In this part of our Tomorrowland '67 series we break down each attraction into different categories. We learn just how affordable Disneyland was for Southern Californians at the time and we see how long this great Disneyland expansion really lasted.
New Tomorrowland opened on July 2, 1967. Most of the previous Tomorrowland structures had been entirely demolished to make way for new or improved attractions. It cost more than $20 million. Remember, just twelve years earlier all of Disneyland cost about $17 million.
Let’s go see what’s new at Disneyland!
You’ve gone through Tomorowland withdrawals for long enough. It’s 1967 and it’s summertime. With Tomorrowland closed all this time you’ve only celebrated the past while visiting Disneyland’s three other lands (plus Main Street). You are ready to once again celebrate the future. You are eager for new rides.
Fill up your family car for $0.30 a gallon and head over to Disneyland. Take a tram over to one of the outer ticket booths and pull out $20. That’s plenty for everyone in your family of four. Better get the 15-ride ticket book just in case. Ticket books in the summer of 1967 cost between $3.50 and $5.50 depending on age and how many tickets you wanted. This included the price admission. If everyone happens to want to ride a couple additional big rides, E-tickets are only $0.75 at the various ticket booths inside the park. Individual D-tickets are only $0.60 each. C-tickets are $0.35, B-tickets $0.25, and A-tickets are only $0.10.
Southern Californians and Disneyland in the 1960s
All my grandparents and both my parents lived in California in the 60s (and beyond). Both sides of the family, though they didn’t know each other yet, had similar Disneyland-related traditions. I imagine most Southern Californians had similar experiences. My family would visit Disneyland every time someone came from out of town to visit. They would keep a shoe box of partially-used ticket books handy for themselves and their guests to use. When no one was visiting, they could pay between $0.75 and $3.00 per person for admission then use the tickets from the shoe box. Did my family, relatives, or their guests take lots of photos and film their many experiences?? Nope. It torments me every time I think of it.
A Review of the Timeline
Let's go over the custom timeline we've created above.
On the far left in gray we see a number of attractions that closed in 1966. The Space Bar was a food location but we've included it to show what occupied the location before Carousel of Progress. To the right of those we see in teal everything that was new to New Tomorrowland. Some of these were not entirely new experiences but they were presented as "new" with good reason. Later in this post we explain why. Below those we see in dark green a number of pre-1967 things that stuck around during and after all 1967 changes. You can see that the House of the Future only overlaps New Tomorrowland for a few months. Were my family member at the park during this precious narrow sliver of time? Probably. Do they remember? No. I wasn't born yet and therefore was unable to be there myself. Thanks, Gorillas, for this photo that lets us pretend we were there for what appears to be the last days of the House of the Future.
Anyway, back to the timeline. The light brown color represents the many attractions that took place between New Tomorrowland and the current Tomorrowland. Some of these were fantastic. Like America Sings! I remember you. You'll notice changes in the mid-90s and especially in 1998 when Tomorrowland's next huge makeover took place. Then come the early 2000s.... Finally I draw your attention to the darker brown color and everything else on the far right. Today we have less gaps than a decade ago. Our beloved subs are traveling deep into the ocean's caves once again. (Yes, I know what you are thinking, but at least you can still climb down those cool metal stairs and watch bubbles rise past your porthole window as you prepare to ride through liquid space. It's better than a lagoon filled with dirt, I tells ya.) And as for the PeopleMover track, I mean the Rocket Rods track (with its center tubular steal thing that PeopleMovers didn't have), it's still standing. And Imagineering reports that it's constantly on their minds. Somehow state safety regulations are getting in the way.
What Happened in Tomorrowland in 1966/67 specifically?
2 entirely new attractions were added:
Adventure Thru Inner Space
1 attraction was brought in from outside the park:
Carousel of Progress
3 attractions were improved and renamed:
Rocket to the Moon became Flight to the Moon
Astro Jets became Rocket Jets
Circarama, U.S.A. became Circle-Vision 360°
1 attraction was to be moved and improved but this never happened:
Flying Saucers were to be build under Space Mountain
1 major attraction was planned but was not built until years later:
Space Port (later named Space Mountain)
2 new stages were built:
Tomorrowland Terrace Stage
6 previously-built attractions remained:
House of the Future
Skyway to Fantasyland
Submarine Voyage Thru Inner Space
It’s true, only two entirely new attractions were built for this new land. They were both steady, slow, offered great scenery, and people LOVED them. The PeopleMover and Adventure Thru Inner Space were very popular and still remain a couple of the most-missed Disney rides of all time. The PeopleMover was Disneyland’s fourth way to see a large portion of the park while riding a ride. The Railroad, Skyway, and Monorail also offered views of multiple parts of Disneyland.
Adventure Thru Inner Space was Tomorrowland’s first dark ride and boasted the world’s first Omnimover ride system. The Haunted Mansion with its black “Doom Buggies” normally claims the lion’s share of Omnimover discussions but Inner Space and its blue “Atom Mobiles” opened first.
Carousel of Progress was new to Disneyland and new to everyone who didn’t make it to New York for the World’s Fair. Plus it was housed in a new building with an upper-level exhibit that the World’s Fair didn’t have.
Three previously-existing attractions got major facelifts and new names. Rocket to the Moon’s two domed theaters and its curvy building were removed and a new building with a similar layout was built in its place. The ride was enhanced with an animatronic preshow and the ride itself offered new effects. The Astro Jets were removed and a similar spinner ride was built further to the south. This time the rocket ride was all the more fun because of the heights you could reach. It was built on top of the new PeopleMover station. Circarama, U.S.A. was renamed Circle-Vision 360° and got a larger building and better movie projection technology. This time the circular theater was made up of nine screens instead of twelve.
What’s this about an attraction that was supposed to be moved and improved but never happened? Well.... Plans were made for Flying Saucers to be built under what was going to be Space Mountain. The Flying Saucers ride was a part of Tomorrowland for years and was located where Magic Eye Theater (Captain E.O.) and Space Mountain are today. Blueprints show a smaller similarly shaped ride layout further south (refer to our map in Part 1). Hmm. It could be a gift shop for all I know. More on this in later posts.
One major attraction was planned but not built and there are two major reasons for this. Space Port/Space Mountain was a dream of Walt but high costs and a lack of technology required Space Mountain to be delayed.
As it turns out Space Mountain was built first in Walt Disney World's Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom.
Two new stages were built to liven up the land’s atmosphere with live musical performances. And a very very special broadcast a couple years later.
Six attractions (five of which were rides) remained. Monsanto’s House of the Future (not a ride) had great view of the New Tomorrowland opening celebration but didn’t live to see the new year of 1968. The Skyway was given a new tower. The new tower was an extension of the Carousel of Progress building which happened to be built right next to the old tower . Tomorrowland Autopia, Matterhorn, and Submarine Voyage enjoyed beautiful new surroundings yet experienced few changes themselves as part of New Tomorrowland.
What a great land it turned out to be. One of the most remarkable themed lands built up to that point. Perhaps the greatest. Disney and More provides this wonderful photo of Muhammad Ali strolling through the north side of New Tomorrowland.
Next time we begin diving into each New Tomorrowland attraction. In our next post we will look at a fan-favorite and its amazing journey. It might be the only Disney attraction to operate in three different parks. You know what I’m talking about...... Walt Disney’s own Carousel of Progress.