Change is inevitable but can be difficult to accept, especially when it pertains to something beloved at Disney. Not all change is bad. There have been a lot of positive changes at Disney over the years but also some negative. Some long gone attractions and entertainment from the past have left behind major fan followings that are still mourning them years later. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and revisit some of these iconic pieces of Disney history!
The Adventurer’s Club
The Adventurer’s Club will go down in history as one of the greatest places to ever grace Disney property. This amazing lounge featured live improv, animatronics and puppets that would put on various shows throughout the night.
Each night first-time guests would be inducted as new members and taught the Club Creed, theme song and secret handshake. Semi-scripted shows would be performed in either the Library, the Mask Room, the Treasure Room or the Main Salon throughout the nights and guests participation was encouraged.
You could spend an entire night at the Club and never see the same show twice. The Adventurers Club was heartbreakingly closed when Downtown Disney was transformed into Disney Springs, but occasionally some of the veteran members of the Club will perform at the Epcot International Food and Wine Wine and Dine post race party.
Fans have spent years petitioning Disney to bring back the Adventurers Club, but many of the artifacts have been shipped to other Disney Parks around the world. Even still, Disney could find some way to bring this amazing entertainment back to Walt Disney World. To read about the full history of the Adventurer’s Club click HERE!
The Comedy Warehouse
The Comedy Warehouse was located in the Pleasure Island section of Downtown Disney. It opened on May 1, 1989 and originally featured a scripted show called “Forbidden Disney” that made jokes about Disney tourists.
As the Warehouse grew in popularity, repeat visitors grew bored of the same show. Because of this, Disney decided to change the set-up to feature comedians performing improv games for the audience (similar to the popular 90s show “Whose Line is it Anyway?”). Each show was different and absolutely hysterical.
The Comedy Warehouse had no age limit so guests of all ages could attend. The actors on stage were trained to avoid foul language or raunchy topics, though they were at the mercy of guest participation and could not predict what would happen.
As a kid, my family took us to see the Comedy Warehouse show many times and we always had a blast. Most times, the adult topics when right over our heads anyway.
The Comedy Warehouse had its final bow on September 28, 2006 to make way for the new Disney Springs. From 2011 to 2016 Disney brought back the talented Comedy Warehouse performers for a limited Holiday Special at Hollywood Studios to help disburse crowds. I am sad I never got a chance to see this show as we were huge fans of the original club.
Disney is in desperate need of more entertainment for adults and bringing back the Comedy Warehouse would be a great start! There is definitely room for this amazing show somewhere in Disney.
As a kid, Disney Quest was one of my favorite places to go on a rainy day. Five floors of epic video games and virtual reality fun could not be beat. Each floor had different games and attractions to explore.
There were numerous virtual reality experiences including Pirates of the Caribbean, Alien Encounter, Aladdin and Jungle Cruise.
On one of the lower floors, you could design your own roller coaster in Cyberspace Mountain and then ride it inside a simulator. Depending on how many loops and corkscrews you added would determine your “thrill score”.
Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster bumper cars was one of my favorites. You would climb aboard a closed in bumper car and shoot canon balls at the other cars targets. If you hit them successfully, their car would temporarily spin out of control.
There was also an entire section full of classic games such as Q*Bert, Asteroids and Ms. Pac Man. I particularly enjoyed the floor with all of the sports games. There were air hockey tables, bubble boys, waterski, basketball and skateboarding games galore!
The best part of all these games was you didn’t have to pay per game! Once you paid your ticket into Disney Quest, all the games were free for as many rounds as you wanted.
Disney Quest was the ultimate arcade, and what kid doesn’t love an arcade where the games are unlimited? In its prime, Disney Quest was a happening place but as time went on, many guests found that the upkeep was lacking and the games were constantly broken. It no longer felt it was worth the cost to return.
As a kid, you don’t think about security, but my mom tells me time and time again that Disney Quest made her absolutely nuts. The layout of the building and floors could be difficult to navigate and she was terrified of losing one us in there.
Disney Quest was eventually closed and turned into the NBA experience. That didn’t last long either, though and the building has been permanently closed again. We hope that Disney can find a use for the vacant building soon, because the West Side needs more entertainment!
Wonders of Life
Wonders of Life was a pavilion located in between Mission Space (formerly Horizons) and Universe of Energy. It focused on the overall wellness of the human body, physical fitness and nutrition.
You could find various hands-on learning attractions such as the Coach’s Corner, Goofy About Health, Fitness Fairgrounds, the Sensory Funhouse, and Wonder Cycles. There were also two main attractions at the Wonders of Life Pavilion: Body Wars and Cranium Command.
Body Wars was a Star Tours-like ride that “shrunk” guests down and took them on a crazy adventure through the brain, heart and lungs while fighting off white blood cells.
Cranium Command was a cute little animated show starring General Knowledge and his inept solider Buzzy who is given command of a 12 year-old boy and has to help him navigate the events of everyday life.
In 2007, the Wonders of Life pavilion was permanently closed due to declining popularity and became a Festival Center for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
In 2019, it was announced that the pavilion would be demolished and replaced with the new Play! pavilion. While I am a sucker for Disney nostalgia, especially Epcot nostalgia, I would rather have something new to enjoy than a building that is just sitting there vacant for most of the year.
Innoventions came to a rather sad and pathetic end. Certainly not the end it deserved. Innoventions was the one place I looked forward to going at Epcot as a kid.
There were so many unique and innovative experiences. It may sound crazy, but one of my favorite parts was the internet section where kids could go online and play computer games. That’s a common thing most people can do from home now a days, but back in the 90s it was pretty exciting.
There were lots of different exhibits in Innoventions, some educational, some innovational. If you wanted to step on a scale and see what you would weigh on the moon, you could do that. If you wanted to take a ride on a Segway, you could that, too. One of my favorite “shows” in Innoventions was the House of the Future.
I can remember them walking us through the future house and showing us technology that at the time seemed crazy but now most people have in their house today.
I remember the Cast Member telling people that one day you would be able to pause a TV show, take a bathroom break and resume without missing anything. I thought that kind of technology would never actually make it into everyday life, but On Demand and cable boxes are now a commonly owned technology.
My parents used to have to drag us out of Innoventions because there was so much we wanted to do. As the years went by, a lot of exhibits were taken away and the focus of showcasing new technologies fell by the way side.
By the time Innoventions was permanently closed, it was a shell of itself. One half was mainly used for character meets and the other half housed a small Color Exhibit.
My fellow millennials and I will forever miss Innoventions when it was used to its full potential. Share with us your favorite memories from Innoventions in the comments below!
The Studio Backlot Tour
Back in 2015, Disney announced it would be closing a large portion of Hollywood Studios and reimagining it into Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Don’t get me wrong. I love Galaxy’s Edge, and the new ride experiences there, but it breaks my heart that we had to lose a great attraction like the Studio Backlot Tour.
The Studio Backlot Tour had many different segments to the attraction. When you first entered the queue, you began by watching a small staged scene based on the battle of Pearl Harbor. Usually around five guests over the age of 18 were selected to participate in the scene and given blue jumpsuits and boots to put on.
It was a quick glimpse at how big screen movies were made and how a simple scene could become a CGI masterpiece. When I was a kid, my dad was chosen to be one of the participants and it was so much fun to watch him be a part of a Disney attraction.
When I turned 18, I wanted to be selected so badly to be in that first show that I rope dropped the Studio Backlot Tour. Sadly, they didn’t run the show during the first part of the morning. The ride was permanently closed shortly after our trip so I unfortunately missed out on that experience.
As fun as that first show was, there was much more to the Studio Backlot Tour attraction. After running through another extended queue, where you could see various famous movie set pieces, you would climb aboard a bright red tram.
Your tram driver would take you on a tour through the Backlot and show you some amazing hidden gems. The tram would travel past former park icon: the Earful Tower, through the costume and materials department and into the boneyard where guests could catch a glimpse of various vehicles used in famous films.
After leaving the boneyard, your tram would start to travel through a “live studio set” called Catastrophe Canyon. Catastrophe Canyon was a rocky set with a fuel truck and water tanks that suddenly resumes filming as you arrive.
There is suddenly an “earthquake” causing the fuel tanker to explode into flames. Then, a giant flood of water comes gushing down over the canyon and the tram.
As your tram moved on, the driver would explain how movie sets accomplish such a controlled explosion.
At the very end of the tour your tram would take you past Walt Disney’s private plane that he used when surveying the land for Walt Disney World.
To me this was one of the coolest things to see because it was such an important piece of Disney history. After you disembarked from the tour, you would exit into the American Film Institute museum where you could see various costumes from famous movie films on display.
I absolutely loved the Studio Backlot Tour attraction! There were so many components to it and each was equally exciting. While I do love the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, I wish it didn’t have to come at the expense of the Studio Backlot Tour.
Streets of America
Sadly, most of the Streets of America were also demolished when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was built. While there wasn’t a lot to do on the Streets of America, they served a very important purpose. The Streets of America housed the Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights every Christmas.
Originally, the Osbourne Lights were located along the houses on Residential Street. When that area was removed to put in Lights Motors Action, the lights found a new home on the Streets of America and got some upgrades.
It breaks my heart to no end that Disney couldn’t find another home for the Osbourne Lights after the Streets of America were removed.
I would like to also point out that ever since the Streets of America shut down, Disney has not brought back the amazing Gingerbread Hot Chocolate that was served at Youse Guys Moychindice.
Another place I used to visit on every trip to Hollywood Studios was Mr. Gold’s Pawn Shop. As a major Once Upon a Time fan, I loved stopping by and grabbing a quick photo in front of the shop.
I really wish that some of the store front facades were actual places you could walk into. It would have been so cool to walk in there and see a bunch of props from the show instead of just a few in the window.
Another great photo opportunity was the “Singing in the Rain” umbrella located just on the corner of the Streets of America. You could grab a quick snapshot holding the umbrella and it would actually rain.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights will forever be one of my favorite past experiences at Disney World. There was just nothing like them anywhere.
One of my fondest memories of watching the Osborne lights was in 2015. We had just heard the sad news that the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights were going to be permanently removed for the creation of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2015. My family decided to book a last-minute trip over Thanksgiving 2015 specifically to see the Osborne lights one more time.
We packed in on New York Street just before dusk to watch the lights come on. I can remember purchasing specialty flavored gingerbread hot cocoa and huddling with my family as we waited for the lights to come on.
That moment when the lights finally turned on, literally took my breathe away and filled me with tears. If real magic exists, this was the closet I have ever come to it. There are no words to describe that feeling of standing there on the Streets of America and suddenly having 5 million lights come to life around you. It was a sensory overload in the best way possible.
You can read more about the history of the Osborne Lights HERE!
Stars and Motorcars Parade
One of the coolest parades I remember as a kid was the Disney Stars and Motorcars parade at Hollywood Studios. The parade debuted on October 1, 2001 as part of the 100 Years of Magic Celebration and featured popular Disney characters riding in decked-out convertible cars.
The parade would run from the gate near Star Tours to the one on Hollywood Boulevard near guest relations.
What was so great about this particular parade was the use of some often forgotten and underrated movies such as Hercules and Atlantis: the Lost Empire. There was even a Power Rangers float at one time. Of course, the Little Mermaid float was my (Christina) all-time favorite.
The original car floats featured were:
- Float 1: Toy Story (characters: Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bo Peep and Toy Soliders)
- Float 2: Marry Poppins, Bert and the Penguins
- Float 3: The Muppets (characters: Kermit, Miss Piggy and Sweetums)
- Float 4: Star Wars (characters: R2-D2, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader)
- Float 5: Mulan Mushu and Chinese Warriors
- Float 6: Aladdin, Jasmine and Harem Girls
- Float 7: Hercules, Megara, Philoctetes, Pain and Panic
- Float 8: Villains (characters: Hades, Cruella De Vil, Jafar, Evil Queen, Captain Hook and Frollo
- Float 9: Atlantis (characters: Milo Thatch and Kida)
- Float 10: The Little Mermaid (characters: Ariel, Sebastin, Flounder and Fishes)
- Float 11: Playhouse Disney (characters: JoJo, Goliath the Lion, Bear in the Big Blue House, Treelo, Stanley, PB&J Otter, Rolie Polie Olie and Zowie)
- Float 12: Snow White
- Float 13: The Grand Marshal – varied
- Float 14: Finale Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Alice, Pinocchio, Gepetto, White Rabbit, Chip ‘n’ Dale.
Throughout the years, other floats were added such as:
- Monster, Inc. (characters: Mike and Sulley)
- Lilo and Stitch
- Power Rangers
- Cars (Lightning McQueen and Mater)
The music for this parade was equally amazing and to this day, I still listen to it. The Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade ended at Hollywood Studios on March 8, 2008 but it will remain as one of the best parades that ran in Disney World.
Tapestry of Nations Parade
The Tapestry of Nations Parade was, in my opinion, one of the greatest parades ever to come to Disney. The puppets were amazing and the music was so catchy. The parade used to run twice a day (one time during the day and once at night) around the World Showcase.
The Tapestry of Nations Parade debuted in 1999 as part of Disney’s Millennium Celebration and moved around the World Showcase Lagoon.
The main theme was world peace and featured various puppets that danced and delighted guests with the help of very talented Cast Members. Between each section of puppets were giant revolving drum floats with live drummers playing them as they turned.
Not only was the design unique and whimsical, but the music was incredibly catchy. Gavin Greenaway wrote the music for the Tapestry of Nations Parade along with the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth Medley.
He said he designed the music with made up words to sound like a proto-language in order to avoid using a real language that some would understand and others wouldn’t. Choosing instead to use simple vowels and consonants, it was more unifying that everyone didn’t understand the lyrics.
In 2001, the Tapestry of Nations Parade was transitioned into the Tapestry of Dreams Parade and focused on the idea of Dreams and the world’s greatest dreamer: Walt Disney.
The leader of the original parade, The Sage of Time, was replaced by three Dreamseekers who represented discovery, invention, and genius; nature, magic and emotions; and space and the unknown.
Unfortunately, due to deterioration in parade elements Tapestry of Dreams was retired in 2003 and never replaced.
The music from the original Tapestry of Nations Parade could still be heard long after the parade retired as the exit music to Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. There was nothing more toe tapping to get you on your feet than this music.
It would be great to see a parade return to Epcot one day. So many people loved the Tapestry of Nations parade and would love to see either a version of it return or a brand new Epcot parade.
I will never say that putting Soarin’ in Epcot was a mistake, however, I wish it didn’t have to come in at the expense of Food Rocks. Food Rocks was a witty benefit concert held by the five food groups.
Each act was a different piece of food modeled after a famous singer or music group and sang nutrition parodies sung by their respective singer or group. Some acts included were: “ The Peach Boys”, “Refrigerator Police”, Chubby Cheddar, and the Get-the-Point Sisters.
Your host for the benefit concert was “Fud Wrapper” (pronounced food wrapper) who sang one of my favorite songs of the show “You Gotta Read the Wrapper”.
Periodically, the show would get crashed by “The Excess”, a junk food loving heavy metal band that hated nutrition. By the end of the show, though, they lost their power running only on junk food.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t also give a nod to Food Rocks predecessor, Kitchen Kabaret.
Kitchen Kabaret was similar in that various food acts would put on musical revue type performances promotoing healthy eating habits. The show was a little more dated as there were only 4 main food groups at the time and the music was based on older era genres.
Perhaps one of the most famous songs to come out of Kitchen Kabaret was “Veggie Veggie, Fruit Fruit”, a latin percussion themed number starring various fruits and veggies.
While neither of these shows were as good as the attraction that currently sits in their place, they still hold a very special place in my (and many others) heart(s). They may not have been the best shows in Disney, but they were fun and witty.
Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends
I’ve always felt that there isn’t enough Pocahontas representation in the parks. I loved this movie when it came out and one of my favorite shows was the “Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends” show at Animal Kingdom. It played in a small outdoor theatre in the Camp Minnie Mickey section of the park.
Pocahontas and Grand Mother Willow taught guests the importance of humans protecting the forests and all of its inhabitants. Throughout the show, live animals would come on stage such as a porcupine, a skunk, a rat, a possum and a turkey. Meeko was also a part of this show, but not as a fur character. Instead, he was portrayed by a live raccoon.
The show was a lot of fun and very educational, but sadly in 2008 the show was retired. Again, while Pandora is a much better use of space compared to Camp Minnie Mickey, I still miss this fun show!
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – Play It!
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – Play It! was one of my all-time favorite shows at MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios). The show was based off of the original Who Wants to Be a Millionaire television show with Regis Philbin.
Each show lasted roughly 25 minutes in length and began with a “fastest finger question”. Unlike on the television series, everyone in the audience was able to participate via an A/B/C/D keypad in front of them.
The guest who answered the question correctly in the fastest amount of time, would be selected to sit in the “hot seat”. As the contestant in the hot seat played for points instead of money, the audience would also answer along with their keypads.
This was used for two purposes: (1) the audience’s answers were pulled instantly when the person in the hot seat used the “ask the audience” lifeline; and (2) if a contestant got a question wrong or walked away before the show session ended, the audience member with the highest score would be chosen as the next person to enter the hot seat.
Similar to the original game show, each contestant in the hot seat got three life lines. The contestant could choose the 50:50 option where two of the wrong answers would be removed; or the Ask the Audience lifeline that would show the contestant which of the 4 answers had the highest percentage based on the audience’s answers.
In the original show, the third lifeline was “Phone a Friend”, however, since Disney couldn’t do that practically, they changed it to “Phone a Complete Stranger”.
Just outside the studio was the Phone a Complete Stranger Phone. A Cast Member would stand by ready to answer the call when a contestant chose this lifeline. They would then grab a random guests on the street nearby and have them help out the contestant in the hot seat.
My Family Experience In the Hot Seat
When I was a kid, my brother, who was around 12 at the time, made it to the hot seat. He got all the way to the 64,000 point question before he lost. For his efforts he received special prizes for each level of questions he got correct.
Some of these prizes included special pins, a baseball cap and an embroidered polo shirt. We were a bit bummed he didn’t make it to 1,000,000 points since the prize was a Disney Cruise, but hey – the kid was 12. I give him credit for getting as far as he did.
Mickey’s Toontown Fair
While I don’t personally miss Mickey’s Toontown Fair, the land still had some nostalgic charm and many fans enjoyed it. Mickey’s Toontown Fair went through many changes since it was originally opened as Mickey’s Birthdayland in 1988.
When it finally was changed in 1996 to Mickey’s Toontown Fair, it was designed to be a vacation home section for the characters visiting from Disneyland’s Toontown in California.
In this small land you could visit Mickey and Minnie’s house and often catch a meet and greet with the characters. The houses were fun to walk through but that was all there really was to do.
The main attraction was The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farms, which still exists today as the Great Goofini’s Barnstormer. Other small attractions featured the Judge’s Tent and Donald’s Boat splash pad.
Overall, the New Fantasyland expansion breathed new life into Mickey’s Toontown Fair, which is now called Storybook Circus. I can’t say I am mad about this change, but it’s nice to look back to where it began.
There are so many more attractions that are gone from Disney World. I could name them all, but we’d be here forever. It’s great that Disney keeps changing and innovating, but there are some attractions that Disney fans still deeply miss and would love to see return.
For more Disney Nostalgia check out the long lost Disney restaurants we are still not over losing!
Which long lost Disney attractions do you miss most? Did we mention them above? Let us know in the comments what your favorite Disney attraction is from the past below and on Facebook!