We recently asked our vacationers, ‘What’s the best place to take your children before they turn 18?’ Well, the results are in and there are a few surprises!
1.Walt Disney World— Orlando, Florida 70.9%
2. Grand Canyon National Park — Arizona 69.9%
3. Niagara Falls — Niagara County, New York 55.7%
4. Yellowstone National Park — Yellowstone, Wyoming 54.4%
5. San Diego Zoo — San Diego, California 46.0%
6. Time Square — New York City, New York 42.7%
7. Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 42.4%
8. Yosemite National Park — California 41.7%
9. Great Smokey Mountains National Park — North Carolina/Tennessee 38.2%
10. National Mall — Washington, D.C. 36.9%
Personally, I think Alcatraz should have made the list – you know, show the little rascals where they’ll end up if they don’t make the right decisions in their adult years…
Disney World really is the happiest place on earth, and as a result it’s the top destination choice for families with children under 18. If you’re a frequent visitor or went there as a child yourself and now want to take your own fairy princesses and princes, several surprises might await you. Over the years, many Disney attractions have mysteriously disappeared into the ether of the Magic Kingdom…
Let’s take a peek at some of the bizarre Disney World attractions of family memories past:
Snow White’s Scary Adventures
It’s actually not much of a surprise that the Snow White’s Scary Adventures attraction no longer graces the grounds of the Magic Kingdom — because those adventures were scary, no, outright terrifying. Just as Snow White herself was the first Disney princess, this attraction premiered on the opening day of the Magic Kingdom, a true original. Initially, however, Snow White didn’t even appear. You had to battle the witch yourself, and the encounter seemed to end with you getting killed by that haggard, cackling shrew. Good times!
Perhaps realizing that something so terrifying, which didn’t even include the featured princess, was a bad idea, the ride eventually got a makeover, making it softer and friendlier, with no dying at the end. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to hold much interest either, so the ride closed up shop in May of 2012.
The Mickey Mouse Revue
The Mickey Mouse Revue was just kind of creepy. In 1971, when it first premiered, it was still fairly cool, because animatronic characters were amazing. Besides, everyone loved seeing their favorite Disney stars singing their favorite Disney songs. By 1980, however, Mickey and his Revue were no longer avant-garde. They lost their sparkle, they needed an upgrade. So Disney World shipped them off to Tokyo Disney instead, and took the time to review the whole singing thing.
Today, the arguably more advanced and more polished Mickey’s PhilharMagic stands where the mouse’s Revue once reigned supreme. The music is definitely better, as long as you can forgive the pun in the name. Most people can and love hearing their favorite songs from their favorite characters, and the PhilharMagic makes a great place to rest and relax when you’re tired of standing in line for a while.
The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
If you’ve never participated in this attraction before, you might look at it and semi-logically assume that it had something to do with ET, even though there’s no relation whatsoever. That’s likely because your mind understandably wants to ignore everything about that big, neon sign right in the middle of the ride’s name, letting you know that it involves “TERROR.”
1995 was a big year for all things sci-fi and alien-inspired. Disney wanted a piece of the extraterrestrial action, and created what was actually a pretty amazing theater-attraction. ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter took place inside a theater, where viewers sat in comfort — until they realized that an escaped ET was quickly coming after them. At the time, it was actually a really thrilling experience, owing to some amazing effects. By the time 2004 rolled around, however, visitors to Tomorrowland were a bit jaded, so now they get to enjoy Stitch’s Great Escape! instead. Really, though, isn’t Stitch just another escaped alien?
What’s really interesting is the fact that Disney has done away with several similar attractions. For example, you can no longer experience Horizons, Mission to Mars, or Flight to the Moon.
The Magical World of Barbie
Barbie and Disney have over the years enjoyed a very rich and lucrative relationship. Barbie has, after all, represented every single Disney princess in existence, usually with several outfit variations. For a brief period, Barbie also held court in the America Gardens Theater in Epcot. That makes sense, because Barbie is an American institution, after all. Unfortunately, watching an impossibly perfect blonde bombshell dance and sing in an even more saccharine version of “It’s a Small World” didn’t really appeal to most visitors.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride will live in infamy. Even now, long after its untimely demise, people dream about its return. It lasted from 1971, an original in the Magic Kingdom, until 1998, and up until its last day people railed at Disney to save Mr. Toad. It’s no wonder, either.
The attraction was a dark, thrilling ride, and at Disney World, there were even two separate experiences. The creeping quality of the ride as it took you through Toad’s Hall helped lull you into a false sense of complacency, which fell to pieces when riders would suddenly speed toward a particular obstacle — or a jalopy from the other track.
Perhaps because it was a cult favorite or perhaps because it lost its appeal, Mr. Toad died. Today The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh stands where it once creeped out visitors of all ages. Well played, Pooh.
The Kitchen Kabaret
If Kitchen Kabaret looks familiar but you don’t remember seeing it live, you’re probably having flashbacks to Beauty and the Beast. After all, foodstuffs, or at least kitchen utensils, that can talk, sing, and dance are Disney specialties. Kitchen Kabaret was pretty innovative, though: it informed little viewers about the joys and excitement of healthy eating all the way back in 1982.
It even enjoyed a pretty long run, because during this particular era, anamatronic creatures were still in vogue. The hokey vibe wasn’t, however, so in 1994, Kitchen Kabaret became Food Rocks, the same shtick with a hard rock edge. That didn’t last either, and today Soarin’ replaces melodic entreaties to eat healthy.
Some of these attractions probably needed to go, just by virtue of being terrifying to children and adults alike; others created a hole in the hearts of the people who enjoyed them, especially Mr. Toad.
Do you have any memories of these vintage Disney destinations? Any others we missed?