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  1. #1

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    Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    From Daveland:
    "(1955—1993) BACKSTORY: On July 20, 1955, Disneyland debuted the Tomorrowland Boats in the lagoon that would eventually be home to the Submarines. This attraction was a snoozer; only 542 guests rode them at opening. Compared to the other unique and fun attractions, the slow-moving and unexceptional Boats just couldn’t compete. On August 16, 1955, they were rechristened The Phantom Boats and redesigned with tailfins that were apparently a mechanical nightmare. They quickly got a bad reputation for stranding guests in the lagoon.

    There were a total of 14 gas-powered fiberglass marvels painted in bright colors, designed by Bruce Bushman. Poor mechanical design caused the motors to constantly overheat; every night the boats had to be rescued and repaired. “Pilots” for the boats were added to help the situation, but despite all their efforts, the Phantom Boats received the dubious distinction of being the first permanent Disneyland attraction to be closed. By the end of 1955, they were taken out of commission. There was a brief attempt to change the attraction to a Florida Everglades type “Airboat” (guests could even see signage proclaiming their June 2, 1956 opening). The new boat was built and even tested, but ultimately vetoed, so as a last resort, the Phantom Boats came back for one more chug around the lagoon in the summer of 1956.

    1957 marked the debut of “The Motor Boat Cruise” in a nearby lagoon. This very sedate “B” Ticket attraction took away any control that guests had over the boats by putting them on a track. No steering or acceleration. Guests leisurely road around the Fantasyland/Tomorrowland lagoon while the Viewliner, Autopia, Monorail, and PeopleMover “sped” by (depending upon what year you were riding the boats of course!). Cast members operating the attraction wore cute sailor outfits. The next transformation occurred in 1991 when it was rethemed “The Motor Boat Cruise to Gummi Glen.” Plywood characters from Disney’s animated “Gummi Bears” TV show made Gummi Berry juice along the waterway. Mercifully, this snoozer of an attraction was finally removed for good in January 1993 when Mickey’s Toontown was constructed. The pencil sharpeners had to choose between one or the other, and the Motor Boat Cruise lost. Today, this area is now known as the Fantasia Gardens."
    Is there anyone out there that actually remembers the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats? Am I understanding this correctly...they weren't on tracks like the Motor Boat Cruise (which I actually do remember)?!

  2. #2

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Yes I rode everything in the early days. I only rode the Tomorrowland boats with an adult (that may have been a requirement) a couple of times. But I rode " The Motor Boat Cruise" a lot more, I was usually by myself (because I snuck in the back gate often.) and could "Drive" them.

    The boats were slow and there was nothing to see. I really liked and most often would take the "Rocket to the Moon" because they had screens at the top and bottom. The Moon seats moved to make it seem like you were taking off.

    The "Flying Saucers" were down all the time and were difficult to get to move.

    But Autopia ran alot and were kinda fun.


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  3. #3

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Well...

    I think I recall my Father riding in one with a cast member, while Mom and I watched from the shore. I remember dad asking if he could drive the boat and the cast member explained that only cast members could drive them. I think we all could have ridden but my Mom, who never learned to swim, wanted nothing to do with them.

    However, they would have had to still be running in 1958 or 1959 for that memory to be possible. So, while I remember watching him ride in a boat in Tomorrowland lagoon, I can't say for sure that it wasn't the motor boat cruise. Shrug.

  4. #4

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    Talking Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    I remember riding the motor boats a couple of times, and I have to say I loved them.
    I would love to see something return to the lagoon, maybe something with a fantasyland theme. I am not the type that every new ride has to be E ticket quality. I think a well themed B or C ride would be great.
    I think it should be remembered that Disneyland was built for all. I know a lot of people that aren't into fast moving rides.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigwavedave View Post
    I remember riding the motor boats a couple of times, and I have to say I loved them.
    I would love to see something return to the lagoon, maybe something with a fantasyland theme. I am not the type that every new ride has to be E ticket quality. I think a well themed B or C ride would be great.
    I think it should be remembered that Disneyland was built for all. I know a lot of people that aren't into fast moving rides.
    So were they on tracks like the Motorboat Cruise was? I'm still not sure I understand how the Tomorrowland/Phantom Boats worked.

  6. #6

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by OldtimesRemembered View Post
    Well...

    However, they would have had to still be running in 1958 or 1959 for that memory to be possible. So, while I remember watching him ride in a boat in Tomorrowland lagoon, I can't say for sure that it wasn't the motor boat cruise. Shrug.
    Your memory must be of the first version of Motor Boat Cruise. Keep in mind .. the first version of the Motor Boat Cruise opened in 1957. Lasted about a year. Then, when construction began for the subs, monorail, and Matterhorn in '58 .. that first version of the Motor Boat Cruise closed forever. Then in June '59 ..... when the subs, Matterhorn, etc .. opened .. a new version of the M.B. Cruise opened.

    Phantom Boats disappeared off the face of Disneyland, forever, by late '56.

  7. #7

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Yep! loved those boats. I really thought I was driving the dang things. They had to still be around in 1965 or later, because 1959 and had to be at least 6 or so when I rode on them.

    Oooops. I just read the OP again....I did not ride the boats in the submarine lagoon, I rode the motor boats that ran around behind it where the smokers hang out in Fantasyland.
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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyland 1951 View Post
    ...I was usually by myself (because I snuck in the back gate often.)....
    Tell us more about how this worked!

  9. #9

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Werner View Post
    Tell us more about how this worked!


    One of the first properties purchased by Disney was the property that Viking Trailer Mfg was located on. [Blue] However, Viking was leasing the property and was allowed a couple of years before leaving.

    Disneyland housed the animals for Fronter Land behind DL. [Yellow]

    My Avitar was taken on the far left (west) corner of Viking.

    On Saturdays my father would take me to the plant. Early in the morning they would open the back gate to move the animals into the park. Orange Circle There was no public access to this gate so they would leave it open, I could just walk through.

  10. #10

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    I rode it back when it was the Motor Boat Cruise to Gummi Glen.

  11. #11

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    i have a few pics of my parents and some other fam members riding them. (my parents were just married so i hadn't come along yet) the pics are from 83. i dont have a scanner so imma take pics of the pics lol probably be horrible quality but better than no pics at all i suppose. i'll go take em and post em back up here in a few.

  12. #12

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by yellow_sub View Post
    i have a few pics of my parents and some other fam members riding them. (my parents were just married so i hadn't come along yet) the pics are from 83. i dont have a scanner so imma take pics of the pics lol probably be horrible quality but better than no pics at all i suppose. i'll go take em and post em back up here in a few.
    The Tomorrowland Boats and Phantom Boats were both long gone by 1983 (sometime in the 1950s according to the article I linked to). You're thinking of the Motor Boat Cruise which ran on a track...I rode that one when I was a kid.

    Maybe the Tomorrowland Boats and Phantom Boats were around so long ago that very few remember them.

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    quality wasnt as bad as i thought it would be. ok this first one is my great-aunt and great-uncle with my little cousin.

    this ones my dad (rocking the 80's glasses lol) and my cousin

    this is my grandma and another cousin


    and just for poops and giggles i grabbed these 2 also. the first one here is 2 pictures taken on main street 1966. on the left would be my mom, grandma and great-grandma. on the left pic it is just my great-grandma

    this one is of my mom from 1968


    my parents lived in Anaheim just off harbor and i was born there so i have a ton of late 80 early 90's pics. i need to get unlazy and post some up of things that are no longer there. hope u enjoy the pics.

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by readandburn View Post
    The Tomorrowland Boats and Phantom Boats were both long gone by 1983 (sometime in the 1950s according to the article I linked to). You're thinking of the Motor Boat Cruise which ran on a track...I rode that one when I was a kid.

    Maybe the Tomorrowland Boats and Phantom Boats were around so long ago that very few remember them.
    DOH ur right. i was getting confused. oh well. neat pics posted anyway! haha

  15. #15

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    Re: Did anyone here actually experience the Tomorrowland Boats or the Phantom Boats?

    The Phantom Boats were gone before we started coming in 1962, but we rode the Motor Boat cruise almost every time we went (for some reason!). It was very slow and a peaceful ride.

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