BAY LAKE, Fla. – EPCOT is all about innovation. That much is clear when you see the futuristic theming running through all the rides, restaurants and play areas.
It’s the way Walt wanted it: A community of tomorrow and a blueprint for the future.
Through the theme park’s evolution, many cherished attractions have been cast away in favor of the cutting edge—for better or worse. While this does bring a new level of magic to the park, it also brings heartbreak for EPCOT fans forced to say goodbye to some of their favorite rides.
So, let’s take a walk down memory lane, through the graveyard of EPCOT attractions’ past.
Journey into Imagination
So, before you say anything: Yes, technically this ride still exists, but it’s gone through many iterations since its inception and today we’re talking about the original ride that started the Figment frenzy (think 6-hour waits for popcorn buckets).
The original ride opened in the park in 1983 and featured Dreamfinder and his creation, Figment. The attraction then closed in 1998 because of sponsorship issues with Kodak and was reimagined over the years. Currently, you can find the fan favorite purple dragon in World Celebration.
This former dark boat ride occupied the Norway pavilion at the World Showcase before Frozen Ever After. And it just so happened to be one of my favorites. With Maelstrom, you not only got some thrills, but also a history lesson on the heritage of Norway as the Viking ship weaved through maritime villages before plunging into the North Sea. And at the end, guests had the option of watching a six-minute film all about the glorious Scandinavian country.
Adventure, education and travel. What more could you want?
This motion simulator ride took riders on a mission through the human body. Guests were volleyed back and forth as they “shrunk” to study the effect of white blood cells. The simulator, situated in the old Wonders of Life pavilion, was similar to Star Tours, which was introduced in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1989.
This 3D science fiction film by Francis Ford Coppola featured pop sensation Michael Jackson as the captain of a spaceship. The 17-minute production was screened at Disney theme parks from 1986 through 1996 and again in 2010 as a tribute after Jackson’s death.
This short-lived but beloved attraction was EPCOT’s answer to Magic Kingdom’s Carousel of Progress. Horizons opened in Future World in 1983, one year after EPCOT itself did. The dark ride was thought to be the sequel to Carousel of Progress as it navigated through the future, as envisioned by French author Jules Verne and French artist Albert Robida, through the 1950s.
It also featured multiple endings in FuturePort.
Use the form below to sign up for the ClickOrlando.com In the Loop: Theme Park Scoops newsletter, sent every Friday morning.
You can listen to every episode of Florida’s Fourth Estate in the media player below: