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5 Walt Disney World Attractions That Closed Forever in 2014 (And Why)

Studio Backlot Tour

It’s been a brutal year at Walt Disney World, with the removal of no fewer than five major attractions from the resort’s theme parks.

With the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland expansion having been completed earlier this year with the debut of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, all three of Walt Disney World’s other parks are set for big changes. In fact, the attraction closures that have been made in 2014 point towards radical changes in the nature of Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Let’s take a look at what’s been removed, and what it might mean for the parks that hosted the attractions.

5. Camp Minnie-Mickey (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

Camp Minnie-Mickey

The infamous Camp Minnie-Mickey was thrown together late in the development of Disney's Animal Kingdom, following the decision to push back the construction of Beastly Kingdom (which never actually went ahead) and the realisation that work on the Asia area was behind schedule.

According to Jim Hill, then-CEO Michael Eisner decided to install a temporary land similar in style to the former Mickey's Birthdayland area at the Magic Kingdom (which had been designed and built in just 90 days). Rather than Imagineering, Walt Disney World's entertainment office was brought in to create the land, built around a low-budget stage show and character meet-and-greet "trails".

Although Festival of the Lion King ultimately proved to be a popular show and will now be relocated, the rest of Camp Minnie-Mickey is no more. It was closed in January 2014, making room for the Pandora - The World of Avatar expansion.

The Avatar expansion is not the only change coming to Animal Kingdom. The addition of a night-time spectacular, Rivers of Light, and an evening version of Kilimanjaro Safaris will see the park staying open until late for the first time. Disney is finally seeking to banish Animal Kingdom's reputation as being a "half day park".

4. American Idol Experience (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

American Idol Experience

The American Idol Experience began entertaining guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios in February 2009. Based on the hit talent show of the same name, it offered budding singers the chance to perform on stage in one of the park's enormous soundstages. Guests could audition throughout the day, and a select few were then given their chance in front of a live studio audience. At the end of the day, one lucky contestant was awarded a coveted "Golden Ticket" to jump the line when the American Idol auditions hit their home town.

After five years of showcasing Orlando's latest musical talents, The American Idol Experience hung up its microphone for good on August 30, 2014 (several months earlier than originally announced).

The American Idol Experience harkened back to the old days of Disney-MGM Studios, when TV shows really were produced at the park. Those days are gone, and Disney has decided to move on.

3. Maelstrom (Epcot)

Maelstrom

The decision to close Maelstrom, the headline attraction in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion, is surely the most controversial one on this list – but that has little to do with the ride itself, which was moderately popular but not one of Epcot’s star attractions. Instead, it has everything to do with the ride’s replacement – a Frozen-themed boat ride that will reuse its ride system.

This forward/backward flume ride 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.

Given that Frozen is not set in Norway, and is entirely fictional, some Disney fans have suggested that the World Showcase will be changed forever by the introduction of the attraction. We’ll have to wait and see whether this marks a long-term trend, or is simply an opportunistic move by Disney to get an attraction based on the smash-hit movie up-and-running anywhere in Walt Disney World as quickly as possible.

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There are 28 comments.

We were the last group to do this and we got to participate holding the key as honorary pirates it was extremely fun. Will miss this one

We were the last group to do this and we got to participate holding the key as honorary pirates it was extremely fun. Will miss this one

Frozen IS set in Norway, they wouldn't put it there if it was in another country

Where exactly in Norway is the fictional country of A rendered?

Sorry. Arendelle.

Nowhere. Frozen is inaccurate for this location and takes away from the best part of Epcot.

*facepalm* ^ that is just sad.

Uh check your facts. No it's not set in Norway. The movie is set in a fictitious town while the snow queen, the original story is not set in Norway either.

Uh check your facts. No it's not set in Norway. The movie is set in a fictitious town while the snow queen, the original story is not set in Norway either.

But that based it off of specific arias in Norway

It has nothing to do with Norway; it is "inspired" by "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen, and therefore Danish. As in Denmark.

The animators have said they based the look of the movie from Norway

my daughter loved the movie Frozen because she travelled to Norway in college. She said that the essence of Norway is all through the movie as well as in the music.

my daughter loved the movie Frozen because she travelled to Norway in college. She said that the essence of Norway is all through the movie as well as in the music.

Disappointed in Disney's decision to close Maelstrom. It was a shame to see it boarded up this past week when I was there, and even more disappointing to see all of the Frozen merchandise in the Norway store. The cast members in said store seemed to be very annoyed at that as well. To come all this way, and end up hawking Frozen rice krispy treats instead of items relevant to their heritage, it didn't seem like they were that happy about it. My problem from the removal stems is that it is an erasure of the Norway cultural heritage. Look at the other countries in the World Showcase, and the animated films set in those places. No other animated film has taken over those countries like Frozen has, and while it was a success, is it a Disney masterpiece? Will it stand the test of time? I mean, look at the UK section of the Showcase, and you will see a small amount of Alice in Merchandise related to tea...not a whole ride! I wish Disney would keep the Princesses in Magic Kingdom, as it's a fictional movie, with fictional characters, in a place that is fictional. Yes it's based on areas of Norway, such as Belen, but Arendelle is NOT real, and isn't part of Norway. I mean, you don't see Mulan, Belle, or Jasmine merchandise all over their respective countries, do you?

I think you'll find loads of Winnie the Pooh items in the UK section - he is a fictional character. Maelstrom is just a ride, albeit one that is set in a 'country'. Its boring, my kids never want to ride it.

Winnie the Pooh was written by a British author, A.A. Milne. It is a beloved book in the U.K.. Having Pooh products in the England pavilion makes extremely good sense.
I am not completely sure Frozen will be a good fit for EPCOT, but I will reserve judgment until it is finished. I do not understand why characters should not be present at EPCOT, especially if they are found in the countries that the original fairytale or story came from. Cinderella in France, Snow White in Germany, Pinocchio in Italy. Maybe then some the visitors would be educated that these classic stories come from all over the world and not just from the minds of Disney storytellers. That is called education, which is what Walt Disney wanted EPCOT to do (among a few other things).

I was so sad when Norway became a new home for princesses. I loved Norway and could not wait to have another wonderful meal there. At 72 I am not interested in what Disney has done to Norway. Sounds as if it will be even further from the original, then it is now. What is wrong with things that have stood the test of time?

Changing Norway Pavilion is a poor decision, Disney. Keep the Frozen story in the Magic Kingdom. It is fictional and not everyone is crazy about the large amount of strollers in the Showcase ..which will happen. Culture of the countries was Walt ' s intention for the Showcases. We are a DVC Member and don't have children. We go to EPCOT not to deal with stollers and screaming tired kids. All these changes at one time at the parks is not a smart move.
Taking away the musical entertainment is a disappointment also. The bands are crowd pleasers!!!!

It's not entirely Disney's fault, according to Jim Hill's podcast, those pavilions are sponsored by the countries they represent (I'm assuming to boost tourism), and Norway (being the only country with a ride in the pavilion), backed out of the sponsorship when they were presented with a (I believe) $9 million dollar bill for upkeep. I don't think Disney was too disappointed, as it gave them the perfect opportunity to cram a Frozen attraction in that spot.

Your facts are all wrong! Mexico has a boat ride as well and Morocco is the only country that still sponsors their world showcase pavilion.

Your facts are all wrong! Mexico has a boat ride as well and Morocco is the only country that still sponsors their world showcase pavilion.

Frozen is not Danish, since the filmmakers were looking to make a successful movie, not an accurate adaptation fo a fairy tale. They made a trip to Norway, and hired someone from there to make the music, to draw the film's inspiration from the landscapes, architecture, dress, and so on (from Bergen, Oslo, Trondheim). Of course, "based on" doesn't mean "set in".

It's really a stretch, but World Showcase has been kind of neglected, and Disney wants a way to draw people in. Ugh, watch them start to market Thor in there too, since you know they've been putting Marvel into the parks as much as possible, and he's semi-derived from a Scandanavian story too, yes?

look Disney clearly think that Norway best represents where Frozen takes place & it has already been done, Disney is not dumb if they didn't think that Norway was the right place for it they would have put it in the Magic Kingdom, but they do, plus the characters already appear in there respective lands so it's not like Disney is changing everything by doing this they are just sprinkling some pixie dust over a not so kid friendly land.

I've tried to ride Maelstrom in Norway on the past two trips, both times it had broken down. In my opinion, a change was due.

Frozen's animation was inspired by Norway so it makes sense

I am singing the intro to Frozen in my schools Christmas Concert and in the synopsis it said that the song is writen in Norwegian and not to mention that I have to sing it in the native tounge. So I'm pretty sure that Frozen takes place in NORWAY!!!!!!!!!!

I never had a loathing for the Frozen franchise until now... So it is to be war between us, eh?

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