While we’re all fighting tooth and nail to land Star Wars: Galaxy Edge reservations, it’s essential to take a step back and remind ourselves of the attractions that put Disneyland on the map.
By Jake Goldberg
We were invited to partake in a 60th anniversary celebration commemorating the opening of the Disneyland Monorail, Matterhorn Bobsleds and the original Submarine Voyage.
I arrived at the park at 7 a.m., and the first thing you always “have” to do is ride the monorail. At the monorail station, we were greeted by Disney Archivist Matt Moryc, who was happy to share interesting tidbits and trivia about these attractions.
These three attractions first opened on this day, June 14, in 1959, and have managed to stand the test of time. When Walt opened the original Magic Kingdom, the monorail was the first of its kind in a theme park environment. When the transportation system first opened, there was only one station set up over the Submarine Voyage. It wasn’t until 1961 when the monorail expanded and opened the second station at the Disneyland Hotel. This was the first time a monorail track ever went over a major road.
After I learned those interesting details about the monorail’s history, I boarded the Mark VII and took off towards Tomorrowland. After taking the scenic route through Disneyland, I arrived at Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. The original iconic attraction all started through Walt’s desire for a submarine ride at the parks. These ships have had an interesting life and have seen plenty of updates.
The original Submarine Voyage was based on reality rather than fantasy and was inspired by the USS Nautilus. This ship was the first nuclear submarine in the world and the first to complete a submerged voyage underneath the North Pole. While testing the underwater effects before the ride’s opening, the creative team dug up holes at the Disney Studios and designed mockups of the submarine.
After submerging into the deep blue to find Nemo and his friends, I then walked over to the Matterhorn. Before the Matterhorn’s opening, the coaster was advertised quite differently from the actual experience. The posters promised guests a scenic trek around the Alps when the original track was quite bare. It wasn’t until 1978 when the attraction got the update that would lead an abominable snowman inhabiting the mountain.
I hopped onto the bobsleds and took a journey through the mysterious mountain. The track was as exciting and bumpy as I remembered, and I struggled to catch a decent selfie of myself. Here is the best one I got. You’re welcome, world.
If you happen to stop by Disneyland park today, be sure to snag some pictures at these unique photo-op locations by Matterhorn Bobsleds and Submarine Voyage. I know I couldn’t resist taking a few pics. (I mean, I am a millennial at Disneyland.)
To learn more about the Disneyland Resort’s many tours and other offerings, visit Disneyland.com.