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8 Disney Theme Park Attractions That Were ABANDONED and Left to Rot

Disneyland PeopleMover

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 8 examples of attractions that have been left in place after closing.

8. The New Global Neighborhood at Epcot

New Global Neighborhood

Image: Nomeus,

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.

7. Discovery Island at Walt Disney World

Discovery Island

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".

6. The Food Rocks! stage at Epcot

Kitchen Kabaret

Kitchen Kabaret has to be one of the most unusual Disney attractions of all time. It was essentially a Vaudeville-style show featuring singing food items, and was designed to teach kids about the four food groups. It operated in the Land Pavilion at Epcot for 12 years before being replaced by the similar Food Rocks, which itself closed for good in 2004.

Eventually, Soarin' occupied some of the space that was used for Food Rocks. However, according to Modern Mouse Radio, the actual stage was left in place and hidden by walls. Even the animatronic figures are said to be resting just beyond your reach as you queue for the flight simulator ride.

5. The Original ImageWorks at Epcot

Abandoned Imageworks

The abandoned ImageWorks as seen in 2011.
Image: E82 - The Epcot Legacy (used with permission)

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.

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There are 48 comments.

Miss the building at EPCOT that housed "Body Wars" and "Cranium Command" and "The Making of Me".

Ooh...good one. Thanks!

that building is actually still used, they now use it as a center for epcots annual events such as the food and wine festival and flower and garden show. the original attractions arent used but the building is now open aaround 75 percent of the year :)

I have always wanted to know why they closed this pavilion. Can anyone tell me?????

Met life was the sponsor and did not renew there contract due to them going public with their stocks in Wallstreet.

I would think that with our current interest in health and nutrition that a refurbished focus on health and the body would be welcome. Also, refurbishing Kitchen Kabaret or Food Rocks with a focus on healthy nutrition done in an appealing way would be a good attraction. While we love The Land it, too, could benefit from some updating. Horticulture methods are important to our country and should be continued to be demonstrated to visitors. EPCOT is our favorite park and should remain true to its original mission of education and progress and to the study of world cultures in the World Showcase. I feel badly that Disney seems to have lost this focus and seem more interested in promoting their movies and adding to their bottom line.

I worked for WDW from 1987 to 1997 as a electronic tech I helped build the Body Wars simulators and other show equiptment at Wonders of Life when we opened it was a cutting edge pavilion and cost 50 million to build I still miss working on it and keeping it running!I also miss the old Imagination Pavilion.I worked at Dept7MA Central Shops in 1990. Thanks for the memories!

Yes, peoplemover (which debuted,I believe at the 1964-65 world's fair), but after peoplemover, there was the rocketrods which my son and I rode many times and enjoyed, but the line was ridiculous.

They still have the People Mover at the Magic Kingdom in WDW. I love that ride. After a long day when you're really tired, it's always a really short line, and you just sit and chill while it rides you all over Tomorrowland. I usually ride it more than once on each trip to the Magic Kingdom.

I miss the sky buckets at Disneyland, they used to go through the Matterhorn. I loved riding in them with my grandma, and looking at all the people below! The little Dutch style building where you were loaded on to the ride is still there in Fantasyland with only a thin chain across the entrance. It looks really cool now, with all the trees growing around it. It's kind of spooky!

I miss the skyway too.

I really miss the peoplemover

I really miss the peoplemover

I really miss the peoplemover

i wish yall would reopen river country water park that was the best place to go and i would love to go back

not happening due to amoebas

Urban Myth. That is not why it closed. It remained open for 21 years after an 11 year old boy died from an amoeba infection that can be caught in any fresh water swimming hole.

All of the swimming in Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon was stopped around the same time, mostly due to the fact that Disney had determined the lake water to be hazardous to swim in due to mass infestations of algae blooms and (yes) threat of amoebas. This included operations at River Country, as the main water sources were Bay Lake. However... look at the many cons to the location that River Country was in. Parking had to be a nightmare, and with the addition of Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach it was probably difficult for them to spread business across the boards. Sure, River Country was a really cool place to swim at, but most of the attractions were heavily outdated and everything wouldn't fall in line with ADA regulations (just as MK was updated to fit those within the last 10 years.). So while it's sad that it's gone, they would have had to sink a ton of money into the overhaul to make it current to safety regulations and ADA.

River Country closed in 2001. At that time, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach were open, and all 3 of the waterparks took turns with seasonal refurbs. After Sept 11, WDW took a hit with guests visiting and decided to hold off the refurb, and then not reopen the park. That is the actual reason why they closed and didn't reopen.

Wrong wrong wrong. River country was closed because a law was passed that water parks could not use fresh water as their source it has to be filtered. The water for river country came directly from bay lake. There is almost no way to install huge filters without rebuilding the whole park which doesnt have parking like the other 2 water parks.

It's worth reading this analysis from Yesterland on that subject:

I lived river country. Spent a day there and at the camp grounds every trip. That was not old school fun

Wasn't the people mover actuaaly called WEDWay in Florida? It was a great ride in the middle of the afternoon to relax and cool down when the rest of the park was busy and full of lines!

It was the Wedway peoplemover before becoming the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. While it's still a nice getaway to relax and cool off, it was more informative back in the day.

Still IS!!!

I really miss skyscrapers. It was nice to be up so high go through the mountain and see the scary snow man also it carried you to the other side. Great experience should bring it back. I know lots of people said it was not safe but don't ride it if you think it's not safe ..

Bring back Horizons!

What about the Adventurers Club? It is abandoned on pleasure island.

Relatively soon, it will be completely demolished or renovated.

It would be really great if they would at least reopen the pool area at River Country for Fort Wilderness guests since they have outgrown the two pools that are currently available at the campground and are usually over capacity. It is a shame to see it sit there and go to waste! I understand the portion of River Country connected to the lake would not be useable but the pool was nice in its day.

dont agree with a couple of them The Land's VIP lounge at Epcot is used for training now i had a traing class up there and the wonders of life building is used seasonal for conventions and food and wine and we have cast member events in there so i don't see them as "abandoned or left to rot"

I say that every time we camp! Fort Wilderness needs another pool. River Country was beautiful. Not over crowded like the other water parks! To bad they don't reopen it to campground only. I would even pay more to have that luxury!

Used to do day trips from Cape Canaveral/ Cocoa Beach area to spend the day at river country, Sad to here it's just wasting away, maybe they could do something, by invitation only, similar to Sea World's Discovery Cove. Just a thought.

River Country was so much fun..It is a shame that they did not keep it open for camping guest. Campers are not given the discounts or free dining that other resorts receive, which I do not understand as camping cost close to the Budget Hotels on property .

We were invited to Discovery Island a few years ago. We travelled by boat (the only way to get there). It was charming, but not set up for large crowds. My daughter was studying ospreys for a project which won a National award. It was an intriguing, exciting trip. We did not feel we were in Disney World, except for the fact that The Disney brothers envisioned it. Best part of the trip!

Just throwing it out there, #8 is no longer abandoned, and hasn't been for quite a few years. It's now Project Tomorrow, an interactive exhibit for the pavilion's new sponsor: Siemens. Really it was only walled off during the time between sponsorships.

I thought I was crazy when I had this same thought. I'm glad you confirmed it.

Abandoned wave generator on bottom of bay lake WDW

I was a cm from January 08 until April of this year. The Food rocks stage is still there but no animatronics. Everything is still in the imagination Pavilion except the rainbow tunnel. The third floor of the land has some offices and a break area for the characters

Everything still being there in the imagination pavilion, I would cry like an excited child if they reopened it. And I would visit that pavilion at least 4 times every trip. By far it's my favorite. Even with the not as cool pavilion now, I visit at least twice each trip. <3 figment forever

Spoke with a long time cast member a few years back regarding River Country . He said he was told that the reason it hasn't been removed is that endangered birds had nested there and it was part of their wildlife promise not to disturb the ecosystem. As it turns out the same happened with the Tree Top Villas near Old Key West. Luckily they did eventually get around to refurbishing them I believe - maybe it will happen for River Country some day too.

Also regarding Discovery Island - one of the original concepts to reinvigorate this abandoned island was to make it MYST island ( as in the video game). It would have been an emersive experience for a precious few each day exploring the island and solving the mystery. It got to the discussion stages and tanked after that. I personally would have loved this. Still makes me giddy thinking about what could have been.

I was lucky enough to "tour" the remnants of Dreamworks....a flashlight was required to navigate the now definitely offstage area, but there were enough partially lit signs flickering in a Twilight Zone kind of way.... True Imagination's asleep, it's waiting, it just needs the Dreamfinder and Figment to make it happen!

We stay at Fort Wilderness every time I go to Disney, and I recently learned about River Country. This time around (I just got back from there--still as magical as ever!) I was looking around on the ferry to Magic Kingdom and actually saw the dock for River Country! This photo even proves that I was right and not just mistaking it for something else. I really wish they could refurbish it and open it back up, even if it was for the campground only. I'd pay a bit more if it meant I could take a peek inside and be in what I couldn't before it closed!

I just finished my college program in January. ImageWorks looks the same as in those pictures, just a bit creepier cause some workers have been up there or something. The Rainbow corridor is still there though, just isn't colorful anymore. The EPCOT VIP lounge is there, they use it for training and whatnot. Great article! I really enjoyed reading it!

There are four rides at Disneyland ca that are abandoned that u can still see one is listed the others are not the track for the mini boats in tomorrow land wich is now a smoking area the sky way tram stations the people move track and fort wilderness wich is now storage for fantasmic

The food rocks stage is still there, but the animatronics are gone.

Body wars has since been completely gutted and is used as a massive storage bay for food and wine.

I think they should open up some of the abandoned attractions and allow people to go in. I would love to photograph and see how time and mother nature has taken over.


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