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The Beloved Disney Rides That Fans Miss the Most

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images and Hazel Kenady / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 and Steven Miller / Flickr CC BY 2.0
Photo Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images and Hazel Kenady / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0 and Steven Miller / Flickr CC BY 2.0

One of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions, Splash Mountain, has closed its flume. It follows a long line of rides that have been shut down at various Disney parks over the decades. Although some fans try to prevent or stop the closures of their favorite rides, the park often moves forward with new ideas to replace old attractions. Now, fans can only reminisce about these beloved rides.

Splash Mountain shut its doors for good

A view of Splash Mountain from a sidewalk at Disney World.
General views of Splash Mountain at Disney, closed in 2023 and re-theming as ‘Tiana’s Bayou Adventure’, photo taken in Anaheim, California. (Photo Credit: AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images / Getty Images)

Splash Mountain was a log flume ride that first opened at Disney World in 1992. It was inspired by Song of the South, a 1946 film that was set in post-Civil War Georgia. The decision to close what many believe to be a Disney staple came with increasing demand for the park to remove its association with a film that was “steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes.”

The ride officially closed on January 23, 2023, and there are renovations to reinvent the ride already in motion. The park intends to reopen another flume ride in its place with a Princess and the Frog theme. Calling it Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the park hopes that this ride will be “one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year.”

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The Tower of Terror Disney ride that has the sign "Hollywood Tower Hotel" on the outside of the building
The Hollywood Tower of Terror Hotel attraction at Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, California, United States. (Photo Credit: Gregg DeGuire / WireImage / Getty Images)

This attraction featured guests entering the Twilight Zone-themed Hollywood Tower Hotel on a stormy night. Riders sit inside what is meant to be a rickety elevator and experience a 13-story dead drop through the elevator’s shaft. Video accompaniment adds to the overall experience of the ride, and the Twilight Zone theme has made this attraction a fan favorite.

The original ride, which opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in 1994, is still open today and remains unchanged. However, the 2004 version that opened at Disney California Adventure was eventually closed in 2017. It was replaced by Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! and its closing received a major backlash from fans.


Disney attraction sign that reads "Maelstrom"
A sign for Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. (Photo Credit: HarshLight / Flickr CC BY 2.0)

This Norwegian history-themed ride quickly became a mainstay at Epcot’s World Showcase when it opened in 1988. Riders climbed aboard a boat to be taken on a journey through “Norway’s rich seafaring heritage.” The attraction traveled through different scenes of Nordic history, and riders disembarked into a small fishing village.

After more than 27 years, the doors to Maelstrom were closed in 2014. In its place, Frozen Ever After opened two years later. For frequent riders of the Maelstrom, the majority of the new ride may seem familiar. The route remains largely the same, just with the troll, bear, and Viking animatronics being replaced with Frozen characters.

The Great Movie Ride

People gathered out front of a Graumann's Chinese Theater replica at Disney World
The Great Movie Ride and the TCL Chinese Theater recreation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World. (Photo Credit: Jedi94 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Great Movie Ride was originally opened at Disney-MGM Studios in 1989. The park was later renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For years, the ride took guests through various scenes of famous films, including AlienMary PoppinsSingin’ in the RainThe Wizard of Oz, and Casablanca, housed inside a full-scale replica of Graumann’s Chinese Theatre.

The ride featured a twist: a live-action tour guide and a hijacking experience from a bandit added an element of thrill. However, the ride closed down in 2017 and was replaced by Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ride, which opened in 2020.

The Skyway

View of the Disney park from a gondola on the Skyway ride.
On the Skyway at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Photo circa 1976.(Photo Credit: Loren Javier / Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)

The Skyway attraction was like a ride and transportation system all in one. It was an aerial transportation line that moved park visitors along a connection between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland. It first opened in 1956 in Disneyland and in 1971 in the Magic Kingdom.

Groups of two could climb aboard one of the many gondolas that moved slowly across the sky and gave them a beautiful bird’s eye view of the park below. In 1994, the Disneyland version of Skyway closed, with the Magic Kingdom shutting down five years after its predecessor, in 1999.


A view from the ground of Disney's PeopleMover, people walking underneath and another ride in the background.
Disney’s PeopleMover operating high above other park visitors. (Photo Credit: daves_archive1 / Flickr CC BY 2.0)

The PeopleMover, at Disneyland California, looks similar to the Skyway in that it’s a track that happens in the sky. However, this one returns visitors back to the station where they first entered. Opened in 1967, riders had to climb onto moving carts because they never stopped in order to pick up passengers. Guests were in for a 16 minute ride around Tomorrowland which gave close-up views of several different attractions in the park.

After almost 30 years of operation, the ride was viewed as too slow for the vision the park was trying to achieve. In 1995, the ride was shut down. In 1998, Rocket Rods opened in its place in an attempt to turn the slow-paced predecessor into a high-speed thrill ride. However, the new installation had too many mechanical complications and was closed shortly after in 2000.

Journey Into Imagination with Figment

The main attraction of the Imagination pavilion at Orlando’s Epcot Center was Journey Into Imagination with Figment, which opened in 1983. Since opening, the ride has gone through multiple makeovers, but it was never closed down and is still operating today. However, two of the original characters of the ride, the red-haired host named Dreamfinder, and the purple dragon-dinosaur hybrid called Figment, are what many people miss the most about the ride.

More from us: Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Disneyland and the Stories They Share

In 1998, the ride was closed and reopened a year later as Journey Into Your Imagination, which cut the length of the attraction in half, erasing Dreamfinder from it completely and almost all traces of Figment. It was such a failure that it underwent another metamorphosis, reopening as Journey Into Your Imagination With Figment in 2002.

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!