Here’s a little bonus post for you hard-core Disneyland lovers! A year after Disneyland opened, the Skyway joined the ranks of the park’s attractions. Guests boarded a gondola lift that transported them over the park to either Tomorrowland or Fantasyland. Originally, there was a post in the between the stations to provide support, however in 1959, the Matterhorn enveloped the pole and buckets passed through the mountain.
Above are images scanned from my vintage Disneyland postcard collection.
Some of my earliest memories of Disneyland are of riding the Skyway. I love having a bird’s-eye view, and I remember the day I discovered that if you looked at just the right place at just the right moment you could see the abominable snowman who inhabited the Matterhorn.
In 1994 the Skyway closed. The reason is up for debate. Some claims are that the support structure was suffering damage due to continued stress, another attributes it to the costly process it would have taken to make the attraction wheelchair accessible, and another possible reason is that the attraction was a safety hazard, despite only one incident of a man jumping from a bucket, landing into a tree. He attempted to make it appear as an accident, suing Disney, however before the trial, he admitted he jumped of his own accord, and the suit was dropped.
The Tomorrowland station is long since gone, however, the Fantasyland station still exists! You just have to look for it. If you are entering from Frontierland you pass by a group of carts with concessions and souvenirs just prior to coming upon the Casey Junior attraction. It is just behind these carts, obscured by trees that the lone Swiss inspired Skyway station lingers. The stairs leading up to the station are blocked off by a single chain, easy enough to remove or hop over to get a closer look, however, I’m a rule abiding girl (especially at Disneyland) and I stood from afar snapping pictures.
Eventually, a Cast Member approached me, instead of asking what I was doing, he simply said “Would you like me to go up there and take some photos for you?” I was absolutely delighted, and handed my camera over with pleasure as he removed the chain and walked up the steps. I eagerly awaited as he returned and I received these photos…
I find it hard to believe that Disney would let something simply sit and rot away, since they are known for promptness in removing attractions and cleaning up. However, could it be that the building is in a location where removing it would be difficult?
September 2013 Update: The Fatansyland Skyway Station is viewable also from The Storybook Land Canal Boats and the Casey Junior Railroad. Here is one quick snap we got…
June 2016 Update: Sadly, the Fantasyland Skyway Station was demolished in June of 216 to make way for the new Star Wars themed land that is being added to Disneyland. You can view photos that I shot just prior to its demolition here.
To view more photos of the Skyway in its heyday as well as other images of the abandoned Fantasyland station, please visit Daveland’s Skyway page.