Splash Mountain

In the ever-changing landscape of theme parks across the United States, 2023 proved to be a year of farewells meant to pave the way for exciting new experiences. From beloved classics to thrilling roller coasters, these closures have left us both nostalgic for the past and eager for exciting new chapters that will begin seeing in the Spring of 2024. 

Let’s take a look at the theme park attractions that we said goodbye to in 2023.

1. & 2. Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

Splash Mountain

One of the most significant closures that reverberated across the Disney fan community was the farewell to Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The log flume ride, inspired by the animated film "Song of the South," had been a staple since the late 1980s. However, times change, and with that comes the desire to upgrade and improve. 

Last year, Disney announced a reimagining of Splash Mountain that would bring Tiana and her friends into their first Disney parks attraction. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is set to open at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in Late 2024.

3. Universal’s Animal Actors at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood bid adieu to a long-standing favorite, Universal's Animal Actors. The live show, featuring trained animals showcasing their talents, had entertained audiences for years. Its closure marked the end of an era, but it also paved the way for bigger thrills and speed.

It was closed to clear space for the new Fast and Furious roller coaster. It is possible we will not see this coaster open until early 2025.

4. Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone at Universal Studios Florida


In Florida, Universal Studios Florida said farewell to Woody Woodpecker's KidZone, a family-friendly area that had included attractions like Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Curious George  Goes to Town, and the Shrek and Donkey Meet and Greet. 

The attractions in this area were closed to allow for the area to be refurbished and updated into a DreamWorks-themed kids area. The area is rumored to include a new Shrek meet and greet within his swamp home, a redesigned Woody Woodpecker Nuthouse coaster that is themed to trolls, and a Kung Fu Panda play area. We do not have an opening date for this area yet, but we are hoping for the second half of 2024.

5. T3 at Kentucky Kingdom

Kentucky Kingdom bid goodbye to T3, its Vekoma suspended looping coaster. The decision was announced with little fanfare or last rides. Instead, a sign sat outside of the coaster announcing its retirement at the start of the 2023 season. 

While nothing has been announced, we will likely see something new come to that area of the park as the water coaster adjacent to T3 has also been standing but not operating meaning there could be quite a large area available for something new.

6. Mach Tower at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg saw the departure of Mach Tower, a drop tower that had offered breathtaking views and exhilarating drops. It even operated as a leisurely scenic viewing tower during the park’s Christmas celebrations in the past, allowing for stunning views of the light displays. 

It is unknown if there will be any imminent replacement for the drop tower as Busch Gardens Williamsburg is focusing on its Loch Ness Monster refurbishment for the coming year.

7. & 8 Mardi Gras Hangover and Revolution at Six Flags Great America


Mardi Gras HangoverSix Flags Great America in Illinois bid farewell to two attractions: Mardi Gras Hangover and Revolution. Revolution, a pendulum ride that swung guests in a full circle was closed to make way for SkyStriker. SkyStriker, opening for the 2024 season, is essentially the same kind of ride as Revolution, just much bigger. Mardi Gras Hangover, a classic Larsen Loop, had called the park home since 2018.  It is unclear what might replace Mardi Gras Hangover but it was hinted that something big is coming to Six Flags Great America soon. Perhaps a new coaster could be announced in 2024.

9. Alpine Bobsled at Six Flags Great Escape

Six Flags Great Escape in upstate New York said goodbye to Alpine Bobsled, an Intamin bobsled coaster that had taken guests on a thrilling journey through twists and turns. This coaster was closed to make way for the new Gravity Group wooden coaster, Bobcat.

10. Sand Serpent at Busch Gardens Tamp

Phoenix Rising

Busch Gardens Tampa saw the closure of Sand Serpent, a family-friendly Wild Mouse coaster that had been a favorite among younger visitors. This was likely to make room for the new family coaster opening up at the park in the Spring of 2024, Phoenix Rising. Phoenix Rising is a suspended family coaster that will have a height requirement of only 42 inches.

As these theme park attractions closed their doors in 2023, parks have made way for new and exciting experiences for 2024. The closures served as a reminder that the world of theme parks is ever-evolving, and each ending marks the beginning of new adventures for park-goers.


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