Yesterland
 
Skyway to
Fantasyland

 
 
“D” Ticket

Welcome to the Tomorrowland attraction that has Fantasyland as part of its name.

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1960, courtesy of Robin Runck

Disneyland Skyway Tomorrowland station

Walk up the stairs to the Tomorrowland station of the Skyway ride. It’s a modest, modern building. The machinery that pulls the gondolas through the sky is over in the more picturesque Fantasyland station, but the Tomorrowland station has its own claim to fame—it’s where 35 thousand pounds of weight pull on the cables to keep them properly taut.


Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1968, courtesy of Robin Runck

Mod Hatter at base of Skyway station

On this one-way ride, enjoy a bird’s-eye view of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland—and the agricultural lands of Anaheim beyond the park berm.

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Ron Yungul, 1956

View to the other side of Harbor Boulevard

Your panoramic view includes the Richfield Autopia, the Goodyear PeopleMover, the military-gray submarines of the Submarine Voyage, and the tall masts of the Pirate Ship Restaurant.

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Fred M. Nelson, Sr., 1959

Speedramp

The Skyway isn’t the only futuristic transportation around here. Look at the futuristic Stephens-Adamson Speedramp, which goes to the platform of the futuristic Disneyland-Alweg Monorail.

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1959, courtesy of Robin Runck

Monorail station from Skyway

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1959, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Futuristic

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Fred M. Nelson, Sr., 1959

Rocket to the Moon

For really futuristic transportation, think about when you’ll be able to take a lunar vacation on TWA—as soon as Trans World Airlines is no longer limited to terrestrial destinations.

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

New Tomorrowland with America Sings

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1959, courtesy of Robin Runck

Through Matterhorn Mountain

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Charles R. Lympany, circa 1959, courtesy of Chris Taylor

Matterhorn from Sub Lagoon

Skyway to Fantasyland at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1974

Matterhorn and Coca Cola Tomorrowland Terrace

It’s not just a lot of fun, it’s also efficient transportation. For example, if your show just ended at America Sings and you want to go to the Fantasyland Theater, just hop aboard the Skyway and save wear and tear on your shoes.


For a history of the Skyway at Disneyland, see Skyway to Tomorrowland.

Retired Skyway bucket at Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2000

Retired Skyway bucket as store decor in 2000

In the 1970s, regional theme parks popped up all over the United States. Most of them included a sky ride similar to the Skyway. As with Disney’s Skyway rides in California and Florida, most of the other theme parks’ sky rides have disappeared from park maps.

For example, Magic Mountain (now Six Flags Magic Mountain) opened in 1971 in Valencia, California, as a joint venture between Sea World, Inc. and Newhall Land and Farming Company. The park offered two different Eagles Flight sky ride routes, both sharing a station near the top of the park’s “mountain.” One route was removed in 1981; the other lasted until 1994.

Not all sky rides are gone. “Busch Gardens: The Old Country” (now Busch Gardens Williamsburg) opened in 1975 with the Aeronaut Skyride. The ride’s three stations and unusual triangular route still connect three areas of the park.

Skyfari Aerial Tram at San Diego Zoo

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2007

Skyfari Aerial Tram at San Diego Zoo

Around 90 miles south of Disneyland, there are still two sky rides operating in San Diego. The Skyfari Aerial Tram has been carrying San Diego Zoo guests high above the animals since 1969. At Sea World, the Bayside Skyride has carried guests over a salt water marina since 1967.

For a while, theme park sky rides were so common, that it’s easy to think that the Skyway at Disneyland was just an “off the shelf” ride, made unique only by virtue of its particular view. But that wasn’t the case when Walt Disney added the Skyway to Disneyland. In fall of 1955, Walt Disney learned that Von Roll, a Swiss industrial manufacturer, was testing a transportation system involving small gondolas moving along suspended cables. According to Disneyland: The Nickel Tour (Bruce Gordon and David Mumford, 1995), Walt saw an opportunity to demonstrate a new mode of transportation that was practical and futuristic:

Walt was so intrigued by the possibilities that he bought one before he even knew where it would go. In one interview, prior to the ride’s opening, he described the Skyway as “a transportation system of the future, for use in parking lots in huge shopping centers.” By November 18, the Von Roll engineers were working with designer John Hench to finalize the attraction.

As a demonstration of futuristic transportation, the Skyway was a forerunner of the Disneyland Alweg Monorail and the PeopleMover.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on May 3, 1956, Disneyland’s Skyway attraction cost $300 thousand. It was part of the $2 million Disneyland expansion in 1956 that also included the new Indian Village ($100 thousand) and the Astro-Jets ($200 thousand).


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Updated June 10, 2016.