The Fantasyland Viewliner station could be found in the rear of Fantasyland, behind the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Its location is now part of the plaza in front of It’s A Small World, in front of the entrance to Mickey’s Toontown.
Tomorrowland – The Tomorrowland station sat along the waterfront. This area is now roughly between the Matterhorn Bobsleds and Tomorrowland Terrace.
Walt Disney had a lifelong passion for trains, and with the booming success of the Disneyland Railroad, he was excited at the prospect of expanding the park’s railways. Imagineers designed a miniature train, called the Viewliner. Unlike the Disneyland Railroad, the Viewliner represented the future of railway travel, claiming to be the fastest miniature train in the world.
Imagineers designed two different tracks, with a separate train running on each track. Both Viewliner trains were powered by gas engines, and reached peak speeds of 30 mph. Neither Walt nor his Imagineers intended on the Viewliner being a long-term attraction, but both were optimistic that the railway would be a placeholder until an even newer and more advanced train system could replace it.
Guests could choose to ride either the Fantasyland or Tomorrowland track, and both locations offered a unique railway experience. The Fantasyland Viewliner wove around the hills of Fantasyland, and guests could see the Storybook Land Canal Boats, the various Fantasyland Autopias, and the Skyway. The Tomorrowland Viewliner raced over the lagoon, around the Tomorrowland Autopia, and traveled alongside the Disneyland Railroad before returning to the waterfront. Both Viewliner trains had open windows, giving guests an up-close look of unique vantage points within the park.
As Disneyland’s construction projects became larger and more sophisticated, rides with sweeping landscapes became less and less feasible. So when two major projects began at the same time (the Matterhorn and the Monorail), the Viewliner had to go. Both tracks were removed in 1958, leaving Imagineers with tons of space to incorporate into bigger headline attractions.
The Fantasyland Viewliner’s cars had Disney character names, while the Tomorrowland Viewliner’s cars were each named after a planet.
Given their size, the vehicles traveled at the equivalent of 120 mph in a full-scale train.
Chevrolet and Jeep each contributed parts to the engine and operating system.
With a life span of 14 months, the Viewliner is one of the shortest-lived permanent attractions in park history.