Ride closures can be a touchy subject among theme park fans.
Some closure announcements are met with very little uproar, as sometimes the truth of the matter is that an attraction has, quite simply, overstayed its welcome. Other ride closures, however, are met with an overwhelmingly negative response from fans, sparking devastation across social media and beyond.
Whether this response is driven by nostalgia or fear of an unworthy replacement, it hardly comes as a shock when a ride retheming sparks considerable discourse. However, as is often the case, this fear is largely unwarranted and it's rare that a ride isn’t improved by a retheming. Let's take a look at three rethemings that were met with initial hesitation, before becoming firm fan favorites within the Disney parks.
1. Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Tower of Terror (Now Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!)
The day Disney announced that The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure would be closing in order to make way for an all-new rethemed superhero attraction stands as one of the most memorable days within the theme park community.
To say park-goers were not happy with this decision is an understatement, as Tower of Terror was and is beloved for its unique theming and all-around spooky vibes. Therefore, news of an imminent Marvel makeover appeared to come as a particularly stark contrast.
With Avengers Campus nowhere near the beloved theme park land that it is today at this stage, many were unsure just how this retheming was going to be justified but, naturally, it was all part of Disney’s grand plan. Now, theme park fans praise Mission: Breakout! for refreshing the classic drop-ride formula with its mix of fun songs and impressive visuals.
Funnily enough, the initial announcement also brought a lot of anxiety that Orlando’s iteration of Tower of Terror was also destined to be rethemed, though shortly after Mission: Breakout! opened, some even began calling for Orlando’s Tower of Terror to get the same treatment! (Though we're grateful that the classic iteration still stands!)
2. Disney Hollywood Studios’ Great Movie Ride (Now Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway)
This one is slightly unique in the fact that the actual announcement of Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway was mostly well-received, given the fact that it would finally see a Walt Disney World attraction based around everyone's favorite mouse.
However, it was the retheming of Great Movie Ride that really left fans disgruntled, despite the ride having, unfortunately, lost some of its popularity among general park visitors over the years.
Confirmation that the Great Movie Ride would officially close its doors forever was largely unwelcomed, however, no one quite expected the next-level imagineering that debuted with Mickey and Minnie’s, which is now consistently praised as a worthy successor to the beloved attraction and certainly made the loss of the Great Movie Ride somewhat easier. Despite this, however, the Great Movie Ride will always be remembered as one of Disney’s greatest long-lost attractions.
3. EPCOT’s Maelstrom (Now Frozen Ever After)
While casual Disney parks fans were excited to see Elsa and Anna have a more permanent presence within Walt Disney World in 2014, some parks fans were not happy that World Showcase’s Maelstrom would be getting a brand new retheme, having enjoyed a lengthy run in the parks after opening in 1988.
The announcement came at a time when the Frozen mania was quite literally inescapable, therefore, confirmation that the property would be taking over this long-standing original attraction was met with frustration from parks fans. The reaction was somewhat mixed, however, as some felt it was the right time for Maelstrom to receive an update.
Now, Frozen is one of EPCOT’s most popular attractions, particularly amongst families with young children, and often boasts some rather eye-watering wait times.
Which of these three original attractions were you most sad to see go? Are there any attractions now that you think should NEVER be rethemed? Let us know your thoughts by voting in our poll and leaving us a comment below or on our Facebook page.