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Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland wasn’t always an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet of theme park attractions. During its earliest days, the Happiest Place on Earth came with a pay-to-play system. Guests purchased a ticket for each individual ride, and so Disney sold ticket books once upon a time.

During 1959, the first significant Disneyland expansion forced Walt Disney and his team to create a new tier for the most expensive rides, one of which was the monorail. This highest ticket class famously became the E-ticket, and while it no longer exists, its legacy remains. Let’s rank the actual E-ticket rides from the early days of Disneyland that are still in operation today.

The caveats

Image: Disney

Before I get started in earnest, I want to stress a couple of points. First of all, I’m only discussing rides today. Also, I’ve ruled out anything that involves transportation.

Believe it or not, the Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, Tom Sawyer Island Rafts, and Disneyland Railroad are all former E-Ticket attractions. The same is true of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Enchanted Tiki Room!

Including the monorail, a total of 15 different E-ticket attractions are still in operation at Disneyland today. With these constraints, I’ve whittled the list down to eight attractions, all of which are still quite popular and recognizable today.

8. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Image: Disney

Okay, something has to lose here, and no answer that I pick will satisfy anyone. From my perspective, Submarine Voyage comes with the largest asterisk. The attraction stopped operating in 1998 and stayed out of commission for the body of a decade.

The ride may have remained that way if not for some enterprising Imagineers who realized that The Seas with Nemo & Friends could share technology with the shuttered Submarine Voyage. Effectively, Disney could reduce costs by renovating two attractions simultaneously. The new character-themed version of the submarine ride is quite good. But it also survived by the narrowest of margins.

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