As someone who has traveled to Walt Disney World more times than I can count, I’ve seen attractions come and go. Disney closes and changes attractions for many different reasons – some rides become outdated, while others diminish in popularity or become too difficult or expensive to maintain. Other attractions go to make way for new ideas.
The Disney Dining site (a terrific site fill of great tips and fun list posts) recently produced their list of ten Walt Disney World attractions they wish were still around. While I agree with the spirit of their list, I didn’t agree with the placement of some of the attractions on the list, so I gave in to the temptation to create my own list.
Many of these selections stem from sheer nostalgic value, but I really do miss these rides. If you think of other attractions that you think should be on this list, feel free to share in the comments section below.
5. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1971-1994)
The submarine ride 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea captured my imagination as a kid. In typical Disney fashion, the attraction was set up to immerse guests in believing they were in the depths of the ocean even though they were only a few feet underwater. Disney closed the submarine ride in 1994, but they didn’t fill in the lagoon for a few years. Part of New Fantasyland sits in that space now, so I suppose it’s a worthwhile tradeoff all these years later.
4. The Original Journey Into Imagination (1983-1998)
Journey Into Imagination still exists at Epcot, but in its current form, the attraction is a mere shadow of its original.
The original Journey Into Imagination followed Dreamfinder and his creation/sidekick Figment, a whimsical dragon, as they explore imagination and creativity. After the ride, guests visited the ImageWorks, an entire floor of interactive activities designed to inspire creativity. Disney updated the ride in 1998 taking inspiration from the Honey I Shrunk The Kids films (you know, that enduring series).
After an uproar from guests, the company brought back Figment in 2002, but the current iteration of Journey Into Imagination misses the whimsy of the original, and the current ImageWorks is nowhere near as fun.
3. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (1971-1998)
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride occupied a great space at the edge of Fantasyland. Guests can still experience the attraction at Disneyland, but the Florida version included two tracks which provided different ride experiences. Mr. Toad’s Wild Rice was a simple (and probably dated) dark ride, but it provided sheer crazy fun.
One day I’m going to make it to Anaheim to give it a spin once again.
2. If You Had Wings (1972-1987)
If You Had Wings was another ride that captured my imagination as a kid. The Omnimover attraction basically celebrated flight and air travel, using multimedia elements and a wonderful theme song to encourage guests to take flight and see the world. The Speed Room gave a fun adrenaline rush, creating the illusion of movement beyond the scope of the Omnimovers. Even into the ’80s, If You Had Wings served as a nice time capsule of the ’70s, and I really miss the fun.
1. Horizons (1983-1999)
A decade and a half after Horizons closed, the attraction still holds a special place in my heart, as well as a cult following unlike that of any long closed Disney ride. Sure it was dated, but Horizons brought an infectious vision of the future that matches Walt Disney’s own optimistic futurism. The interactive feature at the end of Horizon packed a unique thrill. The exciting Mission: SPACE is there now, but there will never be another experience quite like Horizons.