Photo Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World Experiences We Said Bye To In 2020

When Walt Disney World shut down in March 2020, we didn’t know that there were some experiences that we would be saying goodbye to for the long haul.

Because of the pandemic, EPCOT’s transformation, and new safety precautions, many of these experiences were closed for good in 2020.  See if you remember these experiences that used to be.

Rivers of Light: We Are One

Disney’s Animal Kingdom now has Disney KiteTails as an afternoon show, but before that was Rivers of Light.

Located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Discovery River Lagoon, the show originally opened in 2017 without fireworks. It went through a revision in 2019, adding more Disney touches, but still no fireworks.

Water fountains, mist screens, floating lanterns, and lasers were used to bring the show to life.  The show was short-lived, however, as it never came back after closing in March of 2020.

The new Disney KiteTails has taken its place on the lagoon and brings the story of Jungle Book or Lion King to the water with beautiful kites. It features beloved characters from the movies.

Classic Cinderella Castle

The icon of Magic Kingdom started to undergo a major change at the beginning of 2020.  A new paint job was started prior to the Park closing and kept us entertained throughout part of the pandemic as we watched progress take place.

When the Parks reopened to Guests in July 2020, Cinderella Castle had a brand new look featuring an updated color scheme to help celebrate Disney’s 50th Anniversary.

This royal makeover brought in not just the classic royal blue, but also pinks, purples, golds, and even a touch of iridescence that Guests can experience when the sunlight hits just right.

Although many of us were worried about the change and not prepared to say goodbye to the classic icon, we feel like the castle’s new style fits the 50th anniversary celebration perfectly.

Credit: Paula K

Primeval Whirl

Way back in DinoLand U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the Primeval Whirl coaster.  When the Park reopened in July 2020, this ride just- didn’t.

Primeval Whirl had some issues over the years and would often run a shortened schedule closing on non-busy days, but we were surprised that it just shut down without much notice.

Within a month, we saw the ride vehicles being taken down, and now the ride area just sits there empty.

We look forward to seeing what Disney will do with this area of the Park moving forward.

Electric Umbrella

If you have visited EPCOT in the past, you might have grabbed something to eat at Electric Umbrella in Future World.

As part of EPCOT’s large transformation, 2020 saw the end of Electric Umbrella as it was closed to Guests.

Those that enjoy quick service dining options found this to be a big loss as it greatly limited their choices.

We were thrilled when we learned that a new dining location will be coming to EPCOT. It will be called Connections Cafe & Eatery and will be found in the World Celebration neighborhood.

This will be a fantastic replacement for Electric Umbrella, and we hope that it comes sooner than later as EPCOT could use a large quick service, indoor option.

Mouse Gear

Shoppers loved the old Mouse Gear store in EPCOT as it provided a fun merchandise location in the Park.

We saw Mouse Gear close quickly and then reopen in a new location that was smaller than before.  For a while we thought that the full Mouse Gear would reopen, but with the opening of Creations Shop this seems unlikely.

The new Creations Shop is fantastic!  It is wide open and bright, giving Guests lots of room to move around.  Mickey himself is the inspiration for the shop, and we love the modern and sleek design.

Although we were sad to see Mouse Gear close, the new Creations Shop is a wonderful new place!

Finding Nemo: The Musical

As part of the safety procedures, Disney hadn’t reopened the beloved show in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Finding Nemo:  The Musical.

Recently it was announced that the show would be undergoing some changes to make way for a reimagined show focused on the ‘Finding Dory’ timeline. It will be called ‘Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!’.

We are sad that the original version didn’t get a proper send off in 2020, but we are thrilled that some of our favorite songs will be returning.

We can’t wait to see what this new show will bring in the future.

Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away

This ‘Star Wars’ focused show in Disney’s Hollywood Studios was a fantastic way for ‘Star Wars’ fans to see a lot of their favorite characters.

In February 2020, this show closed suddenly, making way for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway marquee.

We wish that A Galaxy Far, Far Away show would move over to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but that is highly unlikely.

EPCOT’s Character Spot

We absolutely loved being able to see some of our favorite characters in EPCOT, including Baymax, Sadness, and Joy.  With the transformation of EPCOT, the Character Spot went away.

Although we have seen characters out and around EPCOT, there isn’t a specific spot for these characters quite yet.

We would love to see these characters back in EPCOT as part of the transformation in the future.

We know that Walt Disney’s vision was that the Parks would be constantly updating and moving forward, but sometimes it is hard to say goodbye to experiences we have grown to love.

That said, we look forward to what will be coming in 2022 to Walt Disney World.  What do you miss the most?

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.