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  • Rocket Rods

    Hey All,
    I've always been curious as to why Disney got rid of the Rocket Rods? Personally, it was one of my favorite rides, and I consider myself lucky to have ridden them a few times, while they exsisted. Since they went away, I have asked many cast members, and other people, why Disney cut them, but have never gotten a definitive answer. So I turn to you, followers of all things Disney (except DCA, of course).
    Thanks.
    msmith_333 is now Cowboy

  • #2
    From what I understand all that speeding up and slowing down the Rods had to do on those sharp turns was hell on the driving motors. Had the curves been banked a-la Test Track would it have survived? Who knows.

    I was one of the rare breeds that enjoyed RR. I loved the sound effects it had. Hey I just had a thought, how about building a high speed "freeway" ride in DCA using the Rods? It'd fit that California theme (driving on a freeway that is) and if they build the track correctly the cars wouldn't have to speed up and slow down all the time. Hmmmmmmmmmm.....

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    • #3
      The RR had lots of issues, from technical problems, going through tires too fast, to ruinning the stability of the people mover track itself. I think it was due to all those problems plus some as to why they ended up scrapping RR. Too bad..it was fun.
      Marge: Barnacle Bill's Home Pregnancy Test? Homer, shouldn't we have gone with a better-known brand?
      Homer: But Marge, this one came with a corn-cob pipe!
      Marge: [reading from the test box] "Ahoy, Maties! If the water turns blue, a baby for you! If purple ye see, no baby thar be!"
      Homer: So, which is it? Blue or purple?
      Marge: Pink.
      Homer: D'oh!
      Marge: "If ye test should fail, to a doctor set sail!"

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      • #4
        Another example of mismanaging long-term success to lower short-term financial risks. Put a little more money into banking the curves, and the ride would have lasted a lot longer, lowered the down-time, etc.

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        • #5
          My understanding of the attraction's untimely demise goes something like this: The Rocket Rods turned out to be a very, very expensive attraction to operate. First, the tires were custom ordered through GM, and cost upwards of $10,000 a wheel. The un-banked turning and special "aircraft carrier style" turf that the tires ran on was especially hard on the tires and before long it was discovered that they had to be replaced almost monthly (on ALL cars, which adds up to $$$$!). To add insult to injury, GM decided to pull their sponsorship for the attraction a short time after this maintinance problem arose (in large part due to some construction fiasco going on over the Test Track attraction at EPCOT around the same time). On top of THIS problem, it was disovered that the software written for RR was prone to frequent crashes and other flaws. In the end, it was decided that in order to correct the CONSTANT downtime problem (software) and the costly tire issue two things had to be done: 1) completely rewrite the software, and 2) bank the turns. 1) would have taken 8 months to a year and 2) was decidedly too expensive (hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, not to mention the park impact of all the structure/support beams for the old people mover track being cut down and re-built, etc). So, the decision was made to "strike" the attraction completely. Sadly, it was one of my favorites as well (especially in the front seat!). Well, that's the story as I understand it. Any questions?
          -"We can see a new horizon...built on all that we have done..and our dreams begin another thousand circles 'round the sun!"
          -- Epcot: Illuminations "Reflections of Earth"

          -"...Each dream that you chase, each wish you embrace can lead to a fabulous faraway place...!"
          --DCA: World Of Color

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Olympicnut
            From what I understand all that speeding up and slowing down the Rods had to do on those sharp turns was hell on the driving motors. Had the curves been banked a-la Test Track would it have survived? Who knows.

            I was one of the rare breeds that enjoyed RR. I loved the sound effects it had. Hey I just had a thought, how about building a high speed "freeway" ride in DCA using the Rods? It'd fit that California theme (driving on a freeway that is) and if they build the track correctly the cars wouldn't have to speed up and slow down all the time. Hmmmmmmmmmm.....
            ^true, but instead of calling it Test Track, they can call it Traffic Track. There wouldn't be any speeding up and slowing down just a constant 2mph to 1mph throughout the ride. :devil: :lol:
            "He gets around you know he knows all the pretty girls." ~ Walt Disney

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            • #7
              A virtual traffic jam! Sounds like a fitting ride for modern Tomorrowland... Then they can lock three or four people in a closet for 3 minutes at a time, and call it a "virtual elevator"...
              Honor those who fall under the sword.
              But pity the warrior who has slain all his enemies.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Reaver
                A virtual traffic jam! Sounds like a fitting ride for modern Tomorrowland... Then they can lock three or four people in a closet for 3 minutes at a time, and call it a "virtual elevator"...
                No, that's Mission:Space. j/k
                ...a vaguely celtic music fills the air...

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                • #9
                  I never had a chance to ride the attraction.. As i understand the curves were hell on the motors... GM pulled out of ever sponsoring since TT had their fiasco and messed up the ad campeign planned....

                  The tires were the same as TT i thought and had to be changed monthly....

                  The money was never alocated for banking the curves... to they remained flat and thus had to slow down the car.... (while the PM had a constant speed and never had to slow down..)

                  Will we see a new attraction utalizing the PM track and use it and not abuse it??

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by figment1986
                    Will we see a new attraction utalizing the PM track and use it and not abuse it??
                    This is probably at the top of most peoples' wish list, but as I understand it, they ripped out part of the track to accomodate the new Buzz ride. Sounds like we might not see anything on that track for a looooong time.... if ever!
                    "I could never convince the financiers that Disneyland was feasible because dreams offer too little collateral"

                    --Walt Disney

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                    • #11
                      Although the Rocket Rods were pretty much a failure, I too loved them. I was very sad to see them closed. I did write to Disney asking the official reason, but just got a vague response back. From everything I've read though, everyone here is right. They didn't invest enough money into the ride to build it correctly. It's sad because it had so much potential (except for the grueling line that moved at a snails pace on crowded days.)



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                      • #12
                        When I worked at Disneyland as a security cm I would talk with the park maintence guys a lot on the grave shift. At that time the Rocket Rods had been closed but still had the sign up front saying they would reopen at a later time. I asked one of the maintence cms what the deal was. He said, "Ha! They're not coming back. They're closed for good. The track was designed for the peoplemover which weighed half of the RRs and only moved at 5 mph. The RRs are going up to 40 mph. It's ripping the track apart". Now if that was the only problem, or if that's even the truth I can't say. But it does make sense.

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                        • #13
                          Every ride has something that is bad, a sort of pet peve. Rocket Rods had a few, but it wasn't the reason it was shut down. Test Track had the same trie and software problems, but the reson why Rocket Rods is down and it is not has to do with two things.

                          -low capacity
                          -tearing track appart

                          As said before, the ride vehicles were tearing the track appart everywhere. But nobody has mentioned the fact this ride loaded slow, had less people per car than test track (but bigger vehicles), and fewer cars.
                          ...a vaguely celtic music fills the air...

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by testtrack321
                            Every ride has something that is bad, a sort of pet peve. Rocket Rods had a few, but it wasn't the reason it was shut down. Test Track had the same trie and software problems, but the reson why Rocket Rods is down and it is not has to do with two things.

                            -low capacity
                            -tearing track appart

                            As said before, the ride vehicles were tearing the track appart everywhere. But nobody has mentioned the fact this ride loaded slow, had less people per car than test track (but bigger vehicles), and fewer cars.
                            yeah capacity was a big issue and it was compounded by the frequent breakdowns

                            but not only was the ride tearing the track apart but I've read that it was causing structural damage to Star Tours and several other Tomorrowland buildings
                            "We all have sparks, imagination! it's how our minds... create creations!"

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                            • #15
                              I thought buzz was told to keep the olde PM track intact..... So they could use it for a latter concept....

                              (I wonder is their any common sence inside the budget people's minds anymore....)

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                              • #16
                                The Rocket Rods were just caught up in one of Paul Pressler's economic black holes, and what was supposed to be a real crowd pleaser ended up being a dysmal failure.

                                The Rocket Rods were conceived by Tony Baxter as a replacement for the PM because Pressler's New Tomorrowland was lacking any sort of D or E-Ticket attraction (Alien Encounter and George Lucas's new 3-D would have filled that void in the original Tomorrowland design). Unfortunately, Pressler held the Imagineers to an exact $100 million budget for the ENTIRE land, and any deviation from that figure was prohibited. If the Imagineers needed something more for an attraction, they had to cut something out of another. Well to save money from the budget, Tony got GM involved and they agreed to put up $25 million of the ride's $50 million budget. But because of the Test Track fiasco, GM pulled out of the Rocket Rods sponsership. So Tony asked Pressler for the necessary $25 million extra. But Pressler, being the idiot that he was, did not give WDI ONE DIME above the set $25 million budget for RR. So, what DL guests saw was a $50 million ride built with $25 million. Corners had to be cut everywhere; from lack of research and testing of the ride system to the un-baked turns to the bare-bones queue area to the abandonment of most of the original effects. Needless to say, nobody at WDI was the least bit surprised when RR went down.

                                So let this be a lesson to those feckless executives: if you're going to build something, put up the money and build it right the first time. These kinds of accounting tricks will NOT work in a field so artistically diverse as a theme park, and when your petty schemes fail your cries of blame will fall on deaf ears.
                                Trivia: On April Fool's Day 2004, Disneyland guests found -- at the insistence of the board of directors -- the gigantic dragon featured in Fantasmic replaced with a gigantic Roy Disney (leading to a reprimand to the cast member playing Mickey Mouse when he hugged the giant instead of fighting it)

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                                • #17
                                  No one seems to realize that the ride was not a very good idea to begin with. Riding on an unbanked track that was never intended to be more than a tour, with all of the thrill of driving a Kia in a parking garage, perhaps isn't worth maintaining. If the ride was a 10 plus with a huge repeat line, then maybe they would have pushed to keep it.

                                  FYI- To be entirely accurate..The new ride was originally planned to be a Rocket Bike or dual racing motorcycle theme that would allow for leaning, racing and the wheelie, but it would not clear the interior spaces, so it was deemed (and rightly so) inpractical. TB then proposed the same dynamics as rocket rods as an alternative. the wheelie is all that remained of the bikes idea.
                                  "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

                                  [FONT=Arial Narrow]

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                                  • #18
                                    Hmm... who wants to go out in the middle of the night and pry someones brick out of the walkway.... Then make it dissappear and then say.... Haha....

                                    They should have been aloowed to have extram cash.... what did they think was ging on... the referbishment of TL at WDW got an overlay of special effevcts.. new spiels.. COP referbished... a clone film form paris.... & a new E ticker theater attraction.... (where most of that cash went too.) heck.. half the land wasn't efven finnished getting a retheme... look at the PM track near SM...

                                    Why spent cash on this stuff and not make it good.... If it can't be one good.. then dont replace it.... (DL should have gotten AE instead...)

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Olympicnut
                                      I was one of the rare breeds that enjoyed RR. I loved the sound effects it had. Hey I just had a thought, how about building a high speed "freeway" ride in DCA using the Rods? It'd fit that California theme (driving on a freeway that is) and if they build the track correctly the cars wouldn't have to speed up and slow down all the time. Hmmmmmmmmmm.....
                                      when DCA first opened they had a RR car out that people could sit in. It made me miss the ride even more..

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                                      • #20
                                        Can anyone get into the matinence bay for RRs and see if anything in still in there???

                                        Comment

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