Golden Zephyr

Paradise Pier, Disney California Adventure

  • Land: Paradise Pier
  • Type: Thrill Rides
WhereParadise Pier
ExperienceThrill Rides
Duration3 minutes

On the Golden Zephyr, imagine battling Martian invaders as you soar around the gleaming red tower in a shining spaceship! For 90 seconds, you can hearken back to the 1920's movie matinees and pulp novels when science fiction heroes saved the skies in sleek silver ships that sailed through space. The universe is yours to explore on this retro cinematic ride.

The ornate red tower is the centerpiece of the Golden Zephyr with its latticework steel struts and golden sunbursts. Once you reach the blue mesh platform via the metallic staircases, climb into a galactic gondola that boasts gold and chrome trim; each contains 6 red seats. Attach your safety belt and get ready for takeoff! Let your imagination save Earth from extraterrestrial threats.

Themed to the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon style rocket ships, it takes park guests on a relaxing trip. Unlike its cousins Dumbo and the Astro Orbitor next door in Disneyland Park, the Golden Zephyr rockets are controlled by centripetal motion over Paradise Bay and can not be automatically controlled to go up and down.

After everyone has boarded the rocket ships begin moving around in a circle. As the speed increases, centrifugal force causes the ships to slowly rise and move outward to fly over Paradise Bay. At the end of the 90 second ride the ships slow and gradually descend back to the loading platform.

Touring Tips

  • The Golden Zephyr is a slow-loading attraction and the line doesn't move very quickly. It is often not operating due to wind conditions, and does not operate in the rain.
  • The ships slowly go around in a circle several times. Though the ride is very gentle and smooth, it could aggravate those with extreme motion sickness. Since it rises 20' above Paradise Bay, those who who are afraid of heights should consider the advisability of riding.
  • There is no height requirement to ride the Golden Zephyr, but children must be able to sit un-aided. Since there is no door, children should board first.
  • Opens with the park and closes shortly before the day's first performance of World of Color. When winds are sufficiently strong, the attraction will also close.
  • Those in wheelchairs or ECVs should proceed through the regular queue then take the elevator up to the loading platform. They must be able to transfer into the rocket car to experience this attraction.
  • The closest restrooms are located next to Burger Invasion.


  • The Golden Zephyr opened with Disney's California Adventure on February 8, 2001.
  • The rocket cars were inspired by rocket ships in classic movies like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon.
  • Unfortunately, the ride cannot operate at constant wind speeds over 10 miles per hour (16 km/h), or gusts over 15 miles per hour (24 km/h). This attraction, along with Jumpin' Jellyfish will not be removed nor changed as part of the ongoing billion-dollar expansion.


The Golden Zephyr's design comes from the Harry Traver Circle Swing rides of the early 20th century, specifically the Aerostat / Strat-O-Stat ride that operated at Riverview Park in Chicago. In designing the ride, Disney engineers visited Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England to examine the Captive Flying Machines, a similar (but much larger) ride designed by Sir Hiram Maxim, and which has operated there since 1904.