Fastpass To History: Phantom Boats

Phantom Boats

When Disneyland opened in July 1955, guests could take a ride on the Tomorrowland Boats in the Tomorrowland Lagoon. These boats would often overheat and smoke as guests tried to speed through the lagoon. The boats would then have to be towed back to the dock. Disney later enclosed the motors to decrease the amount of smoke; however, this increased the heat on the engine. Disney also decided to have an employee pilot each boat to prevent the boats from being driven too fast and overheating.

The boats were also renamed as the Phantom Boats. The new name for the boats seems much more fitting to me, given their appearance. The back of the boats had a large fin on each side somewhat resembling fins on the Batmobile. Less than a year later, The Phantom Boat attraction closed, making it the shortest-lived attraction in Disneyland history. The Tomorrowland Lagoon was later refurbished to be the home for the Submarine Voyage attraction.

The photo of the Phantom Boats seen above is from a 1956 Viewmaster reel. By looking at it cross-eyed, you may be able to somewhat duplicate the Viewmaster’s 3D effect. You can click on the picture to see it larger.


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Photo credit: Olivander / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, she can also be found writing for Park World Travel and selecting music for Park World Radio.

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