Walt Disney World Resort is home to many iconic and beloved attractions that draw Guests from all across the world.
At Disney’s four theme parks– Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT– Guests can completely immerse themselves in the magic.
For years, Disney fans have enjoyed the experience of iconic attractions like Haunted Mansion, “it’s a small world”, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest, Soarin’ Around The World, and many others. No matter what time of the year you visit Disney World, these attractions are always on the top of the list to experience.
However, that does not mean that they can’t be changed or taken away.
Though iconic, we saw Walt Disney World Resort nix The Great Movie Ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway just a couple of years ago. The Magic Sorcerer hat that many Guests loved at the Disney Park was also taken away.
Others like Stitch’s Great Escape, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, Honey I Shrunk the Audience!, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, and Studio Backlot Tour have proven that re-themes and permanent closures do, in fact, happen. Unfortunately, sometimes even to attractions that Disney fans don’t want to let go.
Here’s a look at 7 Walt Disney World attractions that might be on their last leg.
*Please note that Disney has not confirmed any of these are closing and this is speculation. Any opinions given in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Inside the Magic.*
1. Splash Mountain
We’ll go ahead and start with the most obvious one, and the only attraction currently opened that Disney World has confirmed will have a retheme. More than two years ago now, Disney confirmed that Splash Mountain would be undergoing an attraction retheme that would see it transform to Princess and the Frog.
The current theme of the ride is based on the movie Song of the South (1946) and Disney cited that the movie was insensitive and not appropriate for the Disney Parks in this day and age.
The attraction follows Brer Rabbit as he escapes the clutches of Brer Fox and Brer Bear looking for his “laughing place.”
Disney’s official description for Splash Mountain reads:
Gently drift through a colorful Southern bayou along with happy-go-lucky Br’er Rabbit as he looks for his “laughing place.” But be warned: Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox are in hot pursuit of this wayward hare.
Glide by over 100 adorable Audio-Animatronics geese, frogs, raccoons, possums, bees, alligators and other down-home critters as they sing classic Disney ditties, including “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “Ev’rybody’s Got a Laughing Place.”
Then hang on to your hats—this delightful musical cruise ends in an exciting 5-story splashdown into a thorny Briar Patch!
You Will Get Wet
This attraction includes 950,000 gallons of water, 3 dips and a 5-story drop. Where you’re seated will determine how wet you’ll get. Riders in the back may experience a sudden splash or spray; those who opt for the front can expect to get soaked.
For Guests looking to ensure their personal items remain dry, lockers are available to rent near the Main Entrance.
Though the Princess and the Frog retheme has taken longer than what many Disney Guests were hoping, it is still in the works for the future and it won’t be long before the attraction experiences this retheme. Disney hasn’t confirmed if the name “Splash Mountain” will be changed, but the overarching belief is that it will stay the same.
Here’s what Disney says about retheming the attraction to star Princess Tiana:
Tiana is a modern, courageous, and empowered woman, who pursues her dreams and never loses sight of what’s really important. It’s a great story with a strong lead character, set against the backdrop of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou. In 1966, Walt himself opened New Orleans Square when it became the first new “land” added to Disneyland park, so it feels natural to link the story and the incredible music of “The Princess and the Frog” to our Parks.
2. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Since the pandemic started, Disney fans have been anxiously awaiting the return of The Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
The popular stage show, located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, features unique animatronics, Princess Ariel, Prince Eric, and many talented dancers who pull together a performance unlike any other experience.
Unfortunately, it has been two years and we’ve yet to hear any kind of an update on the attraction.
Disney still lists the show on its website as “temporarily unavailable,” but with no word for more than two years, many are beginning to wonder if it will ever reopen.
Disney has gone on to reopen stage shows, like Beauty and the Beast Live and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the silence on the Voyage of the Little Mermaid almost seems deafening at this point.
Disney World says this about the show:
Enter a world where the ocean floor is full of fish and Ariel longs to stroll and dance with humans. Sing along with colorful puppets, spirited live performers, wondrous special effects and enchanting film clips.
Sebastian the crab and his hot crustacean band make a splash with “Under the Sea.” Ariel yearns to trade her tail for legs in “Part of Your World.”
When Ursula the Sea Witch grants her wish, Ariel gets more than she bargained for—before discovering her own happily-ever-after at the grand fin-ale.
3. Tomorrowland Speedway
The Tomorrowland Speedway has been a staple at Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom for decades, but many Disney fans have begged for a retheme.
The ride isn’t necessarily conducive to dealing with large crowds and can sometimes garner long waits, as a result. In addition, many have pointed out how it does not have a Disney IP and would like to see it at least rethemed to Cars and some have even speculated about the potential for Wreck It Ralph to take over the attraction.
This retheme, obviously, would take minimal refurbishments on Disney’s part and would give the attraction a new facelift.
That being said, many other Disney fans have pointed out the need for a major update to the attraction itself. They say that with the attraction being located in Tomorrowland, it seems a little out of place to have “gas-guzzling” cars. Instead, many argue, Disney should replace those gas-powered cars with electric cars or take the attraction out altogether.
While nothing has been confirmed on Disney’s part, it does seem the attraction is becoming more and more dated. That would point to a retheme or major updates being imminent at some point in the future.
Disney World’s official description of Tomorrowland Speedway reads:
Drivers, Start Your Engines!
Take the wheel of a gas-powered car and strap yourself in for an exciting and scenic drive. As the checkered flag is waved, you’re off!
Accelerate around sharp bends and lush foliage. Spot iconic attractions visible from the roadway, and pick up the pace as you sprint to the finish line. Featuring a working gas pedal and steering wheel, your car can navigate up and down inclines and around turns.
It’s a nostalgic drive that will have you smiling for miles!
4. The Country Bear Jamboree
The Country Bear Jamboree is an iconic experience at Walt Disney World Resort and everyone who knows the history of the attraction understands its prominence in Magic Kingdom.
The Country Bear Jamboree is one of the very last attractions that Walt Disney ever designed and there is plenty of sentimental value in what the attraction brings to the table.
However, it’s certainly not drawing crowds and much of the show is becoming even more and more outdated.
For example, let’s take a look at some song lyrics from the show:
There was blood on the saddle,
And blood all around,
And a great big puddle
Of blood on the ground.
The song lyrics aren’t the only things to be considered outdated. There is also certain dialogue used by the bears that can be considered offensive to some and the animatronics are deeply in need of updating.
While Disney will likely wait to pull the attraction or make updates simply because of the space it occupies and the money it would take for a retheme, we still shouldn’t be surprised if the time comes for Country Bear Jamboree to be retired or, at the very least, updated quite a bit.
Disney’s official description of The Country Bear Jamboree reads:
This Hootenanny is a Real Hoot
Step inside the rustic theater known as Grizzly Hall and take your seat before the lights dim. Clap along as 18 Audio-Animatronics hillbilly bears play and sing during this 16-minute, foot-stompin’ cele-bear-tion. You’ll hear a medley of original and classic tunes—all performed by the zaniest critters in the woods.
Overflowing with humor, heart and a few surprises, this crowd-pleasing show features a down-home, southern sensibility you and your cubs will love.
5. Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Figment is an icon at EPCOT and we don’t believe he’s going anywhere.
If you want any proof that Disney World fans still love Figment, you don’t have to look any further than the recent EPCOT Festival of the Arts where Disney Guests waited in line for more than seven hours to get their hands on Figment Popcorn Buckets. These popcorn buckets were sold for several hundred dollars on third-party sites and they sold out not just once, but twice.
However, as the character of Figment is widely renowned, the ride Journey Into Imagination with Figment may be the least popular attraction at EPCOT. Disney Guests have reported that the ride is in bad shape and many have pointed to effects not working, a replacement phone for Figment that seems out of place, and constant ride stoppages and delays.
Disney does have plans for construction on Journey Into Imagination with Figment and it will be interesting to see if any aspects of the ride itself are updated in the future.
If Disney wants to keep the ride going, it is going to have to make some major updates and may even have to update the theme for it to reach modern levels.
Disney describes Journey Into Imagination with Figment this way:
The Institute’s beleaguered chairman Dr. Nigel Channing (played by Eric Idle) sets out to prove how the 5 senses capture the imagination—but he’s upstaged by the mischievous Figment!
Prepare for surprises galore as you travel through a series of vivid, whimsical sensory labs. Learn about all 5 senses as Figment turns the lab upside down and causes quite a stink in the Smell Lab.
Let your imagination run wild on this marvelous, madcap musical adventure!
6. It’s Tough To Be A Bug!
Located at the foot of the Tree of Life, It’s Tough To Be A Bug has been a staple at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for quite some time.
The ride features Flik, the loveable ant from A Bug’s Life (1998), as the master of ceremonies, and takes the Guests on a fun 3D journey with “bug eye” glasses. Unfortunately, many have noticed just how dated the film is becoming.
A Bug’s Life is now nearly 25 years old and many children today have never even seen the movie. While it’s certainly enjoyable, it’s not nearly as iconic as many of its Disney Pixar companions like Toy Story (1995), The Incredibles (2004), Monsters Inc. (2001), or Finding Nemo (2003), which have all since had successful sequels made.
Because of this, many children today won’t even recognize the movie itself much less know the characters.
While having the Bug’s Life theme at Disney’s Animal Kingdom certainly makes sense and there aren’t a lot of good options for what the show could become that would seem in place, it’s at least something that should be on the radar of Disney moving forward.
The official description for It’s Tough To Be A Bug reads:
Watch an “Off-Bugway” Show
Become an honorary insect as you take your seat in the theater hidden at the base of the Tree of Life and don a pair of “bug eye” glasses. Enjoy a delightful 3D movie and live show hosted by Flik, the loveable ant from A Bug’s Life, and learn how insects survive in the wild.
During the show, dodge flying quills from a tarantula, feel a harmless spray from a soldier termite and sniff the putrid “defense stench” from a stink bug.
When Hopper—the grasshopper villain from A Bug’s Life—unexpectedly shows up, the theater goes bug-wild!
The moral of the story? It really is tough to be a bug. With dazzling 3D movie effects, Audio-Animatronics figures and in-theater 4D surprises, this is one show you’ll be buzzing about for a long time.
7. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
There have been rumors for several years on a possible retheme for the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, but nothing has been confirmed by Disney.
Disney has not been selling Aerosmith merchandise in the gift shop as you exit Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, but there hasn’t been any kind of a play yet to see the attraction completely rethemed.
While the roller coaster portion of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster will certainly stay intact and will remain as one of the more popular attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, that does not mean that Disney couldn’t choose to remove Aerosmith in the future and replace the story within the attraction.
For now, the attraction feels safe but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plans in the future.
Related: Disney Needs To Bring Back FastPass, Retire Disney Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane
Disney’s official description for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith reads:
Live Life in the Fast Lane
Inside their Hollywood music studio, legendary rock band Aerosmith is wrapping up a recording session. When their manager tells them they’re late for a concert across town, the band invites you to ride along.
Hop into their gleaming limousine and speed off into the night as Aerosmith’s hard-rock harmonies fill the air. Buckle up before zooming through the city on this roller-coaster style attraction.
Rock This Way
Speed through iconic Hollywood landmarks. Maneuver past traffic jams and swoop into 3 thrilling inversions—2 rollover loops and one corkscrew—as the wind races across your face.
Will you make it to the year’s biggest concert in time?
Full list of Refurbishments at Disney World In March 2022
When Guests go to Disney World, it is always important to know what rides will be closed. For those heading in March, here is a list of what you can expect to not ride or experience when you visit.
Walt Disney World Railroad
The Walt Disney World Railroad gives Guests a tour of Magic Kingdom and transports them from lands like Tomorrowland to Main Street, U.S.A. The ride has been closed since December 2018, and therefore, has not driven Guests around for years. This had to be done in order for Disney World to begin construction and make way for the upcoming TRON attraction, which will be located in Tomorrowland once complete.
Climb to the top of the mountain and face the terrifying Yeti! This coaster is popular but is under a lengthy refurbishment through to May 2022 at the earliest. It seems the construction on Expedition Everest will be maintenance-based.
According to the Walt Disney World refurbishment calendar on My Disney Experience, Souk-al-Magreb at EPCOT will be closed for the entire month of March.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach
At the moment, Typhoon Lagoon is the only water park available for Guests as Blizzard Beach undergoes a refurbishment. There isn’t a reopening date for the Disney Park at this time.
Walt Disney World Resort is home to many iconic attractions like Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom; Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Toy Story Mania, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Slinky Dog Dash, and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest (when it’s open), and Avatar Flight of Passage in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ Around The World, Test Track, and Spaceship Earth in EPCOT.
What do you think the next attraction to close at Walt Disney World Resort will be? Let us know in the comments!
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Disney World’s water parks, four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!