It’s Not Just a Construction Wall – It’s Also a History Lesson!

Let’s be honest… I don’t think any of us like seeing construction walls in our favorite theme parks.  But at least Disney tries to make them interesting, and sometimes even informative, like these walls around the Astro Orbitor at Disneyland.

Astro Orbitor Construction Walls, Disneyland

Did you know that there were rocket jet attractions at most of the other Disneyland parks around the world? Of course Disneyland’s was the first back in 1956 with the Astro Jets. They relaunched in 1967 as the Rocket Jets, and then in 1998 were renamed and re-themed to be the Astro Orbitor. (The attraction also moved to ground level at the entrance to Tomorrowland where it has created a total choke point… but don’t get me started!)

Disneyland’s Astro Orbitor

I find it interesting that the spelling is different between Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, where it’s the “Astro Orbiter”.

Magic Kingdom’s Astro Orbiter

Tokyo Disneyland’s StarJets are no more – they closed in 2017.

Tokyo Disneyland StarJets

In Paris it’s the Orbitron, with a similar Jules Verne look to the Astro Orbitor… but the Orbitron opened first.

Disneyland Paris Orbitron

Another Orbitron in Hong Kong Disneyland.

Hong Kong Disneyland Orbitron

And here’s some looks back at the Astro Jets and Rocket Jets over the years.

Astro Jets at Disneyland – 1956-67
Astro Jets at Disneyland – 1956-67

Look at the People Mover in this photo, when the Rocket Jets were raised above ground level in Tomorrowland.

Rocket Jets at Disneyland – 1967-98
Rocket Jets at Disneyland – 1967-98

Amazing what you can learn from construction walls!

As of this writing, there’s no word on when the Astro Orbitor will reopen… but it will be closed the rest of January and until at least the last week of February.  Here’s a list of current Disneyland refurbishment projects.

What versions of the Astro Orbiter have you ridden at Disneyland, or at other Disney parks?  Do you have a favorite?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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Laura Gilbreath is a native of San Diego, CA. She has been making the trek up Interstate 5 to Disneyland since she was a small child and terrified of talking tikis and hitchhiking ghosts. She and her husband Lee enjoy trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as sailings on the Disney Cruise Line.

3 Replies to “It’s Not Just a Construction Wall – It’s Also a History Lesson!”

  1. When NASA downgraded Pluto from planet to an ice dwarf it threw off the gravitational pull of the Orbitron planets and they haven’t spun since. The good news is the mouse in the teapot at the Teacup Ride now pops up twice as often as he used to.

  2. Ah, but here’s the question: In which parks (if any) do the Observatron’s spinning planets still spin? I can’t recall when I last saw them spin in the Magic Kingdom, but I’m pretty certain they did when the ride re-opened in 1994.

    1. Charlie, that’s a good question! Does anyone know? Disneyland’s spun when the Astro Orbitor opened, but they haven’t worked in years.

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