7 Past Disney Attractions I Wish I Could Experience
And Their Contemporary Equivalents
Almost every Disney fan can name an attraction in the parks that they wish they had a chance to experience but never did. It may be Horizons or Adventure Through Inner Space or even something as recent as The Great Movie Ride. I’ve had the great blessing on experiencing a great number of attractions over the years, but there are a few that I’ve missed. I’ve dedicated this podcast to sharing the top 7 attractions I wish I could go back and experience.
We’ll start with number seven and work our way to my number one pick.
7. Big Game Safari
I’m not big on guns, though I’ve shot a few over my life time. But I’m fascinated by an old fashioned shooting gallery, and I remember this one as a child at Disneyland. I remember viewing it, I just don’t have any memories actually shooting it. It was also known over the years as Big Game Shooting Gallery. Back in the day these targets had to be restocked and painted every night before the next day. Today, this location hosts an open dining area for those grabbing treats at Bengal Barbecue.
Of course the Frontierland Shootin’ Gallery has continued to have a presence all of these years. And in the early days, there was a shooting gallery on Main Street to the rear of the Penny arcade.
6. Pack Mules
The Pack Mules (Mule Pack from 1955-1959, Rainbow Ridge Pack Mules, and Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland from 1960-1973) were a big part of Frontierland at Disneyland In August, Conestega Wagons also came on board.
The reason I never rode is a practical one. The line for doing this was a long one, and a slow one. Meanwhile, the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland was more capable of boarding more guests per hour. Both offered essentially the same experience, except you had the privilege of seeing the Rainbow Caverns on the Mine Train, which made another reason why you would want to choose the locomotive.
None of these attractions exist today. For horse rides, you need to head over to Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World. The Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland is now Big Thunder Mountain.
5. “Osceola-Class” Side-Wheel Paddleboats
Many people have ridden the Staten Island style ferry boats to and from the Magic Kingdom. But there was a classier ship on the water in the earlier days. Early transportation from Guest Parking to the park was on a pair of one-hundred-foot-long “Osceola-class” steam-driven side-wheel paddleboats, named Ports-O-Call and Southern Seas. These ships would help transport guests to and from during the day, but served as moonlight cruise ships in the evening. Live entertainment and even cocktails were provided on board.
In 1972, a pair of 120 foot long, 600 passenger, diesel-powered ferry boats (Magic Kingdom 1 and Magic Kingdom 2) took over the practical Guest transport on Seven Seas Lagoon, and the two Osceola-class ships were left solely to a regularly-scheduled recreational activity, The cruise cost 90 cents or ‘E’ coupon at boarding gate. Unfortunately, the Southern Seas suffered damage and was retired in 1977, the Ports-O-Call was retired shortly after the opening of Epcot in 1982.
In 1977, a 120-foot diesel version of the Osceola Class sidewheel boat, termed a “Seminole” class, but also called Southern Seas, was built and began service, but that was retired in 1996. An “Orlando-class” steamboat was also proposed, but never built.
The ferries have remained over the years, and continue to be an important part of transportation between TTC and Magic Kingdom.
4. Flying Saucers
The Flying Saucers are legendary to Disneyland, probably because they were always part of the montage at the beginning of The Wonderful World of Disney. It opened two months prior to my birth in 1961. They were single-rider vehicles all riding on a bed of air, similar to an air hockey table–long before air hockey tables were invented!
There were actually two arenas, which allowed one to board while they other side was riding. The saucers were maneuvered by shifting your body to the left or the right. Theoretically that would allow you to move. In truth, the system was a maintenance nightmare, and it suffered from performing consistently. The more you weighed, the more difficult to move. We should also mention that it was a sort of bumper car, which also invited potential injury if one could gain the momentum to hit another. In 1966, as the new Tomorrowland was created, these were removed.
Still, for aging baby boomers, the dream of making the attraction a reality was not lost. Therefore, John Lasseter was very big on doing a similar attraction called Luigi’s Flying Tires, which opened with that land in 2012. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out either, and was eventually removed for Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters in March of 2016. I did try that, and it was disappointing. Still, I wish I could have tried the flying saucers.
3. Meet the World
Now we go to the other side of the world to find an attraction that permitted you to “meet the world”. Meet the World was an attraction for opening day at Tokyo Disneyland. It was intended to be one of the only attractions in the park that would honor the heritage of Japan (the other was a 3-D film called “The Eternal Sea”. Think The American Adventure Japanese style. But the show wasn’t in a theater like The American Adventure.
The show was designed in a rotating theater similar to the Carousel of Progress. However, in this case, the audiences sat in one of two theaters, and the show rotated around. That allowed a greater theater size, but less audience capacity.
The show had over thirty Audio Animatronic figures, plus nine 70 millimeter projectors and 15 large pieces of show action equipment to include a hot-air balloon carrying two children and a crane.
The highlight of this show is a beautiful song written by the Sherman brothers for this attraction. The show closed in 2002 and the building was re-utilized for a Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek Attraction. This attraction is a segue between Tomorrowland and World Bazaar.
By the way, the great palace in the back of Epcot was intended originally to house this same attraction. When budgets and time frames gave way, the attraction went to Tokyo Disneyland for its opening
2. Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour
Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland had a walk through attraction from 1986 through 2006. But this is no Sleeping Beauty walk through with barbie-doll dioramas. This was on a whole different scale.
While theoretically you are supposed to take a tour of Cinderella Castle with a Cast Member giving you a tour, The Wicked Queen’s Magic Mirror appears and transforms the tour into a very different experience. A secret door opens leading the way to the Witch’s laboratory. You walk past prison cells, talking skulls and animated coats of arms.
Next a scene featuring Chernabog is shown It utilizes footage from Fantasia and leads guest to a chamber where water is flowing. It’s here that Maleficent’s goons appear and threaten the guests. This leads guests to a massive sleeping dragon.
But all of this is nothing compared to when guests enter a chamber where the Black Cauldron and the Horned King appears to threaten the guests. One chosen guest holds a lighted sword and defeats the king.
This attraction has since been replaced by a very beautiful walk through paying homage to Cinderella. It is a complete 180 from the original tour.
1. The Mickey Mouse Revue
I have ran around the world trying to catch up to this attraction, which fascinated me when I had the LP record as a kid. Unfortunately, the album did not really capture the show, and I haven’t been able to physically capture the show since.
This show was part of opening day at Magic Kingdom in 1971, but closed in 1980 and was part of Tokyo Disneyland’s opening in 1983. Unfortunately it closed there in May of 2009 just before I had a chance to visit. Ugh!
This show had a full animatronic orchestra with Mickey as conductor, Minnie as 1st violinist, Daisy, Pluto, Goofy and other Mickey and the gang characters. But it also had characters from other films like the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo and Timothy and King Louie. Most unknown was Monty and Abner who were the city and country mouse in the Country Cousin short. Including a big overture, the film showed songs and characters from:
- Three Little Pigs
- Snow White & Seven Dwarfs
- Alice in Wonderland
- The Three Caballeros
- Song of the South
Altogether, there are over 45 sculpted Disney characters not including the animals with Snow White, but Cinderella evolves from one scene to another, and the Three Caballeros pop up in their scene in multiple locations around the huge stage. Other than America Sings and The American Adventure, there may not be a more complicated animatronic show.
Its predecessor was The Mickey Mouse Theater in Fantasyland at Disneyland. It was replaced in both parks by Mickey’s PhilharMagic. A movie theater celebrating Mickey Mouse shorts is now found a home at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
You can find the Three Caballeros in Gran Fiesta Tour at Epcot. You can also find the sculpted but not very animatronic characters of Snow White, the dwarfs and Alice in dark rides throughout the parks.
There are other attractions if I had time to go on, but they include such moments as
- Ford Pavilion
- Post show to Carousel of Progress
- House of the Future
- Roaring Rapids
- Bob-Around Boats
- Crush’s Coaster
Please share with us on Facebook attractions that you wish you could have experienced that are perhaps no more.
There’s Much More!
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