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Showing posts from July, 2019

The First New Ride at Disneyland

The first new ride at Disneyland, opened Saturday, March 24, 1956, was the one thing that Walt Disney said did not belong in his Magic Kingdom.

It was an off-the-shelf ride that others could buy, not a custom-designed adventure machine like Dumbo or the Mad Tea Party. Walt bought a Super Roto-Jet from Kaspar Klaus Manufacturing of Memmingen, in southwest Bayern (Bavaria), West Germany. Unlike the custom-engineered Dumbo ride, which opened a month late, the Roto-Jet was precise and sturdy. The stand and vertical axle were repurposed mounts designed for German anti-aircraft guns.

Walt originally didn't want rides anywhere but Fantasyland, the children's domain. Main Street had the silent Cinema, Adventureland the Jungle Boats, Frontierland had its stagecoach and river boat, and Tomorrowland had the Rocket to the Moon. Who would put a traditional roller coaster in Frontierland? (Actually, Big Thunder worked out quite well, but we're talking about Walt's attitude in 1956.)