Winding through Tomorrowland you’ll see a familiar blue streak overhead, taking passengers on a tour of Walt’s vision of the future that never was. Since its opening on July 1, 1975, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover has been through a few makeovers over the years.
Throughout its history, however, one thing has remained constant. The PeopleMover has developed a huge fan base who love this gentle ride and here are just some of the reasons why:
Spending the day in Magic Kingdom is extremely exciting, but exploring everything the park has to offer can definitely take a toll on your body. Worry not as you step onto the moving walkway of the PeopleMover and let the resting begin. Once settled inside your car, you can sit back and enjoy the 10-minute tour of Tomorrowland. As one of the longer rides Disneyworld has to offer, you can bet that even on the hottest days of summer, expect a cool breeze as you glide along the tracks.
The PeopleMover is powered by linear-synchronous motors, which provide a smooth acceleration and a comfortable journey at a leisurely pace of 11 km/h (7mph). If you find your eyes closing for a power nap, you can thank the Imagineers for creating such a cozy ride. Fear not, however, because if you missed it the first go-round, chances are good that you won’t have to wait long to ride again.
One of the best gifts this ride has to offer is a bird’s eye view of the people below. If you enjoy people watching, the PeopleMover’s 1-mile journey will give you plenty to see. The guests below are bustling around, heading from one attraction to the next. Some are experiencing Tomorrowland for the very first time and you can spot their excited faces in the crowd.
Gliding past the Tomorrowland Speedway, you’ll get to see many first-time drivers as they attempt to navigate the speedway and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the slightly panicked look of parents in the passenger seat as their kids steer (or sometimes slam) them back and forth into the guide rail as they move along the road.
PeopleMover fans who have been around since day one will tell you that it actually started out as the WEDWay PeopleMover (named after Walter Elias Disney) in 1975, and the Edison Electric Institue sponsored the DisneyWorld version of the ride. “The Voice Of Disneyland” Jack Wagner (“Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas.”) provided the original narration as guests were first toured through NASA’s Mission to Mars (not to be confused with Mission:Space at Epcot) and If You Had Wings, a dark ride sponsored by Eastern Air Lines (before they went out of business).
Over the years, those attractions eventually became Stitch’s Great Escape and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and new attractions like the Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor were created. While the land around it has changed several times, the PeopleMover continues to be the go-to overview of all the attractions in Tomorrowland.
Aboard the PeopleMover, you’ll not only see the outside world of Tomorrowland, you will also get to see and travel into some of the attractions themselves. Portal windows were installed in Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin which lets you see the largest room filled space invaders, robots and even a volcano. Other viewpoints include Mickey’s Star Traders, a futuristic hair salon and Walt’s original vision for an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (EPCOT) which is a model city showcasing all of Walt’s ideas for how communities should be built in the future.
Outside, you get a brilliant view of Astro Orbiter in the centre of Tomorrowland and you even get a good look at Cinderella Castle from your uniquely elevated vantage point. Should you happen to ride during the fireworks (not that anyone would miss the fireworks, but it happens), the PeopleMover again provides an amazing side-view as they fill the night sky around the castle.
One of the most popular views aboard the PeopleMover, however, comes in the form of a trip through Space Mountain. You will see passengers preparing for launch on either side as you travel through “Starport: Seven-Five”.
Speaking of Space Mountain, guests get to experience the thrills of Space Mountain while in the comfort of the gentle riding PeopleMover. After witnessing guests take-off from the launch bay, you travel above two different alien landscapes that are also visible during the exit from Space Mountain. Past that, you enter the heart of Space Mountain, gliding along the perimeter in total darkness. The atmosphere of the ride is felt in full force as you can hear guests in mid-flight while they blast through the galaxy to the backdrop of “Starry-O-Phonic Sound”.
Should you be really lucky, you may find yourself riding the PeopleMover when the lights are on inside Space Mountain. Since the PeopleMover operates independently of Space Mountain, if the ride has the lights turned on inside the building, you are treated to a mesmerizing view of the twisting coaster typically hidden in the dark. Take your pictures while you can as this doesn’t happen very often.
Disney STAR Rating – Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover:
Story – An in-depth tour of all of the attractions inside Tomorrowland giving you an inside look into some attractions and giving you a great view over the land.
Thrill Factor – Low: It’s smooth and slow-moving without any sudden turns or drops.
Ages – All-ages: It’s an excellent family ride for everyone to sit back and enjoy.
Rating – **A little Disclaimer – the PeopleMover is one of our favourite rides, and while we tried not to let that influence our decision, we still think it’s deserving of 4.5 out of 5 Stars.