Today in Disney History: Fire Engine Debuts at Disneyland Park, 1958
Michael Ramirez, Editorial Content Director, Disneyland Resort
Sixty years ago, the Fire Engine made its first journey down Main Street, U.S.A. Let’s take a ride down memory lane to hear the story behind one of Disneyland Resort’s most beloved classic vehicles.
To start, here are five fun facts about the Fire Engine:
1. It made its debut in 1958 as the last addition to Disneyland park’s classic vehicle fleet.
2. The vehicle is not licensed to drive on public streets, so it is exclusive to the Disneyland Resort.
3. Although it cruises up and down Main Street, U.S.A. at 5 miles per hour with guests in tow, the Fire Engine’s top speed is 35 miles per hour.
4. As a true piece of beloved Disney history, the Fire Engine is kept in immaculate condition, and its details always look sparkly and new.
5. The truck was inspired by turn-of-the-early 20th century Fire Engines, such as the 1907 Rambler and vintage LaFrance fire trucks.
The Fire Engine has an incredibly rich Disney history. Now, let’s take a closer look at three important people in this vehicle’s story:
1. Bob Gurr: The Fire Engine was designed by Bob Gurr, a legendary Imagineer with more than 100 plans for Disney attractions under his belt. Walt Disney first took notice of Bob’s passion for tools and mechanics after Bob consulted on the creation of attractions vehicles for Autopia, and the two men would go to inspire one another for years.
2. Walt Disney: Walt himself was known to drive the Fire Engine through the park before opening to survey operations and discover opportunities for improvement. In fact, in the fall of 1966, Walt and Mickey posed on the Fire Engine in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle for what would become one of their last photos together. These photos have become iconic images of Walt, a symbol of the magical legacy he left behind.
3. Steve Finley: It’s nearly impossible to talk about the Fire Engine without mentioning longtime attraction host Steven “Steve” Finley. Steve got his start at the Disneyland Resort in 1973 working at Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, and has served as beloved driver of the Fire Engine for the past 40 years. Nowadays, he can often be found handing out stickers to young riders or sounding the Fire Engine’s immediately recognizable horn.
Want to take a ride on the Fire Engine in celebration of its 60th anniversary? Pickup points are in Town Square and in Central Plaza in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, except during parade times.
Tip: Be sure to look for the old-fashioned polished brass bell at the rear the vehicle, and give it a ring!