The Disney Corporation has been around for a long time. And while they started out just making cartoons and movies, their merchandise has certainly branched out since then. Most notably amongst their revenue are the Disney theme parks, Disneyland, Disney World, and the various parks in different cities around the world. However, as recent events have shown, the parks do not remain the same over time. The parks are expanded and, in some cases, rides are replaced. Here are some of the Disney theme park attractions that have been lost to time.
The Rainbow Corridor was a bit trippy and could be the cause of a few epileptic episodes. It was a part of Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion, specifically ImageWorks on the second floor. It really gained traction shortly after opening in 1982 when Michael Jackson did a photoshoot there. The lights were dimmed in 1998 when ImageWorks moved downstairs. However, Disney announced in 2019 plans to install a Rainbow Tunnel in the new Epcot Experience Center.
Fort Wilderness Railroad
The Fort Wilderness Railroad was a steam train that opened in 1973. It ran through the vast property of the Fort Wilderness Campground. This is another Disney attraction where the reason behind the shutdown is unknown. Some rumors are as harmless as a poor fuel capacity or as frightening as a little girl being hit by one of the trains while riding her bike.
Mike Fink Keel Boats
In 1971, the Mink Flink Keel Boats were introduced to the Magic Kingdom. They were intended to appear reminscent of the keelboats used in the race between Davy Crockett and Mike Flink from the show Davy Crocket and the River Pirates. The ships were named Bertha Mae and Gullywhumper respectively. Originally they were used in actual races, but a capsizing incident made the boats less attractive to guests. As a result, the boats stopped running in 1997.
Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat
The Riverboat first debuted the day after Disney World’s grand opening in 1971. The boat, itself was popular enough, at least until… the incident. During routine maintenance, while the ship was being hoisted out of the water, Admiral Joe Fowler fell, damaging the hull beyond repair. The boat was decommissioned and buried somewhere on the property.
Plaza Swan Boats
The Swan Boats used to be some of the more relaxing attractions at Disney parks. While it’s not too clear why these attractions were decommissioned, it’s believed that the cost of maintenance was just too high in the summer. Regardless of the reason, it was closed down in 1983 and a few of the original swans were auctioned off.
Southern Seas And Ports O Call
The ships Southern Seas and Ports o Call were ferries designed to shuttle guests around the Seven Seas Lagoon. Although, they didn’t last too long. Southern Seas suffered hull damage in 1974 and was dismantled in 1977. Southern Seas II was made a few years later, but it stopped running in 1997 due to low guest attendance. Ports o Call was out even earlier, having stopped running in 1984.
The Skyway initially opened with the rest of Disney World in 1971. It was made as a way to be able to quickly travel between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. It lasted well into the 90s until it was shut down. This is another attraction where the reason for its closure isn’t quite clear.
‘STOLport’ For Disney Employees And Guests
The STOLport, or “short take-off and landing” port, was a small running used for the same reasons its name might denote. However, it didn’t have any terminals or hangers and could only hold up to four grounded planes at the same time. Passenger operations were shut down in 1972 and closed entirely in 80s. Although, you can still see the landing strip from the monorail.
Wonders Of Life Pavilion
This Wonders of Life Pavilion isn’t technically gone, but being reinvented. It’s actually been nicknamed the Wonders of Sadness, as there has been no event hosted there since its closing in 2007.
Pleasure Island was created a location for night owls, with bars and clubs. It was a nice idea to give something for the older visitors but it completely flopped at the turn of the century. They made renovations in 2006, which included removing the “Pleasure Island Tonight” sign with Jessica Rabbit. Foot traffic didn’t increase though and area was shut down in 2010.
The Adventurers Club
The Adventurers Club was a thematic bar with several different rooms. Guests would be allowed to see live shows, radio broadcasts, and new member inductions. However, the club was hosted on Pleasure Island, and we all know where that went. Former patrons did their best to keep it afloat, but it did eventually get shut down in 2010.
This was one of the main shows that was there when Disney World opened. It was hosted by two bird, Clyde and Claude, and featured 150 mechanical birds, flowers, and tikis singing songs. The show closed in 1997 and was replaced with a modified version called “The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management)”.
The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management)
Speaking of that new attraction, the new Enchanted Tiki Room featured Zazu from The Lion King and Iago from Aladdin. However, the reviews of the new attraction weren’t any better. In January 2011, a fire damaged the Zazu animatronic beyond repair. The sprinkler system also heavily damaged one of the mechanical goddesses. As such, the attraction was modeled back into the style of the Tropical Serenade.
ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
After Disney acquired the rights to the Alien franchise, they began construction of this intense ride. They even collaborated with George Lucas to make sure everything turned out just right. But when it was completed, Michael Eisner, the CEO of Disney at the time, ordered it to be closed. The more cheerful pre-show just didn’t match the intensity of the ride. It opened in 1995 and closed in 2003 to be replaced by Stitch’s Great Escape.
Flight To The Moon
Disneyland’s Tomorrowland opened the attraction Flight to the Moon in 1967. It was a flight simulation with vibrating chairs and screens that made it seem as though people were actually flying towards the moon. After the moon landing in 1969 though, the ride was changed to Mission to Mars in 1975. Although, the ride was torn down and replaced with Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in 1992.
Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends
When the Animal Kingdom opened in Disney World in 1998, this was one of their live shows. It was a 12-minute performance featuring Pocahontas, Meeko, Grandmother Willow, and several other different animals. The attraction ran for ten years before it was shut down. Grandmother Willow got to stick around as a designated smoking area in Camp Minnie and Mickey, at least until that closed in 2014.
Honey, I Shrunk The Audience
Based off of a similarly named film, Disneyland once featured the 4D show Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. Guests would wear 3-D glasses and the events on the screen would make it appear as though they’d actually shrunk down. However, following the death of Michael Jackson, the Captain EO show, which this attraction had initially replaced, was added back in. That show was removed in 2014 and the theater has remained empty ever since.
Rainbow Caverns Mine Train
The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train was one of Disneyland’s earliest attractions in Frontierland, opening around a year after the park opened. It featured audio-animatronic animals and different environments. One of the most impressive features was known as Cascade Peak. In 1977 it was closed in order to build the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Based off of the film of the same name, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea featured 12 individually driven, 38-person submarines exploring a 12 million gallon tank. The ride featured animatronic mermaids, giant squid, and even a replica of Atlantis. Unfortunately, rigorous upkeep forced the ride to shut down in 1994. The tank was drained and one of the subs was sinked in Castaway Cay to mark the end of the ride. Although, a Finding Nemo equivalent is believed to be in the works.
Horizons was built as a sort of follow up to the Carousel of Progress. It was in the center of EPCOT, intended to get guests into scientific discoveries. It housed an Omnirover ride system with two 70 millimeter “OMNIMAX” screens. Using these, guests could choose to travel to the desert community Mesa Verde, the Bravo Centauri space station, or the underwater Sea Castle research base. After a six year run, the ride closed in 1989.
The Great Movie Ride
The Great Movie Ride’s removal was more recent than most other things on this list, so you might actually remember going on it. It ran from 1989 to 2017 and featured animatronics and scenes from films like the Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and Alien. It was a rather long ride as well, lasting around 30 minutes. However, it was torn down and replaced with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad.
The Flying Saucers first opened in Disneyland in August 6th 1961. They were like bumper cars, but powered by gusts of air. It was closed in 1966, as it was expensive to operate and require intensive maintenance. Even worse, it couldn’t fit that many passengers at once. It was later replaced with Tomorrowland Stage.
Adventure Thru Inner Space
Before Star Tours arrived in Disneyland, there was a ride called Adventure Thru Inner Space. It was an Omnimover attraction that ran from 1967 to 1985. It was actually the first ride to do so. However, as mentioned before, it was closed in 1985 to make room for Star Tours.
The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror
This ride technically still exists but has been completely overhauled. The Tower of Terror first opened in 1994 in Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. Guests would ascend a haunted elevator and then drop hundreds of feet within seconds. The ride has since been remodeled as Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! and features the titular characters from the film franchise of the same name.
The thing with the PeopleMover is that there’s only one PeopleMover. The original came to Disneyland in 1967. The ride took you on a tour through the various parts of Tomorrowland, with a sound system and commentary being provided on each attraction. The last run was made in 1995, although the tracks are still present in the park. A new version was also built in Disney World.