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The History of Disney Theme Parks...in 130 Classic Photos

76. Euro Disneyland renamed as Disneyland Paris (1994)

Disneyland Paris

The disastrous financial performance of Euro Disney leads to Disney threatening to close the resort, leaving its partner banks with the land. In the end, a turnaround plan is agreed and the theme park is renamed as Disneyland Paris.

77. Honey, I Shrunk the Audience opens at Epcot '94 (1994)

Honey, I Shrunk the Audience

Image via Extinct Disney

Captain EO is replaced at Epcot by Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, a new 4-D movie based on the movies starring Rick Moranis. The show is later brought to Disneyland, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.

78. Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye opens at Disneyland (1995)

Indiana Jones Adventure

Image via WDWMagic forums

The ground-breaking Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye dark ride opens at Disneyland, featuring Enchanted Motion Vehicles that simulate fast-moving jeeps. Universal, which is planning a second theme park at its Orlando resort, decides to revise its plans for a Spider-Man dark ride in response to Disney "raising the bar".

79. Disney's Blizzard Beach opens at Walt Disney World (1995)

Disney's Blizzard Beach

Image © Disney

Walt Disney World's third water park opens, featuring an unusual theme based around a freak snow-storm that has hit Florida.

80. Disney's Animal Kingdom announced (1995)

Tree of Life

Image © Disney

Disney announces plans to build a fourth theme park at Walt Disney World. Combining a zoo and a theme park, it is designed to discourage guests from visiting Busch Gardens Tampa and keep them on Disney property for longer. An enormous 145-feet-tall fake tree, the Tree of Life, will sit at the park's heart, built around an old oil rig.

81. Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune opens at Disneyland Paris (1995)

Space Mountain: De la Terre a la Lune

The $100 million, Jules Verne-themed Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune opens in Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris. It sparks an improvement in the resort's fortunes, with attendance climbing to 10.7 million and profits of $22.8 million.

82. Epcot '95 becomes Epcot (1996)

Epcot logo

Image © Disney

Walt Disney World drops the practice of adding a year to the end of Epcot's name, and the park assumes its current moniker.

83. Second theme park agreed for Tokyo Disney Resort (1996)

Tokyo DisneySea concept art

Disney and the Oriental Land Company conclude an agreement to build a new theme park and hotel at the Tokyo Disney Resort. The park is to be known as Tokyo DisneySea, and will incorporate elements from the planned DisneySea park for Long Beach.

84. Construction of Disney's California Adventure and Downtown Disney (1998)

DCA

With plans for WestCOT and Port Disney having been abandoned following the poor performance of Euro Disneyland, Disney opts to build a cheaper second gate at Disneyland, themed around California itself.

85. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith construction (1998)

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster construction

Image via Disney Avenue

Construction work takes place on Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney-MGM Studios. The coaster itself is built first, then surrounded with a 3.7 million cubic feet ride building.

86. Disney's Animal Kingdom opens (1998)

Animal Kingdom ceremony

Image © Disney

On April 22, 1998, Disney's Animal Kingdom opens as Walt Disney World's fourth theme park. An elaborate grand opening ceremony is attended by a crowd of 2,000, with Michael Eisner calling the park "a kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama and learn."

87. New Tomorrowland opens at Disneyland (1998)

Rocket Rods (2)

Image: Rabit, Wikipedia

Disneyland opens a revised version of Tomorrowland. Budget cuts mean that the original plans are scaled back, and the main new attraction is the Rocket Rods, which replaces the PeopleMover. Technical problems with the high-speed ride mean that it will close after just two years.

88. DisneyQuest opens at Walt Disney World (1998)

DisneyQuest

Image: zeekslider

Disney opens its first indoor, "virtual reality" theme park at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney.

89. Construction of Tokyo DisneySea (1998)

Groundbreaking
Image © Oriental Land Company

Construction work on Tokyo DisneySea begins. It will become the most expensive theme park ever built, at around $4 billion.

90. Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin opens (1998)

Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Image © Disney

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin replaces Take Flight at the Magic Kingdom, becoming the first of a number of Toy Story-themed shooters at Disney parks around the world.

91. FastPass introduced (1999)

FastPass logo
Image © Disney

Disney introduces a new ride reservation system, FastPass, at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

92. Test Track opens at Epcot (1999)

Test Track

Image © Disney

After major technical problems during its construction and testing, the high-speed Test Track attraction finally opens at Walt Disney World's Epcot - almost two years late.

93. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith opens (1999)

Rock n Roller Coaster

Image © Disney

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith debuts at Disney-MGM Studios. The band themselves are on-hand at the opening ceremony.

94. Pooh's Hunny Hunt opens at Tokyo Disneyland (2000)

Pooh's Hunny Hunt

Image © Disney

Costing more than $130 million to create, Pooh's Hunny Hunt dispenses with the traditional OmniMover system used by rides such as the Haunted Mansion. Instead, it uses a unique local positioning system (LPS), enabling computers to control the movement of each individual car.

95. Disney's California Adventure opens (2001)

Disney's California Adventure

Image © Disney

Disney's California Adventure opens to the public on February 8, 2001. It proves to be underwhelming, with visitors numbers hitting just 5 million during the year (compared to 12.3 million at neighboring Disneyland). Ticket prices are slashed almost immediately.

96. Tokyo DisneySea opens (2001)

Grand opening
Image © Oriental Land Company

On September 4, 2001, Tokyo DisneySea opens at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Its fortunes contrast with that of Disney's California Adventure, and it proves to be very popular.

97. Disney's River Country closes (2001)

Disney's River Country

Following the opening of Blizzard Beach, Disney's River Country's days were numbered. It shut on November 2, 2001, but remains in place today - it was abandoned rather than demolished.

98. Walt Disney Studios, Paris opens (2002)

Walt Disney Studios

Image © Disneyland Paris

Plans for Disney-MGM Studios Europe were dropped, but ultimately replaced by plans for a smaller, studio-themed park at the Disneyland Resort Paris. It opened on March 16, 2002. Like Disney's California Adventure, it was light on attractions, small in size and struggled to attract large numbers of guests.

99. Journey into Imagination with Figment opens (2002)

Journey into Imagination with Figment
Image © Disney

The original version of Journey into Imagination operated at Epcot until 1998, and was one of the most popular attractions at the park. Following its closure, 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. In 2001, the ride was again closed, reopening the following year as Journey into Imagination with Figment, its current incarnation.

100. Expedition Everest construction at Disney's Animal Kingdom (2003-2006)

Expedition Everest construction

Designed to fill a thrill ride-shaped hole in Disney's Animal Kingdom's line-up, Expedition Everest was created using 5,000 tons of structural steel and 10,000 tons of concrete. A rigid steel structure holds the mountain in place. More than 2,000 gallons of stain and paint were used on the mountain's rockwork and the buildings in the surrounding village.

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There are 2 comments.

WOW!

The Park Theater was in Winter Park FL not Winter Haven!!!

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