By late 1954, the Long Beach Pike amusement pier (opened in 1902; although rides such as a roller-coaster already existed before then) was the leading amusement attraction in the Los Angeles area and the fifth largest in the United States. The Pike drew tens of thousands of summer visitors to its roller coaster, merry-go-round, bathhouse, two pavilions, band shell, and many other smaller attractions. At its peak, it featured 218 concessions.
The year 1955 was a watershed for The Pike. That year, Disneyland opened. The Pike began to lose to the popularity of the new theme park just 17 miles west in Anaheim. In fact, it was said that Walt Disney used The Pike as an example of the type of sleazy amusement zones Disneyland was meant to replace (ironically, Disney's Paradise Pier (now Pixar Pier) in the California Adventure Park is seen as an attempt to replicate the atmosphere of The Pike). The famous Cyclone Racer Roller Coaster (larger than New York's Coney Island Cyclone) closed in 1966. What was left of the original Pike finally closed in 1979.
In 2003, after decades of waterfront redevelopment, Long Beach reopened a new (and less exciting) version of The Pike called The Pike at Rainbow Harbor featuring restaurants, shops, movie theaters and a Ferris wheel.