13 Permanently Closed Disney Attractions We Wish We Could Experience Again

Get your fill of Walt Disney World and Disneyland nostalgia with this list of now-extinct attractions.

Group Portrait Of Walt Disney World Staff, 1971
Photo: Yale Joel/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

Disney has been unveiling innovative rides and attractions across all 12 of its theme parks around the world in recent years. From the newest Disney roller coasters like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, which opened at Disney World in May 2022, to new technology like the Disney Genie+ app, which allows guests to bypass the lines at select attractions, there's no doubt we're in a new age of theme park design.

Neon Walkway at Epcot Center
Carl & Ann Purcell/Getty Images

To make way for new attractions, Disney retired some beloved experiences. From the 1980s short film starring Michael Jackson, Captain EO, to the Great Movie Ride, this list of permanently closed rides and attractions from Walt Disney World and Disneyland is a blast from the past.

Captain EO: 1986-1998, 2010-2015

This 3-D science-fiction movie was unlike anything you'd currently find in the parks. Captain EO starred Micheal Jackson and was written by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It used 3-D and multisensory effects, making it one of the first 4-D attractions. Captain EO first closed in 1998, but Disney brought it back in 2010 for another short run after Jackson's death.

Body Wars: 1989-2007

Guests were shrunken down to the size of a blood cell and transported 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, it was right at home in the Wonders of Life pavilion, which was devoted to health care and the human body.

If You Had Wings/If You Could Fly/Delta Dreamflight: 1972-1998

Delta Dreamflight, previously known as If You Had Wings and If You Could Fly, was the travel-inspired attraction we all wish we could experience again. Located in Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom, the Delta Air Lines-sponsored ride 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 more than half a century ago, 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 ram into each other, using the saucers like bumper cars.

The Great Movie Ride: 1989-2017

Replaced in 2020 by Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, The Great Movie Ride was once a fixture of Disney's Hollywood Studios, and it served as the inspiration for this movie and show business-themed park. This ride took guests through scenes from 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 ride which was later replaced by Mission: Space. At the time, this was the only ride that allowed you to choose different endings: go back to the "Futureport" via a 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 about different forms of energy and their uses. The theatre seats were “cars” that you rode in along a track while passing video and animatronics. The ride was closed in 2017 to make way for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!: 1994-2010

Based on the 1989 film "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," this 4-D attraction would shake and move as a professor, played by Rick Moranis, shrunk guests down using a sci-fi gadget. This ride was found at Disneyland and Walt Disney World before it closed in 2010 to make way for the Captain EO revival.

Maelstrom: 1988-2014

Before Epcot's Norway pavilion got a Frozen-themed makeover, the Maelstrom boat ride taught guests about Norwegian history. The ride featured a Viking-style boat that took guests through a 10th-century village and mythical forest with trolls that would curse the boat and send it backward. These animatronics have since been replaced by Anna, Elsa, and the rest of the Frozen gang, but the Frozen Ever After ride still has essentially the same layout and vehicle as the original Norway attraction.

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter: 1995-2003

This Magic Kingdom attraction was much darker and scarier than other experiences in the park. Guests sat in a theater-in-the-round equipped with moving seats and special effects while an alien was "accidentally" released into the audience. The science-fiction attraction was closed in 2003 and replaced by Stitch's Great Escape! — a much more kid-friendly option.

Skyway: 1956-1994

This gondola carried guests between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland at Disneyland, giving them an overhead view of the action below and an efficient way to traverse the park. A highlight was passing through the mountain of the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride, which opened in 1959, and seeing the Abominable Snowman character that later resided inside.

Studio Backlot Tour: 1989-2014

This backlot walking and tram tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida took guests behind the scenes to show them how movies are made. The tour featured a special effects demonstration in a water tank and 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 what some critics called the worst Disney attraction. This so-bad-it-was-good ride at Disney California Adventure Park took guests on a "limousine" drive through a cartoonish version of Hollywood, but it was poorly received and closed in less than a year.

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