Sixty years ago today, Walt Disney’s original Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, California celebrated its “second grand opening” when it simultaneously added three E-Ticket attractions, all of which still stand and operate adjacent to each other on the border of the park’s beloved Tomorrowland and Fantasyland areas.
In celebration of these iconic attractions’ Diamond anniversaries, this morning Disney Archivist Matt Moryc gave us a fascinating and informative guided historical tour of the Disneyland Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Submarine Voyage with a focus on the legacy of three of the most cherished rides in any theme park.
Watch 60th Anniversary of Disneyland Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Submarine Voyage with Disney Archivist:
Among the interesting facts presented during the above tour are:
- Disney Archivists are responsible for maintaining information about the company from decades past, in addition to capturing current information about the company today.
- The Disneyland Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Submarine Voyage were each the first attraction of their kind in any western theme park.
- The opening of all three attractions was celebrated by an ABC television special called “Kodak Presents Disneyland ‘59,” which was viewed by an estimated 93 million people.
- When the Disneyland Monorail first opened, it only had one station and was simply a tour of Tomorrowland and part of Fantasyland. The second station at the Disneyland hotel was added two years later in 1961.
- American Vice President (and later president) Richard M. Nixon was on hand with Walt Disney to send off the very first round trip of the Disneyland Monorail.
- Matterhorn Bobsleds was Disneyland’s first thrill ride, and featured unique tubular steel roller coaster tracks, which allowed the vehicles to twist and turn.
- Before 1978, the theming inside the Matterhorn was very sparse, and that year also saw the addition of the first Abominable Snowman to the ride.
- Submarine Voyage was inspired by the real working submarine the USS Nautilus, which itself was named after the Jules Verne story (and 1954 Walt Disney Studios live-action feature) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
- To test the ride’s underwater effects, Disney Imagineers dug a hole at the Disney Studios lot in Burbank and made a mock-up of the side of the submarines.
- Development on all three of these attractions started in late 1958, and they all opened on June 14, 1959, which means three E-Ticket rides were conceived, planned, and built all at the same time in less than a year.
Available to guests for the Disneyland Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Submarine Voyage’s 60th Anniversaries was a fun photo op featuring attraction poster artwork and E-Ticket imagery:
And a Limited Edition pin celebrating all three attractions was also available for purchase at Disneyland Resort:
You can ride the Disneyland Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and (now Finding Nemo) Submarine Voyage at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Mike serves as the Editorial Director for Star Wars content (and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast) here at Laughing Place, but he has also been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age. He resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.