Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

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Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Wdw-peoplemover.jpg
The two-way track section at the entrance of Space Mountain
Magic Kingdom
Area Tomorrowland
Coordinates 28°25′06″N 81°34′45″W / 28.41833°N 81.57917°W / 28.41833; -81.57917Coordinates: 28°25′06″N 81°34′45″W / 28.41833°N 81.57917°W / 28.41833; -81.57917
Status Under Refurbishment
Opening date July 1, 1975
General statistics
Attraction type People mover
Manufacturer Walt Disney Imagineering
Designer WED Enterprises
Length 5,484 ft (1,672 m)
Speed 6.84 mph (11.01 km/h)
Vehicles 32
Riders per vehicle 10
Rows 2
Riders per row 2
Duration 10:03
Host Jack Wagner (1975-1985)
ORAC-1 Commuter Computer (1985-1994)
TTA Central Announcer (Pete Renaday) (1994-October 2009)
Mike Brassell (October 2009-present)
Propulsion Linear Synchronous Motors embedded in track
Platform Speed 1.84 mph
Motor Count 629
Formerly Called WEDway Peoplemover (July 1, 1975 - June 11, 1994)
Tomorrowland Transit Authority (June 12, 1994 - August 5, 2010)
Sponsor Alamo Rent a Car

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover formerly known as the WEDWay PeopleMover from 1975 until 1994 and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority from 1994 until 2010, is a PeopleMover system in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. Themed as an urban mass transit system of the future, the ride takes passengers on a tour around the second floor of many attractions in Tomorrowland.

Attraction[edit]

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover is a slow moving 10 minute ride in a vehicle that is propelled by a system of Linear Synchronous Motors embedded in track. It has one station, in the center of Rocket Tower Plaza, located beneath the landmark Astro Orbiter. The Peoplemover's leisurely pace, lack of long queue lines, and the sneak previews it offers of other more extreme Tomorrowland attractions make it a favorite attraction among repeat visitors.

The ride begins by leaving the Rocket Tower Plaza to a tunnel above Stitch's Great Escape!, in which ride vehicles pass a large diorama containing a portion of the Progress City or "E.P.C.OT." model that originally resided in the upper level of the Carousel of Progress at Disneyland in 1967, then passing a window looking downward at Mickey's Star Traders.

The vehicles then head forward to Space Mountain. When entering the dome itself, trains pass a sign featuring the Space Mountain logo. The track then makes a right hand turn and enters the dome interior. After a short period of darkness, the peoplemover vehicles pass through the lift hill bay of the roller coasters, during which it may be possible to see trains climbing the lift hills to either side. The vehicles then pass two lighted signs reading "Starport: Seven Five" (a reference to the opening year of the attraction). Then the vehicles proceed around the edge of the dome, during which it is possible to look up and see the projections from the ride. After this, the trains exit, and run along the outside of the dome to return to the railroad bridge. This preceding section of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority has gained heavy notoriety among Disney park guests for offering the only easily accessible view of Space Mountain when the dome interior lights are on. Because the two attractions have separate operating systems, the TTA does not close if Space Mountain breaks down, so guests riding the TTA when the dome lights are on can get a rare illuminated look at the layouts for both tracks.

After exiting Space Mountain, the vehicles then turn to the southern portion of Tomorrowland. Passengers ride along the exterior of the Carousel of Progress building, and onward to the Buzz LIghtyear's Space Ranger Spin show building where guests are given a glimpse in to the attraction below similar to the one given of Mickey's Star Traders. Guests are also shown a diorama of a futuristic hair salon. Guests then return to Rocket Tower Plaza where they disembark.

History[edit]

WEDWay Peoplemover (1975 - 1994)[edit]

1970s-era Attraction Poster

The WEDWay PeopleMover opened on July 1, 1975, based on the PeopleMover attraction at Disneyland in California. Because it did not utilize the propulsion system of rotating Goodyear tires used in the original, (instead using linear synchronous motors), Goodyear opted not to sponsor the east coast version. The Edison Electric Institute was the original sponsor of the ride. Instead of an open track with covered cars, this ride was designed the opposite from the Disneyland version: open-air cars with a ceiling over the track. The original narration track was provided by longtime Disney voice, Jack Wagner. In June 1985, his narration was replaced by the voice of ORAC One - "The Commuter Computer", which was used until June 11, 1994, when the attraction received a makeover for the New Tomorrowland. At that time the WEDWay Peoplemover passed through the attractions that occupied Tomorrowland during that time, including, Mission to Mars, If You Had Wings, and others. Originally the tunnel through the south show building (now home to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin) had three windows; one and two on the trains' right, three to the trains' left. This building first housed If You Had Wings, and the windows were carefully placed to look down into the Mexico, Jamaica and Trinidad show scenes in such a way as to hide all projectors, lights and other show support equipment. When If You Had Wings (renamed If You Could Fly) was closed in January 1989 and remodeled into Delta Dreamflight, the windows no longer lined up correctly with show scenes. The first window was replaced with backlit panels depicting the ride's barnstormer scene. Window two looked into the Parisian Excursion scene, from a viewpoint which heavily distorted the tableau's forced perspective. The third window would have had riders looking directly into an extremely bright light and so was completely obscured with plywood and black fabric.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority (1994 - 2009)[edit]

In the spring of 1994, Tomorrowland underwent a massive refurbishment that changed the theme of the land from being a showcase of future technology to a working city of the future. The WEDway PeopleMover received new physical theming as most of the track was updated from smooth Googie-esque white forms to boldly colored metallic structures.

It was during this refurbishment that the attraction's name changed from the WEDWay PeopleMover to Tomorrowland Transit Authority. A new narration was added, with the tour led by Pete Renaday broadcasting from TTA Central. The new name and narration debuted on June 12, 1994. This 1994 recording remained largely unaltered until October 2, 2009, which came shortly after the ride had reopened following a five month down period during the refurbishment of Space Mountain.

The TTA's backstory in the 1994-2009 version of the ride made reference to the Transit Authority's three different "lines": the Blue Line, the Red Line, and the Green Line. The Blue Line, which constituted the actual ride, was Tomorrowland's intra-city elevated train system. The Red Line took riders 'off-planet' to other destinations in the galaxy, while the Green Line provided local transportation to Tomorrowland's "Hover-Burbs." There was a diorama of a hub station where all three lines intersect located on the second floor of the north show building (Interplanetary Convention Center). Other services provided by the Transit Authority (interstate highway maintenance and long distance space travel) were alluded to in the ride's narration.

Changes made in the 1994 narration over its 15 years of use included the following:

  • The replacement of the narration for the south show building in 1996 when Delta Dreamflight became Take Flight. This narration was replaced again when Take Flight was turned into Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in 1998.
  • The 1994 narration for Space Mountain said, "Now arriving in Space Mountain, Tomorrowland's gateway to the Galaxy, Presented by Federal Express," noting Space Mountain's sponsorship by FedEx. When FedEx dropped sponsorship in 2004, the narration was altered to cut off after "Galaxy."
  • A narration was played upon leaving the south show building tunnel mentioning The Timekeeper from 1994 to 2006 when The Timekeeper closed. When that closed, the narration on the TTA mentioning it was removed.

2009 refurbishment and restoration of Peoplemover name (2009 - )[edit]

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority closed on Sunday, April 19, 2009, in line with the major refurbishment of Space Mountain, and reopened on September 12, 2009.[1] The closure was necessary due to extensive construction work planned for the roller coaster, and the inherent safety risks such activity would pose to Transit Authority riders.

During the refurbishment, the Peoplemover beamway was enhanced with new LED lighting that moves in time with the music being played in Tomorrowland. Other enhancements included freshly re-painted trackway and infrastructure, as well as new speakers for the ride audio system.

On October 2, 2009, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority received a new narration featuring the voice of Mike Brassell. The new narration is similar to the original WEDway Peoplemover narration and includes segments introducing all attractions in Tomorrowland, including Stitch's Great Escape! and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor (the 1994-2009 narration had become dated as it did not contain recordings to reference those attractions when they were built). The narration also includes brief audio clips from characters represented by the various attractions (for example, when passing Stitch's Great Escape!, Stitch can be heard). The PeopleMover name was revived in the new narration, which refers to the attraction vehicle as the "Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover," in place of the previous "TTA Metroliner" name introduced after the attraction's 1994 refurbishment.[2]

From October 2, 2009 until November 21, 2009, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority's new narration had a temporary spiel inside Space Mountain that went,

"Greetings, travelers! Please pardon our space dust as we work to improve our launch facilities. Remember, your Tomorrowland Transit Authority is committed to all your space travel needs, no matter how far or how fast you may go."

On August 5, 2010, it was announced that the name "PeopleMover" would officially be re-instated into the ride's name, effectively changing it to Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.[3] However, many people still refer to it as simply the Tomorrowland Transit Authority.

See also[edit]

References[edit]