redesigned, the engine was enclosed, and the attraction was renamed to Phantom Boats. Overheating problems were compounded with the redesign and employees took over the piloting of the boats to try to mitigate breakdowns. In the end, the ride was too expensive, not entertaining and was closed for good in August 1956.
The phantom boat design was very 1950s mimicking some of the tail fins found on the Chevys and Cadillacs of the day.
Country Bear Jamboree (1972–2001)
Location: Bear Country/Critter Country
Opening date: March 4, 1972
Closing date: September 9, 2001
Replaced by: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Country Bears debuted at the Magic Kingdom in 1971 and was such a hit with the crowds that a nearly identical version was created at Disneyland. To accommodate larger audiences, two identical theaters were created at Disneyland meaning there was twice the capacity and wait times were dramatically reduced. Sadly, for many, this attraction was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 2003.
Pack Mules (1955–1956) – Disneyland Rides and Attractions That Are Closed for Good
Renamed: Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules (1956–1959)
Renamed: Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland (1960–1973)
Ride a mule around Disneyland? You certainly could from the park’s opening in 1955 until 1973. The mule rides took visitors through the “Nature’s Wonderland” area which is now where Big Thunder Mountain sits.
Disney owned between 50 and 75 mules to support the ride and the would rotate shifts each day. Mules being mules would often do what they wanted stopping on the trail or not follow the path. Ultimately, the attraction gave way to more exciting rides and plans for Big Thunder Mountain.
Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland (1960–1977)
Opening date: July 2, 1956
Closing date: January 2, 1977
Replaced by: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Originally named Rainbow Caverns Mine Train (1956–1959)
With the rising popularity of thrill rides, Nature’s Wonderland was closed in 1977 to build the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster, which opened in 1979.
Viewliner Train of Tomorrow (1957-1958)
Opening date: June 10, 1957
Closing date: September 30, 1958
Replaced by: Disneyland Monorail System
This precursor to the Monorail system was a narrow-gauge, miniature train that ran along parts of the Disneyland Railroad main line and made loops through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. The trains were parked backstage in a storage shed behind Fantasyland for many years after the ride’s closure. In the late seventies, they were dismantled, cut up and scrapped!
Videopolis (1985–1995) – Disneyland Rides and Attractions That Are Closed for Good
Location: Fantasyland Near It’s a Small World
Replaced by: Fantasyland Theatre
Videopolis was a giant outdoor dance theater catering mostly to teens during the heyday of the MTV era. The theater featured 5,000 square foot dance floor and 70 television screens playing music videos. The dance club concept was abandoned in 1989 after several high-profile gang-related incidents, and Videopolis was converted for exclusive stage-show use.
Disneyland Skyway (1956–1994)
Location: Tomorrowland, Fantasyland
Opening date: June 23, 1956
Closing date: November 9, 1994
Contrary to urban myth, the Skyway was NOT closed due to someone falling out to their death. The closure was due to purely economic reasons such as staffing requirements, metal fatigue and the cost associated with bringing the ride up to modern safety standards.
On Sunday morning, 17 April 1994, a 30-year-old man named Randle Charles fell approximately 20 feet from one of the Skyway cabins and landed in a tree near the “Alice in Wonderland” attraction. He was taken to a local hospital and released the same day. Charles soon filed a $25,000 negligence lawsuit that was later thrown out of court. In the history of the attraction, no deaths or severe accidents were ever reported.
Carousel of Progress (1967–1973)
Opening date: July 2, 1967
Closing date: September 9, 1973
Replaced by: America Sings, Innoventions, Star Wars Launch Bay
This stage show took the audience through the advent of electricity all the way through to the 21st century. Originally created for the 1964 World’s Fair, this attraction was among Walt’s favorites and he declared it should never cease operation. Although it’s been closed at Disneyland since 1973, the attraction continues to entertain the crowds at the Magic Kingdom in Florida.
Monsanto House of the Future (1957–1967) – Disneyland Rides and Attractions That Are Closed for Good
Location: Just outside the entrance to Tomorrowland roughly where Pixie Hollow stands today.
Opening date: June 12, 1957
Closing date: December 1967
Replaced by: Alpine Gardens
This attraction was meant to represent a dwelling in the year 1986. Its design and engineering was done in partnership with MIT Walt Disney Imagineering and the sponsor, Monsanto Company. The home featured household appliances like microwave ovens. The house saw over 435,000 visitors within the first six weeks of opening, and ultimately saw over 20 million visitors before being closed in 1967. The reinforced concrete base is still in place to this day. It was painted green and used as a planter in Pixie Hollow.
Rocket to the Moon (1955–1966)
Location: Tomorrowland in the spot where Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port sits now.
Replaced by: Flight to the Moon (1967), Mission to Mars (1975).
With screens on the floor and on the ceiling, Rocket To The Moon gave the visitor the feeling of blasting off into outer space without moving from their seats. The attraction is considered to be among the first simulator rides paving the way for attractions like Star Tours decades later.
In 1975 the ride’s destination was changed to Mars as humans had landed on the moon in 1969 making the ride feel dated even after a name change of Flight to the Moon in 1967.
PeopleMover (1967 – 1995)
Opening date: July 2, 1967
Closing date: August 21, 1995
Replaced by: Rocket Rods
Perhaps the most missed attraction at Disneyland, people are still wondering why this beloved attraction ever closed in the first place. Why did the PeopleMover close? There seems to be no definitive reason but low ridership, rising energy costs to operate the ride and the late 90s revamping of Tomorrowland all seem to have contributed to the end of the PeopleMover.
Fortunately ride throughs still exist on YouTube, the next best thing to the actual expereince.
Astro Jets, 1956 – 1966 – Disneyland Rides and Attractions That Are Closed for Good
Astro Jets has undergone the following name and location changes:
Tomorrowland Jets (1964–1966)
Renamed Astro Orbitor in 1998
The two-person rocket ride was the first in a series of circling rocket attractions. The location of the core attraction has moved twice since its inception, but the heart of the attraction still lives with the most recent revamp, The Astro Orbitor in 1998.
America Sings (1974–1988)
Location: Tomorrowland in the Carousel Theater
Opening date: June 29, 1974
Closing date: April 10, 1988
Show Sponsor: Del Monte Foods
It Replaced: Carousel of Progress
Replaced by: Innoventions then Star Wars Launch Bay
This audio-animatronic attraction was a contemporary counterpart to the Country Bear Jamboree, featuring songs from American history performed by a cast of animal characters. The show was hosted by Sam, an audio-animatronic America Bald Eagle voiced by the beloved and iconic Burl Ives. The show debuted in 1974 and was timed to celebrate America’s Bicentennial in 1976.
The show by the late 80s, the show had lost its relevancy and a retrospective show seemed more out of place in Tomorrowland as the years went on.
America Sings Trivia: Disneyland’s Carousel of Progress rotated clockwise, but America Sings rotated in a counter-clockwise direction.
Captain EO (1986–1997, 2010–2015)
Opening date: September 18, 1986 (original)
February 23, 2010 (reopening)
Closing date: April 7, 1997 (original)
June 22, 2014 (reopening)
Replaced by: Magic Journeys (original) and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (reopened)
Captain EO was a 17 minute 3D science fiction movie starring Micheal Jackson, directed by (if you can believe it) Francis Ford Coppola . The executive producer was George Lucas.
Captain EO was among the first “4D” movies, incorporating lighting, lasers, smoke and other in theater effects synchronized with the film creating an immersive experience for the guests.
Captain EO also starred Angelica Houston as the Supreme Leader.
Motor Boat Cruise (1957–1993) – Disneyland Rides and Attractions That Are Closed for Good
Location: On the border of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland
Opening date: 1957
Closing date: 1993
Renamed to: Motor Boat Cruise to Gummi Glen in 1991
Replaced by: There’s aseating area exists where theloading platform once was and the area is now called, “Fantasia Gardens.”
This attraction quietly survived for decades until the opening of Mickey’s Toontown in 1993 when the operated expenses associated with the boats were reportedly reallocated to the new land a short walk away.
Motor Boat Cruise Trivia: The boats were on a track so the steering wheel was purely cosmetic.
Conestoga Wagons (1955–1960)
Location: Frontierland along The Rivers of America
Opening date: 1955
Closing date: 1960
Replaced by: The Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland
The Conestoga was a covered wagon used extensively in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century used primarily in the Eastern U.S. The bottom of the wagon was often coated or caulked to keep the wagon contents dry and secure when crossing rivers and streams.
Until 2008, you could still see a Conestoga wagon at the park in nearly the same spot where guests once boarded. Conestoga Fries was hosted by McDonald’s just across from Big Thunder Mountain for nearly ten years until a contract expired between The Disney Company and McDonald’s.