Home » 5 of the WORST Disney Theme Park Mistakes

    5 of the WORST Disney Theme Park Mistakes

    Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management front facade

    Disney theme parks worldwide are renowned for their immersive atmosphere and impressive determination to keep the magic alive in the hearts of all guests.

    Each year, Disney tries to up the ante and continue establishing itself as the pinnacle of theme park entertainment, but even the famous mouse is not immune to a few mistakes here and there. Let’s dive into 5 of these mistakes which definitely caused a stir…

    1. Enchanted Tiki Room – Under New Management!

    Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management front facade

    The original Enchanted Tiki Room was a must-do attraction for many Disney-goers during its years of operation. In 1998, the attraction received a refurbishment that saw lago and Zazu, familiar bird companions from Aladdin and The Lion King respectively, becoming the new owners of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

    The update to this beloved attraction was met with mixed to poor reviews with some feeling as though the heart of the original was lost. In 2011, a small fire broke out in the attraction’s attic that damaged several animatronics and led to another temporary closure and overhaul of the attraction itself. When it reopened later that year, the Enchanted Tiki Room was restored to a shortened version of the original.

    2. Journey into Imagination

    Journey into Imagination
    (img: Freddo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

    Journey into Imagination was a beloved Epcot attraction that saw characters such as the Dreamfinder and his small dragon companion Figment. The original attraction ran steadily for fifteen years until it closed in 1998 to undergo its first major refurbishment.

    A year later, the attraction reopened as Journey into YOUR Imagination, a shorter experience that lacked major appearances from Dreamfinder or Figment. This refurbishment was met with largely negative reviews, especially due to the lack of beloved characters from the original. This incarnation of the ride lasted until 2001 when it was once again closed for refurbishment. In 2002, Journey into imagination with Figment reopened to the public. This version offers Figment a much larger role, but many Disney fans still miss the original attraction and the presence of Dreamfinder.

    3. Superstar Limo

    Perhaps one of the most notorious entries on this list, Superstar Limo opened in 2001 in Disney’s California Adventure. While the original design concept saw riders traveling in a high-speed car chase in a limo to avoid being seen by the paparazzi, this version of the ride never quite made it to fruition.

    Instead, the attraction opened with caricatures and cardboard cutouts of famous celebrities and received very poor reviews from guests. After one year of operation, the attraction was closed permanently and transformed into Monsters, Inc. Mike and Sulley to the Rescue! which opened in 2006.

    4. Cake Castle

    Castle Cake, Disney
    Image: Disney

    When visiting one of the Disney parks, one of the most iconic photo stops is the grand castle down Main Street. Families travel from all across the world to get a picture in front of its beautiful facade for that once in a lifetime memory. This memory may be smudged a bit for families visiting the park during the Magic Kingdom’s 25th anniversary when the whole of Cinderella’s Castle was transformed into a giant brightly-colored birthday cake.

    While it was a fun and bold move on Disney’s part, many vacationing families felt the view (and their ideal pictures) were ruined by the castle’s design.

    5. Rocket Rods

    Rocket Rod still functioning in Tomorrowland
    (img: Ellen Levy Finch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

    Fans of Tomorrowland in Disneyland, California are a mixed bag when it comes to the Rocket Rods/Peoplemover debate. The Peoplemover opened in Disneyland in 1967 and enjoyed a lengthy run until 1995 when it was closed and transformed into the new Rocket Rods attraction.

    The Rocket Rods were a much faster-paced ride than the original Peoplemover and severely damaged the track and infrastructure that was built with the Peoplemover in mind. Rocket Rods permanently closed in 2001, but the track remains in place to this day as a solemn reminder for fans of the Anaheim Peoplemover. Fortunately, the Florida version of the Peoplemover is still operating.

    So, which of these Disney mistakes did you like (or dislike) the most? Are there any that you remember with fondness or wish Disney would return to the original?