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The best and worst major refurbs at Disneyland at Walt Disney World

Robert Niles
Submitted by Robert Niles
Published: March 11, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Looking back at the major attraction refurbishments at either the Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resorts over the past decade, which ones do you think Disney did the best job with? And which ones did you think Disney missed on?

Big Thunder's coming back from a major refurb at Disneyland this week so I'm working on a piece comparing some of the major refurbs at DL and WDW and would love to hear some readers' thoughts.


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From James Trexen on March 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

The best one, I hear, is Space Mountain at DL. I never went on it before 2005, but on my visit last year, I was surprised how smooth and fun it was compared to MK's. The worst has got to be Matterhorn. Again, never went on it pre-refurb, but the post-refurb is so painful and jerky that it can't possibly be the classic people talk about. Even my thrill junkie brother didn't want to try that one again.

From M. Ryan Traylor on March 11, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Best Disneyland refurb is the Timon parking lot.

From Ryan Scanlon on March 11, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Dumbo's refurb had me nervous at first but is now my favorite, and I sorta don't like the new Pirate's of the Carribean mermaid scene only because it makes you feel like something exciting is going to happen but it is really just a boring gap with faint mermaid singing.

From Tyler Stover on March 12, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Worst 3 at Disneyland:

1) Any Indiana Jones refurbishment, because even when it comes back up, half the effects still don't work. Bonus points to the recent one that replaced James Earl Jones with a screeching diva.

2) Pirates of the Caribbean: Take a beloved classic, ruin a dark, atmospheric transition with a cheap projection on a mist screen (because that worked so well with Indiana Jones?) replace the captain with an unconvincing Barbosa animatronics, and force an awkward storyline where you could previously imagine an elegant, vague one. What next, a Sanka Coffee animatronic on the Matterhorn?

3) Speaking of the Matterhorn, not only have you lost the ability to hold your date or significant other close, you'll now probably also lose your dental fillings and your tailbone as well.

Best 3 at Disneyland

1) Old Matterhorn refurb. Yes the mountain makes both the best and worst lists. This nomination is for the one that filled a hollow, unconvincing wooden interior with beautiful caves and grottoes, a yeti, and an increased capacity. Bravo

2) Space Mountain: cleaned up, smoothed-out track, new soundtrack that fit perfectly, and a dramatic reduction of the light levels was exactly what this ride needed.

3) Snow White: Amazing what good quality mapped projections can do to take a simple dark ride and bring it into the 21st century while keeping the original appeal intact. The projections could have come off as cheap or gimmicky, but instead they were an understated enhancement that simply improved the show.

From DPCC inc. on March 14, 2014 at 5:12 AM

Top 3 refurbishments at Walt Disney World (in no particular order):

1) Updating the Safari with more animals and less poacher chasing.

2) Star Tours to the new random ride.

3) Spaceship Earth with the choose your own ending

Worst 3 ride refurbishments in Walt Disney World:

1) Journey into Imagination (first update)

2) From Alien to Stitch's Great Escape

3) Living with the Land (I miss the song)

From Robert Niles on March 15, 2014 at 12:33 PM

Thank you for the feedback, everyone. That post I was writing is up now!

From Tyler Harris on March 15, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Most definitely agree with the last opinion comment. What was WDW thinking when they ditched Alien Encounter?
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