10 Things 90s Kids May Remember from Disneyland

I love Disneyland more than anything in the world. Since going there for the first at the young age of 2 I have returned at least ten times, and my love for the Happiest Place on Earth has only grown.

That being said, Disneyland has gone through numerous changes over the years. Here are a few things you used to be able to find at Disneyland, but now only exist in the memories of those 80s and 90s kids who enjoyed them.

10. PeopleMover

When it first came to Disneyland in 1967, the PeopleMover was a new idea for mass transportation put for the three years earlier by Ford at the World’s Fair. The train would carry passengers on a tour of Tomorrowland and its attractions over a period of 16 minutes. 16 incredibly slow moving minutes. In 1982 the ride was rebranded as “PeopleMover Thru the World of Tron” And featured a segment indoors with scenes from the movie. By the early 90s the PeopleMover was an antiquated piece of tech which felt a little out of place in Tomorrowland so, in August of 1995 the ride was shut down forever, though the track for the ride is still standing in Tomorrowland to this day.  

Although it was considered a tame (some would go as far as saying “lame”) ride, there have actually been a couple of deaths on the ride. Both incidents, one which occurred in 1967 and the other in 1980, involved high school students who attempted to get out and switch cars while the ride was running. Both kids tripped and fell and were then crushed by oncoming trains.

To see a video of the ride click here.

9. Skyway

The Skyway to Fantasyland/Tomorrowland open in 1956. It offered guests an awesome bird's-eye view of the park, and it even passed through the Matterhorn starting in 1959. The ride closed in November of 1994.

A popular rumor is that the ride closed due to a death and/or multiple incidents of guests falling out of the gondolas. The actual reason is actually much less exciting. The support beams for the ride in the Matterhorn were beginning to crack with age, and the staging areas for the rides were not ADA compliant. Disney ultimately decided the costs to bring the ride up to code weren’t worth it, so they closed the ride and transferred the operating budget to “Indiana Jones and the Forbidden Eye.” As of July 2016 the chalet that was part of the loading area for the ride can still be seen in Fantasyland. Don’t count on seeing it for much longer though—the structure is scheduled for demolition in order to make room for the Star Wars themed area of the park. 

Fun fact: some gondolas can still be found on the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride. They have been mangled by the resident yeti.

To see a video of the ride click here.

8. Rocket Rods

Not wanting the old PeopleMover track to go to waste, Imagineers conceived of a drag-race ride through Tomorrowland in 1998. The only problem? The track had straightaways that were too short and far too many curves. This meant riders had to endure a few exhilarating accelerations punctuated by far too many uncomfortable decelerations. The ride failed to garner any sponsors and was forced to close in April of 2001.

To see a video of the ride click here.

7. Motor Boat Cruise

The Motor Boat Cruise was a bit like the Autopia but with boats. It was located in Fantasyland in what is now known as Fantasia Gardens, near the Matterhorn. Beginning in 1991 the ride featured plywood Gummi Bears making Gummi Berry juice on the banks of the ride’s river. The ride closed in 1993 and its operating budget was diverted to Mickey’s Toon Town, everybody’s favorite land to skip in Disneyland.

The ride lives on in a way in Disneyland Tokyo’s Aquatopia.

To see a rather shaky video of the Motor Boat Cruise click here.

6. Star Tours

Star Tours still exists today, but it is different enough from the original that I feel it’s worth mentioning the original. In the original ride you are a space tourist on their way to the Forest Moon of Endor. Your pilot, a droid by the name of Rex, ends up getting lost in space. You fly through a comet and even end up aiding the rebel alliance in taking down a third Death Star.

I loved the original Star Tours, and though it was always the same experience every time you rode it, I would hit that ride up at least five or six times per trip. I personally feel that the new Star Tours is objectively better than the original, but that doesn’t stop me from pining for one more flight with Rex.

To see a video of the original Star Tours click here.

5. McDonald's Fries

There used to be a Conestoga wagon in Frontierland which sold McDonald’s fries, water and Coca-Cola fountain drinks. There was also a small booth in Critter Country which sold the same menu. The ten-year deal between McDonald’s and Disney lasted between 1996 and January, 2007. The deal was not renewed as many guests felt it was wrong to have such a ubiquitous product featured in a place that prides itself in providing unique experiences.

4. Mission to Mars (Flight to the Moon)

An update to the “Flight to the Moon” attraction, Mission to Mars opened in March of 1975. Guests would sit in a “spacecraft” which had a stadium-style seating configuration with two screens on the ceiling and floor, through which guests could see the views of space. The ride was closed in November of 1992 in order to make room for the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter attraction. Said attraction never ended up coming to Disneyland, though it did make it over to Disneyworld for brief period, due to the astronomical costs the intense attraction had racked up.

For video of the Mission to Mars, click here.

3. Swiss Family Treehouse

Technically the original structure still greets guests to Adventureland, it now just features themes and characters from Disney’s Tarzan. The original attraction featured an ingenious plumbing system that involved a waterwheel, bamboo buckets and pipes, and gravity. The update added a second tree and a suspension bridge entrance. 

To see a video of the original treehouse click here.

2. Submarine Voyage

Back in 1959 Nuclear submarines were still a pretty novel concept, as was underwater exploration. It’s little wonder then that Disney Imagineers developed an underwater odyssey of their own. The Submarine voyage featured 8 submarines (painted in gloomy Cold-War-Gray) took guests on a voyage that would take them through a ship graveyard, erupting volcanoes, under the North Pole, and even to the lost city of Atlantis, which just happened to be populated by real mermaids. Not animatronic mermaids, but actual actresses beneath the waves. For almost 40 years this attraction remained untouched, save only for a paintjob on the submarines, turning them into more cheery-looking oceanographer vessel.

Sadly, the ride’s low capacity and long wait times meant it was not worth its operating cost. The ride was closed in 1998 with a promise that it would open in 2003. There was a rumor that Disney had planned to turn it into a ride based on Atlantis and that it may have connections to Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Of course that film bombed, and if Disney really had planned a ride connected to it, the film’s poor performance led them to scrap those plans. In 2005 it was announced the ride would be converted into a Finding Nemo ride. It opened in 2007, and has come full circle, featuring a low capacity and long wait times.

To take the original voyage, click here.

1. Matterhorn Bobsleds Crotch Seats

You used to have to sit in the crotch of somebody else on the Matterhorn bobsleds. Nobody misses this. Except for creeps. Only creeps miss this.