Ford’s Magic Skyway, New York World’s Fair, 1964

Visitors ride in the Ford Skyway at the 1964 World's Fair in NYC

A six-pack of people sit tight in the lipstick red vinyl interior of a cool blue metallic Falcon Futura following a Galaxie 500 into a Walt Disney Adventure Through Time and Space. “Ladies and Gentlemen please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all time-and remember, no smoking please!” I can hear it coming out of the car radio speaker as they pass through the fractured arched entrance. And how much are we lovin’ that smart little hat on that junior miss in the front seat!

The ultramod, multi-faceted time tunnel is framed by hundreds of yards of sheer fabric diffusing the hazy day sunbeams streaming through enormous wall of glass. I see at least one air condition duct in the time tunnel and that’s a good thing because no one wants to bake to death in their Ford motor car-time-machine-ride-vehicle on their way to experience Walt’s version of the dawn of life on land and far out future.

Barely visible in the distance outside the tunnel is the icon and centerpiece of the fair, the big globe officially called the Unisphere. Thankfully it stands to this day as a reminder of this two-year long worldwide corporate extravaganza of the absolute highest order. You can’t miss it while traveling between JFK and midtown Manhattan. SO-next time you’re in the neighborhood I HIGHLY recommend hoping out of your subway, bus, taxi, town car or limousine to experience it up close and in person. You won’t be sorry!

If the Unisphere isn’t Americana I don’ know what is! Once you get beyond the shock and awe of standing before this timeless sculpture step into the original 1939 New York Pavilion now called the Queen’s Museum, where memorabilia from both the 1939 and the 1964 New York Worlds Fairs are displayed-not to mention New York’s most underappreciated tourist attraction-an absolutely GIGANTIC scale model of Manhattan that was created for, and remains in place, from the 1964 worlds fair! You will never see Manhattan the same way again!

Now, as to the whereabouts of the remains of the Magic Skyway Through Time and Space. Only the dinosaurs survived. We’ve been enjoying them at Disneyland since 1966 every time we ride the train around the park. Yes, those dinosaurs. Who knew they were leftovers from the world fairs. Disney recycles too. Who knows what happened to the far out future?

Here’s to Ford, Disney, the Unisphere, leftover dinosaurs and YOU!

View more great vintage slides of Americana!

15 Responses to “Ford’s Magic Skyway, New York World’s Fair, 1964”

  1. Jl says:

    Yup we went to the fair as kids, didn’t go on this ride tho, the lines were wwwayyyy to long to get in, but I thought it was cool you could ride thru in in new fords.

    I gotta slide of my brother and I in front of the Chrysler Turbine car they were demo driving on a track at the Chrysler pavilion.

  2. roger austin says:

    My wife gave me a 1964 tbird convertible this past Christmas . The car was purchased from a classic car dealer in Texas who had purchased the car from the Pate Museum where it had sat for 26 years. The bird, painted aztec gold/florentine green was one of two cars build for a Ford VP and featured at the 1964 NY World’s fair. The car sits in my garage and has been beautifully restored with a little over 12,000 original miles. I attended the 1964 fair and have lots of pics, but none of the car. Only one picture with the car in the background. Anyone have any other pictures of my cay?

  3. Jean says:

    Oh my Gosh, I went to the New York Worlds Fair !!! I totally remember that ride because a girl in front of us got her toe caught in the door ! Much blood and hysteria before we could get on the ride. I don’t even remember the ride only the car, the girl, and her toe !

  4. I love that car, My father owned one when I was a kid, I remember its unbelievable size. true american car of those days

  5. Philippe says:

    I was twelve when my dad went to work in 1963 and 64 on some projects at the New World Fair. We, my parents and I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria for several months. I have these pictures I took with my [then] new Kodak Brownie Fiesta [still have it as I collect cameras]. They are of dinosaurs made from car parts but I don’t know where they were photographed or later taken away to. Can ANYONE help? Merry Christmas!

  6. rebecca says:

    hi my father has a falcon from the worlds fair in 1964 , however he believes it is a 65 falcon , the car still has the mounting brackets they didnt disconnect them they just cut them , any way he is restoring the falcon and was curious if you happen to have any photos

  7. C. Deevillle says:

    they need to put a new one in disney with 1959 Pink cadillacs.. I would be the first in line….

  8. Ellen Petrokiewicz says:

    I lived through this period, as my father worked on constructing the fair, and rode this each time I visited. I grew up and lived in NY for the first part of my life until I left in 1990 to the land of WDW in Florida. Those cars were real-and was the incredible introduction of Disney in my future. My father came home telling us of these things…and bringing to this fair to see.

  9. Ken Rudnick says:

    The magic skyride was my favorite ride.The 641/2 Mustang was just introduced and I fell in love with it and insisted my family had to sit in one for the ride.I was ten. I still love the car & own a Rangood Red 641/2 convertible.

  10. Eric Myers says:

    Although I grew up in Los Angeles, I took a family road trip to New York during the summer of ’64 and we spent two days at the fair. This, for me, was the most thrilling ride of all. I will NEVER forget those dinosaurs, which appeared frighteningly realistic to my ten-year-old eyes. Thanks for posting this photo, which captures the sense of anticipation I felt as we headed towards the dark tunnel that plunged us back into the age of the Brontosaurus and T-Rex.

  11. I love the ’64 Galaxie! The round taillights make it look like a rocket ship, a detail which was lost in ’65 when they became square.

  12. Glenn Laughner says:

    Yes they were all real cars some of the mustang were early 1964 1/2 production run and they a very sought after. When the fair was over Ford cut off the brakets and sold the cars, more reclycling!!!!

  13. Pete says:

    Actually, they were full cars which were sold after the fair. The first Mustang was a 1964 1/2 model which was put into the lineup on the Magic Skyway as well. I’m no expert on this stuff, but you can find lots of them here at Peace Through Understanding, the site/forums dedicated to the 1964/1965 Worlds Fair:

  14. Good Question… I suspect they were without their engines and transmissions but don’t really know for sure. Seems like they would be very heavy to pull with all that weight and six people. Ford did debut their beloved Mustang at the 64 WF but I don’t think it served as a ride vehicle for the Magic Skyway. If u find out let us know! Charles

  15. T. Bird says:

    The Magic Skyride! So were those real Ford cars with engines and transmissions and everything or just the shells of 1964 Ford cars? And do we know if they added a 1964+1/2 Mustang to this ride?

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