Adventure Thru Inner Space

Presented by Monsanto
Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Photo by Roger J. Runck, 1968, courtesy of Robin Runck.

Sure, you expect Tomorrowland to celebrate Outer Space. But Yester-Tomorrowland also lets you travel to Inner Space.

Prepare to be “miniaturized” for a journey into the world of molecules and atoms.

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 1969

The queue, setting the stage for what to expect

While waiting in the queue, you see other guests in blue pods enter one end of the Mighty Microscope, appear near the opposite end only a few inches tall, and finally disappear entirely.

The screaming you hear is not coming from the ride. It’s coming from a child terrified at the prospect of being shrunken down and then vaporized.

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Photo by Dennis Caswell, 1972

PeopleMover train passing behind Monsanto’s Mighty Microscope

Now it’s your turn. Step on to the moving platform and board your Atomobile—similar to a Haunted Mansion Doom Buggy—traveling at the same speed as the platform.

After passing through the Mighty Microscope, you’re shot into a flurry of giant snowflakes. Actually, they’re normal-sized snowflakes, but you’re really tiny. At least that’s the conceit here.

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Photo by Dennis Caswell, 1971


As they say somewhere else, “You are not the first to pass this way.” Someone has made this journey before you. Sounding suspiciously like the Ghost Host at the Haunted Mansion, his thought waves emerge as a voice from speakers in your Atomobile:

“I am the first person to make this fabulous journey. Suspended in the timelessness of inner space are the thought waves of my first impressions. They will be our only source of contact, once you have passed beyond the limits of normal magnification.

“I am passing beyond the magnification limits of even the most powerful microscope. These are snowflakes, and yet they seem to grow larger and larger! Or can I be shrinking, shrinking beyond the smallness of a tiny snowflake crystal? Indeed, I am becoming smaller and smaller!”

As you continue to shrink, you see a neatly arranged array of fuzzy spheres, each with two smaller fuzzy spheres. These are H2O molecules.

“And still I continue to shrink! Is it possible that I can enter the atom itself?

Yes, it’s possible. In fact, you’ve now done so.

“Electrons are dashing about me, like so many fiery comets. Can I possibly survive?

“I have pierced the wall of the oxygen atom! I am so infinitely small now that I can see millions of orbiting electrons. They appear like the milky way of our own solar system. This vast realm—this is the infinite universe within a tiny speck of snowflake crystal!”

Suddenly, there’s a pulsating red sphere directly in front of you.

“And there is the nucleus of the atom! Do I dare explore the vastness of its inner space? No, I dare not go on! I must return to the realm of the molecule, before I go on shrinking forever! ”

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Photo by Dennis Caswell, 1972

Always watching

As the snowflake begins to melt, you begin to return to normal size. You’re back on visual. Look up! A Monsanto scientist is watching you through a microscope.

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Photo by Marion Caswell, 1975, courtesy Dennis Caswell

“Miracles from Molecules”

Your ride ends at Monsanto’s Fountain of Fashion. Mineral oil runs down nylon strands that surround a mannequin wearing the latest fashion crafted from Monsanto synthetic fibers. Or the nylon strands surround round signs with Mid-Century Modern graphics.

A bouncy theme song is playing. It’s “Miracles from Molecules” by brothers Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman—the team responsible for the “it’s a small world” song.

Miracles from molecules, around us everywhere.
There are miracles from molecules, in the earth, the sea, the air.
Now men with dreams are furthering what nature first began:
Making modern miracles, from molecules, for man.

Every atom is a world, an infinity unfurled,
A world of inner space without an end,
A world of mystery, of endless energy,
With treasures more than man can ever spend.

Miracles from molecules are dawning every day.
Discoveries for happiness, in a fabulous array.
A never-ending search is on, by men who dare and plan.
Making modern miracles, from molecules, for man.

Making modern miracles, from molecules, for man!

Enjoy the “This is Monsanto” displays. Now head directly into the Character Shop next door.

Adventure Thru Inner Space opened at Disneyland on August 5, 1967.

The ride was part of New Tomorrowland, the spectacular upgrade of the land that had not lived up to its potential when Disneyland opened 12 years earlier. Sadly, Walt Disney never saw the completion of New Tomorrowland, having died December 15, 1966.

Adventure Thru Inner Space occupied the space that previously housed the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea walk-through and the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry.

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

© 1967 Walt Disney Productions

Two pages from Your Guide to Disneyland, Summer 1967

New Tomorrowland had six major new attractions. Four were open on or before July 2, 1967. Adventure Thru Inner Space was delayed, but it wasn’t last. Flight to the Moon opened a week later on August 12, 1967.

Guests visiting that summer received Guide Books indicating Monsanto Magic Microscope as the attraction name. And Bell Telephone Circle-Vision 360 was listed simply as Bell Telephone Exhibit. Disneyland is more careful with nomenclature these days.

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

© Walt Disney Productions

Attraction poster with Atomobiles passing giant H2O molecules

The Atomobiles were revolutionary. The patented OmniMover ride system provided high capacity through continuous loading and the ability to direct guests’ attention to specific parts of a show scene, while providing an experience that came across as personal. The Haunted Mansion opened two years later with the same ride system—and the same narrator (Paul Frees). Disney continues to use variations of the OmniMover system.

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

U.S. Patent Office document D212766

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

A drawing from U.S. Patent 003554130

Adventure Thru Inner Space, Disneyland

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Another drawing from U.S. Patent 003554130

In the era of attraction tickets, Adventure Thru Inner Space had the distinction of being an actual ride (not an exhibit or show) that didn’t require a ticket. Initially, kids would ride it over and over—because they could. Disneyland solved this by adding a special Inner Space coupon to ticket books and general admissions for juniors (12 though 17) and children (3 thru 11), so it was still free for kids, but only once per park visit.

In 1972, Adventure Thru Inner Space became a ticketed attraction requiring a “C” ticket. Monsanto dropped its sponsorship in 1977, but the attraction continued to operate—just with references to Monsanto scraped from it.

Adventure Thru Inner Space closed September 2, 1985, after a run of 18 years. The space was needed for Star Tours (now Star Tours – The Adventures Continue).

Star Tours, Disneyland

Photo by Werner Weiss, 2004

Star Tours, as it looked in 2004

Star Tours, Disneyland

Photo by Allen Huffman, 2017

Star Tours, still with the sculpted exterior wall from Adventure Thru Inner Space

Both versions of Star Tours include a tribute to the Disneyland attraction they replaced. In the simulator film, just before the StarSpeeder emerges from the maintenance bay into space, the Mighty Microscope can be seen at the right.

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© 1995-2019 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated November 1, 2019.