One of the great things about Disney is that they are always improving the parks and adding new attractions, and removing attractions that are out of date or don’t make the cut. While these decisions generally improve the park experience, they don’t always get it right. Here are our top seven attractions that were sent to the Disney World graveyard. Which ones do you miss the most?
1. The Great Movie Ride (Hollywood Studios)
Still making our hearts sink, The Great Movie Ride at Hollywood Studios made its last trip through the movies August 13, 2017. This attraction was actually the last operating attraction from Hollywood Studios’ opening day in 1989. With numerous audio-animatronics, theatrical sets, a few live actors, and much more – this attraction took guests through iconic scenes from twelve classic films throughout motion picture history. While we miss The Great Movie Ride, we do love the new attraction in it’s place – Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
2. Toad’s Wild Ride (Magic Kingdom)
The public’s disappointment at the closing of this ride can be seen across the internet, and in the faces of guests returning for the first time since they were kids when they realize it no longer exists. This dark ride, which was created for the Magic Kingdom opening, had a great combination of storytelling and excitement that could be enjoyed by both kids and adults. It also had two tracks that each provided a different ride experience, which meant you got the experience of riding for the first time twice! It closed in 1998 and was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Die-hard fans of this ride might want to make the trip to Disneyland in California, where the attraction is still open.
3. Maelstrom (Epcot)
This attraction, which opened in 1988, featured a movie about Norway followed by a boat ride with a short flume towards the end. While the ride itself bordered on cheesy and wasn’t up to par with other boat ride attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, it evoked the Norwegian spirit of adventure and was quite uplifting! The introductory movie had some awe-inspiring scenes and viewers felt like they were really getting a taste of Norway. Who didn’t feel good about the world when they watched the scene where the little boy sees a big Viking boat for the first time on that giant screen? We were sad to see Maelstrom go not only because it was a great attraction, but also because it avoided commercialization and really was about the country. Maelstrom closed in October 2014 to make way for Frozen Ever After.
4. Superstar Television (Hollywood Studios)
Superstar Television was one of the original attractions at HS (then MGM Studios) and closed in 1998. Prior to the show, audience members were chosen to play different roles in clips from various TV shows that spanned the years from 1955 (and the opening of Disneyland) to the present. They would perform their part live in front of a blue screen on stage and be superimposed into the clip. The audience watched the final product on giant screens in the 1,000-seat theatre. I know I wasn’t the only kid (or adult!) who saw being chosen for a role in Superstar Television as the highlight of a Disney vacation! The TV shows featured included everything from I Love Lucy (the hilarious episode where Lucy is working in a chocolate factory), to Cheers and General Hospital, to the David Letterman show. The clips were strung together well and highlighted the evolution of television programming in a delightfully entertaining way with lots of laughs. While the show was the same every time, the performances of the audience members made each one unique so you really could go back again and again. The still-named Superstar Television Theater has housed several other attractions, including Doug Live! and the American Idol Experience, but none have had the timeless and sentimental feel of Superstar Television itself!
5. Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree/Revue (Magic Kingdom)
While it went through a few changes (including the switching of its name from Revue to Jamboree and then back), this live lunch/dinner show operated at the Magic Kingdom from the park opening through 1995. Its best iteration was when it served a sit-down meal during the live western-themed show. The show was a throw-back to old Wild-West saloon shows and the period costumes, great singing and dancing, and opportunities for toe-tappin’ and hand clappin’ made for great entertainment for kids and adults alike. The closure of this attraction really left a live entertainment void at the Magic Kingdom, which is too bad because Disney does live shows so well. We’ve heard that the show was too expensive to run because of all the cast members it required, but we still wish they had kept it open!
6. Horizons (Epcot)
This attraction opened in 1983 and closed in 1999, a few years after the ride lost its sponsorship from GE. It was replaced by Mission: SPACE, and there is no way we can debate the fact that Mission: SPACE is a much more innovative and exciting ride. However, Horizons, with its theme “If we can dream it, we can do it” really captured the innovative and hopeful spirit that Disney World, and especially EPCOT, were founded on. Guests rode through scenes that depicted how people dreamed about the future throughout history, and it was fun to see what dreams have and have not come true yet! The ride then moved into a 21st century world where there were cities in space and underwater. While the ride obviously would have needed some significant updating since we ARE now in the 21st century, much of the future it envisioned still has not become a reality. The entire pavilion was closed, and then demolished, apparently because of structural issues with the building. With the closing of Horizons, Epcot lost a good part of the hopeful nostalgia for the future that was an integral part of its early identity. (We also miss how the waiting area smelled like orange creamsicles!)
7. Ellen’s Energy Adventure (Epcot)
Closing on the same day as The Great Movie Ride (August 13, 2017), Ellen’s Energy Adventure located in the Universe of Energy closed its doors in Epcot’s Future World. We will miss Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye’s quick witted and informative conversations about energy while enjoying the film presentations and slow-moving dark ride through audio-animatronic sets. What’s the come? A Guardians of the Galaxy-themed attraction!