8) 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – Magic Kingdom
This larger than life attraction was based on Jules Verne’s 1870 novel. The 10-minute submarine ride took Guests through a huge manmade lagoon that held 11.5 million gallons of water. There were twelve submarines in the attraction’s fleet. It was one of the largest and most costly attractions ever designed and built by Disney Imagineers, and it was very expensive to maintain as well. The enormous lagoon had to be drained multiple times a year so it could be cleaned. Because some of the submarines were leaky, Disney temporarily closed the ride in 1994, only to announce in 1996 that the attraction would not reopen. You can now visit Ariel’s Grotto in the area that once housed a massive lagoon, Captain Nemo, his fleet of submarines and even the lost City of Atlantis. (Photo credit: Pinterest)
9) Mickey’s ToonTown Fair – Magic Kingdom, 1988 – 2011
This attraction endured multiple name changes over the course of its lifetime at Disney World. It was a magical place where Guests could see the holiday homes of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. It debuted in 1988 as Mickey’s Birthdayland. The opening cleverly coincided with Mickey’s 60th birthday that year. Later, in 1990, its name changed to Mickey’s Starland, and six years later in 1996, Mickey’s ToonTown Fair made its debut. Sadly, in 2011, rather than getting a new name, the attraction instead closed permanently. The Storybook Circus Area of the New Fantasyland expansion now stands where the cheerful homes of Mickey and Minnie used to be. Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction is also a part of that area today. (Photo credit: Pinterest)
10) River Country water park
River Country was Walt Disney World’s first ever water park. It opened on June 20, 1976 and promised the fun of an old swimming hole for the whole family. It was located at Bay Lake behind Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. There were water attractions of all kinds, including slides, pools, bridges and more. Among Guests’ favorites were the White Water Rapids, the Upstream Plunge and Slippery Slide Falls. Whoop ‘n’ Holler Hollow boasted two separate twisting slides—one 260 feet long and one 160 feet long—that plunged Guests into the ‘Ol Swimmin’ Hole. On River Country’s opening day, Susan Ford, the 18-year-old daughter of President Gerald Ford, was the first Guest to ride Whoop ‘n’ Holler Hollow. There was also a nature trail at River Country.
When River Country closed in November of 2001 at the end of its season, Guests fully expected it to open when the other Disney water parks reopened in March of 2002. To their dismay, however, it was the only water park that did not reopen. To this day, remnants of River Country can still be seen from a few Guest areas at Walt Disney World. Whether Disney has plans to refurbish or demolish the old water park remains to be seen.
Since Disney World opened nearly 50 years ago, many attractions have come and gone. Some attractions that were there on opening day in 1971 are still open today. And though some of our favorites are gone, Disney never disappoints as it is continually growing and grooming its parks to continually offer the best in family entertainment and vacation possibilities of any destination on earth.