The team of creative Imagineers for the Disney family of theme parks is known for continually bringing in new attractions for guests to enjoy. With every historic milestone and anniversary, Disney will open new rides and shows in order to attract new visitors. However, along with this constant influx of fresh ideas for ways to entertain visitors comes the necessary closures of old attractions.
Here are a few of the most popular attractions that have since been retired, much to the chagrin of many Disney aficionados.
The Great Movie Ride – Disney’s Hollywood Studios 1989-2017Read More »
Maelstrom – Epcot 1988-2014
Nobody can blame Disney for wanting to capitalize on the popularity of the “Frozen” franchise by opening a ride themed to this movie at its Norway pavilion in Epcot. However, the fact that the Frozen Ever After ride replaced the cult-like favorite Maelstrom was disappointing to many park visitors. Instead of the famous troll and viking animatronics, the ride now features Anna, Elsa, and Olaf. The new ride shares the same layout and vehicle as the old Maelstrom attraction. But, the theming and overall vibe could not be any more different.
ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter – Magic Kingdom 1995-2003
Over in the flagship Magic Kingdom park, what was once the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter attraction is now the more family-friendly Stitch’s Great Escape. Located on a piece of prime real estate at the entrance to Tomorrowland, the Alien Encounter was a scary attraction that left some families wondering how it made the cut for the Magic Kingdom. The attraction had a science-fiction bent, leaning on a variety of special effects to make guests feel as if they were being hunted by an alien on the loose. The new Stitch attraction is geared more toward the younger set.
Studio Backlot Tour – Disney’s Hollywood Studios 1989-2014
Because the Studios once operated more like a working movie set, it is no surprise that this Studio Backlot Tour was one of the feature attractions. The tram tour took visitors behind the scenes to show them how many of Disney’s most famous movies were filmed. The tour included recognizable sets, famous props, and the chance for guests to be a part of the action. However, the tour got the ax when park officials decided they needed the land to build the new Toy Story Land.
Body Wars – Epcot 1989-2007
As one of the first motion simulator rides in the world, Body Wars was once considered to employ the latest breakthrough technology. Riders would take a trip through the human body, learning how to fight infection. The ride was once part of the Wonders of Life pavilion, focused on teaching guests about health and the wonders of the human body. This entire pavilion has since been replaced. However, the technology used in Body Wars became the framework for what is now the Star Tours attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Captain EO – Epcot 1986-1998, 2010-2015
Like Body Wars, the Captain EO 3-D science fiction movie was one of the first of its kind. Not only did it lean on traditional 3D movie technology, but it also used a myriad of in-theater effects to create another dimension of engagement. While the ride was first shuttered in 1998, it reopened in 2010 for another few years after Jackson’s untimely death. Fans of the iconic musical artist lament that the attraction is no longer open. The theater is now used to host a variety of short films and other special features.
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience! – Epcot 1994-2010
During the time between the Captain EO runs, the theater was the home of the Honey, I Shrunk the Audience! 4-D attraction. In addition to its location at Epcot in Disney World, the attraction also ran at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disney. The attraction was based on the 1989 movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” featuring Rick Moranis.
Horizons – Epcot 1983-1994, 1995-1999
Another one of the most nostalgic rides of yesteryear at Epcot is the Horizons attraction. This building is now the site of Mission: Space. Back in its glory days, the Horizons attraction took guests through a variety of scenes depicting the possibility of the future. These scenes included a desert farm, a space station, and an underwater research base. Travelers could choose their own ending, making every ride a different experience.
Submarine Voyage – Disneyland Park 1959-1998
A classic favorite at Disney’s original park in California was the popular Submarine Voyage. Guests would travel through a recreation of the legendary Atlantis, a shipwreck graveyard, and more. Along the way, submarine riders would also encounter colorful fish, mermaids, and other critters of the sea. The ride was eventually repurposed to incorporate the theming of the “Finding Nemo” franchise. While the new submarine ride follows the same path as the original, the storyline and theme are decidedly different.
Skyway – Magic Kingdom 1971-1999
The historic Skyway once connected guests at Magic Kingdom to Tomorrowland from Fantasyland. The ride is distinguished as being one of the original opening day attractions. Along the journey, riders would enjoy views of the lagoon below as they were quickly transported between the two lands. There was also a similar Skyway attraction at Disneyland in California, in operation between 1956 and 1994.
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