May 23, 2014

Disneyland's Rocket Rods

Rocket Rods. The name conjures up so many reactions. Failure. Short-lived. Poorly engineered. Perhaps all these descriptions are true. But there is another adjective I apply to this now defunct attraction from Tomorrowland '98: fun.

I happened to be at Disneyland within the first few weeks of the opening. Without hesitation, I gladly endured the lengthy queue for a chance to cruise the Land of the Future aboard the sleds of Tomorrow. The saving grace of it all was a beautifully re purposed America the Beautiful building showcasing blueprint type art and vintage Tomorrowland graphics and memorabilia in a cool, dimly lit environment. Getting to the old Peoplemover platform involved a bit of Disney engineering magic!

The ride itself was a stop and go affair. At full speed, it was a blast cruising above the land with the wind in my hair and a smile on my face. When it had to slow down for those pesky unbanked curves, it was a bit jerky, to say the least. Yet, the views were terrific even if the duration much too short.

I planned to get back into line for another ride, but after the lengthy wait, there was still the rest of Imagineer Tony Baxter's Tomorrowland '98 to explore. (Count me in as one who loved the copper version of Space Mountain!) Unfortunately, time got the better of me. My next trip out would be in 2001 for California Adventure, and the dazzling Rocket Rods were history.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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