Thursday, August 01, 2019

Rocket Jets!

It's August, and by popular demand I will be sharing more photos from our favorite Dream Team - Irene, Bruce, and James. All of today's images feature the wonderful "Rocket Jets".

The Rocket Jets attraction was almost as fun to look at as it was to ride. Sure, we still have the same basic attraction with the Astro Orbiter, but... come on! There's no comparison, no matter how many golden orbs you use. You can see footage of the Rocket Jets online, with the vehicles spinning slowly (it looks slow from the ground, but didn't feel slow when you were up high), and the Peoplemover trains moving along like big millipedes. Note that the Peoplemover cars are no longer their classic colors, but are now white with colored stripes.

Here's a great, scarce shot of the base of the gantry where guests went up to the third level. It seemed like it would be slow and cause problems, but I don't remember it ever backing up too much. Love that logo on the sign!

And speaking of signs, here's a nice diagram instructing guests on the proper way to board your nuclear-powered rocket. I'm almost certain that I've seen a sign just like this in a Van Eaton Galleries auction.

Thank you, Dream Team!


Nanook said...


"Taller passenger enter first". Or, put another way: Papa bear, mama bear, baby bear.

Thanks Dream Team.


That style of loading diagram signs began to appear in the early 90’s and replaced the earlier version produced during the 70’s and 80’s showing female figures with flip hair and a dress. The “taller” figures were shown as “male” figures. I have a Disneyland 1978 Matterhorn load sign and a Walt Disney World 70’s Space Mountain load diagram sign - both showing the older male- female figures.

Chuck said...

The launch gantry was a brilliant, practical show element.

Andrew said...

Nice post today. I made sure to ride Astro Orbiter at Magic Kingdom when we went last year purely because it's still set up like Disneyland's ride used to be. It was pretty fun but painfully short. I'm glad I didn't stand in a 20-odd minute line like it often gets later in the day!

Stu29573 said...

I rode the Astro Orbiter in the Magic Kingdom a few years ago. It was right before Christmas and the wait time on the sign was close to an hour! (It was actually shorter, but still...) My main takeaway is that the Florida sun and daily rain storms shrinks rockets. It was a much tighter fit than when I was a teen...

Dean Finder said...

The Magic Kingdom Astro Orbiter usually has a pretty long wait, but it's a great place to watch fireworks if you time it right. I'm amazed that they suggest 3 people could ride a rocket. The first time I went to the MK with my wife, we hoped to share a rocket (we can share a Dumbo elephant) and found that there's no way we'd fit. Maybe that's why the line is slow.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

With the exception of the PM cars being white (why they did that I'll never know) picture number one is postcard perfect. It appears on all "bench style" seating attractions (everywhere) the tall person gets the honor of being crushed by those in front. Thanks for posting.

Melissa said...

I'm with Alonzo on the postcardworthiness of #1! So much motion in one shot, with the rocket Jets all splayed out in an src, the angle of the Peoplemover track, and those adorable white cars on the zoom. All against the brightest of blue skies. I give it five WHEEES out of five!

I also love the minimalist font on the Rocket Jets sign.

Another win for the Dream Team.

K. Martinez said...

This is when Tomorrowland started to look like crap to me. There is nothing warm or inviting with this cold new look and color palette. The newly painted white PeopleMover vehicles alone stripped the color out of the land. Here we have the Rocket Jets gantry lift in black and white when it used to be a warmer orange and white. On top of that the land now contained Captain EgO and a non-Disney IP.

This was the point when Tomorrowland fell off my list of favorite "lands" at Disneyland and in some ways the beginning of the end of the Disneyland that I loved.

Other than that, the Rocket Jets sign with skyward red arrow is my favorite Disneyland attraction sign, but even that is gone now. Thanks, Irene, Bruce, James and Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I am against bears (even country bears!) riding attractions at Disneyland!

Mike Cozart, now that you mention it, that diagram sort of reminds me of the kind used at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. I’d love to see what your earlier version looks like!

Chuck, I agree with you.

Penna. Andrew, 20 minutes doesn’t even sound too bad by today’s standards. It’s a bummer that the Astro Orbiter is such a short ride; I recently went to Universal Studios (Hollywood), and man, one of those rides has to be around 30 seconds (“Flight of the Hippogriff”), while the “Mummy” ride might be 90 seconds.

Stu29573, ha ha, everyone knows that rockets shrink over time!

Dean Finder, it seems like it would be tricky to time a ride on the Astro Orbiter to align with the fireworks, but it sure would be neat! Reminds me of hearing about folks on the old Nature’s Wonderland Mine Train - apparently the train would stop in the Rainbow Desert until the fireworks were over. I’m tall-ish, so the idea of fitting me and two other people on one of those rockets is laughable.

Alonzo, I am not crazy about the repainted Peoplemover cars, but at least they still had the ride. I wonder what the thinking was? Did somebody consider the original colors to be dated? I’m also not crazy about bench-style seating on rides!

Melissa, a view of the Rocket Jets and Peoplemover never gets old - I’m always happy to find slides of those. My friend Mr. X always waited for the jets to be up in the air before he took a photo, which is why they have that little extra “something”.

K. Martinez, I really do wonder why they decided to repaint those features that you mentioned. The orange on the gantry felt NASA-accurate, and it looked great too. “Captain EgO”, ha ha - I never went to that attraction - but I’ve watched the film on YouTube, pretty stilted and silly in my opinion. I know MJ fans loved it though. While today’s photos are undated, this must have been just before the new “New Tomorrowland” redo that was such a disaster.

JC Shannon said...

Stu, I have the same trouble with my jeans. I agree with everyone, the modern feel of the new Tomorrowland dotted with great colors was a big part of the allure. My beloved turquoise Peoplemover cars were gone, and then, well you know. Has anyone in GDB land been to the new Galaxy's Edge? I have seen stories about it, but I would sure like a Gorilla sit rep. Thanks to the Dream Team and Major.

JG said...

That viewpoint of the first slide is one of the best in Tomorrowland. Chuck is right, the elevator gantry is a brilliant piece of theming a necessary function. It all just works and I'm sad it's all gone.

LOL @Ken for Captain EgO. On our 2015 trip with the kids (now grown up), that show had been brought back to the theater, so of course, we had to see it. Neither of the youngsters remembered it, even though they had seen it in the first run. Their earliest memory was the "Honey I shrunk the Audience" show.

My son walked out of Cap'n EgO saying "WTF did I just see... and why...".

Really not a great show, and a pity that it ran so long. The company is literally in the business of making movies, and they let two shows run for almost 30 years? I can see letting Wally Boag go for decades, but Jacko was no Wally Boag.

Thanks to the Major and the Dream Team for fine photos today.


Melissa said...

I wonder if the gleaming all-white interiors of some of the spaceships in 1980's sci-fi movies had an influence on the Peoplemover paint job? Or maybe the white and blue color scheme of the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland. (Of course, the Peoplemover cars there have always been blue, but there was a lot of white in general.)

MRaymond said...

I rode the Rocket Jets once and it scared the crap out of me. There is definitely a thrill to being that high in the air. The best part of going on the Rocket Jets was the $10 my friend dared me with.

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, you should be like me and just wear track suits everywhere! Preferably with a large gold chain around your neck. CLASSY. I don’t think I’ll be seeing Galaxy’s Edge any time soon - I’ve watched videos on YouTube, and about the only thing I’m curious about is some of the food!

JG, I actually just rewatched Captain Eo on YouTube today, it is SO incredibly bad. I know people love MJ, but ye gods. And the story goes that, at the time, it was the most expensive movie (per minute) ever made. All of the “humorous” gags are just the worst… it makes me long for the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Melissa, I think that a lot of “futurists” seemed to think that the future was sterile and colorless (with exceptions, of course). I’ve always liked artist Chris Foss’ spaceship designs, they usually had crazy stripes or animal patterns, so different from any other artist.

MRaymond, I admit that the Rocket Jets felt a lot higher than they look from the ground - and they look pretty high from the ground! That was definitely part of the novelty and appeal.