Retired or Extinct Disneyland Rides, Exhibits and Attractions I Miss Most - Adventure Thru Inner Space 1967 - 1985

What Is The Omnimover System?

The Omnimover system was developed for WED Enterprises, by Roger Broggie, and was patented in April of 1968. Designed to create a more movie-like experience for guests, it enables the individual cars or buggies to move from side to side or to rotate. The Omnimover system is an endless chain of vehicles that operates on a track that is most often hidden beneath the floor. It maintains constant motion at a specific speed throughout the entire ride, and in doing so facilitates the boarding and disembarking passengers who do so by stepping into or out of their vehicle from a conveyor belt that runs parallel to the track at the loading and unloading areas.

Adventure Thru Inner Space 1967 - 1985

Occupying the site formerly inhabited by the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea/Monsanto's Hall of Chemistry attraction, Disney's Monsanto's Adventure Thru Inner Space debuted on August 5, 1967 as a part of the New Tomorrowland. Although it is rumored to have been inspired by the 1966 movie classic, Fantastic Voyage, the possibility of this attraction can be traced back to an announcement made by Walt Disney himself during the 1957 Disneyland Television episode Our Friend the Atom, in which Mr. Disney referenced plans for an upcoming atomic themed exhibit to be built in the Anaheim park's Tomorrowland. For education's sake, Disneyland did not charge admission to the Adventure Thru Inner Space attraction, leaving me to wonder, how many other Orange County school children besides myself passed a science test because they'd ridden Adventure Thru Inner Space?

The Adventure Thru Inner Space attraction began in the waiting area where prospective travelers could look through the clear panel on the side of the Mighty Monsanto Microscope and see those who had gone before them in their shrunken state. Destined to change the face of Disneyland, The Adventure Thru Inner Space was the first attraction in Disney's history to use the new technology known as the Omnimover System which would later be implemented in the Haunted Mansion, and several Fantasyland rides or attractions.

Once inside their Atommobile, an unseen scientist began the narration and the passengers began their adventure by passing through the giant microscope so that they could be made small enough to pass through the the atom and the molecule before reaching the nucleus. When the snowflake that they are exploring begins to melt, they are returned to normal size and then disembark to view the post-show and the various Monsanto exhibits.

Monsanto ended their sponsorship of Adventure Thru Inner Space in 1977, at which time all traces of the Monsanto name were removed from the attraction, the microscope was renamed The Mighty Microscope, and the post-show and exhibits space of the building was taken over by the gift shop.

Adventure Thru Inner Space closed it's doors on September 2, 1985 to make room for the new George Lucas - Star Wars based attraction, "Star Tours," which opened in 1987.

A tribute to Adventure Thru Inner Space can be found in the Star Tours ride film. At the beginning of the ride, when the Starspeeder is sent into a maintenance bay after going down a wrong path, a giant appendage nearly crushes the ship. A careful viewer will notice that the appendage resembles the Mighty Microscope. This near-miss with the Mighty Microscope is featured in all versions of Star Tours

The Outside of the "Adventure Thru Inner Space Building.
The Outside of the "Adventure Thru Inner Space Building. | Source

The Mighty Monsanto Microscope and The Shrinking People

The Mighty Monsanto Microscope As it appeared to perspective passengers waiting in line for Adventures Thru Inner Space.
The Mighty Monsanto Microscope As it appeared to perspective passengers waiting in line for Adventures Thru Inner Space. | Source
If you looked into the side of the microscope you could see what appeared to be the people who had gone before you in their shrunken form.  This is a close up view of the people that you actually saw going through the microscope.
If you looked into the side of the microscope you could see what appeared to be the people who had gone before you in their shrunken form. This is a close up view of the people that you actually saw going through the microscope. | Source

A Walk Through of Adventure Thru Inner Space

As Narrated By Paul Frees


You have reached the front of the line, and having been ushered into your Atommobile you are ready to begin your journey through inner space. Entering into the Mighty Monsanto Microscope, you begin to shrink, and the voice of the scientist (played by vocal actor Paul Frees) is heard from the speaker behind your head:

“For centuries, man had but his own two eyes to explore the wonders of his world, then he invented the microscope, a mighty eye, and discovered the fantastic universe beyond the limits of his own meager sight. Now your adventure thru inner space has begun. Through Monsanto's Mighty Microscope, you will travel into the incredible universe found within a tiny fragment of a snowflake. I am the first person to make this fabulous journey, suspended in the timelessness of inner space are the thought waves of my first impressions. They will be our only source of contact once you have passed beyond the limits of normal MAGNIFICATION....MAGNIFICATION....MAGNIFICATION"

Your Atommobile is moving into the darkness. As you shrink, it shakes back and forth. The atmosphere around you turns colder, and as you are spun in your Atommobile 180° to face the other direction visibility begins to return. You are tilted backward to see that beginning at the top of the ceiling, snowflakes have begun to fall.

“I am passing beyond the magnification limits of even the most powerful snowflakes, and yet they seem to grow larger and larger....or can I be shrinking?

As you continue to shrink, the snowflakes, which are being projected from some unseen place, seem to become larger and fall faster, some of them still spinning

"Shrinking beyond the smallness of a tiny snowflake crystal. Indeed, I am becoming smaller and smaller and smaller!

You have moved on into another room where before you see the three-dimensional snowflakes and ice crystals that have been built so as to give the illusion of size.

These tiny bits of snowflake crystal TOWER above me! Like an enormous wall of ice. Can I penetrate this gigantic prism? And yet this wall of ice seems smooth and solid. From this tiny viewpoint I can see that nothing is solid, no matter how it appears. And still I continue to shrink. What compelling force draws me into this mysterious darkness? Can this be the threshold of inner space?"

The crystals grew larger and you, in your Atommobile, grew smaller still, until the holes in the crystal grew large enough to allow you to pass through a tunnel where the infinite number of atom groups hung from the ceiling. Coming of that tunnel and into the world of the molecule.

"What are these strange spheres...Have I reached the universe of the molecule? YES! These are water molecules , H2O! They vibrate in such an orderly pattern, because this is water frozen into a solid state of matter. These fuzzy spheres must be the atoms that make up the molecule.

If the rider in the Atommobile were to look closely right now, he or she might notice something unusual about those fuzzy spheres, in that when closely examined, those atom spheres that make up those molecules consist of lots of little Mickey Mouse shaped images.

With each shrinking came total darkness, the darkness shrouding the fact that you were transitioning from one room to the next, in each room thousands of projected molecules danced all around you. And you might have found yourself feeling as though you were floating along with them?

“Two hydrogen atoms bonded to a single oxygen atom, and I see it's the orbiting electrons that give the atom its fuzzy appearance. And still I continue to shrink. Is it possible that I can enter the atom itself?!?"

Thousands of moving molecules have seemingly enveloped you as you ride along in your Atommobile, you may have begun to feel a bit of dizziness, or the feeling of being disoriented

"Electrons are dashing about me like so many fiery comets ! Can I possibly survive?!?"

"I have pierced the wall of the oxygen atom! I am so infinitely small now that I can see millions of orbiting electrons. They appear like the Milky Way of our own solar system. This vast realm...THIS is the infinite universe within a tiny speck of snowflake crystal. And there is the nucleus of the atom!

There flashing before you, with the sound or its rhythmic heart like pulsing filling your ears, is the nucleus of the atom

"Do I dare explore the vastness of its inner space? No.... I dare not go on. I must return to the realm of the molecule before I go on shrinking forever! Oh how strange! The molecules are so active now!?! They have become fluid, freed from their frozen state. That can only mean that the snowflake is melting.

As you have begun your return to normal size, the Atommobile tilts back to reveal the end of a microscope through which a giant eye is looking back at you, This virtual eye, moves from left to right, it seems to be looking right at you, studying you, which really gave the illusion that there was actually a very real person at the other end looking down on you.

"Yes, the snowflake has melted, but there is no cause for alarm. You are back on visual and returning to your normal size. This has been one of many exciting adventures through inner space. In a never-ending search for new ways to rearrange molecules for the benefit of mankind. Now, in our display area you will see modern miracles created by rearranging the molecules, not only of water, but of air, coal, petroleum and many other raw materials. THIS IS MONSANTO.

© 2011 Kristen Burns-Darling

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Comments 2 comments

Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

A fascinating write! Thanks for sharing your adventures.


K. Burns Darling profile image

K. Burns Darling 5 years ago from Orange County, California Author

Thanks Poohgranma, These have been fun to do....so many happy memories! I grew up ten minutes away from there so to me it is just another piece of my childhood, I sometimes forget that not everyone grew up with Disneyland practically in their backyard, I think it's especially nice to share it with someone who has never been there before.

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