If you had to make a list of your most favorite experiences at Walt Disney World, what would you include on that list? How many of your favorite experiences are rides? How many are nighttime spectaculars? If you’re like most Disney World fans, your list would be lengthy. It would include your favorite things to do, see and experience at each of the four theme parks. It might also include your favorite attractions at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Your list might even be too lengthy to write.
Guests’ favorite experiences in the parks are not limited to attractions still open and available in the parks. In fact, for many Guests, their lists of favorite Disney World experiences would include some that recently closed and some that have been gone from the parks for so long that most people don’t remember them. No matter what you enjoy most at Disney World, there are probably at least a few experiences that are no longer in the parks. Here are ten of them that Guests loved, but that are no longer in existence today. (Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)
1) The Great Movie Ride – Hollywood Studios, 1989 – 2017
The Great Movie Ride is the latest Disney World attraction to be permanently closed. This attraction was a dark ride that took Guests through scenes from some of the most famous films in the history of the silver screen. The queue for the attraction featured memorabilia from classic films, as well as costumes from famous movies. The 22-minute ride used more than 60 audio animatronics that looked unbelievably realistic to depict scenes and characters from The Wizard of Oz, Disney’s Fantasia, Mary Poppins, Singin’ in the Rain, Alien, The Public Enemy, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Tarzan. Guests even watched as a live “scene” was performed by the tour guide right in front of them aboard the ride vehicle.
The Great Movie Ride closed in 2017 to make room for a new attraction called Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which is the first attraction at any Disney theme park to honor the Main Mouse and his lady. The new ride is set to open sometime in 2019.
2) Ellen’s Energy Adventure – EPCOT, 1996 – 2017
Ellen’s Energy Adventure was an attraction housed inside the Universe of Energy Pavilion on the east side of Future World at EPCOT. It opened in 1996 and starred Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Game show host Alex Trebek also had a part in one of the films in the attraction. Ellen’s Energy Adventure used a combination of live-action films and animatronic dinosaurs to present to Guests a light-hearted look at energy, sources of energy, how energy is produced and how it is harnessed. As attractions go, it was rather lengthy, but Guests enjoyed it, as evidenced by its long-running tenure at EPCOT (almost 21 years). Its closure was announced in 2017, and Ellen and Bill Nye took their final bows on August 13 of that year. A new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction will be built where the Universe of Energy pavilion stood. The new attraction is said to be open to Guests in time for Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021. (Photo credit: Disney Fanatic)
3) Body Wars – EPCOT, 1989 – 2007
To Guests who never got to experience the attraction, surely the entire premise of Body Wars seems strange and maybe even a little disturbing. After all, Guests boarding a body probe vehicle, shrinking to microscopic size and entering under the skin of the human body does sound odd—perhaps macabre to some. But if you could overlook the initial “weirdness” and “why” of the attraction, it had some interesting things about it.
Body Wars was a 7-minute motion simulator attraction in which Guests felt as though they were actually inside the human body—viewing vessels and organs from the inside. Before Guests boarded the Bravo 229 Probe ship, they were briefed on the mission they were about to observe. It sounded simple enough—Cynthia Lair, a fictitious doctor, had an interest in the workings of white blood cells and had volunteered to be shrunk to microscopic size, enter the skin of a patient who had a splinter and witness white blood cells in action around the splinter. Guests who boarded the probe ship were called “observation team members,” and they were there to watch along with Dr. Lair. The mission ran into problems when the probe ship headed in the wrong direction and ended up passing through the lungs, heart and brain before exiting the body.
For all its oddness, it was still an interesting look at the inner workings of our bodies. What else is interesting about Body Wars? The ride film itself was directed by none other than Leonard Nimoy, and the attraction also used the same ATLAS simulation technology that we enjoy today each time we board the StarSpeeder 3000 in the Star Tours attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (Photo credit: Theme Park Tourist)
4) Disney Dollars – all Disney theme parks, 1987 – 2016
While not an attraction, the experience of purchasing Disney Dollars either as souvenirs or to use as “cash” inside the parks was exciting. Disney Dollars were first issued in May of 1987, and at that time, the only denominations available were $1 and $5 bills. In 1990, however, Disney added the $10 bill to its currency. The bills were similar in size and appearance to U. S. currency and featured Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto or one of the park icons. A series A and Series D were initially created. The A Series was for Disneyland, and the D Series was for Disney World. In 2005, Disney added a T Series, which was for bills sold at Disney Stores. Some Guests bought Disney Dollars to use on purchases they made while in the parks. Others purchased the Disney currency solely for the purpose of taking the bills home as souvenirs.
On May 14, 2016, however, Disney announced that it would no longer print or distribute the beloved Disney Dollars, but that any existing Disney currency would remain legal tender in the parks and never expire. So if you have Disney bucks burning a whole in your pocket, take heart! You can still use them in the parks, but remember that once they’re gone, they’re gone since no new dollars have been printed since 2016.