One of the most classic attractions at Walt Disney World is the PeopleMover! This 10 minute tour of Tomorrowland has been a staple at the Magic Kingdom for years.
Whether you love the timeless tradition of cruising along this elevated transit or you just want to learn a bit more about how the PeopleMover came to be, you’re in the right spot!
We’re going to share all there is to know about the PeopleMover – the history, the cars and more.
The Walt Disney World’s PeopleMover had it’s beginnings at Disney Land in 1967, but the idea can be traced back to the 1964 – 1965 New York World’s Fair.
It was there that Walt teamed up with the Ford Motor company to present the Ford magic Skyway, in which guests were able to board and ride classic Ford convertibles on a conveyor belt track.
The cars weaved around historic events that the Imagineers had developed using animatronics and other Disney innovations. With the great success of the Ford Magic Skyway, Disney started developing what what would eventually be know as WEDway PeopleMover at Disney Land.
As a side note, the 1964 – 1965 World’s Fair also produced 3 other iconic attractions that would become staples of Disneyland and Disney World, The Carousel of Progress, It’s a Small World and Mr. Lincoln which would be developed into the Hall of the Presidents.
The original PeopleMover was sponsored by Goodyear Tires. The cars were not powered by an electric motor within themselves, instead they were propelled on the track by Goodyear tires embedded in the track every nine feed. Because of this sponsorship the first name was the Goodyear PeopleMover.
When all eyes were on the Florida Project, which would become Disney World, the PeopleMover theme continued. Originally it was going to be used as an actual means of transportation in a city of tomorrow called the Eperimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or EPCOT for short.
This city would consist of real people living and working in this city but it would be showcasing futuristic ways of life and transportation would be one of those ways. After Walt’s death, the plan for EPCOT died as well.
Instead, EPCOT became just Epcot, a futuristic theme park and the PeopleMover was built in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom for more of a leisurely tour of Tomorrowland.
As the Imagineers started working on the PeopleMover for Tomorrowland they swapped out the rotating tire propulsion idea for linear motor magnets. The cars were made differently too.
Instead of enclosed cars, they were open-air allowing guests to have a better experience. The track was laid out to offer a guided tour of Tomorrowland as well as taking guests through some of the local attractions including Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain and Mickey’s Star Traders as well as architectural models of Progress city, the prototype for EPCOT.
It also passes by Tomorrowland Speedway and along the upper level of Walt Disney’s Carousel Of Progress. The place of boarding and departure is located at the center of Rocket Tower Plaza and beneath the Astro Orbiter. Cast Members are present to help guests into their ride vehicles as they venture on this 10-minute tour.
The name has gone through changes over the years. Starting as WEDway PeopleMover from 1975 until 1994, it changed to Tomorrowland Transit Authority from 1994 until 2010 and finally it has rested on Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover or TTA PeopleMover for short.
Other changes that have happened is the original narration track. One of the fun additions is adding VoiceOver actors doing character voices at different locations of the journey.
For example, when guests come up to Mickey’s Star Traders, they hear Mickey Mouse talking in their ride cars. The same is true with Buzz Lightyear when guests approach Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
One other fun addition is guests hear an announcement that says “Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow, please contact Mr. Johnson in the control tower to confirm your flight to the moon.” This phrase has taken on a life of its own with T-shirts, mugs and other merchandise.
Photo by Lisa Reese of Pixie and Pirate Destinations
The PeopleMover has taken it’s hits over the years. Some have suggested it’s similar to the Hall of the Presidents where you can go and get a nice nap in.
Incidentally, people have been known to fall sound asleep on the ride! We have heard people say it’s a waste of time (and money) to go on this beauty, and in this case a favorite ride, is in the eyes of the beholder when it comes to the PeopleMover.
No, it is not a thrill ride like a typical Magic Kingdom ride, and it’s not even exciting like Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise or other dark rides in the Disney Parks.
When to Ride the PeopleMover
With average wait times being near zero and no height requirement, riding the PeopleMover can be just the ticket after pounding the Magic Kingdom pavement for hours. It gives you feet a nice break and the energy to hit up the rest of your day.
Some have used the PeopleMover creatively.
Because it is close to Space Mountain, if there are people in your party that feel Space Mountain is too daunting for them, they head over to the PeopleMover to enjoy a tamer ride while waiting for the Space Mountain crew to get finished.
It is also a good way for you to figure out your Magic Kingdom itinerary while the rest of your family is enjoying the view. We tend to ride the PeopleMover at least twice while in the Magic Kingdom. Its such an enjoyable ride, and with no wait we just walk right on!
Finally, it’s a wonderful part of Disney history. Don’t forget where the PeopleMover came from when you hop on.
There are some things at Disney World that were way ahead of their time when they were made and though time has passed them by, we can still marvel at what they were. PeopleMover is just that!
Be sure to check out our favorite rides in the Magic Kingdom for kids – the PeopleMover is on the list!