14 Permanently Closed Disney Rides We All Wish We Could Ride One Last Time
Disney has been unveiling groundbreaking rides and attractions across all 12 international parks in recent years. From the newest Disney attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway, which opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this March, to the technologically advanced and truly impressive Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance that opened this winter at both U.S. Disney resorts, there’s no doubt we’re in a new age of incredible theme park attraction design.
In order to make way for these new attractions, Disney has had to retire some beloved rides. From the recently closed Great Movie Ride to the 1980s attraction starring Micheal Jackson, Captain EO, there are a number of unique, adorable, and downright bizarre Disney rides that are now extinct. Get your dose of Disney nostalgia with this list of permanently closed Disney rides and attractions from Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
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Captain EO: 1986-1998, 2010-2015
This 3-D science fiction movie attraction is unlike anything you’d currently find in the parks. Captain EO stars Micheal Jackson, and it was written by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This attraction used 3-D and in-theater effects, making it one of the first 4-D attractions. The ride first closed in 1998, but it was brought back in 2010 after Jackson’s death for another short run.
Body Wars: 1989-2007
Get shrunk down to the size of a blood cell and take a trip through the human body in this odd, but very educational, motion simulator ride. Even though this attraction would seem out of place at Epcot today — the theme park is now home to World Showcase and Future World — it was right at home in the Wonders of Life pavilion, which was devoted to health care and the human body.
Delta Dreamflight: 1989-1998
Delta Dreamflight, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, is the travel-inspired attraction we all wish we could ride again. The ride, located in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom, taught guests all about the history of flight until it was replaced by Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin in 1998.
Flying Saucers: 1961-1966
Even though this ride opened in the ‘60s, it still seems futuristic and advanced by today’s standards. Guests boarded individual flying saucers that hovered in the air, going in whatever direction the rider leaned — they could even bump into to each other, using the saucers like bumper cars.
The Great Movie Ride: 1989-2017
Recently replaced by Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, The Great Movie Ride was once a fixture of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it actually served as the inspiration for this movie and show business-themed park. This ride took guests through scenes of famous movies like “Mary Poppins,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
Horizons: 1983-1994, 1995-1999
Guests traveled to the advanced cities of the future in this Epcot dark ride which was later replaced by Mission: Space. At the time, this was the only ride that allowed guests to choose different endings: guests could go back to the “Futureport” via the space station, a desert farm, or an undersea research base, which all illustrated different possibilities for future civilization.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure: 1996-2017
Starring Bill Nye and Ellen DeGeneres, this educational attraction taught guests all about different forms of energy and their uses through video and dinosaur animatronics. The ride was closed in 2017 to make way for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a new indoor roller coaster attraction.
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!: 1994-2010
Based off of the 1989 film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” this 4-D attraction would shake and move as guests were shrunken down by a professor’s sci-fi gadget. This ride was found at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disney before it closed in 2010 to make way for the Captain EO tribute.
Before Epcot’s Norway pavilion got a Frozen-themed makeover, the Maelstrom boat ride taught guests about Norwegian history. The troll, viking, and polar bear animatronics have since been replaced by Anna, Elsa, and the rest of the Frozen gang, but the new Frozen Ever After ride still has essentially the same layout and vehicle as the original Norway attraction.
Rocket Rods: 1998-2001
In an attempt to liven up Tomorrowland in California’s Disneyland, Disney converted the slow-paced Peoplemover attraction into a high-speed thrill ride. Unfortunately, mechanical issues plagued this ride, so it was relatively short lived.
ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter: 1995-2003
This extinct Magic Kingdom attraction is not exactly what you’d expect to find in a park filled with beloved cartoon characters and kid-friendly attractions. This science fiction attraction was much darker and scarier than other attractions in the park, as an alien was accidentally released into the crowd of guests sitting in a theater-in-the-round equipped with moving seats and special effects. The attraction was closed in 2003 and replaced by Stitch’s Great Escape! — a much more child-friendly option.
This gondola attraction carried guests between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland at Disneyland, giving them an overhead view of all the action happening below.
Studio Backlot Tour: 1989-2014
This backlot walking and tram tour took guests behind the scenes to show them how movies are made. The tour featured plenty of interesting props from beloved movies, but it was closed in 2014 to make way for Toy Story Land.
Superstar Limo: 2001-2002
No list of extinct Disney attractions would be complete without a mention of the ride some critics called the worst-ever Disney attraction. This former Disney California Adventure dark ride took guests through a cartoonish version of Hollywood in a limo, but it was poorly received and closed in under a year.