What are Disney World's Most Missed Extinct Attractions
This list will examine the extinct attractions that Disney fans miss the most. In order to judge which attractions make the cut, decisons will be based on current followings of fans through out the internet. Each attraction will be ranked based on popularity, fan action to get the return of the attraction, and amount of fan feedback over multiple Disney based forums.
Horizons - EPCOT
Horizons was a dark ride located in the Future World section of Epcot. The attraction opened on October 1st, 1982 as part of Epcot's phase II. Horizons was the only attraction that showcased all of Future World's "elements". From communications to man's relationship with the Earth. THe attraction gave riders a glimpes into what to expect from the future. Horizons closed in 1994, re-opened briefly in December 1995, then permenantly closed in 1999. Horizons has one of the biggest followings on every Disney forum from outcries to just reopen the attraction to rumors of a new updated version of the dark ride. Horizons is and will remain a fan favorite.
The Adventurer's Club - Pleasure Island
The Adventurer's Club was a themed night club at Downtown Disney's now defunct Pleasure Island district. Set in the 1930's and styled after a private club for world adventurers, guests were entertained by animatronics, puppets, and a cast of "adventurers". Usually using combinations of show elements and improvisational comedy, the cast members would interact with the guests through storytelling.
The club opened witht he rest of Pleasure Island in May of 1989 and was announced to be closed in September 2008. Fans of the space created an online petition to keep the attraction open or at least move it to another part of the resort. THe petition gained over 2,500 signatures in the first 72 hours. Letter writing campaigns to company executives, internet websites, and blog postiongs calling for the beloved club to reamin.
After closing to the public the club stayed open to private events only until September 2009. The last semi-public event was held September 25th, 2009 for the ConGaloosh Society, a Florida Non-Profit which to this day still holds events to bring together fans of the Adventurer's Club.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Magic Kingdom Park
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, was an attraction based on the popular Jules Verne novel, and Disney film adaptation. The journey took guests under the sea, in a ride vehicle designed to simulate the travels of the famed "Nautilus" from the movie. It opened October 14th, 1971 and closed to the public on September 5th 1994. Even though it was a huge fan favorite through out it's entire existance, the ride was plagued with a very high maintenance cost, and low hourly guest flow. Lines for the attraction were often hours long. When the ride closed without warning in 1994 guests were told that it was for a lengthy refurbishment, however the ride never reopened and an official closing announcment was made in 1996. The attraction still is the source of much enjoyment through fan sites and the still functional versions at other Disney Parks through out the world.
The Original Journey Into Imagination - EPCOT
The original Journey Into Imagination attraction at EPCOT opened March 5th, 1983 and closed in October 1998. Even though this attraction is now still at Epcot it is much different than the original. The second a third incarnations of the ride still do not have the following the original had, even though the most recent version brought back the popular Figment character. Fans still to this day miss the main character Dreamfinder. There is still outcries in Disney fan forums to return the attraction to it's former glory.
In 2014 Marvel Comics, which is owned by the Disney Company, released "Figment #1" a comic book based on the travels and exploits of Dreamfinder and Figment.
Timekeeper - Magic Kingdom Park
Timekeeper opened at Walt Disney World Resort on November 21st, 1994 and closed February 26th, 2006. The show originally opened at Disneyland Park Paris in 1992 and marked the first time one of Disney's Circle-Vision films was used to deliver a narative storyline. This attraction gets a mention due to the recent passing of the main character's voice actor, Robin Williams, who lent his voice to the Timekeeper character. Rhea Pearlman provided the voice of his time machine/robot 9-eye.
Discovery Island - Bay Lake
Discovery Island was an 11.5 acre nature/wildlife preserve located in Bay Lake near Disney's Magic Kingdom Park. The island opened April 8th, 1974 and was closed on April 8th 1999. The island was originaly named Treasure Island and was going to be a place were guest could observe the local flora and fuana in its natural habitat. The island was later renamed to Discovery Island when it was recognized as a zooligical park.
The island's facilities were the last known home of the last member of the dusky seaside sparrow species before it was declared extinct in 1990. Unlike many other extinct disney attractions, much of the islands infrastructure sits abandoned and unused. This fact has lead to countless websites and articles by urban explorers who enjoy sharing the remnants of a time gone by with the general public.
River Country - Bay Lake
River Country is Disney's only other park to permenantly close. Adjacent to the other permenantly closed park Discovery Island, River county opened as Disney's first and at the time only water park. Opened in June 1976 it closed in September 2001. Like Discovery Island it was abandoned instead of being demolished leaving fans to wonder if it might eventually be re-opened, or re-imagined.
Plaza Swan Boats - Magic Kingdom Park
The Plaza Swan Boats was a very popular attraction that operated in the canals around the Maic Kingdom Park Hub and Cinderalla Castle. In operation from May 20th, 1972 until August 1983, the attraction was closed due to the excessive maintenance needed for thier natural gas engines and electronic propulsion system. The boats toured the canals arounf the hub and took guests past the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, and originally operated as a "D" Ticket attraction.
Mission to Mars - Magic Kingdom Park
Originally based on Disneyland's popular Rocket to the Moon attraction, Walt Disney world's Version opened on June 7th, 1975. The destiantaion was changed to Mars because at that point man had already walked on the moon. The Disneyland version got its second make over and the Disney World Version opened. The attraction closed on October 4th, 1993 to make room for the upcoming ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter.
ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter - Magic Kingdom Park
ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter took the place of the extinct Mission to Mars attraction on June 20th, 1995 and closed on October 12th, 2003. The attraction was noted to be intense and unintended for guests under the age of 12. During its short run it developed a cult following of fans who priased it for its sophisticated tone compared to many other Tommorowland attractions. It was replaced with a much more toned down version featuring Stitch, a mischevious alien from the Disney animated feature film "Lilo and Stitch". This attraction was named Stitch's Great Escape which uses much of the same technology and set pieces.
This list is by no means the end all be all of extinct Walt Disney World Attractions. However it does give the reader an idea of the creativity, and ingenuity of Disney Imagineers. Horizons which is, in this authors oppinion, the most missed attraction on Disney World Resort Property.