Magic Kingdom has been offering guests a truly magical experience for almost 50 years, but many attractions have come and gone since it opened in 1971. In order to maintain the park’s status as an unbeatable theme park destination everything has to be fresh and exciting, especially the rides and attractions! Keep reading to refresh your memory of eight of the park’s oldest attractions.
Mission to Mars
Mission to Mars opened in Tomorrowland on June 7,
First riders entered mission control, a viewing area modeled after a standard control center with. Control panels were run by audio-animatronic “technicians” with their backs to the audiences. An audio-animatronic flight director named Mr. Johnson explained how humans have made advancements in space travel to the audience. His lecture was interrupted by an intruder alarm triggered by a large bird that crash-landed near the spacecraft launch pad.
After the pre-show riders boarded a “spacecraft” in a circular theater with circular flat screens on the ceiling and floor. During the mission, you could look at views of “outside” the spaceship on the screens. Seats vibrated to simulate G-forces from hyperspace during takeoff/landing. A tour guide named Third Officer Collins narrated the mission as the spacecraft explored space and traveled Mars. Suddenly, the ship was damaged and had to quickly return back to Earth. After landing safely, Third Officer Collins urged guests to come back again and continue exploring Mars another day.
Mission to Mars closed on October 4, 1993, and was replaced by ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter and then Stitch’s Great Escape. The concept was sort of repurposed when Mission: Space opened at Epcot in 2003.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage
A more elaborate version of Disneyland’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage opened in Fantasyland at
The adventure began with guests walking down the back of the submarine to prepare for boarding on The Nautilus. The journey was narrated by Captain Nemo and had an eerie organ version of the movie’s theme song lightly playing in the background.
When the submarine left the dock, bubbles started filling the porthole view to create the illusion of descent. During the dive, riders could view animals underwater such as moray eels, crabs, lobsters, seas bass, clams, turtles, and schools of tropical fish.
Eventually, a storm simulation occurred, and the submarine went even deeper into the graveyard of lost ships. In the North Pole, the ship navigated around polar ice caps and barely avoided icebergs. The ride also took a super deep dive into the abyss, which was filled with weird and unusual
Although it was a guest favorite, the attraction had a few logistical issues. It was very expensive to maintain and the hourly load rate was far too low for the size and cost of the ride.
The submarine voyage closed on September 5,
If You Had Wings
If You Had Wings was an attraction sponsored by Eastern Airlines that opened in Tomorrowland on June 5, 1972. Located across from Mission to Mars, the dark ride was not well known or promoted. The omnimover-inspired attraction’s low profile always made for a short wait time, regardless of the park’s crowd level.
The 4-minute journey began with animated projections of flying silhouettes such as seagulls and airplanes that were supposed to give riders the feeling of motion and created the idea of flight.
Cars would travel through a series of theater-style sets, passing through destinations like Mexico, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad, and New Orleans. Each theater featured small projector screens that showed looping short scenes with tourist activities that you might see in each destination.
The ride then moved into the speed room, featuring scenes like an airplane taking off, trains, water skis, motorcycles
The last stop on the ride was the mirror room, which had projections of snow-covered mountains reflected in floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Each scene had its own sound effects, and the entire ride was soundtracked by singers chanting an original theme song. Once in the mirror room, the music changed to just swelling harmonies. Although each room had lots of
After the ride, travel agents from Eastern Air Lines were waiting to help guests plan their next vacation. In 1987, Eastern Air Lines withdrew its partnership and the attraction was renamed If You Could Fly. It closed altogether in 1989. The ride was later repurposed as Delta Dreamflight, a similar concept with all-new scenes and music. It eventually became one of Magic Kingdom’s current fan-favorite rides: Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
Mickey Mouse Revue
Mickey Mouse Revue was one of the three original opening day attractions in Fantasyland at
During the preshow, guests watched an 8 minute short depicted Mickey’s long career. The film showed the importance of music in movies like Fantasia and Steamboat Willie. To begin the show, Maestro Mickey and his orchestra played familiar songs like Heigh Ho 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 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
The Mickey Mouse Revue came to a close on September 14, 1980. The show has had several successors in the following years including:
- Magic Journeys (1987 – 1993)
- Legend of the Lion King (1994 – 2002)
- Mickey’s Philharmagic (currently active)
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was one of the featured attractions at Magic Kingdom’s opening day in 1971. The attraction was primarily modeled after the popular Disneyland ride with some minor differences.
Inspired by the 1949 animated movie The Adventures of Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad, The Wild Ride was unlike most other dark rides of that time; It had higher speeds and several sharp turns. The highly popular ride had a controversial closing in 1998. Fans of the attraction let protests in the park and one even created a “Save Mr. Toad” website. Despite the drama, the ride was still replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
There are still some nods to the old ride located around the park, including paintings of Mr. Toad and Moley in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and a statue of Mr. Toad in the pet cemetery outside of the Haunted Mansion.
Snow White’s Scary Adventure
Snow White’s Scary Adventure originally ran from 1971 to
Riders then “crashed” into a dungeon wall and escaped from the castle. The ride traveled into a forest full of tree monsters, briefly passed through the dwarfs’ cottage, then returned to the woods. The final scene took place in the diamond mine. The witch made several appearances here, including pushing a giant jewel on to riders. The ride ended as strobe lights flashed and the witch’s cackle filled the room.
In 1994 the ride was shortly closed for renovations. The theme of the ride was changed to reflect a much lighter story. Many more appearances from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were also added. Snow White’s Scary Adventure closed for good in
The Skyway was one of the first Magic Kingdom attractions, opening in 1971. The lift carried guests to and from Fantasyland and Tomorrowland from above the park. The gondola lift system transported people between the two lands in buckets up in the sky. It eventually closed on November 10, 1999. The Tomorrowland Station was demolished during Space Mountain’s renovation and the Fantasyland Station was eventually repurposed into a Tangled-themed bathroom. The Skyway concept has recently resurfaced at Disney World and is coming back to the resort as The Disney Skyliner. This new lift system will allow guests to travel to the parks from their hotels and back again. When it opens in Fall 2019, it will service:
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’ Caribbean Beach Resort
The Walt Disney Story
The Walt Disney Story opened in its own building on Main Street U.S.A. in April 1973. The building had two 300-seat theaters that both showed the same film detailing the life and career of Walt Disney. The experience began with a pre-show area that featured lots of Walt Disney memorabilia and pieces from Walt Disney Studio. Although it closed in 1992, the concept loosely lives on with Walt Disney Presents at Hollywood Studios. The pre-show displays are similar, showcasing sketches, photos, models, costumes, and more memorabilia from Walt’s legacy. Once in the theater, you can view a 15-minute documentary called Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream. Walt Disney Presents also often hosts extended previews of highly anticipated Disney films.
For more Magic Kingdom history, read all about the evolution of Storybook Circus over the years. You can experience the attractions that are still operating in the park with discount Disney tickets from Tickets2You!