Designing A Monorail And Kidnapping A Vice President


On the opening day of the monorail, Vice President Richard Nixon, a California native, was on hand to dedicate the new system. Nixon's daughters held in their hands a pair of wooden scissors to cut the ribbon. Of course, the scissors wouldn't work. so Walt tore the ribbon himself.

It was a hot day, so Walt invited the Nixons into the Monorail’s air conditioned cab. It had to be on for the AC to work, of course, and since the state-of-the-art transportation was all geared up and ready to go, Walt thought it would be an opportune time to show the Vice President what it could do. So they took off. The problem? His entire Secret Service detail stood on the platform outside.

The Monorail successfully made one lap and was approaching the Secret Service agents at the platform. They were running alongside as it slowed, seemingly to stop... until Nixon’s daughters cheered, “Again!” and the Monorail resumed full speed, again abandoning the dismayed Secret Service who still lacked a Vice President to protect.

In 2004, Bob Gurr gave his recollection of the day:

So I drove off without saying anything to anybody, and when we came back over to the platform, Nixon could see that all the Secret Service guys were still on the platform, which meant none of them were on the train, which meant I had just kidnapped the Vice President of the United States!

Nixon took delight in seeing the looks on the faces of his Secret Service detail, telling them, "You should have seen your expressions." Needless to say, neither Bob Gurr nor Walt Disney faced any charges or even public humiliation. And the Disneyland Alweg Monorail System became a Disney tradition.