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The Top 5 Abandoned Disney Theme Park AttractionsSubmitted by Nick Sim on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 08:25
As a general rule, Disney takes much better care of its attractions than most other theme park operators. It is obsessive about clearing its parks of trash, and paintwork and other decorative elements are usually spick and span.
But what about when an attraction has reached the end of its useful life? Sometimes, they are dismantled and packed away neatly to make room for new additions. Other times, though, they are simply abandoned and left to rot. Here are 5 examples of attractions that have been left in place after closing.
5. The New Global Neighborhood at Epcot
AT&T was the sponsor of Epcot's Spaceship Earth for some 20 years, between 1984 and 2004. In 1994, along with Disney, the company decided to give it a major overhaul. Many of the dark ride's scenes remained unchanged, but those showing current and future communications technologies were updated. The post-show was also changed, from "Earth Station" to "AT&T's Global Neighborhood". This featured hands-on exhibits designed to showcase AT&T's communications expertise.
Ahead of the new millenium, the old exhibits were removed and replaced by an enormous tree made of steel cable known as "The Network Tree". This was the star attraction of "The New Global Neighborhood".
When AT&T walked away from sponsoring the attraction in 2004, the New Global Neighborhood wasn't immediately removed. Instead, it was left in place and boarded up.
4. Discovery Island at Walt Disney World
Located in Walt Disney World's Bay Lake, Discovery Island first opened to the public in April 1974 as Treasure Island, and operated as a wildlife observation attraction until 1999. At that point, many of its captive animals were moved to the newly-opened Disney's Animal Kingdom.
While several alternative uses of the island have since been put forward - including turning it into an attraction based on Lost - it remains off-limits to guests. Urban explorer Shane Pérez reached the island in 2010, claiming to have discovered "abandoned buildings, cages, preserved snakes in jars, even old employee photos".
3. The Original ImageWorks at Epcot
Image: EpcotLegacy, Flickr
The original Journey to Imagination attraction at Epcot was very popular. After disembarking, guests were sent through the post-show ImageWorks area. This hosted a variety of games and hands-on exhibits, such as Magic Palette (a digital drawing station), Lightwriter (using lasers to write and draw) and Bubble Music (a projection that moved in time with sounds). The most famous of these was the Rainbow Corridor, which assigned a color to each guest and followed them throughout.
When the ride underwent a major refurbishment in 1999 (a move that was incredibly unpopular among fans of the original), ImageWorks was closed. It was left largely intact, being used for storage and special events.
2. Disneyland's PeopleMover
The PeopleMover operated from 1967 to 1995, carrying guests in small trains along an elevated track which circles Tomorrowland. After its closure, it was replaced in 1998 by the Rocket Rods attraction, a predecessor to Epcot's Test Track which saw guests blasted at high speed along the same circuit. However, severe technical issues (in particular, the weakening of the ride's support structure and the failure to install banked turns) led to the Rocket Rods' closure in 2001.
Disneyland has long hinted at a return. for the PeopleMover in some capacity. The latest rumors suggest that it will re-emerge as a Star Wars-themed walkthrough attraction.
1. Disney's River Country
Source: Darren Wittko, Flickr
Back in the mid-1970s, Walt Disney World was not the sprawling, multi-day resort destination that it is today. The only theme park on offer was the Magic Kingdom, and EPCOT Center wouldn't open until the start of the next decade. To keep its hotel guests amused and on-site for longer, Disney decided to build its first ever water park, Disney's River Country.
When Michael Eisner took over as Disney CEO in 1984, he took a more competitive approach than his predecessors. He decided to build a full water park, Typhoon Lagoon, to take on nearby Wet 'n' Wild. River Country's capacity was limited, and its days were numbered. It shut on November 2, 2001, but remains in place today - it was abandoned rather than demolished.
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