Disney theme parks are go-to destinations for the whole family. There are kiddie rides, thrilling coasters and tons of magic - something that this brand is definitely known for delivering.
Over the years, though, Disney’s parks have changed. Old rides have been closed down or replaced. Current rides have gone through refurbishments and updates. New characters and attractions have been implemented, as new movies have been released. While everyone has a favorite ride and a ride that they miss, these are the 10 that seem to really stand out in fans' minds, when it comes to attractions from the past years of these parks…
10 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage was at Magic Kingdom from 1971 to 1994. It featured eight submarines in a lagoon, and it was quite popular. However, it was expensive to maintain, so it closed without notice for “temporary maintenance,” then for good in 1996.
After it first shut down, some of the subs were left in the lagoon. Then, they ended up in the Walt Disney World backstage before being stripped and buried in a landfill in 2004. Three of them were saved, though, and two of these were put deep down in the snorkeling lagoon at Castaway Cay. Now, only one exists down there, and the third was in the Disney's Hollywood Studios backlot tour… until that shut down, and it ended up in storage.
9 Big Thunder Ranch
Big Thunder Ranch was featured at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. This attraction looked like a ranch, as its name suggested, with a log cabin and an outdoor petting zoo. Yes, there were animals such as sheep, cows and the two turkeys who were pardoned on Thanksgiving in 2008!
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An unseen area had a trail of lights and trees for the horses of Disneyland, as well as a real house, where the caretakers of the horses lived. Big Thunder Ranch opened up in 1986, and it closed down in 2016, making way for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
8 The Great Movie Ride
In 1989, The Great Movie Ride arrived at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. Audio-animatronic figures, live actors, special effects and other magical techniques came together to show off 12 classic films, such as Mary Poppins, Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz. This well-known attraction was located in the park’s version of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and it eventually closed in 2017, as the last ride that had been there since opening day.
While many guests miss this dark ride, it will soon house Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, which is the first ride that will be all about Mickey Mouse - the first at any of the Disney parks!
7 Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was an attraction based off of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids films. Several of Disney’s theme parks knew how successful these movies were, and they opened up this unique 4-D experience. That's right - Audience members wore 3-D glasses, in order to watch a new story that truly popped. But when the audience gets shrunken down, 4-D elements come into play, like the feeling of the tails of mice!
This attraction was housed at Epcot from 1994 to 2010, at Disneyland from 1998 to 2010, at Tokyo Disneyland from 1997 to 2010, and at Disneyland in Paris from 1999 to 2010, before being replaced at all locations by the Captain EO Tribute.
6 The Studio Backlot Tour
The Studio Backlot Tour was the main attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It allowed guests to see props from different films and a behind-the-scenes look at how some of the on-screen magic is created.
There was a walking tour, a tram tour and an exit through an American Film Institute museum, showing off water tanks like the ones used to film Pearl Harbor scenes, a ride past the Earffel Tower, a boneyard of movie vehicles and a "live" movie set featuring Catastrophe Canyon.This popular attraction opened in 1989, and it closed in 2014, to be replaced by Toy Story Land.
5 Rocket Rods
Rocket Rods used to be part of Disneyland, and it mimicked a rapid transit system. It took over the PeopleMover area in 1998, closed about a month later for repairs, reopened again, closed again and eventually was officially shut down in 2000. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters went into this spot in 2005.
The PeopleMover track could not handle the Rocket Rods’ speed and weight, and after its closing, one of the vehicles was in front of the Hollywood & Dine restaurant for a bit, and another one was in director Richard Kraft’s collection before going up for auction in 2018.
4 Rocket Jets
Rocket Jets was also at Disneyland, from 1967 to 1997. This spinning rocket ride was three stories up. It replaced the Astro Jets and was replaced in turn by the Astro Orbiter.
The Saturn V rocket of this ride was sold by Disney Auction in 2005, on eBay. One went up in Little Green Men Store Command, and one satellite dish was replaced by a Mickey Mouse head during Disneyland's 50th anniversary. This ride, which no longer exists, has also been referenced and honored in the animated films Meet the Robinsons and Monsters, Inc.
3 King Triton's Carousel of the Sea
Jessie's Critter Carousel is a ride that can be found at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California. However, the ride used to be King Triton's Carousel of the Sea; which was open from 2001 to 2018.
Several new Toy Story-inspired additions have been added to Disney parks in recent years, including Jessie's Critter Carousel, which arrived in April 2019. Pixar is popular, but it is always sad to see attractions that feature classic stories and characters replaced and closed down. Thankfully, The Little Mermaid did get Ariel's Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure in 2011, as well as Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom in 2012.
In 2001, the Maliboomer opened at Disney California Adventure. It was a Space Shot attraction, so it launched riders up into the air - sort of like the high striker game found at carnivals, where people test their strength by using a hammer to hit a target and ring a bell. This attraction even featured shields that muffled the sounds of riders screams!
The Maliboomer was going to be remodeled, but instead, it was shut down in 2010. This is now where the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind will soon stand.
Finally, there was the PeopleMover in Disneyland, which opened in 1967. It consisted of small trains on elevated tracks. This ride, which served as a prototype for public transportation, had a coined name that is known by all true Disney fanatics. It closed in 1995, though the infrastructure remained and a second version - the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover - opened in at Magic Kingdom in 1975.
Old cars from the PeopleMover have been seen (and ended up) in various places: at the Team Disney Anaheim building, at a cast members cafe, in the possession of a local resident and sold on Disney Auctions. The ride is also seen in the movie WALL-E and in the video game Disney Epic Mickey.