Vote of the week: Which original Walt Disney World attraction do you miss most?
Forty years is a lot of time, but most of the attraction you would have found at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
on that opening day in 1971 are still operating today.
Obviously, the park's added many more attractions over the years - including Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain. But with 22 more acres to work with that the original Disneyland (107 acres to 85), the Magic Kingdom's not had to close that many attractions over the years to make room for new adventures.
In fact, there are just five rides from Disney World's opening month that you won't find today in the Magic Kingdom (according to this opening-day map from Disney).
Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes - Paddle your canoe around the Rivers of America on a guided tour around Tom Sawyer's Island. You'll do the work, while your guides crack the jokes. My favorite? "Over yonder you'll see a popular sight - Fort Sam Clemens. Can anyone tell me the connection between Fort Sam Clemens and Tom Sawyer's Island?" The canoe host will pause for a moment while some literate guest explains pen names and such, then stare incredulously at him/her before replying: "No, you library-loving city slicker. The connection is a bridge!"
The Mike Fink Keelboats - Another trip around the Rivers of America, except this time you don't need to "stroke, stroke, stroke." You'll ride on the Bertha Mae or Gullywhumper while your host points out the highlights around the river, often telling many of the same jokes you might hear on the canoes. The ride closed in 1997, after the Gullywhumper capsized at Disneyland.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - This is one of two rides you can still experience at Disneyland in California. (The canoes is the other.) Based on the classic "The Wind in the Willows," Mr. Toad's Wild Ride earned the love of a generation of somewhat sarcastic fans for being a Disney ride in which you, literally, ended up in Hell.
Skyway to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland - The "sky buckets" provided high-in-the-sky aerial views of the Magic Kingdom, but Disney closed all of its skyways in the 1990s, a decade in which cost-cutting claimed many older rides around the Disney empire. The Magic Kingdom's closure in 1999 came months after a fatal accident claimed the life of a park maintenance worker.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Walt Disney World's version of Disneyland's submarine ride put the Anaheim original to creative shame. Instead of unthemed subs on an expedition to the North Pole, here you rode with Captain Nemo in a scaled-down recreation of the Nautilus itself, visiting not just the Pole but what might have been the lost continent of Atlantis, in a much more detailed storyline. Today, the old 20K sub lagoon's been filled in and is the work site of the new Fantasyland expansion.
In addition to those rides, two of the parks' opening-day shows are no longer part of the park - The Mickey Mouse Revue, which was shipped off to Tokyo Disneyland, and the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree, which fell victim to 1990s cost-cutting. (The Main Street Cinema's gone now, too.)
Many other attractions have come and gone during the past four decades, including the Swan Boats, Magic Journeys, Legend of the Lion King, Mission to Mars, Alien Encounter, If You Had Wings/Could Fly, Delta Dreamflight, several CircleVision movies, Timekeeper and the entire Mickey's Birthdayland/Starland/Toontown Fair. Several others have changed their names. (A great source for a virtual revisit to the Disney World of yesteryear is Widen Your World. Check it out sometime... when you've got hours to spare. You'll need them.)
But which one, of those now-gone original five rides, do you miss most? Or, if you never experienced them, which one sounds like the one you'd most wish for the chance to ride?
I'm sorry that I can't be in Florida tomorrow for the 40th anniversary of the opening of Walt Disney World. (Perhaps ironically, I'll be at Disneyland that day instead. Disney's throwing a big Halloween media event that day, and since I live in California I'm going to stick close to home. How strange would it be if Disney's largest media event on the day of WDW's 40th birthday actually turns out to be at Disneyland?)
If you visit the Magic Kingdom on Saturday, I'd love to see your photos and trip reports. If you email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'll share them with the rest of the Theme Park Insider community in a post this weekend.
Finally, if you - like me - can't make it to Orlando for the birthday this weekend, but are still in the mood for a Disney fix, might I suggest downloading a copy of "Stories from a Theme Park Insider"? Our eBook includes 40 stories about life working inside the Magic Kingdom, from me and other Theme Park Insider readers. At just $3.99 for Amazon Kindle or Apple iPad it's a "fantastic read for a WDW fan," according to reader reviews.
Unlike some other books in this genre, "Stories from a Theme Park Insider" doesn't dwell on life outside the parks, or wallow in the debauchery of 20-something cast members. Sure, there are some embarrassing moments (I will never again wear a "Randy" nametag), but the book is really just a fun celebration of life working in a wonderful theme park.
So, in that spirit of celebration: Happy birthday, Disney World!
I put 20,000 leagues because it was so unique and I remember being mesmerized just watching it when I was young. No other park had anything like it at the time.
There really needs to be an "all of the above" choice. All five were great and greatly missed
Mr Toad takes first place for me, followed by a tie between 20000 Leagues and The Skyway.
I sincerely miss all of these attractions. I do believe in the old saying that you never change a winning team and this applies to all of these. What you have to ask yourself is :
Not necessarily original attractions but I miss these:
20K easily. Just remember how awestruck I was at the notion of going underwater in a vessel. Granted, you technically weren't fully submerged, but only sitting at the lower level. Still it was totally thrilling. Miss that ride everytime I go.
Sadly, I never visited any of these attractions at WDW, but I choose Mr. Toad just because the world needs more dark rides.
You have it screwed up. The main attraction to be killed by Disney was the Diamon Horseshoe Revue -- that is REVUE! It was closed in Sept. 1986 after being put together by Walt Disney and Wally Boag at Disneyland in 1955. It played to pack houses up to the final day. Sadly the picture on Life magazine was not reshot on the 40th with the living cast memebers -- I was one of them and the now management of Disney has forgotten the many that spent hours of over time with no pay to operate and build the theme park.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea was one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World. I hated to see it close. It was also fun to get a good look of the lagoon from the Skyway and see the subs move around the track.
The original Disneyland saloon show was called the Golden Horseshoe Revue. The Walt Disney World show (which also was launched with Wally Boag), was called the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree.
I'll be there! And will offer up PLENTY of pics!
For clarity, I only experienced the WDW version of these rides, but I'd have to pick 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, as I've always had a fascination with underwater adventure and I loved this ride as a boy and still found it fun as a recent college graduate years later. I don't miss the line queue, however. Mr Toad's Wild Ride would be second, but that doesn't compare to my love of Snow White's Scary Adventure in the darkride arena.
I should note that the Finding Nemo ride at Disneyland uses the ride system from the original Submarine Voyage, and is the closest thing to the 20K adventure available to US Disney theme park fans today.
I would have to vote for 20K also. It was a very unique ride that will probably never be duplicated due to the tremendous costs associated with it. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is a close second.
I never got to ride the Skyway, but I would LOVE to get a bird's eye view of the park!
I picked 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea as well. I live in Florida so I am a little jealous that Disneyland in California still has both the Submarine Voyage(even though it's been re-themed to Finding Nemo, but they still have it) and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride because those two attractions are quite nostalgic. I know its pretty impossible for the 20,000 Leagues attraction to return to Magic Kingdom as the spot where it used to be is going to be occupied by the new Little Mermaid attraction being built, but they could've replaced the soon to be closing Snow White's Scary Adventures with Mr. Toad instead of a Princess meet n' greet. As for the Skyway, I do miss it a little as it did provide some nice views and made it easy to get to and from two of my favorite Magic Kingdom attractions(Space Mountain and It's A Small World). The Keelboats i've completely forgot about, but I do miss the canoes as i remember seeing them when i was little, but wasn't able to ride them and by the time i was old enough, they had been removed. Oh well, I am glad at least one of my all time favorite Disney World attractions ever(Captain EO)did return and I see it every time I visit. Thank You to Disney for that.
I've never ridden any of these but:
Although not as impressive as the Skyway, Astro Orbiter provides a nice view of the park as well although it is limited to that area of the park.
Hey it's Amy - I'm typing this from my iPhone and I don't remember my login but I'm right in front of the castle waiting for the special show or announcement. The park maps today look like ticket books and the inside has the original map with the old attractions on it. They gave out free 40th buttons at the turnstiles. Will comment again with more when it happens - according to cast members there is a huge announcement being made either this morning or tonight. :)
Rob, I had forgotten how boring the line for 20,000 was. It was one of the most unique attractions, but the line que was pretty terrible (back and forth..... back and forth). I'm glad Disney got better about that as time went on.
I am surprised that most people picked 20000 leagues under the sea! For me Mr. Toad MK version will always be my favorite Fantasyland (any fantasyland) ride. It was fun, creative, surprising and simple. It is a proof that you don't need hundreds of millions to build a nice attraction.
I have not been to WDW since 1980 (I know it's been a while!) However, I have a few distinct memories from that trip. First 20k, second some kind of boat ride that had elephants with water coming out of their trunks. Then I remember the Hall of Prsidents and Country Bear jamboree. What a fun time to be there!
I LOVED 20K. Really wish they still had that.
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