Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
(July 1, 1975 - present)
History and photos of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover ride in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
Located above most of Tomorrowland is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (commonly known as the PeopleMover), an elevated ride that takes guests on a tour around and through many of the land's attractions.
The PeopleMover was originally an attraction that opened in Tomorrowland in Disneyland on July 2, 1967. Using elevated track, the PeopleMover used small trains of four cars to take guests throughout Tomorrowland, around, above and even through some of the land's attractions. The ride was sponsored by Goodyear, and a series of tires throughout the track propelled the ride vehicles.
Part of what made Disneyland's PeopleMover unique was that it was always moving, even in the loading station. Guests would wind their way through a line queue and end up on a circular loading platform that moved at the same speed as the cars. They would step into the car, the door would close, and groups of four cars would split from the rest and form a train. The train of cars would then go along the track until arriving back at the loading station where it would slow and connect with the other cars, once again forming a continuous chain of cars. The PeopleMover was part Omnimover, part train. That same concept would be used for later Disney attractions such as the original version of Epcot's Journey Into Imagination.
The PeopleMover was a simple but popular ride in Disneyland. It was just a question of when it would be added to the new Magic Kingdom theme park in central Florida.
On July 1, 1975, the WEDWay PeopleMover opened in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The Florida version of the ride had the same spirit and theme of the original ride at Disneyland, but the WEDWay PeopleMover also had a few differences as well. For starters, unlike the open air ride track in Disneyland, the entire ride track in Florida has a roof. The roof serves a few purposes including better protecting the riders from the common Florida rain and thunderstorms, and to also help protect the propulsion system in the ride's track. Because of the roof on the ride track, the Florida version of the ride vehicles are more open than their California counterpart.
While the Disneyland version of the ride is propelled by tires in the ride's track, the Florida version uses a total of 533 electromagnets to propel the vehicles with linear induction. These magnets are carefully timed to push and pull the ride vehicles along the track.
The original version of the WEDWay PeopleMover featured the voice of Jack Wagner as the ride's narrator. This was changed in 1985 when ORAC-One, "The Commuter Computer" took over the narration. ORAC One served as the voice of the PeopleMover and the "classic" version of Tomorrowland until the land itself was converted into New Tomorrowland in 1994. Like the rest of the land, the PeopleMover also received a makeover to fit in with the new retro / futuristic theming.
On June 12, 1994, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (more commonly known as the TTA) began taking guests on tours through the New Tomorrowland. The ride vehicles and track route remained the same as before. However, the TTA had much different theming on the ride's supports and track, and now the ride was narrated by a broadcaster in TTA Central.
The story behind the TTA is that the Transit Authority in Tomorrowland actually operates three "lines": the Blue Line, the Red Line, and the Green Line. Our ride vehicles are part of the Transit Authority's Blue Line, an elevated, intra-city train system. Our ride vehicles are referred to as "TTA Metroliners." The Red Line takes riders off-planet to other destinations in the galaxy, and the Green Line connects riders with the residential areas in the "Hover-Burbs." The ride's narration occasionally told us about other features provided by Tomorrowland's Transit Authority.
From 1994 through 2009, the TTA only saw minor changes in the ride's narration, namely when changes were made to the Tomorrowland attractions. When FedEx stopped sponsoring Space Mountain, the brief mention of FedEx was removed from the narration. When Dreamflight was changed to Take Flight and then Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, the narration changed to reflect it. However, the ride's narration was not changed to reflect the opening of Stitch's Great Escape! and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
On April 19, 2009, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority was closed for a lengthy refurbishment to coincide with the major refurbishment that was taking place in Space Mountain. The TTA was temporarily closed because the working conditions inside of Space Mountain created an unsafe environment for the TTA's passengers. Needless to say, the summer of 2009 marked a very quiet time period in Tomorrowland's history.
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority reopened on September 12, 2009. While the ride's name and theming remained the same, the TTA received minor upgrades such as new night lighting and a fresh coat of paint along the ride's track. The narration was also completely changed and made more like the ride's original version.
On August 5, 2010, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority was renamed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Most people still refer to the ride as either the PeopleMover or simply the TTA.
The experience for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover begins with approaching the ride's loading station located in the middle of Tomorrowland at Rockettower Plaza. It's that fancy structure directly underneath the Astro Orbiter. On the opposite side of The Lunching Pad counter-service restaurant is where you'll find the line queue and entrance to the TTA PeopleMover. It's then a quick walk through the line queue and then a short journey up the moving sidewalk to the ride's loading platform. Guests may have to go through another extremely short line queue before stepping onto the rotating turntable and then boarding the ride vehicle.
WARNING --- SPOILERS!
When we reach the edge of the loading platform the doors on our vehicles automatically close. The train of five cars then separates from the rest of the cars in the loading station, and then we're off on our tour of Tomorrowland. According to the ride spiel from ORAC-One, our cars are " . . cruising along at 10 miles an hour."
After looping around Rockettower Plaza, the TTA PeopleMover passes along the front of the Tomorrowland Interplanetary Convention Center and its current attraction, Stitch's Great Escape! The track then makes a right turn, gives riders a quick peek at Cinderella Castle, and then cuts into the opposite side of the show building hosting Stitch's Great Escape! One the left side of the track is part of the model of Progress City. This was the same model that Walt Disney used to show us his version of a city in the future, a concept he called the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT. In October of 1982, EPCOT Center (today known as Epcot) would become the second theme park to open at Walt Disney World.
After passing part of the model of Progress City, on the right is a humorous display with a female robot sitting in a rocket car and waiting for a male robot to give her a package, like a drive-through of the future. After that is a set of windows that lets you look down into the Mickey's Star Traders store (originally known as Mickey's Mart).
The track then exits from the show building, passes over part of the racetrack of the Tomorrowland Speedway, and then makes a long trek to Space Mountain. The track then goes inside of the white dome of Space Mountain, passes between the roller coaster's twin lift hills, and then gives riders a glimpse downward into some of the post-show scenes in Space Mountain's exit ramp. The track then goes along the edge of the dome and riders can see the roller coaster's track (or at least *try* to see it as it is rather dark in there) and the rocket cars racing through the mountain. Before Space Mountain's refurbishment in 2009, the TTA riders could have also looked down into the two loading stations and see if there was a long wait time for the ride (very handy in the days before the FASTPASS system). That was changed in 2009 when Space Mountain's loading stations were enclosed to improve the ride's theming and also to prevent all of that light going into the main part of the ride.
If you're lucky, you'll pass through Space Mountain when the roller coaster is experiencing a technical difficulty and the lights are on inside of the dome. It's always interesting seeing the coaster without the darkness and special effects. Visit the Space Mountain page for views from the TTA (including the lights on inside of the dome).
After travelling through the inside of Space Mountain, the PeopleMover's track makes a quick s-turn and is now outside of the Mountain. The track circles along the outer edge of Space Mountain before making a left turn and travelling back across the train tracks and into Tomorrowland. The track makes another left turn and cuts between Space Mountain and Rockettower Plaza. On the left is the entrance to Space Mountain, on the right are some metallic palm trees and then the Astro Orbiter.
The PeopleMover then continues along the edge of Tomorrowland and passes along the front of the Carousel of Progress. After that it's a short trip before entering the south show building in Tomorrowland. Inside the building there's a futuristic hair salon on display on the right side of the track. After that is a window on the right that takes a peek into Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.
The ride's track then exits from the south show building, makes two right turns at the main entrance to Tomorrowland, and then heads back towards Rockettower Plaza. The ride passes in front of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor before going above the entrance to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. We then make a left turn before slowing and rejoining the cars ahead of us at the loading station. When the cars meet with the turntable, the doors automatically open. It's then a few steps away to a moving sidewalk that takes us back down to the streets of Tomorrowland.
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is an attraction that's extremely simple yet also entertaining and satisfying. This is also a very under-appreciated attraction that rarely experiences wait times longer than ten minutes except during the peak holiday season. Most of the time the PeopleMover has less than a five-minute wait.
I've been a fan of this ride since first riding it as a youngster in the early 1980s. I can't specify why this ride amuses me so much, but for some reason it just does. The cars are neat, how it works is fascinating, and even the ride's *track* interests me. Whatever it is, this is just one fun ride.
The PeopleMover's only fault is that there isn't more of this in the Magic Kingdom or Walt Disney World. It's too bad that there isn't a longer version of the PeopleMover for the rest of the Magic Kingdom, or a version of this ride for Future World in Epcot.
No trip to the Magic Kingdom is complete without at least two rides on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover --- once in the day and once at night. Unless you're at the Magic Kingdom on a busy day, the wait time is rarely over five minutes long, even in the middle of the afternoon. Most of the time the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a "walk right on" type of ride.
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