Part of Walt Disney’s philosophy when it came to Disneyland and subsequent Disney Parks is that they will never be complete as long as there is still imagination left in the world. This has held true over the years with the Walt Disney World Resort seeing many changes with the addition of exciting new experiences for Guests to enjoy. Sometimes these experiences have come in the form of expansions, however, they unfortunately also sometimes occurred as replacements for previously existing attractions.
Over the years, there have been plenty of attractions and experiences that have been replaced as the Disney Parks continue to grow, and while new experiences are always welcome, Guests mourn the ones that have been replaced. Here are some of the most missed attractions and experiences that Guests can no longer enjoy at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
One of the most frequently mentioned attractions that no longer exists is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride which was located in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland where The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh currently resides. The attraction opened with the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971 and until 1998 brought Guests into Toad Manor on a whirlwind adventure inspired by characters from the Disney animated film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Guests boarded ornate cars on two different tracks that were supposed to be driven by Mr. Toad himself and set off through a series of close calls and mishaps. Each track featured scenes like the library, Winky’s Tavern, a gypsy camp, and the town plaza where there were several near collisions with other cars, characters, and more.
While each track had unique scenes, they both ended with Guests colliding head on with a train and ultimately ending up in a scene depicting hell with little devils all around. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride definitely had a different tone than many attractions that exist in Walt Disney World today, but it was beloved by Guests and will continue to be missed! Guests who do enjoy a ride on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh can also spot several tributes to the previous attraction such as Mr. Toad handing the deed to Owl as well as a portrait of Mole. Mr. Toad can also be found atop a tombstone in the pet cemetery over at the Haunted Mansion.
ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
Another former attraction that had a much different tone that many of the current experiences at that Walt Disney World Resort was the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter which was found in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland from 1995 through 2003. The attraction brought Guests into the Tomorrowland Interplanetary Convention Center where the company X-S was showcasing its newest teleportation technology. Guests could enjoy a preshow where the robot S.I.R. voiced by Tim Curry demonstrated the teleportation technology using the lovable animatronic Skippy as test subject.
The main experience at the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter brought Guests into a theater in the round where should restraints kept them in their seats as chaos quickly erupted. The Chairman of X-S Clench decided that he would be transported to meet Guests in person, and in the rush of reconfiguring things, a carnivorous alien was sent into the theater instead. The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter the used a combination of darkness, sound effects, and more to make each Guest feel as though the alien was coming just for them. This thrilling experience was beloved by many Guests, but was definitely more on the scarier side for a Disney attraction and was ultimately replaced by Stitch’s Great Escape! which opened in 2004.
Snow White’s Scary Adventures
Another opening day attraction from October 1, 1971 was Snow White’s Adventures in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland which was later renamed Snow White’s Scary Adventures. The attraction had Guests board mine carts adorned with the names of the dwarfs and embark on a retelling of the story from the classic Disney animated film. The scenes featured some innovative special effects such as the Evil Queen turning into the old Witch while talking to her magic mirror as well as a memorable scene where Snow White could be found dancing with the dwarfs in their cottage.
The final scenes of Snow White’s Scary Adventures brought Guests to the dark and stormy cliff where a massive rock was dropped on the Witch followed by the Prince waking Snow White with a kiss and both of them waving to Guests as they departed. This classic attraction could definitely be a little scary for younger Guests, but was a favorite of many until its closing in 2012 when it was replaced by Princess Fairytale Hall.
A beloved attraction that had a substantial Guest following was Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. Maelstrom and the Norway Pavilion opened in Epcot in 1988 and the attraction aimed to teach Guests about the heritage, culture, and folklore of Norway through a series of scenes. Guests boarded wooden Viking-style boats underneath a massive mural that depicted scenes of modern Norway as well as whimsical elements like trolls in the forests. The first few scenes showcased ancient times in Norway where Vikings and seafarers could be found setting sail followed by a mythical forest where a three-headed troll cast a spell sending Guests plummeting backward over the falls.
The boats ultimately righted themselves in another forest scene where Guests then plummeted down into the North Sea amongst massive oil rigs before emerging in a charming seaside town. After disembarking, Guests had the opportunity to stop inside a small theater and enjoy a short film about Norway. Maelstrom was a favorite of many Guests thanks to its immersive scenes and memorable troll animatronic and it operated until 2014 when it shuttered to make way for Frozen Ever After.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure
Epcot’s World Discovery was previously home to the Universe of Energy and the quirky Ellen’s Energy Adventure which ran from 1996 through 2017. The attraction was a lengthy forty five minute experience that began with a preshow introducing Ellen in her apartment where she is visited by her neighbor Bill Nye the Science Guy before falling asleep. She finds herself dreaming that she is on an episode of Jeopardy! competing against Albert Einstein and a rival from college named Judy who was played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Ellen quickly realized that she knew nothing about energy and Bill Nye stepped in to help her learn through a series of films and physical scenes.
Some memorable moments from Ellen’s Energy Adventure include the massive prehistoric scene where Guests moved through an array of large animatronic dinosaurs and a film about energy that nearly surrounded Guests on massive screens. At the end, Ellen becomes an energy expert and wins the game (take that Stupid Judy!) and Guests found themselves also full of useful knowledge about energy. Unfortunately, Ellen’s Energy Adventure closed in 2017 to make way for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind but Guests will always remember the unique experience!
The Great Movie Ride
Disney’s Hollywood Studios was previously home to The Great Movie Ride, an epic journey through some of Hollywood’s most beloved films. The attraction opened with Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 1, 1989 and was housed inside the iconic replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Guests boarded massive slow-moving vehicles with a live guide and moved through scenes depicting classic films including Singing in the Rain, Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Tarzan, and more.
The Great Movie Ride also featured an interactive element where Guests could enjoy two different story arcs. In one scenario, Guests found themselves in the middle of a shootout in the belly of the underworld and their guide was replaced by a gangster and in the other scenario Guests were caught in the middle of a gunfight outside of a Western saloon and were soon guided by an outlaw bandit. After that, Guests continued through various films before finding themselves in an ancient temple scene with a massive jewel. The gangster and bandit would both try to steal the cursed jewel and in a puff of smoke they would turn to skeletons and the original guide would reappear to finish the tour. The Great Movie Ride was truly a favorite by many Guests until it closed in 2017 to make way for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but a tribute can still be found today in the form of a poster in one of the ride scenes advertising “The Great Moving Ride.”
Studio Backlot Tour
Another missed attraction from Disney’s Hollywood Studios was the Studio Backlot Tour that opened with the Disney Park on May 1, 1989. The Studio Backlot Tour helped bring the theme of a working film and television studio to life by allowing Guests a backstage glimpse of the magic in various forms. Guests first enjoyed a live example of how special effects were merged with film footage to create big action scenes, and several lucky Guests even got the chance to volunteer and end up totally soaked! Guests then boarded large trams and set off on a ride that originally took them through a residential street with recognizable houses used for filming shows such as The Golden Girls, working facilities like wardrobe headquarters, and a lot filled with vehicles and other large scale items from memorable films. The highlight of the Studio Backlot Tour was Catastrophe Canyon where Guests found themselves caught up in the filming of an action scene where an earthquake would shake the tram and a series of explosions and flooding brought an element of thrill to the experience. The Studio Backlot Tour became smaller and smaller over the years as other experiences were added to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and eventually it closed all together in 2014 to make way for Toy Story Land.
One of the best ways to view the Magic Kingdom used to be from the now removed Skyway attraction. The slow moving system of transportation had Guests board bucket-like vehicles and take to the skies on a one way journey between two stations found in Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. The Skyway was a favorite of many Guests at it allowed them to take in beautiful views of the Disney Park from up above and many also used it as a convenient form of transportation for getting from one side of the Magic Kingdom to the other. The attraction opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971 and continued to entertain Guests until 2009 when a refurbishment of Space Mountain demolished the Tomorrowland station. The Fantasyland station continued to exist and was used as stroller parking until it was demolished in 2012 to make way for the Tangled restroom area.
Journey into Imagination
Many Guests absolutely love Figment and have to enjoy a ride on Journey into Imagination with Figment whenever they are in Epcot, but just as many also miss the original version of the attraction which was a total classic. Journey into Imagination opened on March 5, 1983 and brought Guests on a whimsical journey with Figment and his companion Dreamfinder as they traveled around collecting imagination to bring to the Dreamport. After meeting Dreamfinder and Figment, Guests moved through a series of scenes that depicted different forms of imagination and genres including art, literature, and science, and in each room Figment could be found exploring and getting into all sorts of humorous and lovable situations. The original version of the current attraction also featured the Sherman Brothers song “One Little Spark” and Guests immediately found themselves singing along. Journey into Imagination was a classic attraction that many Guests miss as it was the only version to feature Dreamfinder and it closed in 1998 to make way for Journey into YOUR Imagination in 1999.
One attraction that previously existed in Epcot’s World Discovery neighborhood had a huge following with Guests who still miss it greatly today. Horizons opened on October 1, 1983 and brought Guests on a journey that began with past conceptions of what the future might possible look like including ideas proposed by Jules Verne. Guests then got to move through different scenes depicting ways that we might live in the future including the ocean research lab Sea Castle, space station Brava Centauri, and desert farm Mesa Verde.
Each scene featured memorable animatronic characters and video screens that showed how individuals in the future would communicate with each other. Horizons then concluded with an interactive element where Guests could choose which setting they would like to see move of before viewing a video of that location. Horizons continued welcoming Guests until 1999 when it was demolished to make room for Mission: SPACE and the original logo of the attraction can be found on the center of the gravity wheel in the new attraction’s queue as well as on a checkout counter in the gift shop.
Just next door to where Horizons used to exist in Epcot’s World Discovery neighborhood stood the Wonders of Life Pavilion which welcomed Guests inside to enjoy a variety of experiences that showcased different aspects of life including health and wellness. In 1989 the popular attraction Body Wars opened in the pavilion and featured an innovative ride system that simulated Guests shrinking down to microscopic size and traveling inside of the human body to see how white blood cells helped to break down a splinter and heal the wound left behind.
The adventure took a more thrilling turn when their guide Dr. Lair was swept into a capillary and a race began to rescue her, with memorable moments inside both the heart and brain. Body Wars used a similar ride system to Star Tours – The Adventures Continue where Guests were seated in a cabin that had a screen in the front of the room and the cabin moved and tilted according to what was happening on screen. Body Wars was a very popular attraction with Guests until its closure in 2007, and ever since the pavilion had been used sporadically as a Festival Center and will soon be transformed into the new Play! Pavilion.
Continuing with a long list of Epcot attractions that were beloved by Guests and continue to be missed, we move over to Epcot’s World Nature neighborhood and specifically the Imagination Pavilion. Captain EO was a massive hit with Guests and was a 3D show starring Michael Jackson that opened on September 12, 1986. Jackson starred as Captain EO who was traveling with his crew to deliver a gift to the Supreme Leader who orders the crew to be captured and turned into trash cans. Captain EO then uses music to showcase how the Supreme Leader can look inside of herself to find beauty, and there are plenty of memorable scenes including the climactic battle between Captain EO and the Whip Warriors.
In the end, Captain EO wins over the Supreme Leader and transforms her, leading to a big musical finale. Captain EO was beloved by Guests thanks to the stellar cast, memorable crew members and characters, musical numbers including “We Are Here to Change the World” and “Another Part of Me,” special 3D effects and movement of the theater itself, as well as the iconic presence of Michael Jackson. Captain EO ran until 1994 and then briefly made a return to Epcot from 2010 to 2015 and is very missed by Guests!
Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom previously hosted an innovative experience that literally surrounded Guests with an adventure. The Timekeeper opened on November 21, 1994 and brought Guests into a Circle-Vision theater with nine screens surrounding them overhead. The experience was guided by Timekeeper, a robot voiced by Robin Williams, and Nine-Eye, a special robot voiced by Rhea Perlman with nine eyes that broadcasted in live time onto the nine screens above. The duo was testing out a time travel machine for the first time and the result was an adventure through many different points in history with lots of humorous touches.
Guests found themselves in prehistoric times, the ice age, the Renaissance in Leonardo da Vinci’s studio, a performance by Mozart as a child, and ultimately the 1900 Exposition Universelle where they met Jules Verne who accidentally travels with Nine-Eye to the future. Verne is shown an array of modern architecture, creations, and technology before being returned to his own timeline. The Timekeeper then ends with a glimpse into the future as Nine-Eye travels ahead and ends up running into Verne again as he travels in his own time machine. The Timekeeper eventually closed in 2006 and was replaced by the current Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor.
What attraction do you miss most at Walt Disney World?