Over time, many sights have come and gone at Walt Disney World. Some higher than their predecessors, some worse. This submit is 1 of two in a sequence, with this listing specializing in the most effective alternative sights added to the park, plus the follow-up Worst Attraction Replacements at Walt Disney World. (Up to date November 25, 2023.)
This listing specializing in enhancements wasn’t straightforward. Many of the greatest additions at Walt Disney World have been new developments or unique sights, so it’s probably not potential to dub them as replacements. Usually, alternative sights are additionally confronted with the problem of being shoehorned into an present area, which appears to make it troublesome for them to surpass their predecessors.
Moreover, as somebody who has been visiting Walt Disney World my complete life, I’ll admit that I’m in all probability nostalgic for what I grew up with. Though I attempt to view every little thing with an open thoughts and clear slate, typically the replacements have already got a strike towards them in my head.
For the needs of this listing, we’re evaluating present sights with their quick predecessors. This prevents the sins of the daddy from being laid upon the son, and retains issues cleaner. (So no evaluating Buzz Lightyear’s Area Ranger Spin to If You Had Wings.)
Our newest updates to this listing for Late 2023 add a number of new trip replacements in addition to Walt Disney World righting previous wrongs, so to talk. Newer Disney followers who shaped nostalgia for the issues that are actually gone may disagree, however we now have to offer kudos to Walt Disney World for (not directly) admitting they made some errors and undoing the harm.
Anyway, right here’s the listing of what’s new…and the previous that’s new once more…that’s an improve as in comparison with what it changed at Walt Disney World…
Soarin Across the World -> Soarin Over California – Spoiler alert: Soarin’ is the one attraction to make this listing twice! Sadly, the newer Soarin’ isn’t fairly pretty much as good because the OG Soarin, which has since (briefly?) changed its successor at first of the Disney100 celebration.
Though it’d appear to be increasing Soarin’ from geography solely in California to a number of the world’s most recognizable landmarks is an efficient transfer, the execution could be very iffy. For one factor, a number of the new areas weren’t filmed in any respect. They’re solely CGI. For one more, showcasing so many architectural icons in Soarin’ Across the World was a nasty thought–there’s actually unhealthy distortion from seats that aren’t dead-center.
In contrast, Soarin’ Over California (which was initially simply “Soarin” at Epcot) nonetheless appears to be like nice. It additionally isn’t notably California-centric. Until you’ve visited Anza-Borrego, Yosemite Nationwide Park, Tahoe, Malibu, Camarillo, and so on., you in all probability couldn’t establish the place the footage was shot. You may’ve simply assumed the desert, waterfall, speeding rapids, ocean, orange groves, and so on. had been merely generic–however gorgeous–areas.
I’m not averse to Soarin’ Across the World, however the CGI, tacky animals, and distortion has worn on me over time. Furthermore, I feel Soarin’ Over California is just not displaying its age in any respect. If something, it advantages from its footage being actual, whereas the intensive CGI of the brand new model will inevitably date itself a lot sooner. Each variations are good, must-do sights–however Soarin’ Over California is healthier.
Ellen’s Vitality Journey -> Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – I cherished Universe of Vitality. Its closure hit me actually laborious, between each my recollections of it and feeling just like the finish of an period for the previous EPCOT. It additionally didn’t assist that the most effective thematic clarification Disney may should for Guardians of the Galaxy coming to Future World was that Peter Quill visited EPCOT Heart as a child. Then the large present constructing went up, including additional insult to damage.
With all of that mentioned, I’ve no delusions about all of this. Ellen’s Vitality Journey was a few decade previous its prime, feeling woefully outdated and extremely unpopular with friends. Whereas the Vitality pavilion’s retirement–together with different simultaneous shutdowns–did shut one chapter of EPCOT’s historical past, it was already a foregone conclusion. The park I cherished as a child had been useless for over a decade, and its alternative had a useless mall vibe. If something, the closure introduced closure for followers.
Finest and most significantly of all, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is incredible. It’s an extremely satisfying attraction from begin to end, with a queue and pre-shows that present depth and in some way handle to supply sufficient of an ‘edutainment’ basis to weave this into EPCOT, a few wow-moment results, hilarity & hijinks, and a compelling story set-up. The curler coaster itself is satisfying in length and has incredible movement and fluidity–higher the music and the movement, it feels a bit like dancing.
Above all else, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is simply flat-out enjoyable. It’s one among probably the most enjoyable sights in all of Walt Disney World. It hits the entire proper notes, and is only a continuous hoot from begin to end due to its characters, humor, and use of music. It’s precisely the blockbuster attraction that EPCOT wanted, and is one other nice trendy hybrid of story and enjoyable from Imagineering. It is likely to be referred to as Cosmic Rewind, however the trip fast-forwards to a brand new chapter of EPCOT.
Disney Enchantment -> Fortunately Ever After – All Magic Kingdom fireworks reveals have the identical core qualities, with pyro exploding over Cinderella Fort to conclude a protracted, memory-filled day at Walt Disney World. The music is pulled from sentimental moments in memorable Disney films and the visuals are dazzling. The entire manufacturing tugs on the heartstrings, overwhelming the senses and feelings in one of the simplest ways potential. Due to all that, there’s a excessive flooring for any Magic Kingdom nighttime spectacular, and even a “unhealthy” one remains to be “good” relative to most different sights.
Suffice to say, Disney Enchantment discovered that flooring and was as near “unhealthy” as fireworks over Cinderella Fort may conceivably be. It was about pretty much as good as a Magic Kingdom fireworks present set to the “Meow Combine” jingle with cat projections on the citadel. That may’ve truly been higher–no less than it will’ve been humorous. Fortunately, Walt Disney World had the nice sense of undoing this error, even after declaring that Fortunately Ever After had been “completely” retired.
Fortunately Ever After excels largely due to a incredible association paired with track and film selections. There’s a thematic development to the present that is smart–it goes from journey to friendship to romance to overcoming adversity to attaining a ‘fortunately ever after.’ The track selections are incredible, pyro pairings are really excellent, and projections add much more to the nighttime spectacular. In a way, Fortunately Ever After is the Disney animated movie archetype, however in montage fireworks present type. It’s good, and the nighttime spectacular that Magic Kingdom deserves.
Primeval Whirl -> Seating Space – No, this isn’t on the mistaken listing. The elimination of Primeval Whirl was addition by subtraction. Hear me out on all of the strengths of the seating space:
- No line
- Not bodily painful
- Good, protected enjoyable
- Not a hideous carnival trip
None of that might be mentioned about Primeval Whirl. Sadly, Dino-Rama has turn into well-liked with followers who reward its backstory. To the extent that it’s potential for an opinion to be mistaken…they’re mistaken. Dino-Rama’s backstory is lipstick on a pig, anticipating to dupe you into considering cheesy carnival rides are literally good.
This displays a pervasive drawback in fandom: diehard lovers need limitations to entry to make the fabric incomprehensible to informal audiences. They wish to be “within the know” or have deciphering content material be a problem, with there being some misplaced notion that it earns them avenue cred or some nonsense.
However on the finish of the day, a dumpster stuffed with rubbish that has an attention-grabbing story remains to be a dumpster stuffed with rubbish. Regular friends don’t care about backstory, and it couldn’t save this crappy carnival trip. Right here’s hoping that the finances for Tropical Americas is greater than the like twenty bucks they spent on this mess.
Pooh’s Playful Spot -> Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice – This isn’t completely honest. Some followers will in all probability keep in mind that the attraction earlier than Pooh’s Playful Spot was 20,000 Leagues Underneath the Sea, a real Walt Disney World traditional. Evaluating Seven Dwarfs Mine Practice to which may not go as effectively.
Pooh’s Playful Spot, alternatively, was nothing particular. Whereas its predecessor was epic in length and scale and its successor is thrilling and endearing for households, Pooh’s Playful Spot was type of simply “there,” a stop-gap to throw in place whereas they discovered what to do with the plot of land.
El Rio del Tempio -> Gran Fiesta Tour – Since El Rio del Tiempo was changed by Gran Fiesta Tour, it has been met with a blended response by followers, a lot of whom had been upset over the introduction of characters to the attraction. I’ve all the time been superb with Gran Fiesta Tour (though I actually miss the music from El Rio del Tiempo) and that’s as a result of it makes use of characters who’re from an obscure movie that closely focuses on the tradition and surroundings of Mexico.
This wasn’t merely a matter of Disney eager to capitalize on the recognition of Three Caballeros as has occurred elsewhere in Epcot. For the reason that Audio Animatronics have been added, the attraction has an acceptable finale a real “wow” scene that provides it an actual climax. That is one thing it has by no means had, and in my e-book, makes the present Gran Fiesta Tour higher than El Rio del Tempio.
Tarzan Rocks -> Discovering Nemo: The Musical – This one is clear-cut, and with out caveats. Tarzan Rocks was a high-energy live performance fashion present with some neat visuals, however the “excessive sports activities” vibe made it really feel misplaced in Animal Kingdom. It additionally wasn’t almost as elaborate or well-produced as Discovering Nemo: The Musical.
Though the Nemo present is a CliffNotes model of the film, it really works extremely effectively, and options glorious manufacturing worth. The best way it makes use of performers versus puppets is the spotlight for me, and I feel the present is among the greatest ones Disney has completed within the parks.
Donald’s Boat -> Dueling Dumbos – I nonetheless bear in mind the drive all the way down to Walt Disney World within the early 90s, and listening to Disney Radio, “Florida’s in-car welcoming station.” One 12 months, the radio touted a brand new non permanent land, Mickey’s Starland, with a Disney Afternoon Present. As a younger baby, nothing was fairly as cool as this. Twenty years later, this “non permanent” land was nonetheless chugging alongside as Mickey’s Toontown.
New Fantasyland’s “Dueling Dumbos” aren’t completely new within the sense that there was a Dumbo spinner in Magic Kingdom earlier than, however the presentation is considerably higher, as is the general expertise. The wait can also be now rather a lot shorter, there’s an indoor interactive play space, and the Storybook Circus space across the Dumbos is prime notch.
Have a good time A Dream Come True -> Pageant of Fantasy Parade – What number of Disney followers have uttered the phrase “I’m not a parade individual” as results of a decade-plus of the varied incarnations of the Have a good time A Dream Come True Parade? It’s not that it was unhealthy…in 2001 or 2002 when it first debuted, however a decade later I used to be extra than over it.
It wasn’t till seeing a number of the parades at different citadel parks that I spotted perhaps it’s not me, it’s the parade. Pageant of Fantasy is imaginative, elaborate, colourful, and options a number of jaw-dropping floats that culminate in a daytime parade worthy of Magic Kingdom.
Underneath New Administration -> Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room – Generally, all it takes is a small hearth to essentially set issues proper! I don’t know whether or not Disney determined to revert to the unique Tiki Room as a result of it was the appropriate factor to do, or the cheaper factor to do, after a hearth broken elements of the Tiki Room.
No matter motivation, the unique Tiki Room is again, undoing the Nineteen Nineties harm inflicted upon the attraction.
Meals Rocks -> Soarin’ – Epcot sights will function prominently on the sequel to this listing–the ten worst attraction modifications, however it additionally earns a excessive place for among the finest modifications. A part of the explanation Soarin’ ranks so extremely is partially as a result of the truth that Meals Rocks was an inferior alternative for the EPCOT Heart-era Kitchen Kabaret, a enjoyable and extra memorable present.
In bigger half, Soarin’ is right here as a result of it manages to seize the spirit and ambition of EPCOT Heart, whereas additionally including pleasure to the combination. The up to date Soarin’ Across the World is inferior to its quick predecessor (see above), however for the sake of this entry, we’re contemplating Soarin’ as an entire attraction, not the movie enjoying in it.
Who Desires to Be a Millionaire: Play it -> Toy Story Mania – Since its debut over a decade in the past, Toy Story Mania has been some of the well-liked sights in Walt Disney World. I’ve to confess that I feel it’s overrated, with recognition coming from a dearth of different family-friendly choices in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Nonetheless, I feel it’s higher than Who Desires to Be a Millionaire: Play it and the kind of attraction the park wanted. The following Toy Story Land additions (Slinky Canine Sprint and Alien Swirling Saucers) had been constructed on unused land, in order that they don’t actually matter right here. With that mentioned, Slinky Canine Sprint is our favourite of the trio.
Camp Minnie-Mickey Trails -> Avatar Flight of Passage – Speculating is a harmful recreation, and we initially anticipated Na’vi River Journey, the slow-moving boat trip by a bioluminescent rainforest with enjoyable music alongside the way in which, to be our favourite attraction in Pandora – World of Avatar. Even then, it was apparent that Flight of Passage can be the headliner, however we’re suckers for boat rides.
In actuality, the marquee draw and our favourite alternative for the Camp Minnie-Mickey Trails has been Avatar Flight of Passage. Whereas this might be described as Soarin’ on steroids, it’s actually a lot extra. Earlier than riders climb aboard the again of a banshee and fly by Pandora for a simulator expertise, there’s a ton of build-up and funky queue. Plus, the trip itself is a multi-sensory expertise that’s enjoyable and exhilarating suddenly.
Phrases don’t do Flight of Passage justice–it’s so good that it ranks as #6 on our Itemizing Rating All 91 Sights at Walt Disney World! That’s ok to make it the #2 attraction alternative within the historical past of Walt Disney World, however it may well’t compete with #1…
Lights Motors Motion -> Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – This isn’t simply the #1 attraction alternative within the historical past of Walt Disney World, it’s tied for the most effective trip in all of Walt Disney World, interval. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is that nice, a real triumph of creativity and a contemporary masterpiece of Imagineering.
It’s been effectively over a decade for the reason that Disney-MGM Studios actually shined as a working studio, and since then the Streets of America portion of the park trudged alongside with none memorable attracts (save for the Osborne Lights at Christmas). As such, it was fairly straightforward for the billion-dollar Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to surpass it.
As an entire, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is incredible however arguably doesn’t fairly dwell as much as its full potential. It was an enormous swing for Imagineering to create an unique setting and follow a storyline, however that has ended up being a legal responsibility quite than an asset (see It’s Time for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Break the Guidelines).
Of the trip replacements again on this nook of the park, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is much superior to Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. That may come as a little bit of a shock to first-timers, in any case, what child hasn’t dreamed of piloting the Quickest Hunk of Junk within the Galaxy?! Because it turned out, Smugglers Run is enjoyable however a bit like a UPS-in-space simulator, whereas Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is revolutionary. It’s proper up there with the most effective Walt Disney World–or any theme park wherever–has to supply.
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Which attraction replacements at Walt Disney World do you suppose are upgrades? Something on this listing that’s truly a downgrade for you? Did we miss any rides or reveals that ought to’ve made the lower? Do you agree or disagree with my listing? Do you just like the alternative sights on this listing, or would you like their predecessors? Which of the new-generation sights are your favorites? Share any questions or further ideas you may have within the feedback!