The Mickey Mouse Revue at Walt Disney World, as seen in the 1970s.

EDITORIAL - Keeping Legacy Attractions Alive
by B.J. Major

Walt Disney wanted to keep his parks alive with new technology and advances that would inspire visitors to return and visit again and again.  He remarked that "Disneyland means a lot to me.  The park will never be finished; it will be something I can keep adding to; not only can I keep adding to it but even the trees will keep growing.  The thing will get more beautiful every year."

But I truly believe that Disney never wanted to throw out or discard the old just to have the new.  If something wasn't working the way it was intended, that's something else again - but that's not what I am speaking about here.  It was made clear from the start that none of the Disney parks would ever be a museum.  But there has to be a continuity, a tradition, a mixing of the old right alongside the new.  Disneyland in California, by and large, has done a good job with this.  Walt Disney World in Florida on the other hand, has done a terrible job with this.  They have discarded and made extinct many legacy attractions (both in the Magic Kingdom and in EPCOT) which families go to see and expect to see when they visit, only to find out that something they dearly love and want to revisit is no longer there.  And will never return.  And in most cases, has been replaced with something very inferior or nothing at all.

Speaking from my own experience, this is one of the things that bothers me the most about visiting Disney (as much as I love going there).  I remember how I felt when I was told that (instead of fixing the problems with it), the steam railroad that ran in Fort Wilderness was discontinued and would never return.  I was first told that it was shipped to Japan; this later was proven untrue.  Even worse, though, was the fact that the train was not even used elsewhere on any Disney property but covered up with tarps and left out in the extreme heat and climate to rot and rust away.  Part of it was even auctioned off on eBay.  I loved riding that train and I still miss it.  I also remember how I felt when told that The Mickey Mouse Revue would no longer return to Fantasyland in The Magic Kingdom, but was instead shipped off to Japan to Tokyo Disneyland because they wanted it for their park.  What?!!  We made 2, 3 and 4 of most attractions (It's A Small World, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, etc.) and we could not make another Mickey Mouse Revue for Tokyo, they had to have OURS?  This really didn't make sense to me and still doesn't, to this day.  What's worse now is knowing that the attraction no longer functions even in Japan, it's been replaced by something else, and Florida is not going to get it back.  It's apparently all just sitting in parts in some warehouse somewhere.  This is a travesty, it really is. 

My idea is to not get rid of legacy attractions, period.  That's not to say that Disney cannot innovate and include all the latest and greatest.  And the legacy attractions can be refurbished and maintained with the latest technology in them.  But build the new alongside the old; keep the original attractions there for us who love them and want to revisit them each time we are there.  So younger people understand what's going on, I maintain that a small sign within the logo signage of each of these attractions that would say "A Legacy Attraction" so visitors know it isn't going to be a thrill ride, but something original that has been preserved since opening day.  There is no reason in the world that this could not work and the public would love Disney for doing it.

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Note:  The WEDWay PeopleMover attraction/ride still exists as of this writing, but its sponsorship and name have totally changed.  Most original visitors to WDW still refer to it as the "WEDWay PeopleMover".

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Some of these rides and attractions that are no longer with us are pictured above, but I can't picture them all because, unfortunately, there are too many of them.  But I can list them here by name.  A moment of silence, please, for these original Walt Disney World attractions, entertainers, hotel and entertainment areas which are no longer with us and sadly missed (and profuse apologies if I've missed any):

Plaza Swan Boats
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Mickey Mouse Revue
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
The Kids of the Kingdom singers/dancers
Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes
Mike Fink Keelboats
Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island
The Diamond Horseshoe Revue (stage show)
The Blue Grass Boys
The Banjo Kings
Main Street Penny Arcade
Main Street Cinema
The Walt Disney Story
The Steel Drum Band
Tomorrowland Circlevision 360 Theater
If You Had Wings
Mission to Mars/Flight to the Moon
Kitchen Kabaret
World of Motion
Wonders of Life
Journey Into Imagination (the original)
Universe of Energy (the original show)
Walt Disney World Toll Plaza (the original)
Lake Buena Vista Village (the original)
Lake Buena Vista Townhouses and Treehouses (the originals)
The Empress Lilly at Lake Buena Vista
Fiesta Fun Center (Contemporary Resort)
Garden Wings (Contemporary Resort)
Water Ski performers on Bay Lake & Seven Seas Lagoon
The Mariachi Chaparral
Fort Wilderness Railroad
River Country (Fort Wilderness)
Treasure Island/Discovery Island
The (original) Walt Disney World Golf Resort


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