6. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
This presentation goes hand-in-hand with the one above it. The AAs are what once mesmerized audiences during the 1960s. The birds all mimicked realistic movements and actually seemed to be talking and singing. Kids today can maintain that suspension of disbelief. Their parents and grandparents, however, find the whole motion aspect quite silly, albeit in the most adorable and engaging way.
I may be guilty of overrating this one. My bias here is extreme. It’s one of my all-time favorite attractions, but I’m speaking of the Walt Disney World version when I say this. The Disneyland original closed forever in 1995, part of an ill-fated decision to repurpose the tracks into a kind of roller coaster.
I don’t care about what went wrong with the PeopleMover. I care about what went right and what it represented. During those golden days when Walt Disney dreamt of a better tomorrow, he envisioned a city that wouldn’t rely on cars for transportation. His capitalist utopia would rely on monorails and the PeopleMover instead.
While I question how much exercise guests would have gotten in such a society, the prescience of Uncle Walt is striking. He anticipated a future where guests would prefer other forms of transportation rather than gas-guzzling automobiles. Even today, 50 years later, municipal governments wrestle with the same issue. They’ve been much slower to react, though. Disney knew that a system with no need for gasoline would be more efficient and better for the environment. The man was a savant.
4. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
On the surface level, this attraction is more of a show than a ride. That undersells the underlying schematics, though. The clever part of the ride is right here in the name. It’s a carousel, only the spinning happens in a novel way. You don’t see it happen by whirling around in a circle like on a standard carousel. You’ll never get your bearings here.
Instead, the Carousel of Progress shows four acts of the same story. You’ll learn about “modern life” during several stages of American society. After the end of each act, the ride vehicle aka the carousel spins you along to the next spot. It's a genuinely brilliant design. As is the case with the PeopleMover, however, I can't rank it any higher since the Disneyland version has become the Magic Kingdom version. The best rides from the 1960s really ought to be ones that are still packing in guests at both parks today.