5. “My siestas are getting chorter and chorter!”
Another Modern Marvel: The Enchanted Tiki Room resides in a particularly important place in Disney history… It was the first ever installation of Audio-Animatronics technology. To audiences of the 1960s, the idea of Audio-Animatronics was so unbelievable, Disney famously positioned an Audio-Animatronic bird outside of the attraction to entice guests in… until folks stopping to gawk at the macaw clogged the paths and necessitated its removal!
Inside, every second of the show is an astounding, spectacular, and ultra-classic throwback to the simpler days of the “Tiki Craze” that swept the country, and of the “magic” that Imagineering created under Walt’s guidance. Though much of the show is in song (including the Sherman Brothers’ famed “The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room,”) the back-and-forth between the four macaw emcees who lead the show leads to some of the most iconic lines of dialogue in Disney Parks. “Wait, wait! We forgot to wake up the glee club!”
And speaking of birds...
6. “Don’t tell him, Carlos! Don’t be chicken!”
Yes, a second instance of Pirates of the Caribbean makes our list… and for good reason! Though fans today often celebrate rides that turn guests into active participants rather than mere observers, it’s the latter that Walt had in mind with Pirates. X Atencio recalled to D23:
We mocked it up on a soundstage in full size and we pushed Walt through it. We rigged up a cart that moved about the same pace the boat would and we moved him through and we had the Auctioneer up here and he said, ‘What do ye offer this buxom wench?’ and on the other side a pirate yells, ‘Six bottles of rum, etcetera, etcetera.’ But it was hard to hear, and I said, ‘I’m sorry Walt you can’t hear stuff too clearly.’ And he said, ‘If you go to a cocktail party you tune in on one conversation, and then you tune in on that one. Every time they come through they’ll see something new.’ And I thought, ‘Why the heck didn’t I think of that?
And that’s the magic of Pirates - that guests are drifting among conversations, catching bits and pieces of the pirates’ plundering. In one of the most memorable, the pirates seem to have captured the town’s mayor, suspending him inside a well and dipping him repeatedly into the water as they demand information. Only an unnamed woman in a second story window is brave enough to open her window and shout words of encouragement as the mayor surfaces and spits, defying the pirates’ torture and staying silent for more than fifty years.
7. “You seek the future… I will lift the curtain of time. It is your destiny.”
Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, a fresh M.O. swept through Disney Parks at the hands of then-new CEO Michael Eisner: the “Ride the Movies” era. Licensing the stories that mattered to modern audiences meant that Disney Parks could become relevant, exciting pieces of pop culture, not just dusty relics aligned to the interests of Walt’s time. Eisner’s partnership with George Lucas produced the Lost Legends: Captain EO, Star Tours, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, and perhaps the most amazing attraction of them all...
When Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye opened in 1995, it obliterated precedents. The larger-than-life off-roading dark ride turned guests into the stars thanks to the use of the EMV technology and a legend cinematic enough to feel pulled from the screen: that the lost temple god Mara offers visitors either timeless youth, earthly riches, or visions of the future… so long as they don’t lock eyes with his stone visage. Dive into the full Modern Marvels: Indiana Jones Adventure feature for the full story, but the booming bass of the god’s invitations are favorite lines of all who’ve heard them.
8. “It’s called, ‘A Salute to All Nations, But Mostly, America.”
Muppet*Vision 3D isn’t just one of the most beloved classics at Walt Disney World; it’s also the last Muppet project to involve legendary creator Jim Henson, who passed away before its 1991 debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Originally envisioned as just one part of a never-built Possibilityland: Muppet Studios, Henson’s death saw his family pull back many of the licensing deals he’d had in the works, leaving Muppet*Vision the sole attraction to star Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the other generation-defying characters.
Muppet*Vision has played ever since at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (with a briefer showing at Disney California Adventure from 2001 to 2014). And while its time always feels short at the quickly-expanding park, its survival through the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at least seems to bode well for the attraction’s preservation! Though it's endlessly quotable and packed with unforgettable one-liners, one guest favorite must be Sam Eagle’s predictably patriotic grand finale - a “glorious three hour spectacle” crammed into a minute-and-a-half.
9. “Soarin’ to tower: we are ready for takeoff.”
In 2001, Disneyland expanded from a single theme park to a full resort thanks to the opening of the Declassified Disaster: Disney’s California Adventure. The underbuilt and underfunded theme park crashed and burned pretty quickly… except for one soaring success. The Lost Legend: Soarin’ Over California did what Disney does best: combined a marvelous technology with an emotional, musical, and breathtaking experience, sending guests hang-gliding over the Golden State’s many natural wonders. In fact, so varied are the landscapes of California that the ride was duplicated to Epcot (as plain ole "Soarin'") with most Floridian riders likely not realizing they were seeing exclusively Californian sights!
Part of the ride’s inherent charm was the inclusion of an unlikely host: actor and voice artist Patrick Warburton (the voice of Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove and Joe Swanson on Family Guy). The “flight attendant’s” pre-boarding safety video and deadpan delivery feel like remnants of the park’s old identity, but somehow… it works! So much so that when California Adventure’s “Over California” version of the ride was (somewhat nonsensically) upgraded to the new “Around the World” ride film in 2016, fans lamented the impending loss of Patrick… Only to find that, against all odds, the safety video remained untouched (but for editing out “Over California”), leaving the actor’s signature safety spiel and iconic introduction in tact!