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5 Endangered Disney Attractions That Might Not Be Around Much Longer

Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage

 lorenjavier, Flickr (license)

Image: lorenjavier, Flickr (license)

It’s hard to believe, but this exact show has been performed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, without alterations, for nearly 30 years. Why is that odd? Well, in the time since this show debuted, Disney has not only produced an award-winning Broadway version of this exact story, but it has also shown an ability to craft thrilling and creative new theme park-ready productions like Finding Nemo: the Musical and Festival of the Lion King.

And yet, here we are, with the exact same Beauty and the Beast stage show that existed when the Soviet Union was still around. Why? Why has Disney never updated or replaced this show with something bigger? Why has Disney not taken its charming Disney Cruise Line adaptation and brought a version of it to shore? Why does it seem like time forgot this particular portion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

I don’t know. But, what I do know, is that this park is currently undergoing a transformation unlike any that a theme park has ever gone through. While it might seem unlikely for Disney to keep fiddling with the park after opening Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019, I think the opposite makes more sense. With the park finally forging ahead with a new identity, everything that doesn’t fit that identity will stick out even more.

It costs relatively little to change out a stage show. Is it possible that we’ll see something more thematically in line with Disney’s Hollywood Studios mission moving forward? It seems likely.

MuppetVision 3D

 frankfranc, Flickr (license)

Image: frankfranc, Flickr (license)

Relatedly, there’s a pretty strange elephant in the room when it comes to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Well, OK, maybe not an elephant — more like a frog.

Due to the fickle nature of fate, the beloved Star Tours: The Adventures Continue just so happens to be a bit separated from the spot where Disney is building its big Star Wars expansion. This means, strangely, that guests must finish their ride on Star Tours, walk right by MuppetVision 3D, and then enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. That’s ... weird.

Now, it’s worth noting that MuppetVision 3D is one of the finest shows Disney has ever produced. In addition to being a classic attraction, it’s also a bit of living history as it is one of the last Muppet projects creator Jim Henson personally worked on. That said, it is terribly dated, and even the best comedy grows stale after a while.

It is essentially unfathomable that Disney would allow Star Wars to be split asunder by a 30 year old show. There is clearly a long-term plan in place that we aren’t privy to, and while I doubt it revolves the total removal of the Muppets from Walt Disney World, it seems pretty likely that the MuppetVision theater won’t last much past Disney’s big anniversary in 2021. 

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

 xiquinho, Flickr (license)

Image: xiquinho, Flickr (license)

Speaking of Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, it’s time for some completely unfounded speculation about the future.

It’s rare for Disney to consider its superfans at any point in the decision making process for their parks: IP comes to Epcot, the Great Movie Ride is replaced, Horizons will never, ever return. Yet, if there’s a time for Disney to throw the community a bone, it’ll happen during the 50th anniversary.

What better way to do that than by removing the only attraction at any Disney park that literally is worse than having no attraction at all. That is, of course, The Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

It’s kind of hard to fathom now, but before 2001, Adventureland looked completely different. An oasis of serenity mixed with the mysterious charm of an exotic marketplace, Adventureland was a beautiful escape from the fantasty of the rest of the Magic Kingdom. Every sightline tickled the eye with a strange horticultural discovery or a unique architectural quirk. It was easy to walk through and explore, finding your way to a new attraction almost by happenstance — much like you’d discover a cool shop on a crowded city street.

But then, Disney decided to plop an attraction right down into the middle of everything, wrecking sightlines and causing one of the worst bottlenecks anywhere in Walt Disney World.

It would even be slightly defensible if the Magic Kingdom didn’t already have the exact same attraction over in Fantasyland, known better and more famously as Dumbo, the Flying Elephant. Now, almost two decades after the Magic Carpets of Aladdin made its debut, Dumbo has actually managed to clone itself — doubling its capacity.

There has never been a better time to shutter the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Why not celebrate the Magic Kingdom’s 50th anniversary by restoring the original sightlines of one of the park’s great artistic achievements? Why not free up space to move through what will surely be a very crowded theme park for the entire years-long anniversary celebration? 

It’s rare that the removal of an attraction, with no replacement, makes so much sense that it seems silly not to do it. Yet, here we are. 

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