Extinct Opening Day Disney Attraction Secretly Lives On

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buzz lightyear at tomorrowland at disneyland

Credit: Disney

When a Disney attraction shuts down for good, oftentimes, another ride goes in its place. Sometimes, the change in attraction may just be a retheme, as we will soon see at Disney World and Disneyland with Splash Mountain turning into Princess and the Frog. Although we do not know Disney’s plans, the ride system will likely remain in place from what we can see in the concept art.

Princess and the Frog Concept Art
Credit: Disney

There are also times when an attraction will really change, as we saw with The Great Movie Ride turning into Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Although the exterior of the building at Disney’s Hollywood Studios did not change too much, the interior was completely rearranged with a new ride track. But even though The Great Movie Ride is gone, aspects of the attraction were left as easter eggs. For example, there is a sound effect of a cat by a trash can which came from the previous attraction! Frozen Ever After still has animatronics and props from Maelstrom, the attraction it took over. It seems Disney always wants to find a way for attractions to live on and be remembered as part of the Park’s history.

Related: Lucky Guests Experience RARE Finn Easter Egg on Rise of the Resistance

buzz astro blasters
Credit: Disney

At Disneyland, before Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters was created in 2005, Circle-Vision 360 was held in the same space as an opening day attraction until 1997. Remnants of Forgotten Disney (@DisneyRemnants) posted how parts of the original attraction can still be found in Astro Blasters, which is quite fun to spot!

On Disneyland’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, you can find these cutouts of a sun and a moon behind and above you when you exit the light tunnel. These cutouts are from “Circle-Vision 360”, which used to be at Disneyland from opening day until September 1997!

The Twitter thread explains how cut outs from the attraction are now used as set pieces on the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland.

The cutouts were a part of an elaborate preshow diorama created when Delta began sponsoring the attraction in 1989! When Delta dropped their sponsorship on January 1st 1996, the dioramas were removed, minus the sign which covered up the mention of Delta’s sponsorship.

As the thread continues to divulge the history of the building space, one interesting note was made. The art style is very close to that of Delta’s Dreamflight. Another attraction in Magic Kingdom which also lost its Delta sponsorship and was then replaced by the Disney World version of Buzz Lightyear Spaceranger Spin.

The art style used for the various cutouts is quite reminiscent of Delta Dreamflight’s first scene at The Magic Kingdom. Both attractions gained and lost their Delta sponsorships at the same time as well. Ironically, both were eventually replaced by Buzz Lightyear attractions!

For Disneyland locals who grew up at the Parks, or, for those who tend to visit often, these small details allow Guests to live in nostalgia, as well as always allow for something new to be discovered, no matter how many visits any Guest has experienced. This allows extinct attractions to live on! And when the attraction in question is as historic as an opening day ride, it is important to uphold that history, even if it is via a cut out moon and sun!

buzz lightyear
Credit: Disney

The 11 screen attraction can be described as: 

While most of early Tomorrowland celebrated technology and space exploration, one attraction used state-of-the-art technology to showcase present life in America, the birthplace of much of that innovation. Circarama was a show with a giant in-the-round theater, displaying massive images that put viewers right in the middle of scenes. The theater’s first, short-lived show was A Tour of the West, which highlighted scenes of the American west in the present and recent past.

The show went dark in 1960, to make room for Circarama’s most famous show: America the Beautiful. This patriotic film took audiences on a journey across different American landscapes. America the Beautiful was an incredible success, and quickly became one of Tomorrowland’s most popular attractions.

In 1967, Disney upgraded its in-the-round theater, and the bigger and better theater became known as Circle-Vision 360. With the new theater came an upgraded version of America the Beautiful, which remained in Tomorrowland until the attraction’s closure in 1997.

What other fun easter eggs have you noticed on Disney attractions?

Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disneyland Resort, including Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, and the Downtown Disney District. Or what about Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!

At Magic Kingdom there is so much to see and do! Cinderella Castle is decked out for the 50th anniversary and soon Festival of Fantasy and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire will return. You can ride the three big mountains: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain, or calm things down on Peter Pan’s Flight. Rope drop the Park to get on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and then enjoy a mid-day snack with some Dole Whip. Be sure to meet Mickey Mouse and enjoy the firework show, Disney Enchantment! 

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