13 Disneyland Rides That Have Been There Since Opening Day
It’s hard to imagine Disneyland in its humble beginnings. The Anaheim, CA, theme park currently boasts an estimated 60 different attractions, but when it first opened on July 17, 1955, that number was much lower – much, much lower. The official number is debated online, however, Disneyland definitively housed 13 attractions on opening day. While that may seem underwhelming now, these imaginative attractions absolutely mystified all those who entered. Ahead, learn more about the classic rides and attractions that have been there since day one.
The Disneyland Railroad
The Disneyland Railroad rides throughout the park, currently stopping at the New Orleans Square Station, Mickey’s Toontown Depot, Tomorrowland Station, and Main Street. Walt Disney had a fascination with trains – even wanting to someday be a train conductor – so this railroad was a top priority for him. It is still in operation to this day.
Mad Tea Party
The Mad Tea Party has a notorious reputation for getting riders sick as they senselessly spin around for the duration of the ride. That being said, it’s also a classic! Though changes have been made to the ride throughout the years, it is still a Disneyland fixture and has since been brought to five other parks.
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Storybook Land Canal Boats is a relaxing outdoor boat ride that journeys through miniature re-creations of classic fairy-tale settings, as well as earlier animated film settings. When the ride first opened, it faced several mechanical problems and was temporarily shut down. Now, the ride is still open and several little settings have been added to it through the years.
King Arthur Carrousel
Here’s a fun fact you might not have known: the King Arthur Carrousel did not originate in Disneyland. It first operated out of Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach Park for decades until it was brought over to the park. The romantic ride is still a staple.
Casey Jr. Circus Train
The Casey Jr. Circus Train is a kid-friendly railroad inspired by Dumbo. The train actually roams through the same area as the Storybook Land Canal Boats, at times even offering a better view of the miniature settings. The slow-moving train ride is still operating out of Fantasyland.
Snow White's Scary Adventures
When Disneyland opened, Snow White’s Scary Adventures was actually called Snow White and Her Adventures. Funny enough, the dark ride was meant to put visitors in Snow White’s shoes, so to speak. Visitors, however, were continually confused and disappointed by her absence from the ride. Now, Snow White does make an appearance. (Oh, and in case you were wondering: yes, that is Richard Nixon pictured on the ride.)
Peter Pan's Flight
Peter Pan’s Flight is a suspended dark ride that was considered way ahead of its time. The slow-moving ride glides over miniature re-creations of London, Neverland, and Skull Rock. A few years ago, the ride was renovated to include character animatronics. Peter Pan’s Flight is still one of the more popular attractions and has since been brought to four other parks.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Though Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was originally intended to be a roller coaster, Disney ended up wanting it to be a milder dark ride suitable for visitors of all ages. Inspired by The Wind in the Willows, the ride zips through several chaotic scenarios on the English countryside. It’s still up and running in Disneyland, however, the ride closed in Magic Kingdom in 1998.
Main Street Cinema
The Main Street Cinema is a quaint movie theatre that plays classic short films, like Steamboat Willie. To be honest, the old-timey theatre hasn’t really changed much since the park opened. In honour of Disneyland’s 55th anniversary, however, the Main Street Cinema did play archival footage from the park’s opening day.
The Golden Horseshoe
The Golden Horseshoe is another old-timey saloon attraction that stages several live performances and variety shows. Fun fact: the saloon opened a few days before opening day for a private party thrown by Disney himself. In addition to still hosting shows, the Golden Horseshoe also serves as a casual lunchtime spot.
Mark Twain Riverboat
Partly inspired by The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the Mark Twain Riverboat was the first functional riverboat to be built in the United States in 50 years when Disneyland opened. The 14-minute ride takes passengers on a journey through Frontierland. All these years later, it’s still a major attraction and even involved in the Fantasmic! nighttime show.