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 Operating
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 20
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) B.J. Ward (safety voice) (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 Edison Electric Institute (1975-1985)
None (1985-2005)
Alamo Rent a Car (2005-present)
Closed captioning available

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 an urban mass transit PeopleMover system attraction in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. 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. It is also the lone remaining Magic Kingdom attraction to still have corporate sponsorship as a result of Kodak ending its sponsorship with Mickey's Philharmagic on December 31, 2012 (Happily Ever After, the nighttime projection and fireworks show at Cinderella Castle, is sponsored by Pandora, but it is not considered an attraction[1][2]).

Ride experience

The ride has a sole loading/unloading station, in the center of Rocket Tower Plaza, located beneath the Astro Orbiter. Leaving Rocket Tower Plaza, the line makes a sharp left turn, followed by a sweeping turn over the plaza. The track then makes a right hand turn, running along the outside of the north show building, above the queue line for Stitch's Alien Encounter Character Greeting! formerly known as Stitch's Great Escape!. After passing by the Tomorrowland entrance and the Cinderella Castle, the track enters a tunnel through the north show building, passing a large diorama containing a portion of the Progress City or "Epcot" model that originally resided in the upper level of the Carousel of Progress at Disneyland in 1967, then passing a diorama of several robots and crossing over Mickey's Star Traders.

Leaving the north show building, the TTA crosses over the walkway from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland followed by the Tomorrowland Speedway. After crossing the Speedway and the Tron Lightcycle Power Run's entrance plaza, the TTA crosses the Walt Disney World Railroad tracks, makes a right turn, and enters the dome of Space Mountain. After making a left hand turn, the trains pass between the roller coaster tracks' lift hills. The vehicles then pass two lighted signs reading "Starport: Seven Five" (a reference to the opening year of the attraction), before open space to the left allows a view down into the post-show. After the view of the post-show, the track makes a right turn and travels along the back side of the dome, which is in complete pitch black darkness. 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. The Space Mountain segment of the TTA has gained heavy notoriety among park guests for offering the only easily accessible view of Space Mountain when the dome's interior work lights are on. Because the two attractions have separate operating systems, the TTA does not close during Space Mountain breakdowns, so guests riding the TTA when the work lights are on can get a rare illuminated look at the layout for the Omega (B-Side) track.

After crossing the railroad, the TTA trains travel back to a point above the Tomorrowland Speedway before turning south. After passing over the entrance plaza for Space Mountain and the former Skyway terminal, the track travels along the exterior of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, and onward to the south show building. Entering the building, guests get a view down into Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, similar to the one given of Mickey's Star Traders. Exiting the tunnel, the ride travels along the side of the south show building, and above the queue line for Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, before returning to Rocket Tower Plaza and the unload station.

History

WEDWay PeopleMover (1975–1994)

The WEDWay PeopleMover opened on July 1, 1975, based on the PeopleMover attraction at Disneyland in California (WED for Walter Elias Disney). 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)

Peoplemover ride vehicle.

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 structure was updated from smooth Googie-esque white forms to boldly colored metallic structures. The exception was the section of track linking the north show building to Space Mountain, and the section from Space Mountain to the Carousel of Progress, which was not changed.

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 constitutes 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, wherein the narration on the TTA mentioning it was removed.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (2009–present)

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority closed on April 19, 2009, in line with a major refurbishment of Space Mountain, and reopened on September 12, 2009.[3] 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 beamway was enhanced with new multicolored 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 ride 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 Buzz Lighyear's Space Ranger Spin, Stitch's Great Escape! and Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor (the 1994-2009 narration had become dated as it was not modified to reference those attractions when they were built). The narration also includes brief audio clips from characters represented by the various attractions, Buzz Lightyear can be heard when passing Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin Stitch, also known as "Experiment 626" can be heard when passing Stitch's Great Escape![a] and Roz is heard when passing Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. 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.[4]

As the TTA reopened while Space Mountain's refurbishment was still underway, a temporary spiel was played inside Space Mountain that went,

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.[5] Ride signage was changed around the track to reflect the name change.

Contrary to popular belief to the ride's sponsor, however, Alamo Rent a Car has never been mentioned on-ride with the Mike Brassell narration (or its predecessor, Pete Reneday) nor at the entrance/exit loop (with the safety spiel) of the ride since it became the sponsor in 2005. In addition, it has never had a VIP lounge for the ride's sponsor to reside in. But, the sponsor still is mentioned in placards at the beginning and end queue of the ride (before or after the speedramps to and from the loading platform).

Notes

  1. ^ The lines for Stitch's Great Escape!, including Stitch's line, were removed after the attraction was reduced to a seasonally operating attraction in October 2016.

See also

References

  1. ^ Risom Langelund, Jakob. "PANDORA AND DISNEY ANNOUNCE NEW STRATEGIC ALLIANCE" (PDF). PandoraGroup.com. Pandora Group. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Wishes nighttime spectacular". disneyworld.disney.go.com. Disney Parks. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Magic Kingdom Park Operational Updates". Retrieved 2009-04-20.
  4. ^ Video of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority with new narration
  5. ^ ‘PeopleMover’ is Coming Back at Walt Disney World. Dave Herbst, DisneyParks.com.
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