Down in Florida, at Walt Disney World, a truly underrated gem coasts leisurely through the Magic Kingdom’s version of Tomorrowland. It’s called the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover and today it is 40 years old.
The TTA PeopleMover first opened on July 1, 1975 as an adaptation of the PeopleMover attraction in California. That ride opened at Disneyland in 1967 (as part of the massive New Tomorrowland redo) and featured a different, longer layout, with steep embankments and twists (even if it coasted at the same glacial pace). The Disneyland version of the attraction was based, in part, on a pavilion Walt had overseen for the 1964 World’s Fair that involved 50 motor-less Ford vehicles as they rode slowly along an elevated track (the Ford’s Magic Skyway attraction ended up having a huge impact on the California park). The original Disneyland version of the PeopleMover even featured rotating rubber tires.
But when the attraction transitioned to the Florida park, it was even more futuristic and relied not on tires but instead was powered more cleanly by electricity. These ride vehicles utilized efficient linear synchronous motors, a technology that has been used on a number of Disney attractions since, including California Screamin’ at Disney California Adventure and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida. (It’s a testament to the versatility of the technology that it can be used on an attraction and sluggish as the TTA PeopleMover and as high-octane as something like the Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster.) The Magic Kingdom’s TTA PeopleMover literally glides above Tomorrowland, allowing guests to take in a scenic tour of this futuristic section of the park.
And truth be told, it’s one of our favorite attractions in all of Walt Disney World. It’s a long ride (clocking in at around 10 minutes) and allows you to really look around and appreciate the incredible theming and detail of Tomorrowland. What’s more, it coasts through a number of attractions, including Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. You also glide by a section of the original model for Walt’s EPCOT project, beautifully maintained all these years later. And at night, the attraction is even more of a giddy thrill. Tomorrowland has always turned into a different world after dark and getting to maneuver through the bright, glowing colors of Tomorrowland-at-night is incredible.
Every time we visit the Florida parks, the TTA PeopleMover is an attraction that we positively luxuriate in. There’s never a line for the attraction and there are a number of juicy easter eggs sprinkled throughout the ride for hardcore Disney fans. (The EPCOT model being the most obvious and impressive.) From high above Stitch’s Great Escape or the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, it’s hard not to be filled with inspiration: for both where Tomorrowland came from (especially since you loop around Carousel of Progress) and where it might be headed next. And to celebrate the anniversary of the TTA PeopleMover, be sure to head over to the Disney Store and grab their limited-edition tee or prints (available only until July 5). They are just as awe-inspiring as the ride itself.