If you’re a repeat visitor to Walt Disney World, you already know that Disney is constantly adding to and improving its parks and resorts. In fact, this is one of the things we love about WDW – there’s no such thing as “been there, done that”, because there’s always something new and exciting to experience! However, the flipside of Disney’s continual reimagining is that every now and then, we have to say goodbye to a favorite attraction to make way for something new. A lot of attractions have taken their final bows at WDW since it opened in 1971. Here are 10 things we wish Disney would bring back.
1. Studio Backlot Tour
Once the main attraction of Hollywood Studios (then Disney-MGM Studios), the Studio Backlot Tour initially took guests on a tour that allowed them to peek into filming tv productions, and lasted for hours. Later, as newer attractions arrived and cut into the space used for the Backlot Tour, it became a much shorter – though no less magical – ride. The tour by the wardrobe department, scenery shop and old props gave us great backstage glimpses; but Catastrophe Canyon, with its fiery explosions and gushing waters, was the highlight of the tour!
2. Main Street Electrical Parade
The legendary, longest-running nighttime parade in Magic Kingdom bade farewell to guests in 2016. For years, the Main Street Electrical Parade delighted guests with its illuminated, spinning floats starring celebrated Disney characters. Featuring half a million lights timed to a classic Disney soundtrack, this festive, glowing parade was a highlight of a day at Walt Disney World. We’d love to see it return to Magic Kingdom!
3. Adventurer’s Club
Back when The Landing at Disney Springs was known as Pleasure Island, the travel-themed club Adventurer’s Club, set in the 1930s, was the place to be! With animatronics, puppets and souvenirs and photos from expeditions around the world, Adventurer’s Club featured Disney cast members who performed for guests and interacted with them. You might be called a drunk, or be given a fun new nickname, during improvisation with the cast. Each night, guests could celebrate New Year’s Eve at Adventurer’s Club, heading outside near midnight to enjoy the fireworks – including ones that were set off on the roof of the club! Adventurer’s Club closed in 2008, despite a petition to save it. While we love the recent additions to Disney Springs, this unique club is definitely missed!
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4. Villains in Vogue
I remember clearly the first time I walked down Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios – and couldn’t find my favorite shop in the park, Villains in Vogue. Full of deliciously devilish merchandise starring everyone’s favorite villains, this fun shop was the only one on property devoted to Disney’s loveable villains (and villainesses!). Hollywood Studios has undergone quite a few fantastic changes lately, but this is one thing we wish Disney would bring back, even to another park or Disney Springs.
5. Ellen’s Energy Adventure
Making its exit in 2017, Ellen’s Energy Adventure was one of the more recent closures at Walt Disney World, this time at Epcot. Featuring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye (what a great combo!), this ride was as old as the park itself, debuting in 1982 when Epcot opened. Guests could learn all about energy by traveling back in time to meet dinosaurs. One of the longer rides in the park, we loved that it was perfect for all ages, and full of so much delightful quirkiness that you wouldn’t even realize you were learning!
6. Magic of Disney Animation
Later turned into Star Wars Launch Bay, the Magic of Disney Animation was the place to be for aspiring animators. You could hear from a Disney animator who would show you how your favorite Disney characters were created, and play with interactive displays. Characters hard to find elsewhere on property, like Baymax, Sorcerer Mickey, and Mr and Mrs Incredible, hung out here too. But the best part of this attraction was the Animation Academy, where you could attend an animation class and learn from a Disney animator how to draw your own Disney character.
7. Snow White’s Scary Adventure
While it still exists in other Disney theme parks, the Magic Kingdom ride Snow White’s Scary Adventure said goodbye to guests in 2012, after more than 40 years in the park. This dark ride was originally much scarier than the version guests remember after its 1994 redesign. Initially, Snow White’s Scary Adventure was very scary indeed – ending with the witch “killing” guests by dropping a huge jewel on them, followed by strobe lights and cackling witch echoes; the updated version had a much happier ending, starring Snow White, her Prince and the Dwarfs. Guests who miss either version of this classic ride can take comfort in the fact that plenty of its figures were reused for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride that opened in 2014.
8. Writer’s Stop
Another past haunt for guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Writer’s Stop was a small but well-loved bookstore, coffee and pastry shop, and lounge that provided a reprieve from the chaos of the rest of the park. Many guests loved to retreat into Writer’s Stop for its delicious confectionaries, specifically the famous Carrot Cake Cookie! Writer’s Stop was one of the many casualties in the construction of Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land.
9. Sorcerer’s Hat
It was a sad day for many guests when Mickey’s massive sorcerer’s hat was removed from Hollywood Studios in 2015. The hat, inspired by Sorcerer Mickey in the film Fantasia, became an icon for the park during its nearly 15 years as its focal point, after guests mourned the loss of its predecessor, the Earffel Tower. The sorcerer hat made its exit as part of Hollywood’s Studio’s evolving image; and while we’re pumped about the new areas of the park, we can’t help feeling nostalgic for this classic park icon!
10. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
If we could bring back one thing from Disney’s past, this would be it! The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights from 1995 to 2016 brought the magic of the holidays to Hollywood Studios every year. This monumental display of Christmas lights and decorations, synched so that they “danced” along to the beat of the holiday music played, contained more than five million lights by the time it made its exit from Walt Disney World. We have many happy memories of gazing around the Streets of America, ablaze with multicolored lights choreographed to our favorite holiday tunes, trying to find Hidden Mickeys – and judging from the merchandise that sprang up to commemorate this beloved seasonal fixture, we aren’t the only ones!