Every Disney World Ride at Risk of Permanent Closure

in Walt Disney World

Guests on Main Street, U.S.A.

Credit: Amy Humphries via Unsplash

Like every Disney Park in the world, Walt Disney World Resort is home to attractions for the whole family. Whether you’re looking for a quick thrill, a relaxing break, or a nostalgic throwback, you’re guaranteed to find the right ride for you at one of its four Parks.

But the “Most Magical Place on Earth” is always changing. As Walt Disney stated upon the opening of Disneyland Resort in 1955, the Parks will never be complete and will “continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”

Sadly, sometimes that means saying goodbye to some beloved favorites along the way. Over the past few years, Guests have already had to say goodbye to The Great Movie Ride, Splash Mountain, and Primeval Whirl (although we’re not too sure who’d class that as a “beloved favorite.”) But what other Walt Disney World rides are at risk of closure?

Disney World Rides at Risk

There are currently over 50 rides across Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. While some are definitely more popular than others (be real, would you choose Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance or Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run?), all have their own dedicated fanbase who would be devasted if they closed for good. Fortunately (or unfortunately), these are the only ones you really need to worry about in the near future.

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros

In the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT, you can find Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. This first opened at Disney World in 2007, replacing the El Rio del Tiempo (The River of Time) boat ride that previously sat at the Mexico Pavillion from 1982 to 2007. Upon its opening, it became the first (but certainly not the last) attraction in World Showcase to feature Disney characters based on an existing IP.

Skeletons perform on bridge on Gran Fiesta Tour ride
Credit: Disney

Related: Days of Future Past – Fans Fight Over EPCOT

Today, Guests can board a boat to a concert thrown by the Three Caballeros – consisting of where Panchito Pistoles, José Carioca, and, of course, Donald Duck. The first two ducks realize that Donald is missing, and Guests are thrown into an adventure around Mexico as they try to find him in time for the show.

Once they succeed, they see all three members of the Three Caballeros reunited, with the ride’s final animatronics actually coming from Tokyo Disneyland’s now-closed Mickey Mouse Revue show.

It’s one of the most relaxing rides at Walt Disney World, similar to “it’s a small world” at Magic Kingdom or Na’vi River Journey at Animal Kingdom. However, it’s also one of the most at-risk of closure at Disney World. There have long been rumors that the ride will be replaced by a Coco (2017) attraction in the near future, taking Guests through a Dia de los Muertos celebration.

Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) in 'Coco' (2017)
Credit: Pixar

No official confirmation just yet, but considering Gran Fiesta Tour doesn’t have the same cult following as the previously mentioned rides, and the Pixar film has proved itself to be extremely popular with young Guests, we can see this happening as part of the ongoing IP takeover at Disney Parks pretty soon.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

This attraction is still popular with Guests – but also very controversial. Located on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since 1999, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith sees Guests board a “super-stretch limo” as they try to cross Los Angeles and make it to the Aerosmith show.

At one point, there were two versions of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith: one at Hollywood Studios and another at Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. The latter has since been rethemed into Avengers Flight Force (which isn’t exactly popular).

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith electric guitar prop
Credit: Disney

Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler, was accused in December of an instance of sexual assault in the 1970s. This led some to speculate that Aerosmith would be wiped from the attraction completely. There have also been hot discussions about The Muppets taking over the ride ASAP, spurred on by the success of the musical TV show The Muppets Mayhem on Disney+. Jeff Yorkes, co-creator of the show, says a Muppets Mayhem Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was part of his original pitch for the show.

Muppets Mayhem cast gathers around
Credit: Disney

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster only recently reopened after a refurbishment, so it doesn’t seem to be at immediate risk of closure. However, considering that its IP might be getting outdated (not to mention more controversial) and there are so many alternatives waiting to take its place, we can’t see it having the longest shelf life at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Dinosaur

Oh, Dinoland, U.S.A. What was already the most unpopular land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is currently a shadow of its former self. Not only has the loud, obnoxious, and colorful Primeval Whirl been ripped out of the Park, its replacement is seating and concrete, which doesn’t exactly scream “immersive Disney theming.”

Guests ride DINOSAUR, which could face a Disney World closure
Credit: Disney

The carnival-themed area has been the focus point for many replacement rumors over the years, including a Moana (2016) and Zootopia (2016) land. That puts its current crown jewel, DINOSAUR, at risk. The dark ride – which uses the same track layout as Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland – sees Guests transported to the end of the Cretaceous period by Dr. Grant Seeker as they track down an Iguanodon, who is actually Aladar from Dinosaur (2000).

Boats of Motanui and a spinner ride in concept for Moana-themed land in Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Imagineer Shares Speculation on Possible Disney World Retheme

While DINOSAUR still holds up today (the ride, not the movie), it’s another case of outdated IP that isn’t beloved by most Guests. The ride is still popular, but from Disney’s perspective, we can imagine that they’re already seeking out new IP to take its place and draw more Guests to Animal Kingdom ASAP. Josh D’Amaro, Chairperson of Disney Parks and Resorts, has previously shared the “Blue Sky” plans for its Moana and Zootopia replacements. While this Disney World closure is just theoretical for now, if Shanghai Disneyland’s upcoming Zootopia land and the Moana live-action remake are both hits, we recommend saying your goodbyes to Aladar and company, ASAP.

Mission: SPACE

You don’t need to join NASA to visit space. Just go to the World Discovery section of EPCOT. There, Guests can board a simulator that replicates a mission to Mars. First opened in 2003, the ride has long been lambasted by those suffering from motion sickness, to the point that Disney later introduced two versions of the attraction: Green Mission (which doesn’t move as much) and Orange Mission (which is far more intense).

The interior controls of Mission: SPACE
Credit: Disney

EPCOT’s most infamous attraction is often thought to be on the chopping block, causing pretty severe physical side effects for some Guests. Wait times are rarely long, and, at 20 years, it’s had a pretty strong lifespan considering its unpopularity. A lot of this may be wishful thinking from its biggest haters, but it’s easy to picture this potential Disney World closure becoming a reality in the near future.

Carousel of Progress

The biggest problem with Carousel of Progress isn’t its concept – it’s that for a ride with “progress” in the name, it hasn’t actually made any progress in decades. Guests take a seat in a rotating theater and follow a “typical” all-American family through the technological advancements of the 1900s, 1920s, 1940s, and the 21st century.

Originally created by Walt Disney and WED Enterprises for the 1964 World’s Fair, Magic Kingdom’s version has outlived its Disneyland counterpart by a whopping 50 years. It was last updated in 1993, but the bulk of the show remains the same – including its Sherman Brothers soundtrack, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”

Walt Disney by figure of Carousel of Progress, currently at risk of closure at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Today, it feels more like a nostalgic look at what was once considered the “future.” However, this nostalgia isn’t necessarily appreciated by every Walt Disney World Guest. With the addition of TRON Lightcycle / Run, it feels like Tomorrowland is moving away from its “the future of yesterday” feel and finally catching up to contemporary concepts of tomorrow. If that’s the case, Carousel of Progress would likely be the first to go – although it would be nice to keep at least one thing Walt Disney had a personal hand in creating at Magic Kingdom. Fingers crossed for a thorough refurbishment, not a total closure.

Which potential Disney World closure are you most worried about? Let us know in the comments!

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