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Journey into the Past: 15 Lost Rides and Attractions of Epcot

8. The Living Seas

The Living Seas

Image: ManoaChild, Wikipedia

Opened in: 1986
Closed in: 2005
Replaced by: The Seas with Nemo & Friends

When Michael Eisner took over as Disney CEO in 1984, he decided that the company's former policy of "playing nice" with its neighbors in Florida was no longer appropriate. Instead, he sought to take on the competition directly. In 1986, The Living Seas Pavilion opened at Epcot, taking clear aim at SeaWorld Orlando (it didn't work: SeaWorld registered record attendance that year).

The Living Seas hosted the largest saltwater tank in the world, holding an incredible 5.7 million gallons of water. The attraction took guests under the ocean to "Sea Base Alpha" via a "hydrolator" (a mock elevator), where they viewed a short movie about the oceans dubbed The Sea. They then boarded "Seacabs", traveling along an underwater tunnel through the aquarium. Finally, they could take a look around a host of multimedia displays.

The Seacabs closed in 2001, and in 2003 work began on a major overhaul of The Living Seas. Eventually, the Seacabs were replaced by "Clamobiles", and the entire attraction was converted into The Seas with Nemo & Friends.

7. World of Motion

World of Motion

Image © Disney

Opened in: 1982
Closed in: 1996
Replaced by: Test Track

Sponsored by General Motors, World of Motion was the anchor attraction of Epcot's Transportation Pavilion from 1982 to 1996. The classic Omnimover dark ride took guests through scenes populated by audio-animatronic figures that told the story of the evolution of tranportation, from the invention of the wheel to modern automobiles.

These days, the site is occupied by Test Track - a much faster-paced take on transport technology.

6. Universe of Energy

Universe of Energy

Image: ManoaChild, Wikipedia

Opened in: 1982
Closed in: 1996
Replaced by: Ellen's Energy Adventure

The original Universe of Energy pavilion at EPCOT Center featured a roof that was covered in 80,000 photovoltaic solar cells. These partially powered the ride vehicles for the attraction within, which transported guests by following guide wires rather than a traditional track. On their way, guests viewed various film sequences about energy production, as well as a diorama featuring audio-animatronic dinosaurs.

In 1996, the attraction was replaced by Ellen's Energy Adventure, an updated version starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye "The Science Guy".

5. Wonders of Life Pavilion

Wonders of Life

Image: SteamFan, Wikimedia Commons

Opened in: 1989
Closed in: 2007

Wonders of Life opened in 1989, and hosted a variety of interactive attractions such as a personal health quiz and bicycle simulators. The highlight, though, was Body Wars - a simulator ride through the human body. This was joined by Cranium Command, a humorous show about the importance of the human brain.

Elements of the Wonders of Life Pavilion are still in place and it is used for seasonal events. However, Body Wars and Cranium Command have not operated for many years.

4. Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

Image: NeonNero, Flickr

Opened in: 1994
Closed in: 2010
Replaced by: Captain EO

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, based on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, was a 3-D show housed in the Imagination Pavilion. It saw guests shrunk down to a tiny size, and featured a host of "4-D" effects such as spraying water and shaking floors. Ironically, it was replaced by the same show that it had itself replaced: Michael Jackson's Captain EO.

3. Journey Into Imagination

Journey into Imagination

Image © Disney

Opened in: 1982
Closed in: 1998
Replaced by: Journey into Your Imagination

EPCOT Center was designed to offer a completely different type of experience to the Magic Kingdom. For that reason, Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck were initially banned from the park. While this decision made sense on many levels, it also left kids without a recognisable character to connect with.

Faced with this problem, Disney's Imagineers created a new, original character - one in keeping with the park's theme. That character was Figment, the icon of the Imagination Pavilion. Together with Dreamfinder, Figment hosted the pavilion's headline attraction: Journey into Imagination, which eventually opened five months after the rest of the pavilion (which was subsequently renamed as the Journey into Imagination Pavilion).

The original version of Journey into Imagination operated until 1998, when it was overhauled to become Journey into YOUR Imagination. This version of the ride came in for stinging criticism, and only survived for two years before it was itself replaced. It was themed around 3-D movie Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which was also hosted in the same pavilion, and saw guests passing through numerous areas of the fictitious Imagination Institute.

In the face of overwhelming demand from fans, Disney brought back Dreamfinder and Figment. Unfortunately, the resulting attraction - Journey into Imagination with Figment - remains very, very unpopular.

2. ImageWorks

ImageWorks Rainbow Corridor

Image © Disney

Opened in: 1982
Closed in: 1998
Replaced by: ImageWorks: The What-If Labs

ImageWorks was the post-show to the original Journey into Imagination attraction. It 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.

1. Maelstrom

Maelstrom

Opened in: 1988
Closed in: 2014
Replaced by: Frozen Ever After

This forward/backward flume ride in the Norway Pavilion took guests in Norse viking ships on a cruise through a troll-inhabited swamp, past Nordic polar bears, and into the oil refinement industry of present-day Norway before culminating in a short film on the region's contributions to technology.

The closure of Maelstrom was surely the most controversial ride closure in Epcot's history, simply because of the nature of its replacement: A Frozen-themed boat ride

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There are 19 comments.

What about that building that is between Epcot and the World Showcase? I think the only part that is regularly used there are the restrooms. Will that space ever be turned into anything?

That building is used during the Food and Wine Festival. They serve different beers in there.

I miss all the stuff from the 80s! And maybe Journey Into Inagination would be more popular if they brought back the original version.

Figment is my favorite. Absolutely. I have a Figment collection, and I had him on my 30th birthday cake; I used to literally dream about that ride several times a month when I was young.

I also have all of the Epcot original theme music memorized.

Protesters made an impact and saw to it that whatever replaced the original JII ride would include Figment exactly as we've always known him!

I've been not only disappointed but outraged by attractions which have replaced classic ones in EPCOT over the years that are moving the park in a direction that could not be more inaccurate! It made no sense whatsoever first of all to replace El Rio del Tiempo: The River of Time with the Three Caballeros when that ride could have been built separately in the Magic Kingdom when the entire complex already has more than enough room to double in size. El Rio del Tiempo was one of my earliest lessons on what Mexico consists of (now and in the past) and Mexican citizens base their heritage on their country itself, not on a US children's movie from the 1940's even though it's set in Mexico. The Living Seas replacement was even more appalling! That attraction was beyond extraordinary with a recreated ocean complete with aquatic life, plants, coral reefs, rocks, sand, sea shells and everything else the world under the ocean consists of (with even the chance for certified guests to scuba dive!). There was even an elevator ride down through the water and a moving vehicle ride (similar to what you ride in through Spaceship Earth) at the lowest point which was designed to be reminiscent of the ocean floor through the underwater scenes. Other than that it featured a museum with ocean-related exhibits and a seafood restaurant called the Coral Reef Restaurant which included thick-glassed windows looking out into the underwater realm that was the centerpiece of The Living Seas as seen better from down below the building (which I mentioned before). I can't imagine why they'd replace this with some weak ride based on Finding Nemo! Believe it or not I liked that movie as did so many children who saw it however the ride inspired by it belongs in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom as does the Gran Fiesta Tour, not EPCOT Center! The ride Finding Nemo being established at all is one thing but as far as it replacing The Living Seas is unimaginable and I just felt like fainting upon learning this for the first time years ago! I've never been able to fully determine why the entire WDW complex has taken such a turn for the worst in the last decade but now is the time to put an end to this and replace attractions that are now out of place! It's important to stimulate small children but the exact same goes for everyone above that age range as Walt himself strongly believed. Attractions which are meant to appeal to either everyone or higher generations only must not be neglected and not be done away with to make way for kiddie ones and I don't know how or why Disney World continuously does this and gets away with it. So stop disrespecting Walt Disney, stop disrespecting the Disney legacy/empire, stop disrespecting the diversity of life, stop disrespecting the real world and start doing all this by getting Gran Fiesta Tour and Finding Nemo out of EPCOT (and putting what was originally there and rightfully still should be there back in those same places) and into their more appropriate settings NOW!

Amen, Kenneth.

Early days of 1990's Deaf Americans who visited Walt Disney World ... they total access for Deaf People who need of Closed Caption with special devices read messages. While film many location as Movie Theater. For , dark Rides ,etc ... And sometimes special request alive show with professional Interpreters .... Speaking of other non Disney parks don't provide that time, it was blessing for ex CEO of Disney..... Who still supportive deaf camp near Aspen, Colorado !!!

I agree with you 100%!

Right on Kenneth... Epcot WAS set up to describe cultures & movie-based rides should be in Fantasyland. Soon as I learned of Maelstrom, I thought of the Disney legacy and how ALL the WDW creative staff would hate the trend in recent decades

So totally agree. They are truly tarnishing Walt Disney's vision for the park and his ideals.

So totally agree. They are truly tarnishing Walt Disney's vision for the park and his ideals.

There are definitely some of these attractions I miss more than others. The top of my list for most missed is Journey To Imagination with Figment, ImageWorks, The Wonders of Life Pavilion, Food Rocks and Kitchen Kaberet. I remember reading all of the information on Maelstrom when it first opened and remembered being really excited to ride it. It looked like it would be really thrilling, with the backwards drop, and I had in my mind an attraction on the scale of Splash Mountain. We rode it within the 1st year it was open, and I was SO disappointed. I am hoping that having the "Frozen" theme will add to the attraction. To answer a previously asked question about the Odyssey Building (the one that sits at the beginning of the World Showcase between Test Track and Mexico... it was never an attraction... it was a cafeteria style restaurant. For years it was used to train Food Service workers and for conventions. Over the past year, they have been incorporating it into the Festivals. It is serving as the Craft Beer pavilion this year at the Food and Wine Festival. It was really nice to go in and have a a beer or 2 and relax in the air condition.

There are definitely some of these attractions I miss more than others. The top of my list for most missed is Journey To Imagination with Figment, ImageWorks, The Wonders of Life Pavilion, Food Rocks and Kitchen Kaberet. I remember reading all of the information on Maelstrom when it first opened and remembered being really excited to ride it. It looked like it would be really thrilling, with the backwards drop, and I had in my mind an attraction on the scale of Splash Mountain. We rode it within the 1st year it was open, and I was SO disappointed. I am hoping that having the "Frozen" theme will add to the attraction. To answer a previously asked question about the Odyssey Building (the one that sits at the beginning of the World Showcase between Test Track and Mexico... it was never an attraction... it was a cafeteria style restaurant. For years it was used to train Food Service workers and for conventions. Over the past year, they have been incorporating it into the Festivals. It is serving as the Craft Beer pavilion this year at the Food and Wine Festival. It was really nice to go in and have a a beer or 2 and relax in the air condition.

I was very sad when I saw the changes made to Figment. And very sad when they closed Maelstrom but I did see here that the article states Frozen was not set in Norway but the movie was set in Norway.

I really miss Body Wars & Cranium Command
The new figment is OK......but I miss the Original

Really miss The Adventurer's Club.....will never be the same

I miss the body wars in the journey to life pavilion. I loved the simulator ride.

Am I the only one that misses World of Motion. Sure, Test Track is a great replacement, but World of Motion was like Spaceship Earth but with cars. It was awesome! :)

Thank you so much for this article. It brought back so many memories of my first visit to EPCOT. I was barely 5 when I was there for the millennium celebration. I went to Youtube to look up the Millennium Village and from there to look up the Tapestry of Nations parade, which brought back a very strong memory of those giant puppets bending down and scaring the daylights out of me. I remember Spaceship Earth being different too. Anybody remember who narrated Space Earth in 2000?

In more recent years, I did the College Program in 2014 and I worked in EPCOT. During one of my closing assignments (or a few of them) my fellow co-workers and I would wander into several buildings and explore and on of them was Imagination. We went up to where the ImageWorks was at and while it was a neat experience, I now looks like something out of Five Nights at Freddy's. They go up there for maintenance work so it always looked a little different every time. I hope they do something with it cause that whole paint area and rainbow tunnel is still up.

I think Walter Cronkite was the original narrator of Spaceship Earth.

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