Walt Disney World Resort is known as “The Most as Magical Place on Earth,” and there are always major changes happening at the Disney Parks.
Thousands of Disney World Guests make their way to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios each and every day to immerse themselves in the magic and experience their favorite attractions and entertainment offerings.
There’s always plenty of excitement when a new attraction makes its way to Walt Disney World Resort. Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind just opened last May in EPCOT and, now, TRON Lightcycle / Run is just a couple of months away from its official opening date. Disney World will also be opening the World Celebration Neighborhood, which will house Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana, later this year.
Of course, there’s always excitement about “the new,” but there’s also another side– the attractions that are permanently retired.
While there are some attractions and experiences that remain timeless, others have to move on at some point.
Here’s a look at the next five Disney World attractions that could be moving on in the future.
1. Tomorrowland Speedway
Let’s be honest, the Tomorrowland Speedway no longer exemplifies the epitome of “Tomorrowland.” TRON Lightcycle / Run, Space Mountain, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters all have places in Tomorrowland, but it would seem that this Disney World ride has fallen by the wayside.
Guests have called for the cars to be changed to electric, and others have said Disney should change the ride to feature “hover cars” that give the appearance of hovering. Honestly, that would be much more future-esque.
There have been rumors that the attraction could be changed to Sugar Rush from the movie Wreck-It Ralph, but Disney has yet to pull the trigger on a change thus far.
Disney’s official description of Tomorrowland Speedway reads:
Drivers, Start Your Engines!
Take the wheel of a gas-powered car and strap yourself in for an exciting and scenic drive. As the checkered flag is waved, you’re off!
Accelerate around sharp bends and lush foliage. Spot iconic attractions visible from the roadway, and pick up the pace as you sprint to the finish line. Featuring a working gas pedal and steering wheel, your car can navigate up and down inclines and around turns.
It’s a nostalgic drive that will have you smiling for miles!
Designed for Smaller Racers
Racers who are at least 54 inches (137 cm) tall can drive their own gas-powered race car. Guests who are at least 32 inches (81 cm) tall may also drive their own cars as long as they are accompanied by someone who is at least 54 inches (137 cm) tall.”
2. Tom Sawyer Island
If you’re a regular attender of Walt Disney World, you know that Tom Sawyer Island is a little gem located in Magic Kingdom.
If you take the trip over to the island, it’s a perfect place to stop for some rest, relaxation, and to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, that’s just the problem.
While Disney is okay with having areas that aren’t heavily trafficked, you know that they want to spread Disney Park Guests out the best they can. This means looking into areas that aren’t garnering enough traffic and looking at potential offerings that would draw more Guests.
If there is another IP that could potentially draw more Guests, you’ve got to believe that Disney will consider it.
Here’s how Disney describes Tom Sawyer Island:
Wander dusty dirt roads lined with tall trees, explore whirling mills and amble across creaky suspension bridges. Navigate narrow passages amid secret mined caves and uncover a frontier fort.
Along the way, follow in the pioneering footsteps of early settlers, during an era when Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer reflected a new nation coming into its own.
It’s an unforgettable expedition into the heart of the American frontier!
Journey by Log Raft
To reach the island, board a log raft for a piloted trip across the Rivers of America and disembark at Tom’s Landing. When you wish to leave the island, visit Tom’s Landing again for a raft ride back to shore.
In keeping with the laidback lifestyle that Tom is known to enjoy, you may experience a wait going to and returning from Tom Sawyer Island.
3. It’s Tough to be a Bug!
It’s Tough to be a Bug! might be a beloved attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but its age is showing.
The attraction is located at the Tree of Life and gives Guests the chance to “become an honorary bug” and look at life from an insect’s perspective.
The problem? The Disney Pixar film A Bugs Life (1998) was made 25 years ago and there is a generation of kids who have never even seen the movie. While there’s still time for this to change, it would seem that A Bug’s Life just doesn’t have the “staying power” of Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc. or some of its other Pixar counterparts.
The attraction itself is in dire need of a makeover anyway, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Disney World make the decision to completely change the attraction at some point.
It fits so well at the foot of the Tree of Life, without a doubt, but it doesn’t garner nearly enough traffic, and this will be one attraction that Disney will be looking at very carefully in the coming years.
It’s Tough to be a Bug! is described like this:
Watch an “Off-Bugway” Show
Become an honorary insect as you take your seat in the theater hidden at the base of the Tree of Life and don a pair of “bug eye” glasses. Enjoy a delightful 3D movie and live show hosted by Flik, the loveable ant from A Bug’s Life, and learn how insects survive in the wild.
During the show, dodge flying quills from a tarantula, feel a harmless spray from a soldier termite and sniff the putrid “defense stench” from a stink bug.
When Hopper—the grasshopper villain from A Bug’s Life—unexpectedly shows up, the theater goes bug-wild!The moral of the story? It really is tough to be a bug. With dazzling 3D movie effects, Audio-Animatronics figures and in-theater 4D surprises, this is one show you’ll be buzzing about for a long time.
4. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Days seem to be numbered for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first opened on July 29, 1999 at Disney’s MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) on Sunset Boulevard and debuted with a dedication ceremony that included Aerosmith. This was the first roller coaster at Walt Disney World to feature multiple inversions and the ride vehicles had 120-125 speakers and 24 sub-woofers, perfect for the big-time rocker.
A second installation with an identical track layout opened as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster avec Aerosmith at Disneyland Paris in 2002. It closed on September 2, 2019, for a planned renovation that will be themed to Iron Man and The Avengers.
Now, as Steven Tyler faces a lawsuit, there is backlash surrounding the rockstar, and many believe that Disney will elect to make major changes.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith will be closing for a lengthy refurbishment in the coming weeks, and there’s a belief that at the very least, Aerosmith will be removed from the name. Even if not, it’s expected that the attraction will be changed at some point in the future.
Disney’s official description of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith reads:
Live Life in the Fast Lane
Inside their Hollywood music studio, legendary rock band Aerosmith is wrapping up a recording session. When their manager tells them they’re late for a concert across town, the band invites you to ride along.
Hop into their gleaming limousine and speed off into the night as Aerosmith’s hard-rock harmonies fill the air. Buckle up before zooming through the city on this roller-coaster style attraction.
Rock This Way
Speed through iconic Hollywood landmarks. Maneuver past traffic jams and swoop into 3 thrilling inversions—2 rollover loops and one corkscrew—as the wind races across your face.
Will you make it to the year’s biggest concert in time?
5. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
There’s no way that Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress is closing permanently.
Walt Disney originally conceived the show as part of a new area at Disneyland Park called Edison Square. When the concept was abandoned, the idea was reimagined, eventually opening under the name “Progressland” at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.
With the classic song “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” by the Academy Award®-winning team of brothers Richard and Robert Sherman, the show was an instant hit. Following its success, the show moved to Disneyland Park and was renamed “The Carousel of Progress.”
In 1975, the attraction moved to Magic Kingdom park where it was rewritten and restaged with a new theme song, “The Best Time of Your Life.”
But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t changes to come.
Another decade from now, there are going to need to be changes for the attraction to “keep up with the progress.” Technology is continuing to grow and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Disney elected to make major changes, perhaps even gut some of the beloved animatronics, and make the attraction one that truly does show the progress of humankind.
Disney’s official description of Carousel of Progress reads:
From the Gramophone to the Smartphone
Follow an American family over 4 generations of progress and watch technology transform their lives.
During each era, learn how the technological marvels of the day made life more comfortable—and paved the way for unimaginable innovations.
Discover how gas lamps, the hand-cranked washing machine and gramophone made the pre-electric era a breeze.
Watch the advent of electricity give rise to modern conveniences like the electric iron, the radio—and the simple, revolutionary light bulb.
See how the automatic dishwasher and television set transformed the American household.
Today’s high-tech marvels include virtual-reality games, high-definition televisions and voice-activated household appliances. Imagine the wonders the next hundred years may bring!
What’s the latest updates on Splash Mountain permanently closing?
As you already know, Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World Resort officially closed in January. The attraction was closed due to backlash over some of the theming from the movie Song of the South (1946), and will be replaced with Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will take Disney Park Guests on a musical adventure inspired by the beloved story and characters from the fan-favorite film. Picking up where the film left off, guests will join Princess Tiana, Naveen and jazz-loving alligator Louis on an adventure through the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome. Along the way, guests will encounter familiar faces, make new friends and travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the film as they are brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s story.
The attraction is set to open in late 2024.
In addition, Disney just released more information on the storyline for the attraction. Walt Disney Imagineering is creating an original, next chapter story for Tiana. Within the attraction queue, guests will discover that she continues to grow her business with Tiana’s Foods – an employee-owned cooperative. Combining her talents with those of the local community, Tiana has transformed an aging salt mine and built a beloved brand.
The endeavor began when Tiana purchased the salt mine and the area surrounding the large salt dome it operated from. With the help of her mother Eudora, Naveen, Louis and fellow owners of the cooperative, Tiana revived the old salt mine and the surrounding land, growing a wide array of vegetables, herbs and spices for her recipes.
This multi-faceted enterprise has turned the aging salt mine into a space that has come alive. Complete with a boutique farm and both a working and teaching kitchen, Tiana’s Foods is where Tiana and her colleagues create all sorts of new products that they are bringing to the world, including a line of original hot sauces.
Picking up where that story left off, Tiana continues bringing people together with Tiana’s Foods, another treasured meeting place to spend time together and celebrate a diverse community. Tiana is also working with cooperative members to teach gardening and cooking to children of all ages, and inspiring other women to run successful businesses as the brand grows nationwide.
Which of these Disney World rides do you think will be the next to close? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!