Skyway to Fantasyland “D” Ticket

Disneyland Skyway Tomorrowland station
Start your aerial journey to Fantasyland from the Skyway station in Tomorrowland.

Disneyland Skyway above Submarine Lagoon
Soar above the Submarine Lagoon, and look beyond the park’s berm.

Walk up the stairs to the Tomorrowland station of the Skyway ride. It’s a modest, modern building. The machinery that pulls the gondolas through the sky is over in the more picturesque Fantasyland station, but the Tomorrowland station has its own claim to fame—it’s where 35 thousand pounds of weight pull on the cables to keep them properly taut.

Disneyland Skyway over Tomorrowland
The buckets of the Skyway fly above Tomorrowland on their way to and from Fantasyland.

Enjoy a panoramic view as your Skyway bucket quietly passes over Tomorrowland and Fantasyland on this one-way ride. You’ll see the Richfield Autopia, the Goodyear PeopleMover, the military-gray submarines of the Submarine Voyage, and the tall masts of the Pirate Ship Restaurant.

Disneyland Skyway and Matterhorn
You’ll hear screams as you pass through mighty Matterhorn Mountain.

Disneyland Skyway and America Sings, 1974
You can even see the Grand Hotel beyond America Sings.

It’s not just a lot of fun, it’s also efficient transportation. For example, if your show just ended at America Sings and you want to go to the Fantasyland Theater, just hop aboard the Skyway and save wear and tear on your shoes.

For a history of the Skyway at Disneyland, see Skyway to Tomorrowland.

In the 1970s, regional theme parks popped up all over the United States. Most of them included a sky ride similar to the Skyway. As with Disney’s Skyway rides in California and Florida, most of the other theme park’s sky rides have disappeared from park maps.

For example, Magic Mountain (now Six Flags Magic Mountain) opened in 1971 in Valencia, California, as a joint venture between Sea World, Inc. and Newhall Land and Farming Company. The park offered two different Eagles Flight sky ride routes, both sharing a station near the top of the park’s “mountain.” One route was removed in 1981; the other lasted until 1994.

Not all sky rides are gone. “Busch Gardens: The Old Country” (now Busch Gardens Williamsburg) opened 1975 with the Aeronaut Skyride. The ride’s three stations and unusual triangular route still connect three areas of the park.

Around 90 miles south of Disneyland, there are still two sky rides operating in San Diego. The Skyfari Aerial Tram has been carrying San Diego Zoo guests high above the animals since 1969. At Sea World, the Bayside Skyride has carried guests over a salt water marina since 1967.

Skyfari Aerial Tram at San Diego Zoo
You can still ride on the Skyfari Aerial Tram at San Diego Zoo.

For a while, theme park sky rides were so common, that it’s easy to think that the Skyway at Disneyland was just an “off the shelf” ride, made unique only by virtue of its particular view. But that wasn’t the case when Walt Disney added the Skyway to Disneyland. In fall of 1955, Walt Disney learned that Von Roll, a Swiss industrial manufacturer, was testing a transportation system involving small gondolas moving along suspended cables. According to Disneyland: The Nickel Tour (Bruce Gordon and David Mumford, 1995), Walt saw an opportunity to demonstrate a new mode of transportation that was practical and futuristic:

Walt was so intrigued by the possibilities that he bought one before he even knew where it would go. In one interview, prior to the ride’s opening, he described the Skyway as “a transportation system of the future, for use in parking lots in huge shopping centers.” By November 18, the Von Roll engineers were working with designer John Hench to finalize the attraction.

As a demonstration of futuristic transportation, the Skyway was a forerunner of the Disneyland Alweg Monorail and the PeopleMover.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times on May 3, 1956, Disneyland’s Skyway attraction cost $300 thousand. It was part of $2 million Disneyland expansion in 1956 that also included the new Indian Village ($100 thousand) and the Astro-Jets ($200 thousand).

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© 1995-2009 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated April 26, 2009.

Disneyland Skyway Tomorrowland station:1956 courtesy of Ron Yungul.
Disneyland Skyway above Submarine Lagoon: 1959 by Fred M. Nelson, Sr.
Disneyland Skyway over Tomorrowland: 1959 by Fred M. Nelson, Sr.
Disneyland Skyway and Matterhorn: by Charles R. Lympany, courtesy of Chris Taylor.
Disneyland Skyway and America Sings: 1974 by Werner Weiss.
Skyfari Aerial Tram at San Diego Zoo: 2007 by Werner Weiss.