The History of The Golden Zephyr at Disney California Adventure

Disney Parks History

Golden Zephyr Ride at Dusk Paradise Pier Disney California Adventure Disneyland

Paradise Pier at Disney California Adventure attempted to transport you back in time to the seaside boardwalks of years past in an idealized way. This attempted to make a Disney version of some of the exact attractions Walt Disney had tried to distance himself from with the original Disneyland.

To do this they made modernized versions of many classic rides. But one of the main problems was that many of these ride systems had been discontinued decades ago.

For one of these Disney set out to recreate a classic attraction that had long been forgotten by the public.

Golden Zephyr Ride At Night Paradise Gardens Park Disney California Adventure Disneyland

The Golden Zephyr was an opening day attraction at Disney California Adventure. It was a recreation of a classic ride model originally found at numerous seaside parks in the early 20th century.

This model was practically extinct when Disney was looking to build this ride, requiring Disney Imagineers to have to study the few still existing models of the attraction, venturing as far as England for research on the attraction.

Paradise Pier Mickey's Fun Wheel and Golden Zephyr Disney California Adventure Disneyland

Being built by Morgan, a manufacturer known most for their massive roller coasters, this ride operated as a suspended flat ride. It had no vertical movement except for slight variations in height due to the speed of the spinning and from being moved by the wind as the ride vehicles were only connected to the ride system by wires from above.

Early Disney California Adventure was far from a success, with the many lightly themed flat rides not connected to Disney characters being one of the main points of criticism for the new park.

Paradise Pier Entrance Archway Sign Disney California Adventure Disneyland

As the park was being reimagined leading up to 2012 this ride was at the center of many rumors for a retheme or removal, but it ended up surviving the redo untouched even as other elements of Paradise Pier got reimagined.

Golden Zephyr From Silly Symphony Swings Paradise Gardens Park Disney California Adventure Disneyland

Even when Paradise Pier was replaced with Pixar Pier this ride was left largely unscathed. It became a part of a new land made up of the remnants of Paradise Pier known as Paradise Gardens Park. The only notable change was the word pier was removed from the ride's signage leaving it to say only Paradise on the side facing Paradise Bay.

Early Pixar Pier Concept Art Imagineering Blue Sky Cellar Disney California Adventure Disneyland

Not only was this ride not included in the final retheme, but it wasn't even included in early concept art for the land, some of which included Silly Symphony Swings being absorbed by the land which did not end up actually happening.

Mickey Mouse Paint The Night Parade Float Passes Golden Zephyr Disney California Adventure Disneyland

Today the Golden Zephyr remains as one of several remnant attractions of Paradise Pier still operating in the park alongside Jumpin Jellyfish, Silly Symphony Swings, and Goofy's Sky School.

Please Do Not Feed The Birds Finding Nemo Lamplight Lounge Sign Pixar Pier Disney California Adventure Disneyland

The attraction can be seen as part of the skyline of Paradise Bay and it lights up every night with the classically inspired lighting package that used to fill the entire lagoon.

Golden Zephyr Ride Vehicle Disney California Adventure

It remains as probably the least changed ride from opening day in the entire park. In a park with only three opening day attractions left, the only major change to this ride has been the removal of a part of a light sign on the facade.

Disney brought a ride back from the dead for the park, and it remains as one of the longest-lasting attractions at Disney California Adventure to this day.