While the new "Seven Dwarfs Mine Train" attraction is set to open at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida later this month, theme park executives are rumored to be planning the closure of five other resort-wide attractions.
Among those rumored for closure is the "Maelstrom" ride in Epcot's Norway Pavilion, supposedly to make way for a new Frozen-themed attraction. The ride is dated, and with Frozen being Disney's latest cash cow, the move makes sense -- despite the nostalgic love many guests feel towards Maelstrom.
Also rumored to be getting shut down soon at Walt Disney World are the very dated "Great Movie Ride" in Hollywood Studios, The Fountains at the Polynesian Resort, and two more Epcot attractions, the hugely popular "Soarin'" and Michael Jackson's "Captain EO."
Perhaps the only closure that gives true pause is "Soarin'" -- given that the ride typically has a wait time of well over one hour on any given day. The only other Epcot attraction with a comparable wait time is the equally popular "Test Track." However, if rumors are true, Disney is planning to replace the current attraction -- which is an exact remake of the California-based version found at Disney's California Adventure park in Anaheim -- with a new, globally-based version called "Soarin' Over the Horizon." This new version should prove a refreshing update for park guests, and a much more suitable attraction than the California-only version.
Meanwhile, "Captain EO" was never meant to remain a permanent attraction at Epcot. Disney brought the 3D show back to both of its American theme parks following Jackson's death in 2009. However, Disney still needs to develop a replacement 3D show for both parks. Before "Captain EO" was resurrected, both Disneyland and Walt Disney World showed "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience." In Epcot, hopefully a new 3D film will also spur development to reinvigorate the dated and poorly attended Imagination Pavilion. (The pavilion's only other attraction is the kid-friendly ride, "Journey into Imagination with Figment.")
As for "The Great Movie Ride" in Hollywood Studios, well, the closure of this attraction should have been in the works a long time ago. If anything, it needs a major update. The ride is extremely dated, and takes up prime real estate in the center of Disney's Hollywood Studios park. Though it was the original inspiration for the park, the ride focuses primarily on older films that most younger guests just can't relate to. There are rumors that Disney is hoping to develop a Star Wars-themed section of the park to replace "The Great Movie Ride" and the entire Grauman's Chinese Theater facade that houses it. But it might be nice to see the park instead find a more current way to incorporate the "Hollywood" theme in the existing structure.
Finally, though not a ride, Disney is said to be tearing out the fountains that form the centerpiece of the Polynesian Resort to make room for new additions to the Disney Vacation Club. Hopefully Disney will find another way to add unique charm to the resort's lobby, as the decor and atmosphere in each unique Disney resort is part of what makes staying there such a special experience for guests.
What do you think of the rumored closures and changes? Let us know in the comments!