Update: Another Controversial Film Erased From All Disney Parks

A whimsical image of a large, cartoonish whale with an open mouth, serving as an entrance to a ride in a theme park, surrounded by manicured greenery and a small water canal under a clear sky.
Credit: Disney

It’s been a long time coming, but Disney has finally axed the final reference to one film from all of its parks.

As Walt Disney promised when he opened Disneyland in 1955, no Disney theme park will ever be complete so long as imagination is left in the world.

Walt Disney in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Credit: Walt Disney Archives

Unfortunately, there’s not always enough room to squeeze in all this imagination.

Over the years, we’ve said goodbye to attractions, stores, restaurants, and characters at every Disney park in order to make space for new additions. While some of these closures are non-issues (does anybody really miss Primeval Whirl?), others are slightly harder for diehard Disney fans to swallow.

A vibrant, colorful illustration showing children watching in awe as a joyful, animated marshmallow character performs on stage, surrounded by glowing lights and a magical "Tiana's Bayou Adventure" ambiance.

Credit: Disney

The latter has certainly been the case in recent years as Disneyland and Disney World have bid adieu to their versions of Splash Mountain in an effort to scrub all references to its controversial film Song of the South (1946) – which draws heavily on racist stereotypes – and replace both versions of the ride with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

While the case of Splash Mountain stands in a league of its own, other Disney park closures have had more to do with IP becoming outdated and Disney wanting to bring in fresh, new characters to boost attendance.

Groot outside Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout

Credit: Disney

Over the past decade, we’ve seen the likes of Maelstrom (EPCOT), The Great Movie Ride (Hollywood Studios), Tower of Terror (California Adventure), and Armageddon – Les Effets Speciaux (Walt Disney Studios Park) all close to make way for newer IP. Controversially, Disney has also announced a Marvel overlay for the classic that is “it’s a small world” next year.

Disney is currently also adding three new franchises into another attraction at Disneyland Paris. Le Pays des Contes de Fées in Disneyland Paris is under refurbishment right now to add new scenes inspired by Up (2010), Frozen (2013), and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977).

Guests pass a scene on the Storybook Canal Boats (Le Pays des Contes de Fées) in Disneyland Paris, where 'Return to Oz' is being replaced by 'Up.'

Credit: Disney

In the process, however, Disney has successfully erased another film from its theme parks. The Up (2010) scene will replace a scene inspired by Return to Oz (1985) – the dark fantasy unofficial sequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939) that sees Dorothy return to Oz and find it conquered by the Nome King and his accomplice Princess Mombi.

The Storybook Land Canal Boats or Le Pays Des Contes De Fées, is an attraction located in Disneyland, Paris. The ride is a calm stream through miniature replicas of lands from famous fairy tales. The last land that riders see is The Emerald City from Disney’s “Return To Oz”.

The scene in question saw Dorothy, Toto, The Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin-Man on the steps of the Emerald City. It previously featured Tiktok, a mechanical man featured in Return to Oz, but this figurine has been missing for years.

Unlike the scenes being replaced by Frozen and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Disney didn’t make this swap public before the ride’s closure in April, meaning anyone who did have a particular affinity for Return to Oz didn’t have a chance to say an official farewell.

Dorothy and her eclectic group of friends, including a lion, a tin man, a scarecrow, and a robot, stand in a richly decorated palace hall on the set of 'Return to Oz.'

Credit: D23

With the closure of The Great Movie Ride in 2017, the only two attractions with any Wizard of Oz relevance at all have now officially been erased from Disney’s theme parks. But considering how infamously terrifying it is (the film was described at its release as “a horror show flying under the banner of family entertainment”), it’s a wonder that there was ever any Return to Oz representation at Disney to begin with.

Are you a fan of Return to Oz? Let us know in the comments!

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic

About Chloe James

Chloë is a theme park addict and self-proclaimed novelty hunter. She's obsessed with all things Star Wars, loves roller coasters (but hates Pixar Pal-A-Round), and lives for Disney's next Muppets project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.