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5 of the Weirdest Disney Attractions to Have Ever Existed

4. The Making of Me

The Making of Me sign

Image: Edward Russell, Flickr (license)

A Walt Disney World vacation is a special time for families, a unique opportunity not just for fun but for education and celebrating coming of age. Perhaps with this in mind, Disney gave guests the chance to use their vacation to address one of the most awkward questions your child can ask…

Where do babies come from?

No list of oddball Disney attractions would be complete without Epcot’s The Making of Me. Like Body Wars, this fifteen-minute film (hosted by Martin Short) was another attraction at the Wonders of Life pavilion. Now, you have to give it to Disney that they did a commendable job explaining reproductive health with charm, good humor, and a light hand on controversial issues. However, it’s inevitable that this attraction was a bit bizarre.

The film took a holistic view on reproduction, following a young couple through courtship, marriage, honeymoon, and beyond for most of the film. However, the short bit that did explain the, eh, plumbing of baby-making might be the strangest sequence ever animated by Disney. Specifically, it involved a group of cartoon sperm racing through the fallopian tubes to reach a flirtatious egg with a target wrapped around her waist. You can watch the full video here, if you dare.

The film was inevitably odd but not terrible. The real question you have to wonder about was who, on their Disney vacation, decided off-the-cuff to have “the talk” with their kids using the film as a catalyst? Did it make for a particularly awkward dinner at the Coral Reef? Were you one of these baffled youngsters? What did you think of The Making of Me?

5. Maelstrom

Maelstrom entrance sign

Image: HarshLight, Flickr (license)

Now, I want to emphasize that while I had mixed feelings about this attraction as a kid (aka, it scared the heebie-jeebies out of me), I loved Maelstrom as an adult—specifically because it was so wonderfully batty.

The individual elements of Maelstrom were completely logical. A thrilling boat ride through troll country was a great attraction idea. A short film about “The Spirit of Norway” made sense considering China, Canada, and France all had documentary attractions of their own. Even a gentle jaunt through a Norwegian fishing village meshed nicely with the pavilion’s approach to Norwegian culture.

What made Maelstrom so fantastically preposterous was that, at the behest of the country who sponsored the pavilion, all of these elements were mashed into one ten-minute ride.

The ride’s boarding area gave guests the impression of a “Small World”-style boat cruise, complete with a vast mural of hard-working Norwegians and upbeat flute music. Not ten seconds into the ride, the floating face of Odin and ominous narration gave the first clue that we were in for something far more unique. The first half of the ride whisked guests through Viking shores to a forbidding encounter with angry trolls—two ideas that meshed congruently enough. The trolls blasted your boat backwards past a towering polar bear to the edge of a waterfall. A mischievous wood troll diverted your path back the other way, sending you careening over a drop into…

An oil rig?

The ride continued exploring the threads of Norwegian culture in modern times with a leisurely journey through a Norwegian fishing village. This appeared to mark the end of the attraction as guests were helped off the boats. However, Maelstrom had one more oddity up its sleeve.

For the final stage of the journey, guests exited into a large movie theater. The Spirit of Norway took all the various elements from the ride and montaged them into a sort-of-harmonious film, throwing in a bit of Norwegian downhill skiing, military pageantry, sailing, ballerinas, and lots of children. The experience culminated in the gift shop where you could buy your own glassy-eyed troll to take home and fuel nightmares for a lifetime.

Ironically, this film too has the potential makings of a sweet heavy metal video...

Nothing about Maelstrom as a whole should have worked… and yet it did. In attempting to produce a serious exploration of Norwegian culture to entice tourists, the country of Norway and Disney Imagineers produced the most marvelously kooky attraction in Disney’s history. Unfortunately, even Maelstrom couldn’t withstand the passage of time and the changing winds of Hurricane Olaf.

What other Disney attractions left you scratching your head at one time or another?

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