Monday, March 26, 2012

Flying Saucers, September 1961

Today I have two great photos featuring the Flying Saucers! The Saucers were a relatively short-lived attraction (opening in 1961 and closing in 1966), but they made a big impact. It really was just a high-tech kind of bumper cars (and I've always hated bumper cars - they bring out the sadist in people), but the sensation of floating on a cushion of air sounds like fun.


As you can see in this first picture, the Imagineers were their usual ingenious selves; one set of saucers was corralled (via a moveable boom) into a pen for loading and unloading, while the other set of saucers were free to bonk into each other. In spite of this ingenious solution, the ride capacity was notoriously low - even when everything was working smoothly.


This fellow is amused by our puny Earthling technology. "If this is the best flying saucer they can build, then the inhabitants from my planet will have no trouble in subduing these puny people." (They really like the adjective "puny"). Fortunately, nothing never happened. OR DID IT?!?!

14 comments:

Snow White Sanctum said...

Bright clear pics! Nice. And you're right, that guy in the second photo is clearly not from earth. Who does he think he's trying to fool?

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

That's Dwayne Hickman from the planet Dobie Gillis!

Awesome pics - super clear Anaheim sky!

Nancy said...

loving the sunshine!

The Flying Saucers were so cool, never saw them anywhere else I have ever visited (nor these, sadly). What in the park now occupies the "outer space" where they were back then?

K. Martinez said...

I love the blue, white and orange color scheme. Very cool! I remember seeing the Flying Saucers as a kid, but I never rode them because my parents apparently had no interest in going on this attraction. From looking at the photos, I think the Magic Eye Theater (Captain EO) now occupies the general area where the Flying Saucers used to be.

Connie Moreno said...

I can't tell you how happy I was to see these pics! I LOVED that ride as a kid and sooooo wish I had a photo of me on it!

Anonymous said...

And so did I! But oh the wait could be long for such a short ride. And at least a time or two all that waiting was for naught when the ride would go down :( The real challenge was NOT to run into someone else, or get a long run to gain speed before bumping someone.

Major Pepperidge said...

Snow White Sanctum, I know! It is totally obvious that he has a titanium skeleton.

VDT, it's funny, I honestly thought of Dobie Gillis too!

Nancy, I think they were where Space Mountain is now, but am not 100% sure.

K. Matinez, now that I see your email, you might be right about the Magic Eye Theater location.

Connie, I also love pics of the saucers!

Anon, if I could, I would prefer to slide across that blue expanse without anybody else around. Guess that would make for a really low capacity ride though!

Orange Co Native said...

An old attraction, the Flying Saucers from Tomorrowland resurfaces in California Adventures in Cars Land in 2012. Hovering tires this time.

MIKE COZART said...

Great color in these images! Despite modern Disney lore, WED had every intention of returning the Flying Saucers to Tomorrowland. 1968 was announced as Phase Two of the NEW TOMORROWLAND and would have bround with it the SPACE MOUNTAIN complex. Inside the massive 1968 Space Mountain was a complicated 4-track rocket sled ride, a large Dance pavilion and stage sponsored by 7-UP, a Rocket Jets type ride with saucers called "SATURN", an electronic shooting gallery, AND...............the the FLYING SAUCERS!!! All these additional attractions and facilities would be located on one of three elevated "terraces" conected by SPEEDRAMPS --with the racing Rocket "sleds" above everything. All these plans were still "one the books" as the early 70's.

Man, if you thought the Tomorrowland 1967 couldn't get any better--WED Imagineers had every intention of trying!!

JG said...

Great pics! I remember one ride on these, and that it broke down.

I didn't weigh enough to operate the machine, so my Mom rode with me.

CoxPilot said in an earlier post that the weight of the saucer was critical to trigger the valves for the flotation air.

Funny how details like that can be recalled after so long.

Thank you Major.

JG

Major Pepperidge said...

OC Native, I know... but Flying Tires? I hope I love it, but tires do not inspire a sense of fun the way flying saucers do.

Mike Cozart, OH MAN! Can you imagine if they had been able to build all the stuff you mentioned? Talk about spectacular. Thank you for the info!

JG, I've heard the same thing about the saucers... if you were too light, you couldn't control it; too heavy, and it would just sit there.

Chiana_Chat said...

Oh I'd guess they were able to do what Mike discussed, but Walt was gone and they weren't willing. Many years later and a fraction of the way there, they stopped and have never been seriously invested since.

Tires? Fine, but going from flying saucers to rubber tires 50 years later?

Ooookay. Back to the future of the past today. Such clear and simple yet delightful design everywhere. The floor has circular vents. The saucers themselves are round with other lines either rounded or squares in rounded patterns. The main attraction floor is round, surrounded by straight lines also in circular shapes except those nifty mustard-and-white rectangles. They are on the adjacent Flight to the Moon building, which is also comprised overall of circles. Everything is keyed to clean primaries of white, blue, red, yellow with some light metals.

Fun and as Nancy says, sunny! :)

Chiana_Chat said...

^ meant, "The main attraction floor is round, surrounded by straight lines also in circular shapes except the rectangles created by the railing posts, echoed by those nifty mustard-and-white rectangles in the background."

DonaldTDuck said...

This was my favorite attraction a s a kid. We visited twice in the early sixties(from Kentucky) and I loved the Flying Saucers. My sis has no memory of these and thinks I made them up. I'll probably be too heavy for the tires though.