Disneyland Anaheim has been around for over 55 years, and so it should come as no surprise that the park has undergone a lot of changes over the years. Want to know what sorts of rides and attractions were there before some of the most popular rides in Disneyland today? Read on to find out.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a roller-coaster type ride that dubs itself “the wildest ride in the wilderness,” is a thrilling and popular ride. So what was there before?

The space now occupied by Big Thunder Mountain was previously home to a ride called Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland. This ride, which opened in 1960, offered guests a journey through the wilderness, the layout of which was designed by Walt Disney himself.

But even before Nature’s Wonderland, there was a ride known as Rainbow Mountain. Rainbow Mountain took guests through Rainbow Caverns which boasted beautiful scenery and water features.

Finally, before Rainbow Mountain there were various trails which could be traversed by stage coach, pack mules, and Conestoga wagons.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain is one of the coolest rides in Disneyland, offering guests a thrilling, high-speed journey in the dark, surrounded by planets and countless stars.

But before Space Mountain, this area of the park was home to the Tomorrowland Stage. For an entire decade, from 1967 to 1977, this venue hosted big-name acts and performances by Disney characters.

Even before the Tomorrowland Stage was a ride called Flying Saucers, which was operated from 1961 to 1966. In this ride guests would literally hover in their “flying saucers” inches above the ground while playing bumper cars.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds

The Matterhorn, since opening in 1959, has been one of the most thrilling and popular rides in Disneyland. This ride remains unique to Disneyland Anaheim and has not been built at other Disney parks.

For a few short years before the creation of the Matterhorn this area of the park was home to a quiet place called Holiday Hill. Holiday Hill was a grassy mound that didn’t boast much but an unattractive steel tower. As early as 1956 Walt Disney knew that he wanted to build a bobsled attraction (inspired as he was by a visit to Switzerland), and Holiday Hill was renamed Snow Hill until the Matterhorn was finally constructed.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage made its debut in Disneyland in June of 2007. This ride sinks passengers under the sea and into the world of Finding Nemo.

Before Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, this area of the park was home to a ride simply known as Submarine Voyage, which opened in 1959. The ride was based off the real-life USS Nautilus, which was the first nuclear-powered submarine ever made. Submarine Voyage took riders on journeys to the North Pole, making a stop at Atlantis along the way.


Gordon, Bruce, and Tim O’Day. Disneyland: Then, Now, and Forever. New York: Disney Editions, 2008.