Starport75 Podcast – Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – WEDWay

Click here to subscribe on iTunes | Overcast | Google Podcasts | Google Play Music | YouTube | Spotify | Pocket Casts | Castro | Podcast AddictSoundcloud | Stitcher | Blubrry | Libsyn | acast | Listen Notes | Player.FM | podbean | Radio Public

Chris and Glenn discuss the history of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover – WEDWay

  • Released on 11/29/20
  • Disney designed the Ford pavilion at the ’64 World’s Fair
    • Needed to propel a stream of vehicles along a track
    • It was achieved by vertically mounted rubber wheels spun by electric motors which pushed against a flat plate on the underside of the vehicles
    • That system was refined and used for Disneyland’s PeopleMover
    • Debuted in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland on July 2, 1967
  • PeopleMover was always planned and planned to go through Space Port, and the station would be inside Space Port
  • The track was originally planned to be much longer and go over the Grand Prix Raceway
  • The upper concourse path was built but left empty during the building of the Magic Kingdom for the 1971 opening
  • When Space Port became Space Mountain, it moved to outside the berm, so the track layout was scaled back and changed to the track today, and the station moved from Space Mountain to it’s own station in the middle of Tomorrowland and the StarJets would be placed on top, similar to Disneyland
  • Space Mountain holds the garaging track and a maintenance spurThe Orlando version would use something different
    • Non moving, solid state linear induction motors, which have an unlimited life expectancy
    • There are 630 Linear Induction Motors on the track, 10 feet apart, ensuring that 4 motors are always under each 5 car train
    • Each motor has a proximity sensor to tell the motor when to power on and a speed sensor to indicate how much power the motor produces
    • When a train approaches the motor turns on and pulls the steel plate under the car towards it
    • To stop the cars, the magnetic field is reversed in the motor to push against the steel plate, and why a stopping car can go backwards
    • Up to 30 5-car trains can carry 3,600 guests per hour along 4,600 feet of track
    • Each car has minimal moving parts, so they are high reliability. There are four main wheels and 8 smaller guide wheels per car. Since all drive and braking propulsion is supplied by the linear motor, there is no traction requirement between the wheels and the track. Consequently, heat, dust, wind, and moisture have no effect on the system’s operation.
    • The system can have up to 50% LIM failure at random positions and still function
    • Speeds are between 1.8 to 6.8 mph
  • Progress City model
    • With the move of the Carousel of Progress to WDW, the model of Progress City would be moved to the PeopleMover track that was designed to hold a diorama
    • It would be cut down to fit the size of the diorama opening
  • Construction began in early 1973
    • The Grand Prix Raceway track was closed and modified to accommodate Space Mountain. During the closure, the PeopleMover track was built over the raceway
    • It cost $10 million to build
    • The Star Jets opened 11/28/74
    • The PeopleMover opened 7/1/75 and dedicated in April 1976
    • It opened as the WEDWay PeopleMover and was an “E” Ticket attraction, but was changed to a “D” Ticket in Fall 1976
    • It was originally sponsored by the Edison Electrical Institute
  • The original ride was narrated by Jack Wagner and ran from 1975 – 1985 and the Edison Electrical Institute sponsorship also ended
    • He is famous for the various announcements over the park PA, for parades, special events, etc. He also did voice work for the Walt Disney World Resort, and for the attractions themselves, including instructions, emergency precautions, and safety spiels. Because of the prevalence of his voice over the park, his nickname was “The Voice of Disneyland”.
    • “Please stand clear of the doors. Por favor manténgase alejado de las puertas.”
    • Jack Wagner co-arranged the updated soundtrack for the Main Street Electrical Parade, used in various iterations of the parade from 1977 to 2009.
    • Wagner was inducted as a Disney Legend posthumously in 2005.
  • The narration was changed in 1985 and ran until 1994
    • It was narrated by ORAC-1, the commuter computer
  • The narration was changed with the retheming of Tomorrowland in June 1994. It was narrated by Peter Renaday.
    • The name was changed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and it was the MetroLiner Blue Line
  • The narration was changed once again in October 2, 2009 to the current spiel by Mike Brassell, which harkens back to the ORAC-1 spiel and tone
    • The lighting system was also changed to color changing LEDs
  • August 5, 2010, the name changed to the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  • In 2013, the Progress City model was refurbished, the first time since 1975
  • In February 1974, WED created the Community Transport Services division to promote the WedWay in real world situations
    • The first proposal was in 1976 for the then new WDW Village
    • A new enclosed car design would be able to travel inclines
    • It would offer on demand cars to a specified destination
    • The route would service the shopping village, the hotel plaza, and a proposed office park
    • A monorail from the Epcot area would meet an aerial station straddling Buena Vista Drive
    • The monorail would run down the central median with the WedWay crossing at a lower level
    • The multi level station would have escalator, elevator and stair access
    • From the station, the WedWay would form a continuous loop line around the WDW Village
    • Another change was this system had spur station tracks so moving cars could pass other cars parked at stops
    • The SunTrust Bank was the only part of the office plaza built and the project quietly died.
  • The original plans of Epcot had WedWay in 1975 and 1976
    • Communicore was built to take an elevated Wedway track; that’s why it’s two stories tall
  • In July 1979, the Houston Airport agreed to purchase a WedWay system to link the terminals and hotel
    • It opened in September, 1981
  • The Community Transport Services division was sold to Bombardier
    • Bombardier installed a WedWay system that links the US Capitol to the Dirksen and Hart buildings in 1993

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: