5. Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros

Image: Disney

Location: Epcot | Status: (4) Critically endangered

Remember the EPCOT Experience preview center we mentioned that featured a stylized model showcasing upcoming changes to the park? Every pavilion featured on that model has an associated project announced and underway except Imagination… and Mexico. So what could Disney have planned for the Mexican pavilion in World Showcase? This one’s a no-brainer. Pixar’s 2017 film Coco. The model even displays a large guitar (likely that of the film’s protagonist Miguel) resting against the pavilion’s iconic pyramid.

The idea of a fictitious Disney film taking up residence in the secular, cultural pavilions of World Showcase was once strictly verboten by Disney itself. But that dam broke when Frozen made its way into Norway, ousting the Lost Legend: Maelstrom. Since then, a tepid Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along became the de-facto film of the France pavilion alongside the Modern Marvel: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, while Mary Poppins in en route to the United Kingdom pavilion. Undoubtedly, Disney would prefer every World Showcase pavilion to host an attraction themed to its nearest-appropriate Disney or Pixar character. We’ll see... 

Image: Disney

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN: In the meantime, the arrival of Coco in Mexico is essentially Disney’s worst-kept secret. Without a doubt, it’ll overtake the Gran Fiesta Tour attraction (itself a character overlay of the pavilion’s original ride, El Rio Del Tiempo). Our only hope is that, like Frozen Ever After, the inevitable Coco attraction is a full, ambitious ride in its own right and not just an interspersing of Coco characters amid the ride’s existing scenes and screens. 

6. Fast and Furious: Supercharged

Image: Universal

Location: Universal Studios Florida | Status: (2) Vulnerable

In 2015, Universal Studios Hollywood premiered a new “grand finale” for their world famous tram-based Studio Tour. The “ride” begins with an awkward, cringe-inducing pre-show of bikini-clad women at a rave before the trams pull into a projection tunnel (oddly, the same technology featured earlier on the Studio Tour in a King Kong segment…)  where a simulated high-speed chase through a very artificial-looking city ensues. The Studio Tour scene was universally panned by critics and casual guests alike… 

So when it was announced that a Fast and Furious attraction was coming to Universal Studios Florida, fans briefly hoped it might be a pivot away from the simulator-based finale; perhaps a fast-paced, action-packed dark ride utilizing Test Track technology. Nope. Despite the awful reviews Hollywood’s Tour segment received, it was inexplicably copied-and-pasted to Florida as a standalone attraction with tram-shaped “party buses” as the ride vehicle.

Image: Universal

Yes, Fast and Furious: Supercharged is bad. But the two good things to come of it? 

  • First is that insiders say Universal heard guests loud and clear and that Supercharged will be remembered as the definitive end of Universal’s maligned, screen-based mantra. (And indeed, every follow-up project so far from Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and Jurassic World: The Ride to Super Nintendo World keeps screens at a minimum.)
  • Second, fans groaned about such a short-sighted decision, but the unspoken promise of Universal (and increasingly, Disney) attractions remains true here: it’s not worth debating if Fast and Furious is “timeless” or “evergreen” or if it’ll still be “relevant” in 20 years because no one - not even Universal - expects it to be around in 20 years! Its purpose isn’t to be timeless; it’s to bank on a box office boom while the IP is hot, and to simply swap the screens out for something fresh when the opportunity presents itself. Voila!

So frankly, we doubt Fast and Furious: Supercharged (or Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, for that matter) was ever intended to last more than a decade… but given the awful reception to the ride, it might not even make it close... 

7. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor

Image: Disney

Location: Magic Kingdom | Status: (3) Endangered

Magic Kingdom’s New Tomorrowland has been a world in flux. The land’s most recent floor-to-ceiling renovation was in 1994, intentionally attempting to downplay the Space Age, ‘70s style it had featured since opening. The hope was that a version of the land ignoring science and instead modeled after science fiction would be retro-timeless and never need updated again. Well… 25 years later, the sci-fi, pulp comic book accoutrements that adorned the Lost Legends: Alien Encounter and The Timekeeper make a whole lot less sense in a land filled exclusively with Lilo and Stitch, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc. 

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is not only a deathblow to the land's once-ambitious sci-fi story, it's... well... not a great attraction. Essentially an upsized edition of Turtle Talk with Crush, the show encourages guests to submit (family friendly) jokes to be read aloud by live, digitally-puppeted monsters improv'ing and riffing as they gather laughs to power Monstropolis. It's fine. But it's also not exactly an impressive attraction for the large amount of prominent real estate it takes up right at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

Image: Disney

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN: Any dreams of Disney replacing a character attraction with an original idea are pretty much out of the question. But with the Declassified Disaster: Stitch’s Great Escape vacating the showbuilding opposite, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor feels like it should be considered as available real estate, too… Magic Kingdom has always suffered for having two theater-based attractions flanking the entrance to Tomorrowland, so it would be great to see one (or both combined!) become something new. Our armchair Imagineering ideas? A trackless WALL-E dark ride through humanity’s future, an Ant-Man-narrated educational ride shrinking us to atomic level, or something fresh.

8. Muppet*Vision 3D

Image: Disney

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios | Status: (3) Endangered

Though it breaks our hearts to imagine it, there may indeed be a time after Muppet*Vision. When this celebrational, Muppetational show debuted in 1991, it represented the final project worked on by beloved puppeteer, dreamer, and character-creator Jim Henson. Originally envisioned as part of a whole Possibilityland: Muppet Studios, the 3D film remained the only Muppets attraction, even when Disney finally purchased the characters outright in 2004. In fits and starts, Disney has moved on the Muppets IP both in popular culture and in the parks (including a much-loved, retired show in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square and the upcoming Regal Eagle BBQ restaurant at Epcot). 

But even thirty years later, Muppet*Vision remains the pre-eminent Muppet product in Disney Parks… The only permanent installation dedicated to the characters. And somehow, Muppet*Vision seems to have survived against all odds. The theater stands as a lone remnant of Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Streets of America, precariously placed directly between Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Star Tours, in a “land” that was briefly, officially renamed Muppets Courtyard before becoming the generic Grand Ave. with its over-the-top Muppet-esque signage removed and replaced with a non-committal “Grand Arts Theater” marquee… 

Image: Disney

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN: Some fans say that Muppet*Vision simply needs a new, fresh show… But we hesitate to agree. After all, the current film is a living testament to Jim Henson’s work (and one of his last times puppeteering and voicing Kermit) and it's darn near flawless with memorable, oft-repeated dialogue that’s pure-Muppet-perfection. We’d like to see Muppet*Vision lifted into the hallowed "untouchable classic" echelons alongside Enchanted Tiki Room and Country Bear Jamboree, but so much depends on Disney’s ability to keep these characters relevant. Maybe the successful Muppet Babies series on Disney Channel will produce a generation of kids who adore the Muppets once again! We certainly hope so...

9. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Autopia

Image: Disney

Location: Disneyland | Status: (3) Endangered

Ever since Disneyland’s one-time plan for a timeless Possibilityland: Tomorrowland 2055 fell apart, the land has been in an abysmal state. First, it had to recuperate from the dingy, dark, gold-and-brown future brought on by the Declassified Disaster: The Rocket Rods and Tomorrowland ‘98. Since then, it’s been overtaken by cartoon characters. For the better part of a decade, rumors have swirled that Disney is this close to greenlighting the full, floor-to-ceiling, demolition-and-redesign kind of facelift the land needs, but an IP-powered project like Galaxy’s Edge, Pixar Pier, or Avengers Campus always seems to get first priority…

Given that earth is moving in Florida’s similarly-disastrous Tomorrowland, hopes are high that Disneyland’s version will soon go under the knife. When that happens, we’re likely to see a major change in the tiny park’s eastern corner. There, an absolutely gargantuan plot of land would be freed by removing (or relocating to Cars Land) the Autopia, which sits atop the massive, hidden showbuilding of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Add in the unused Carousel Theater next door (currently home to the abysmal Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit) and you’ve unlocked one of the few spots Disneyland can grow into - and enough room for at least two new E-Tickets in either Fantasyland or Tomorrowland.

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN: While fans would likely miss the Submarine Voyage and Autopia - two classics dating to Walt’s time - the fact remains that the low-capacity, high-cost rides have always felt on the chopping block, and it’s possible that they may not survive the Tomorrowland redesign that fans feel must be just over the horizon… 



Okay, as the writer, this cracks me up! Currently there are *rumors* that Carousel of Progress will get a refurbishment after the 50th anniversary celebration (so, late 2022) and re-open in summer 2023. Obviously I'm all for it and I'm aware that there are rumblings that may happen. But to negate the tireless and exhaustive research I've done for hundreds of features here on Theme Park Tourist because I didn't mention that completely-rumored refurbishment slated for three years from now in my fun, lighthearted editorial opinion piece is kind of silly!

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