Aerosmith Termination From Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: Disney World Ride To Reopen

in Walt Disney World

Composiate image featuring a Rock 'n' Roller Coaster loop on the left and a close-up of a smiling man with long, wavy, light brown hair on the right, set against a vibrant background.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Walt Disney World’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith has long been a highlight for thrill-seekers visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

First opening in 1999, this high-speed indoor roller coaster quickly became famous for its unique combination of heart-pounding drops, loops, and an adrenaline-pumping soundtrack by the legendary rock band Aerosmith. However, the future of this iconic attraction is set to change dramatically, marking the end of an era for both Disney fans and Aerosmith enthusiasts.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster permit filed.
Credit: ITM

For over two decades, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has delighted Disney park guests with its intense launch sequence, propelling riders from 0 to 60 mph in just under three seconds. The coaster’s unique appeal comes from its thematic elements, immersing riders in the experience of racing through Los Angeles traffic to get to an Aerosmith concert on time. This narrative is enhanced by the ride’s onboard audio system, which plays some of Aerosmith’s greatest hits, including “Walk This Way,” “Sweet Emotion,” and “Dude (Looks Like a Lady).”

However, recent years have seen the ride embroiled in controversy. Steven Tyler, Aerosmith’s frontman, has faced multiple lawsuits accusing him of sexual abuse, casting a shadow over the band’s association with Disney. In 2022, Julia Holcomb filed a lawsuit alleging abuse in the 1970s when she was a minor.

Mickey Mouse and Steven Tyler over the interior of Disney's Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

This was followed by another lawsuit in 2023 from Jeanne Bellino, claiming physical, psychological, and emotional injuries due to non-consensual advances by Tyler. Although Tyler has denied these allegations and one of the suits was dismissed, the damage to his and the band’s reputation has sparked rumors about Disney potentially rebranding the ride.

These rumors have been circulating for years, with many speculating that Disney would eventually overhaul the ride’s theming. Despite the controversy, Disney has so far retained the Aerosmith branding, likely due to the logistical challenges and significant costs associated with re-theming such a popular attraction. Yet, the ride’s current refurbishment might be the last time we see the Aerosmith name associated with it.

Disney recently announced that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster would reopen on July 27, 2024, following one of the longest closures in the attraction’s history. The ride was initially closed in January 2024 for extensive maintenance, which insiders suggest involved substantial upgrades to the ride system to enhance safety and performance. This refurbishment has been eagerly awaited by fans who have missed the high-energy experience that only Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster can provide.

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

Despite the excitement surrounding its reopening, there is a strong belief among Disney insiders that this will be the last time the coaster reopens under the Aerosmith branding. Given the associated negative publicity, it seems increasingly likely that Disney will eventually choose to distance itself from the band. In addition, Aerosmith’s popularity among younger audiences could cause Walt Disney World Resort to look into another young artist to maintain the attraction’s popularity in the future.

One of the most persistent rumors about the future of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster involves re-theming it to feature Powerline, a fictional pop star from A Goofy Movie (1995). Powerline, known for his energetic music and electrifying stage presence, has a cult following among Disney fans. A Powerline-themed coaster would not only retain the musical element that makes Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster unique but also align perfectly with Disney’s strategy of leveraging its own intellectual properties to enhance the park experience.

Goofy dancing in A Goofy Movie khleo thomas
Credit: Disney

Although nothing has been officially confirmed, the idea of a Powerline-themed roller coaster has gained considerable traction. It represents a family-friendly alternative, and transforming the coaster’s theme could provide a fresh, engaging narrative that revitalizes the attraction for a new generation of park-goers.

As Disney moves forward, the potential re-theming of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is likely to involve extensive planning and development.

A log flume ride under testing, featuring empty log-shaped boats on a water track, with a sign stating "sorry, friends, we are ride testing only. opening this summer!" in a lush, green park setting.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Such a significant overhaul would require not only rebranding but also redesigning various aspects of the ride’s storyline, queue experience, and visual elements. This would mean another extended closure, giving Disney the opportunity to implement state-of-the-art technology and storytelling techniques that have become hallmarks of the newer attractions across Disney parks worldwide.

At this time, Walt Disney World has not confirmed its next major project. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open in Magic Kingdom, and there have already been teasers for major land expansions for both Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

What do you think Disney should ultimately do with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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