Theme Park Insider

The 10 Top Things from Other Disney Parks Missing at Walt Disney World

February 3, 2016, 8:28 PM · Now that we've look at what yours truly considers overrated and underrated at the Walt Disney World Resort, let's take the next step — and look at what is missing.

In dreaming up a to-do list for Disney World, we are limited only by our collective imagination... and the Walt Disney Company's budget. Given the increasingly troubled prospects for ESPN, Disney's former cash cow, that second limitation likely will keep the parks from adding much beyond what's been announced already anytime soon.

But it costs nothing to dream. (Well, at least not on Theme Park Insider. YMMV at WDW.) Still, in offering my wish list for the resort, I will consider Disney's ESPN money woes and limit my items to things that already exist at another Disney theme park somewhere in the world. Now, I'm not just listing my top 10 favorite non-WDW Disney attractions. Instead, I've tried to give some thought to providing a list of things — from big rides to small details — from other Disney parks that would enhance the experience of visiting the Walt Disney World Resort.

10. Main Street Cinema

Let's start with something that need to come back to Disney World. Disneyland continues to show classic black-and-white Mickey Mouse shorts on its Main Street USA, but Disney World replaced its Magic Kingdom Cinema with a shop in 1998. Yet, as Walt was so fond of saying, "it all started with a mouse," so it would seem appropriate the company should again devote a tiny space on Main Street to show visitors the films that launched the Disney empire.

9. Animation Academy

One of Disney's under-appreciated gems closed with the rest of the Animation pavilion in Disney's Hollywood Studios last year and the DisneyQuest version is on the chopping block along with the rest of that facility. Animation Academy lets visitors follow along with a Disney animator, learning how to draw a Disney character on their own. And they get to keep their drawing as a free souvenir to take home. It's a lovely, interactive attraction that continues to win fans in California, Paris, and Hong Kong. Orlando always should have an Animation Academy, too.

8. A "Little Red Wagon" Main Street Corn Dog Cart

"Corn Dog Nuggets" at Casey's just aren't the same as ordering a hand-dipped, full-sized corn dog outside on Main Street, like you can do at Disneyland. Consider this the original food truck. Surely it wouldn't cost WDW too much to bring one to the Magic Kingdom. I'll betcha that fans would love it as much as they do in Anaheim.

7. Railroad Dioramas

Yeah, I know that Disney has dinosaurs in the Energy pavilion at Epcot. But I have yet to meet a Disney World fan visiting Disneyland for the first time who didn't wish that the Magic Kingdom's railroad included something like the Grand Canyon and Primeval World dioramas. Disney copied the animatronic displays for Tokyo Disneyland and likely could do up something even more impressive for Walt Disney World. If Disney can slap Frozen into every freakin' space on property, it can put an extra set of dinos into the Magic Kingdom, too.

6. The Blue Bayou

When I worked at Pirates in the Magic Kingdom, I lost count of the number of times that guests asked me how to get to the Blue Bayou. Why not just give people what they so obviously want and build them another high-priced table-service restaurant at which to spend their money (or double Disney dining credits)? Yes, the recent addition of the Skipper Canteen might have reduced the demand for another TS restaurant in Adventureland, but I'll bet that guests would still fill the Bayou, if they could.

5. Flavored popcorn

Disclaimer: My visit to Tokyo Disney made me a curry popcorn junkie, and I'm hurting for a fix. So keep that in mind as I make my umpteenth pitch for Disney to bring Tokyo's flavored popcorn varieties to America. Of course, this happening probably would lead to Fastpass+ queues for popcorn stands throughout the WDW parks, so I guess I should be careful what I wish for.

4. Holiday overlays

Tokyo Disneyland has shown what the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay would look like on the Orlando version of the Haunted Mansion, so that's no obstacle to making this happen. And surely the Christmas version of the Country Bear Show remains stored somewhere in the back rooms of the Magic Kingdom utilidors. If WDW managers are concerned that holiday visitors would be upset to miss the "regular" versions of these attractions, why not instead consider that an opportunity to upsell those visitors to a bounceback trip? Disney does this all the time with much flimsier excuses.

3. Sindbad's Storybook Voyage

As far as I am concerned, Disney can never have enough musical animatronic indoor high-capacity boat rides. And with its delightful theme song and classic narrative, Tokyo DisneySea's Sindbad ride would make for a far more welcome (by me, at least) addition to Epcot's World Showcase than a Frozen overlay on Maelstrom.

2. Mystic Manor

Disney World needs a next-generation trackless ride, and Mystic Manor is Disney's best. Where to put it is the big question, but if Disney wants to turn its most critical fans into a bunch of adoring, drooling groupies, the announcement that it would be adding Mystic Manor somewhere in Walt Disney World likely would do just that.

1. A new Epcot entry plaza

Okay, a complete entry plaza that can be plugged immediately in front of Epcot doesn't exist already at any other Disney theme park. But plenty of elements that could be included in a new plaza do exist elsewhere in the Disney parks. Let's acknowledge that the Leave a Legacy Mausoleum is a depressing eyesore that needed to go long ago. Disney knows how Buena Vista Street helped enliven California Adventure and should do the same for Epcot by creating a new entry plaza that celebrates the spirit of discovery that the park was designed to honor. There's plenty to borrow from Tokyo DisneySea, including Fortress Explorations, Port Discovery and the Mediterranean Harbor that Disney could fuse to begin the needed process of transforming Epcot's Future World into a more welcoming visual environment.

If you've visited some of the Disney parks outside of Orlando, what would you like to see Disney bring from them into Walt Disney World?

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Replies (42)

February 3, 2016 at 8:45 PM · Sinbad's Storybook Voyage-YES! YouTube the English version of the Alan Menken written song then YouTube a POV HD ride through. Enjoy what we are missing!
February 3, 2016 at 8:58 PM · Absolutely agree on Mystic Manor, Sindbad and the holiday overlays! I still miss the Country Bears holiday show. And as for Blue Bayou, that's the first thing I thought of when I saw your headline :-)
February 3, 2016 at 9:32 PM · Cinemagique needs to come to Hollywood Studios.
February 3, 2016 at 9:34 PM · I have always thought that an Indiana Jones Adventure ride like the one at Disneyland should be put in Walt Disney World. For me a good place for it would be in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom. It doesn't have anything to do with animals, but that is my idea.
February 3, 2016 at 10:08 PM · The only thing I disagree with you is Epcot's entry plaza. I love Leave a Legacy, it looks very epic and appropriately sets the stage for the World's Fair theme that Epcot was based upon.

Now, the only other Disney park I've visited is Disneyland, so 3/4 of my changes will be from that park.

I desperately want Indiana Jones Adventure. Indiana Jobes Stunt Show is fun, but nothing compared to Indiana Jones Adventure. I would fly all the way back to Anaheim just to physically experience that ride again. ??

I also want their version of POTC. I still love Florida's version, but there's no question that California's is superior. The only things I would keep is the cool queue line in the colonial fortress and omit the swamp scene at the beginning to match the theme better.

I also want Toontown back. Wouldn't it make sense for the world's largest and most popular Disney resort to allow you to visit the home of the company mascot and the mouse who started it all? Plus the theming for that land was just too perfect.

And lastly, I agree with Robert's idea about bringing Sinbad, but I have an idea that will really "plus it." ?? Instead of using Sinbad, why not use Aladdin? I think this would be a much better idea for 3 reasons.

1) Aladdin is much more well known and loved than Sinbad.

2) Universal Orlando already has a Sinbad attraction. Words cannot describe how pissed off I would be if these two resorts can share Sinbad but not Marvel.

3). Now that the show at DCA is gone, the Aladdin franchise is without a proper theme park representation. There's so much more possability for an Aladdin ride than just a cheap and lazy Dumbo clone.

February 3, 2016 at 10:30 PM · A resounding YES on the Main St. Cinema! WDW has lost its way by demolishing Mickey and Minnie's house, and not showing the classic cartoons on Main St. Get rid of the store that sells the same stuff that is already everywhere in the resort, and bring back a sense of themed place and nostalgia with Mickey animation.

Convert the Dinoland area of Animal Kingdom and make it an archaeology adventure area by putting Indiana Jones into the lacking Dinosaur ride, and retheme the area into searching for dinosaur bones and history. It would fit the Animal Kingdom theme better, be educational and have more popular attractions.

And a big yes on the Blue Bayou! PotC in Orlando is not the same ride without it.

And another big yes on Animation Academy.

February 4, 2016 at 7:19 AM · I love the idea of a new entry for Epcot. I went back to Epcot for the first time in about four years in October and the entry could really use a shot of energy.
February 4, 2016 at 8:24 AM · Disney World has more than enough filler attractions. They can surely do without Main Street Cinemas and Animation Academy.

WDW have many table service restaurants. Does the Magic Kingdom need The Blue Bayou? How about they increase the Pirates rides by 5 minutes and they get a new restaurant. I often regard this version as much too short compared with the original.

The problem with the Epcot entry plaza is the whole Future World feels like an entry plaza with the huge Innoventions buildings on both sides. If they want to demolish these increasingly unnecessary exhibit space and install a more theme park like themed entertainment, shopping, and eating space, I will welcome this development.

Yes to Railroad Dioramas. Since we are talking about dinosaurs, I propose the dinosaurs are moved from the Animal Kingdom Dinosaur attraction.

WDW is obviously missing.... The Indiana Jones Adventure.

And its missing a trackless ride like Mystic Manor. Another haunted style attraction belongs in Epcot for it lacks E-Ticket attractions and it could sit between the various empty country pavilion slots in World Showcase.

Ratatouille would be a good choice next to the France Pavilion.

Missing is lost in translation features from the original Disneyland. Like I mentioned previously, Pirates is missing the original's length and The Blue Bayou. The Haunted Mansion is missing a real elevator. They should put in a real elevator and change the queue location to make that happen.

February 4, 2016 at 8:34 AM · Re-Anon.

It'd be physically impossible for MK's Haunted Mansion to have an elevator like Disneyland's. That would require digging underground which you can't do in Florida because of the water table. That's why no one who lives here has a basement and why they had to build the Utilidors above ground and then place the actual park right on top of it.

February 4, 2016 at 9:10 AM · Disney would have enough money for all of these improvements and more, if Iger had not wasted over a billion dollars on "My Magic+".

How were Walt and company able to create so many classic attractions without the benefit of an ESPN cash cow? Answer: he didn't make stupid decisions.

Ultimately, it comes down to good taste and a mindset that puts people first.

February 4, 2016 at 9:36 AM · The holiday overlays will never happen - it takes too much time and unlike Tokyo and Disneyland, WDW is not a park for locals. Having the Mansion out for 4 months every year would just not be acceptable (Also why we don't have an elevator - we have a high water table). And Pirates was squeezed in as it is - WDW was never supposed to have it and there's ;literally no room behind the show building to expand, and any other way you'd run into Jungle or Railroad
February 4, 2016 at 10:30 AM · Mystic Manor (for Magic Kingdom); Indiana Jones Ride (Studios); 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (for Animal Kingdom's imaginary new Under the Sea section); Ratatouille (Epcot's France); let's put in Alice's Curious Labyrinth (Epcot's Britain); and Grizzly River Run (Epcot's Canada...just might have to put in a few animatronic moose, beaver, and bears in order to "Canada" it up a little).

Actually, any additions for the countries on the right side of the world showcase in Epcot would be nice.

February 4, 2016 at 10:35 AM · A big steel B&M
An Intamin Strata-Coaster that launches fireworks and breaks down more than Test Track
A giant drop tower attached to the Intamin Strata-Coaster that kills any existing capacity
February 4, 2016 at 11:11 AM · Flavored popcorns exist at WDW. EPCOT carries sour cream & onion, buffalo, and cheddar just outside of figment's pyramidal shaped nightmare. DAK has a multitude of new african-inspired popcorn flavors such as curry and cardamom that are all delicious! But yes, it would be nice to get these in all of the parks rather than in remote, hard-to-find locations.
February 4, 2016 at 11:54 AM · DisneySea's Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20K rides.
February 4, 2016 at 11:55 AM · The theater in the round Little Mermaid live show from Tokyo DisneySea.
February 4, 2016 at 12:07 PM · @66.87.123.47: They could build the elevator at a higher elevation so you go down to the lower level where the attraction is. It should be noted that the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland isn't in the basement. Same thing with the Pirates ride that goes down the flume. The both rides are above ground. They merely go under the railroad tracks that's at the upper level. You can tell by looking at the photos. The railroad station is above the Mickey flower bed.
February 4, 2016 at 12:28 PM · The haunted mansion in Walt Disney World doesn't need an elevator. The main reason that the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland has an elevator is so that the people could get past the railroad tracks. The elevator goes down so that people can go under the tracks. There is so such necessity in Walt Disney World and the water table is high.
February 4, 2016 at 12:38 PM · Then obviously the Haunted Mansion at WDW needs a better pre-show that makes sense.
February 4, 2016 at 12:47 PM · A roller coaster ride like the Tron ride but put it into Epcot, loved Aladin show from Disneyland California so pop this show into One of the parks, perhaps into Hollywood studios, in fact now it has just closed in California move it over, it's by far the best Disney show, I also liked the Waterworld show in California, perhaps not the strongest of films but the show was really good.
February 4, 2016 at 1:29 PM · I've always thought the huge plot of land to the north of Kali River Rapids would be a great place to put in WDWs version of Mysterious Island from Tokyo. Include Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20k leagues under the sea and possibly include Fortress Explorations. All of course with newer tech. They could have the giant squid creature from 20k come out of the water every 20-30 minutes for show. On the way to Mysterious Island, you would go through Mystic Manor Pointe where Mystic Manor would before you cross a bridge to MI. Part of my thought here also is that these are attractions located in Asian Disney Parks. This section of AK is Asia.

Another idea would be to put Crush's Coaster from Paris next to the Finding Nemo musical and replace the dreaded Chester & Hester section. Maybe have some displays of exotic fish from around the world. All this mixed with what's actually coming to AK soon (Pandora, ROL) would really put AK over the top. Imagine the night scenery.

February 4, 2016 at 2:16 PM · EPCOT needs more actual rides in the World Showcase. The shows are and movies are nice, but once you cross out of Future World, there's nothing to ride aside from Maelstrom/Frozen and uber-short boat ride in Mexico.
February 4, 2016 at 3:39 PM · Honestly, the only two things that I really want at WDW is Mystic Manor and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
February 4, 2016 at 3:49 PM · EPCOT can benefit from some flat rides. California Adventure have too many flat rides, but EPCOT and DHS have none. DHS is expected to get a mere one flat ride with the Toy Story Land addition. That's so stingy. Animal Kingdom has one flat ride. Oddly, they are against children having fun.

To continue my earlier screed on demolishing the Innventions buildings, replace them with themed stores, restaurants, entertainment, and flat rides.

As for Pirates and The Blue Bayou, perhaps they can attain the impossible. Either put the restaurant at the bazaar shops or the entrance queue line where there is plenty of space. Convert the entrance and exit to one location like at Disneyland. The restaurant patrons will enjoy the view of the guests passing them by while seeing them exit the ride on the other side. The unseen hidden segment will be dressed up and will lengthen the ride by a few minutes. Everyone wins.

February 4, 2016 at 3:50 PM · Crushes Coaster from Disneyland Paris. Would be great at Epcot,at the nemo/pixar area
February 4, 2016 at 4:00 PM · Brand new is better. Instead of copying existing attractions, I highly prefer one-of-a-kind experiences.
February 4, 2016 at 4:13 PM · The Holiday overlays should be extended to the other Disney properties, particularly at WDW. Considering that the holiday overlay on Haunted Mansion starts in September for Halloween and continues thru the New Year that gives guests 3 1/2 months to experience that bit of Disney magic. At DLR the overlay generally takes about 3 weeks to install and during the "uninstall" the ride is usually closed for annual maintenance. So the relative down time is small and the return woudl be big - think of all those people who go to WDW during the Christmas season and this would give themsomething "new" to experience.
February 4, 2016 at 5:51 PM · Not that they are the slightest bit interested in fixing Epcot, but how easy would it be to replace the unimaginative Imagination ride with a Figment-based Mystic Manor? At the very least it would sell more Figment merchandise.
February 4, 2016 at 6:43 PM · I hate the entrance to EPCOT. I've written to Disney about that eye sore. I wish they would bring back the Disney Institute. There are plenty of courses that I would like to take. What is a Magic Kingdom without a Magic Shop. I used to buy at least one or two items in the shop every time I visited.
February 4, 2016 at 7:19 PM · I love WDW so much, but reading this reminds me that I am disappointed in it. Epcot is a huge mess, it's so frustrating with all the potential it has. WDW has yet to deliver the excellence that the other Disney resorts (especially DLR and TDR). I don't feel the need to plan another WDW trip until Star Wars Land and Avatar Land are opened.
February 5, 2016 at 1:11 AM · They should just build a clone of DisneySea, as a WDW fifth gate. Okay, I'm dreaming in technicolor here, but everyone outside of Asia would beat the resort's doors down to come experience the new park. It would relieve the congestion in the MK, and it would attract so many drooling theme park nuts that it would pay for itself inside of ten years. Nuff said.
February 5, 2016 at 2:39 AM · Someone here actually suggested more flat rides for WDW?!?! The last thing WDW needs is cheap, filler flats.

"Never forget it all started with a mouse." Main St. Cinema and Animation Academy for the win!

February 5, 2016 at 11:56 AM · Some of the suggestions on this list are odd. Some make me wonder why the author feels that all Disney properties should offer the same experiences. Unique attractions and offerings are one of the draws of the various Disney resorts around the world. Unique, new attractions are what really gets Disney fans excited, not copies of existing ones.

The Little Red Wagon and hand-dipped corn dogs for example, are very unique to California. Let's keep it that way. If you want a hand dipped corn dog then make your way to Disneyland or California Adventure. The Florida don't deserve a quality product like this because it won't be appreciated.

Blue Bayou is for obvious reasons not in Florida because there is no New Orleans Square. How does a New Orleans restaurant fit in the theme of Adventureland? It doesn't and one shouldn't make suggestions to add attractions or restaurants that break the continuity of a themed area.

Furthermore, by design, the ride system for Pirates does not allow a similar setting for a restaurant, which in my opinion, is one of the big draws to the one in Disneyland.

Mystic Manor has no place in Florida. We've got a Haunted Mansion and Japan deserves to a have a unique attraction found only there.

Main Street Cinema is a really bad suggestions. Aside from the marquee it really adds nothing of interest for today's guests. I respect its place in Disneyland history, but its omission in Florida is not a loss. If you're going to have a Main Street Cinema attraction then it should be worthy of ones time. What you're suggesting is exactly what irks the fans- doing something on the cheap.

Holiday overlays have been well discussed and appeal in markets where the majority of the attendance is comprised of locals. But another reasons why Magic Kingdom is not likely to get overlays is that the "Holiday" version of Magic Kingdom is a very lucrative, hard ticketed special event. Management in Florida is not interested in giving away the holiday experience. If you want to experience Christmas fun in the Magic Kingdom, then they want you to pay for it.

Lastly, flavored popcorn would not be a hit in the United States, despite your love of it, Americans don't love flavored popcorn like the Japanese. I have a lot of experience with popcorn sales and flavors, and even when the flavor is AMAZING, sales never come close to matching sales of the traditional buttered, salted variety. So it basically backs up with is known- Americans are boring and don't like change.

I do however agree that it's time for the Leave a Legacy Mausoleum to go. That is a good suggestion.

February 5, 2016 at 12:04 PM · Poor Anon, everyone's trashing on his ideas! (Though admittedly I was one of those people)

It's ok, Anon. I thought your idea to introduce. More flat rides to WDW is at least worth considering. Maybe they could do something that isn't just another spinner. And then maybe use some Disney-style theming (maybe some AAs or make it an indoor ride and add tons of effects) to make it not feel like just another flat ride.

February 5, 2016 at 3:04 PM · Mystic Manor.
Blue Bayou
And call me crazy but i love Mickey's Fun Wheel. Especially The Middle Gondolas, it would be beautiful to look Mk at night from the top of that ride
February 5, 2016 at 4:39 PM · So when are you going to do what Disneyland is lacking? I will start

1. LAND!

Ok, done :)

Disney World does have its own version of Blue Bayou. Its San Angel Inn.

As much as enjoy Indy, it is a clone of Dinosaur (I know it is reversed, but Dinosaur would be the older of the two if Indy makes it to DHS).

I always thought that Imagination could be redone in a Mystic Manor style. Use Figment instead of that Monkey and you should have a hit!

February 6, 2016 at 5:39 AM · @66: My ideas? I don't take credit for Robert's ideas. As for my idea of Disney's flat rides, they are usually unique to Disney and that won't change. California Adventure will soon get another flat ride replacement for the former tires ride. It will be a trackless dancing cars ride. So if you enjoy flat rides, Disneyland Resort will have plenty.

@136: How do you have a Blue Bayou in Adventureland? The same reason you have a Magic Carpets spinner in Adventureland. New Orleans is in a swamp. The Arabia desert is not. And the magic carpets are spinning next to the thatched roofs of the Tiki Room. The Pirates ride is still called the same name (Pirates of the Carribean) although it originated from the bayou at Disneyland. A stretch yet the bayou was featured prominently in the movies too. The Spanish fort theme might just remain. Only the restaurant will be called The Blue Bayou.

February 5, 2016 at 10:22 PM · Removing the Main St. Cinema from the Magic Kingdom by WDW management illustrated how much they don't get Disney magic. Outside there's a marquee advertising Mickey Mouse short films, but inside there's nothing but a shop with the same stuff sold everywhere else in the resort. It's a betrayal of the land's theme and the company's creative history. It's an example of the accountants taking control over the magic by the simple-minded thinking that more merchandise per square foot is more important than guest experience and theme. The Main St. Cinema in DL transports you to the beginning of the Disney journey where "it all started with a mouse." At the end of the night when you leave the park, you see the marquee (or maybe enter with a hot chocolate to watch the classic shorts) and remember that history again after an incredible day in the most amazing theme park in the world. The Main St. Cinema is an intrinsic part of a Magic Kingdom experience, and by removing it for merchandise, WDW lost a part of its soul and sense of place and history.
February 6, 2016 at 7:20 AM · Number ONE on the list should be The Indiana Jones Adventure from Disneyland ...
February 7, 2016 at 11:32 AM · Mystic Manor is in Hong Kong. Also, it is VERY different then the Haunted Mansion. Also, it's on the other side of the world and most people will never get to experience it. WDW has the most visitors in the world, so more people would get to enjoy it there.
February 9, 2016 at 8:18 AM · 1. Mystic Manor. Forget Duffy the Disney Bear. My daughter wants to go to HKDL just so that she can get an Albert the Monkey plush.

2. Ratatouille. Loved, loved this ride. WDW should be breaking ground already. And the restaurant is awesome, too.

3. Indiana Jones Adventure! Why don't we have this yet? Now that Disney owns Indy, it's a no-brainer.

4. Animagique from France. Can't understand why they didn't put this in DHS years ago. Also, the animation pre-show there is amazing, too (Main Street Cinema?).

5. Haunted Mansion Holiday. I'm convinced that WDW could do a light overlay with gradual changes each night as Jack takes over the Mansion. That wouldn't require closure.

February 9, 2016 at 8:48 PM · Indy is not a clone of Dinosaur. Just because it shares the same track, that doesn't make it a clone by any stretch of the imagination. The sets, storyline, AAs, effects, etc. are all completely different.
What I find unbelievable is that DHS has hung on to the very long-in-the-tooth Indy show, with the same tired gags, for over 20 years. They should have torn it down and built a new, more advanced Indy ride a long time ago.

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