Ashes To Ashes, Dust To Dust: My Top 10 Dead Disney Attractions

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My Top 10 Dead Disney Attractions

I have been feeling some nostalgia for Walt Disney World recently, as I have not visited since before the pandemic. I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane with some of the attractions that no longer exist. This is my personal ranking of the top 10 dead attractions at Walt Disney World. I focused only on WDW since that is the park I have been to the most.

1. The Great Movie Ride

The Great Movie Ride opened in 1989 and was built within the replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood Studios. It was a 22-minute-long ride through some of Hollywood’s most famous movie scenes. It featured live actors who interacted with the audience. I felt like it really tied together the Hollywood theme of the park. The combination of the length of the ride, the theming, the uniqueness, and the interactivity makes The Great Movie Ride my number one dead Disney attraction. The attraction closed in 2017 and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad took its place. I have not been on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad yet but it has some big shoes to fill in my opinion.

Photo credit: Chip and Company

2. Studio Backlot Tour

The Studio Backlot Tour opened in Hollywood Studios in 1989. When it first opened, it doubled as a working studio. In later years, it was a 30 minute show that gave visitors a glimpse into the making of action movies. The attraction closed in 2014.

Photo credit: Attractions Magazine

3. Ellen’s Energy Adventure

When I talk to other Disney nerds, hardly anyone remembers Ellen’s Energy Adventure ride in Epcot. It ranks as one of my favorite places for a mid-park nap, but it was also really fun and quirky. Not only was Ellen DeGeneres in it, but Bill Nye (The Science Guy), Alex Trebek, and Jamie Lee Curtis also made appearances. It was quite the cast. The attraction footprint was huge, very slow, and was always empty, so it makes sense that it closed, but sad nonetheless. Ellen’s Energy Adventure was in Epcot from 1996 to 2017.

Photo credit: The Kingdom Insider

4. Mickey’s Toontown

Land located in Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Toontown housed walk-through replicas of Mickey and Minnie’s cartoon homes, character meet-and-greets, and places for kids to run around. The giant cartoon houses were so much fun to explore as a kid. As one of the oldest attractions on this list, Mickey’s Toontown was open from 1988 to 2011.

Photo credit: Dreamstime

5. Maelstrom

Maelstrom was a dark ride attraction in Epcot. For a while, it was one of the few good rides in the World Showcase (in my opinion). I was surprised to find out that Maelstrom opened in 1988. I do not remember it feeling that old, but I am sure it would seem very dated now. It was replaced in 2014 by Frozen Ever After, which is definitely more popular.

Photo credit:

6. Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was a 4D show at Epcot based on the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie franchise. The attraction opened in 1994 and was fun for a wide range of audiences. It was replaced by Caption EO in 2010.

Photo credit: AllEars

7. Light, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show was a car stunt show at Hollywood Studios. Open from 2005 to 2016, the show featured car stunts, pyrotechnics, and physcial stuntworks.

Photo credit: Themeparkfreaks

8. The Magic of Disney Animation

The Magic of Disney Animation was an attraction at Hollywood Studios where a Disney animator would show guests how the characters in Disney animated films were chosen and designed. Visitors could also learn to draw Disney characters during the interactive experience. The attraction was open from 1989 to 2015.

Photo credit: Offstage WDW

9. Stitch’s Great Escape

Stitch’s Great Escape was an attraction in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. It opened in 2004 but the space has housed several different attractions before and after it. I always thought it was a little creepy and weird, and not that fun. It ranks low on my list. It closed in 2018.

Photo source: Disney Wiki

10. The American Idol Experience

The American Idol Experience was an interactive attraction in Hollywood Studios. Based on the television show, audience members were invited to audition in front of fellow park-goers who would vote for their favorite singers. The attraction opened in 2009 and closed in 2015.

Photo source: Chip and Company

Final Thoughts

I found it interesting that most of these Dead Disney attractions were in Hollywood Studios. This is not surprising since Hollywood Studios has undergone some of the most drastic changes of any of the WDW parks, including new lands like Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land.

This list only includes Walt Disney World attractions, but I know many people share the same nostalgia for dead attractions at Disneyland. If you could bring back any one Disney attraction, what would it be?

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  1. I agree with Jeff on “If you had Wings” (For those of you who are wondering, that was a ride promoting the now defunct Eastern Airlines which at the time was the official airline of DisneyWorld.) I would also add to the list “Sounds Dangerous” with Drew Carey.

  2. I am just proud to say that I was 1 for 1 as “Ask a Complete Stranger” as a lifeline on the Who Wants to be a Millionaire attraction!

  3. You must be really young that this is your top 10 list. So many older attractions:

    –If you had Wings
    –Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
    –The whole brain pavilion in Epcot
    –The original imagination ride (they can’t even consider the current one a successor – it’s awful and the original was great)
    –100,000 Leagues under the sea
    –Snow White
    –Mission to Mars

  4. Yes to #1, 2 and to a lesser extent #5. I had never experienced the other ones. On another note, whenever I visit the Magic Kingdom I make it a point to go on the Carousel of Progress. My wife, kids and grandkids laugh at me for my affection to this attraction. My reasoning is simple though; it takes me back to my childhood. I experienced the ride when it was an attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and enjoyed it. It’s old and outdated but nonetheless nostalgic and takes me back to a time when many of the technological breakthroughs we see today were just ideas or in their developmental stage infancy.
    Thanks for the article.

    • Carousel of Progress is a can’t miss in my book too. It has a comforting feeling about it. I know it will eventually be replaced but I hope that doesn’t happen for a long time.

      • Yes, a very comforting feeling indeed, especially the plush fabric theater seating and the air conditioning when temperatures get in the 90’s.

  5. The first two hit the nail on the head. I had an extended time away from the Disney Universe since childhood and Hollywood Studios was underwhelming on my return. It was my least favorite park, although, Epcot isn’t that hot either anymore. MGM feels different without the first rides. Ironically, it is pretty boring except for having two of the biggest thrill rides in the TOT and Aero Roller. The Indiana Jones was a bit dated. I didn’t enjoy the volunteer guest actors. It detracts from the experience. The Magic Kingdom is magically, however.

    • I agree about Hollywood Studios – they have the best rides but I don’t like the park overall. I am hoping the upcoming renovations bring Epcot back up on my list.

  6. Great list in a pretty good order. While I miss all of these, I wouldn’t necessarily bring any of them back. But did you ever get to ride ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter? I rode as teenager and it was unlike anything else. The fear was real and it would freak people out. It was such a great time. If I had a WDW time machine, I would ride ExtraTERRORestrial first.

    • That one was definitely scary but cool. However, I remember seeing several crying children as we exited.

  7. Also, you’re missing Disney’s Alien Encounter. One of the coolest rides ever in Magic Kingdom that was closed because it was too intense.

  8. I almost didn’t go on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad but got on it on our last day. It was the sleeper hit of the trip. Awesome ride!

  9. You have some really good ones. Aside from your list I most miss the Skyway to Tomorrowland. As an honorary mention, the Frontierland Shootin Gallery back when it was a B ticket attraction and shot real bb’s although it wasn’t an actual ride.


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