Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where Do Rides Go When They Die?

Where do the old Disneyland rides go after they die? This is a question I asked myself many times as a child. I remember watching many rides come and go. The Rocket Rods, the Mike Fink Keel Boats, and of course,  my all-time favorite ride: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Submarine Voyage (may it rest in peace).

The answer is more simple than most would imagine. They are dismantled, and the parts are sent back to the Disney boneyard, recycled for use in other attractions. Anything unusable becomes scrap, and is never seen by the public again. Many ride vehicles such as PeopleMover trains and Mr. Toad Cars are sold to collectors. Others remain in the park, re-painted and decorated for guests of newer generations to enjoy, and older generations to remember. Like this Rocket Jets pod and Midget Autopia car.

Others suffer a more tragic fate; they are silently discarded to rot in an empty lot where they will rust away for many years. The forgotten attractions of the past are sometimes truly forgotten.

Sometimes they are just placed arbitrarily in Disneyland for use as decoration, where guests can watch the decay firsthand.

Article here
But surely some rides can still be used after their run, right? Sadly, most of the time this is not the case. They are often rebuilt or replicated in other parks so that they can be enjoyed by others, in a fashion reminiscent of the old days at Disneyland, but not quite the same. The rides are hardly ever salvaged entirely for use in another park, the only example coming to mind being the Carousel of Progress which is now located at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The reason for this is that the rides simply wouldn't survive the cross-country journey. Take for example the tragic remains of the once beautiful Progress City. What used to be a gorgeous working model with moving parts and spectacular lights, is now a third of its original size with none of the functions that it had in Disneyland.

So you see, sometimes these attractions aren't always built to last. The problem with today's Disneyland is not that newer, more up-to-date attractions are taking over. It's that they are trying to fix what isn't broken. Timeless rides that aren't outdated shouldn't be scrapped. I have nothing against basing rides on Disney movies, but if you're going to do that make sure it's not something that will become stale in a few years. All but a few of Disney's oldest rides are not based on films, they're based on imagination. I couldn't see attractions based on Lilo & Stitch or Cars to last much more than a few years before they become antiquated.

Alas, there is one more fate of a beloved Disney ride that this article has not yet explored. Specifically, one from Walt Disney World in Florida. The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Submarine Voyage.

When the ride closed in 1994, the submarines were first left in the boneyard along with the likes of many other old attractions. But a number of them found new homes. One was on temporary display in MGM Studios, in the queue for the backlot tour. But perhaps more interesting is one particular Nautilus, which has found its way out to sea. At the tropical Bahamian port for the Disney Cruise Line known as Castaway Cay, a Nautilus sub was painted red and submerged to the seafloor (for those unfamiliar with how light works underwater, red wavelengths are invisible below 30 feet, so red becomes green in deep water).

So there it is, sleeping peacefully on the ocean floor where it truly belongs. Maybe Captain Nemo finally hit that whirpool and met the watery grave he was destined to meet. I don't object to this display at all, as most of the other subs were shredded and destroyed. It was a long run, but it finally made the journey out to sea. Just another way that Disney has enchanted the aching hearts of 20kL fans once again.

But what happened to the submarines from Disneyland? I think that's a story better left untold...



  1. Where is the Disney boneyard?


  2. Good question. I'd guess it's either near Burbank, or perhaps in a warehouse on Disneyland Resort property. Maybe out east in Florida. An Imagineer source has definitely confirmed to me that the "boneyard" exists.

  3. OMG I saw that midget car statue thing from Autopia when I got 2 drive a midget car on that little track!