Once upon a time, a better time, there was a ride called the Peoplemover (or as it was known by cast members, the “Peoplemaker” because of the very large number of people who took the opportunity to make out in relative comfort and privacy). On top of the Peoplemover loading station was a ride called the Rocket Jets.
The Rocket Jets were ALL KINDS of awesome.
They were space ships that you rode in way up in the sky around and around like you were totally the shiz. The fact that it was way up high in the sky, on top of the Peoplemover, added a totally excellent element. Up high was the way to go.
You may have noticed that I’m harping a bit on the up high part. That’s because when they re-did the ride from the Rocket Jets to the Astro Orbitor, they put it down on the ground, and that is the single biggest tragedy of all. The second biggest tragedy is its very inconvenient location. But mostly the height thing.
I’d show you a picture of the Astro Orbitor on the ground, but I forgot to take one. Oh well.
Anyway, the AO is very much like Dumbo in that your ride vehicle is on a long arm and you can go up and down by pulling a lever. In fact, I’ve heard the AO called the “Space Dumbo” before. And like Dumbo, due to the nature of the ride, the load time is very slow and sporadic, so the line backs way up.
Imagine my surprise then, when Kristin, Monica, our 5 combined children, and I saw a very, very short line for the AO. We pretty much jumped right in.
Astro Orbitor pilots at the ready! Lexie, Anderson (of Jedi Training Academy fame), Annika, and Theo.
Yes, I know that’s only four. We left the baby and the camera with Monica.
The queue is an unexciting chain switchback, but when you get close to the ride, the operator is in a futuristic booth and stuff.
Theo liked this part a lot
I attempted to take a vertical picture of the whole ride, but cleverly positioned a rocket right in the way of the details of the ride.
Incidentally, this was my first time on this ride, so yay My Year With The Mouse!!
Theo has become quite an independent little bugger, but he really looks up to Anderson so it’s pretty easy to keep him in check by having him hold Anderson’s hand.
The AO loads at ground level which as you may have picked up, kind of bums me out.
Wouldn't life be better on top of the Peoplemover?
…and supposedly seats 3 in the bobsled-style seating, but to be honest I seriously had to cram myself in there with two very small children.
I was pretty sure they were going to need a can opener to get me out.
We decided to split up into the boy’s rocket and the girl’s rocket.
The lovely ladies
I'm an honorary boy
Wave good-by to the Earthlings–your flight is about to begin!
And then blast off for space!
The girls in back
And I’ll be honest–despite the fact that it’s located on the ground, we felt like we went surprisingly high.
Monica got a great shot of both of our rockets. Poor little Theo is too tiny to be seen in the front of mine.
Fly, Kristin! Fly like a bird!
And apparently there was an original Astro Jets soon after Disneyland opened which were again located on the ground. So I guess it’s not so much messing with an original, as it is going back to an inferior position. And the location pretty much bites. It’s right at the entrance of Tomorrowland, which creates very narrow passages for entering the land (did we not learn our lesson from Adventureland?), particularly with the line for the new Star Tours.
But you know, despite all of that, I actually really liked it.