Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Rocket to the Moon and the Moonliner

George Savvas

by , Director, Public Relations, Disneyland Resort


Less than a week after Disneyland opened, a first-of-its-kind attraction, Rocket to the Moon, made its debut on July 22, 1955.


Rocket to the Moon was the perfect attraction for Tomorrowland, a land described, in part, by Walt in his dedication a few days earlier as “A vista into a world of wondrous places, signifying man’s achievements . . . a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come.”


This innovative attraction allowed Disneyland park guests the chance to travel around the far side of moon and back in just 10 minutes – all without leaving Disneyland! It’s important to remember that space flight was still years away.


At the entrance, the 76 foot-tall Moonliner welcomed guests to their space flight. The Moonliner only stood for 11 years, but its status as a Disneyland icon remains to this day.


Fifteen years later, almost to the date, only a few steps away from the attraction (then called Flight to the Moon) Disneyland park guests watched in amazement as man stepped foot on the moon.

Flight to the Moon eventually became Mission to Mars, and today, Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port occupies the same “space” in Tomorrowland – complete with a tribute to the original Moonliner right out in front.



  • Thanks for this story and the fun pictures. One of my most cherished possessions is my little red TWA/Disneyland Rocket travel bag. Rocket to the Moon was always a must do for me and my brother and sister. I’m glad the Moonliner tribute is in Tomorrowland today as a reminder of that classic attraction.

  • Great photos! There’s also quite a story in the building of the many Moonliners. I grew up and played around Moonliner II and Moonliner IV still sits atop the old TWA building in Kansas City.

  • Is the original Moonliner still around?

  • Is this now the large outside area were the line to space mountain is?

  • Alex – The area was called the Flight Circle and it was open from 1955 to 1966. It was used for model plane demonstrations, and at one time there was a demonstration of an experimental jetpack at the location, I believe in 1965, but to the best of my knowledge, it was not a regular occurrence in Tomorrowland.

  • Cool! The fourth photo down has a large fenced off compass in it. I’ve seen that used in the 1960s as the takeoff area for the Jetpack demonstration. Is that what it was built for? And if so during what period did the Jetpack demonstration take place? I’ve always wanted to know more about the use of Jetpacks at Disney Parks!

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