With an endless roster of unforgettable movies attached to the Disney name, it’s no surprise that the parks have brought the same excitement to stage shows over the years. All four Disney World parks currently offer awesome live entertainment, but do you remember any of these shows that have been retired from the parks over the years?
Mickey Mouse Revue
Mickey Mouse Revue was one of the three original opening day attractions in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. The audio animatronic show was a musical concert led by Mickey who conducted an orchestra made up of various Disney characters like Minnie playing violin, Daisy playing the cello, Winnie the Pooh playing kazoo, and several more. During the preshow, guests watched an 8 minute short depicted Mickey’s long career and the importance of music in movies like Fantasia and Steamboat Willie. When the curtains rise at the start of the show, Maestro Mickey and his orchestra play several familiar songs like Heigh Ho, Whistle While You Work, and When You Wish Upon A Star. After the medley, the theater went dark and the orchestra was lowered into the stage. Other scenes included the Three Little Pigs performing “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”, the Seven Dwarfs singing “The Silly Song”, and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother singing “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo”. The grand finale started with “Zip A Dee Doo Dah” sung by Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and Br’er Bear before the orchestra comes back up to the stage for a group performance of the Mickey Mouse Alma Mater and the lights faded. The Mickey Mouse Revue came to a close on September 14, 1980.
The Astuter Computer Revue
The Astuter Computer Revue debuted in Communicore East at Epcot on October 1, 1982. In Communicore’s Epcot Computer Central, the show provided the first backstage look show at Disney. A shrunken version of Ken Jennings hosted the show, which explained how computers worked using animations to operate Epcot’s attractions while Jennings danced around singing “The Computer Song”. When the show ended on January 2, 1984, it was the first attraction that had ever been removed from the park.
Epcot Daredevil Spectacular
Epcot‘s Daredevil Spectacular began in October 1987 in a 400 foot “center ring” in front of Spaceship Earth. The outdoor show mixed intergalactic elements and a big top circus for a 30 minute display of thrills led by Mickey Mouse the Ringmaster. Performers included elephants, acrobats, motorcyclists, a tightrope walker and a nine-member trapeze troupe. The spectacular was short lived, it ended after only five months.
Here Come the Muppets
The Muppets made their Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios, of course) debut in Animation Courtyard on May 25, 1990. First, guests entered into a holding area that showed a preshow featuring Rowlf playing the piano and singing amidst interruptions from Sam the Eagle. In the theater, the show began with an annoyed Kermit on stage waiting for the rest of the Muppets who were running late. After a video call from Mickey Mouse, Kermit hopped on the phone with infamous telephone operator Ernestine (played by Lily Tomlin, of course) to get in touch with Ms. Piggy. Not realizing she was on a video call she told Kermit she was in a meeting with Disney executives, but the whole audience could see that she was really still at home in a bathrobe and mud mask. Next he called Fozzie Bear, who thought he was lost but was really just behind the stage door. Just after Fozzie joined Kermit on stage, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem crash through the wall via monorail. Once the whole crew finally arrived, the show started and the gang performed songs like Make ‘Em Laugh, Bein’ Green, and Shout! The show came to a close on September 2, 1991 and was eventually replaced by Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started performing in the New York Street area of Disney-MGM Studios on June 30, 1990. The turtles would hop out of their Turtle Party Wagon and dance across the stage, being introduced one by one. However, Michelangelo usually missed his cue because he was too busy ordering a pizza. The Ninja Turtle also showed off their karate moves while news reported April O’Neil performed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme song. This show was a staple at the park until 1996.
The Magical World of Barbie Show
Believe it or not, the Magical World of Barbie was a show that started in the America Gardens Theater at Epcot on November 20, 1993. The 20 minute show was a result of a partnership between Disney and Mattel. On stage, Barbie and her dancing friends travel the world on various adventures like a safari in Africa, seeing a Russian ballet, attending a fashion show in Paris, and exploring Australia. Other characters in the show performed stunts on skateboards, in-line skates and trampolines. The show ended with a bang featuring doves and pyrotechnics. Once the show was over, guests to line up to meet Barbie and Ken outside of her sparkly pink limousine outside of the theater. Barbie ended up not being a perfect fit for Disney World and the show officially ended in May 1995.
Epcot‘s Splashtacular was a theatrical water show that debuted at the park in November 1993. The 20 minute performance, based on a show from Tokyo Disneyland, was held in front of the Fountain of Nations. Sorcerer Mickey and other classic characters entertain the audience with a colorful display of water acrobatics up to 150 feet in the air choreographed to music before an evil intergalactic mistress and her creation TerrorsauX take the colors away. Then, Sorcerer Mickey embarks on a major battle with his nemesis on a quest to bring the colors back. The show was eventually cancelled in June 1994 because it was a bit of a traffic jam and would drench passersby on windy days.
The Spirit of Pocahontas
On June 23, 1995 The Spirit of Pocahontas premiered in the Backlot Theater at Disney-MGM Studios. Set in the forest, the show was a retelling of the story of Pocahontas from the perspective of Werowance and the Powhatan tribe. As the tale began, Werowance played the role of Chief Powhatan, Pocahontas’ father and the rest of the tribe wore silver masks to represent the English settlers. As the first Broadway style production at Disney World, The Spirit of Pocahontas was an exciting display of talented performers, moving music from the film’s soundtrack, and awesome special effects like water, fire and wind. There was also a large puppet used to depict Grandmother Willow, who offered guidance to Pocahontas and John Smith during the show. The Spirit of Pocahontas came to a close on February 24, 1994.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame – A Musical Adventure
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Musical Adventure came to the Backlot Theater at Disney-MGM Studios on June 21, 1996. Replacing the Spirit of Pocahontas, this 32 minutes show featured live action moments from the original movie that showcased Quasimodo’s conflict with Frollo and his love for Esmerelda. The seven scenes included the Bell Tower of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Festival of Fools in the streets of Paris. The show’s soundtrack also matched the film’s score, recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to appearances from all of the movie’s main characters dressed in vibrant costumes, there were large puppets, special effects, and even live pyrotechnics used to tell Quasimodo’s tale. The Hunchback of Notre Dame – A Musical Adventure came to an end on September 28, 2002.