|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Theme||Prototype rapid transit system|
|Propulsion method||Electric bus bar/Electric motors|
|Opening date||May 22, 1998|
|Closing date||September 25, 2000|
|Music||"Magic Highways" composed by the Sherman Brothers|
|Vehicle names||Rocket Rod XPR|
|Cars per vehicle||1|
|Guests per car||5|
|Ride duration||3:00 minutes|
|Height requirements||40" (102 cm)|
|Number of lifts||0|
|Replaced|| PeopleMover (track)|
Circle-Vision 360° (queue)
|Replaced by||Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (queue)|
Rocket Rods opened on May 22, 1998 as part of the New Tomorrowland. The new high-speed attraction ran on the former PeopleMover track. Riders entered the attraction at the former Circle-Vision 360° building at the front of Tomorrowland. In the first room, huge blueprints of old and current Tomorrowland attractions were hung on the walls; along with actual former Tomorrowland attraction vehicles, which were repainted like blueprints. The next room of the queue was the nine-screen CircleVision theater, where guests watched old transportation videos, excerpts from the CircleVision film "America the Beautiful," and even a video featuring the evolution of General Motors cars to a futuristic version of the Steppenwolf hit, "Born to be Wild." Guests then continue down a tunnel that leads to the elevated Rocket Rods station in the middle of Tomorrowland.
Guests then board a 5-seat Rocket Rod before moving forward to a staging area similar to that of drag racing. Anticipation is built as the lights change from red, to yellow, to green, and the vehicle zooms down a straightaway toward the entrance of Tomorrowland while performing a small wheelie. The Rocket Rod took guests through the Star Tours building, then into a tunnel. In this tunnel, riders experience the effect of nearly colliding with an oncoming Rocket Rod, but in reality, it is only the vehicle's reflection in a mirror. The Rocket Rod takes guests through Space Mountain, offering a very brief view of that attraction. Then, the vehicle takes riders back outside again, but then enters the Carousel Theater, home of the Innoventions attraction. After going through a semicircular trip through Innoventions, the Rocket Rod takes riders through a series of turns and dips above Autopia and the former Submarine Voyage. Then, the Rod passes right next to the Disneyland Monorail station before entering the Rocket Rods queue building. The vehicle then travels back up the straightaway to the station.
Demise of the Rocket RodsEdit
The Rocket Rods closed in September 2000 for a refurbishment that was to last until Spring 2001, but no work was ever seen on the attraction. In April 2001, the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register reported that Rocket Rods would never reopen.
There are a number of reasons that the Rocket Rods closed. The Rocket Rods completed the course of the 16-minute PeopleMover in only about 3 minutes. Another reason is that the Rocket Rods did not have a large enough budget to bank the curves of the track, so the Rocket Rods had to slow down substantially to maneuver the turns. The budget would have been larger if the attraction had a corporate sponsor. The constant changes in speed caused the vehicles' onboard computer systems to fail, shutting down the entire attraction. The attraction broke down at least once a day.
The Rocket Rods were scrapped after the closure. One Rocket Rod survived, and was placed in front of the Hollywood & Dine restaurant at Disney's California Adventure, but it only remained there for a few months. It was gone by 2002.
After the closure of the Rocket Rods, hopes arose that the PeopleMover would be reinstalled. Rumors still circulate today, usually stating that the PeopleMover will return, possibly as a copy of the still-running Magic Kingdom version: Tomorrowland Transit Authority. The equipment used for the PeopleMover only still exists on the Rocket Rods track in some places, which would require much of the equipment to reinstalled again.
The Rocket Rods queue area, which was formerly CircleVision 360, has largely been replaced by Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which opened in March 2005. Portions of the queue still exist in the building, leading up to the Rocket Rods' former boarding area. As of April 2011, the former Rocket Rods tracks remain vacant.