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So this topic came up at my last gathering of my Disney friends: what happens to all of the rides that were once at the Walt Disney World Resort after they are taken down? I mean, I understand the concept of construction/deconstruction but those rides are not just walls, wood, plaster and paint, there are characters and ride vehicles! Where do they all go??
Now if I were to work for Disney, this would be my idea – in to a museum. At Hollywood Studios there is the Walt Disney exhibit “One Man’s Dream” and there are some great items in there from the park planning stages and Walt Disney’s life, but I think that for a man that created so very much, it’s a rather poor showing. If there could be a large walk-through exhibit like the one found at the end of the backlot tour, why not build a facility to walk through Disney World memorabilia? What Disney fan wouldn’t love that?
So here’s my thought – such a place would need to be placed in just the right park and while Magic Kingdom immediately comes to mind (because they have changed attractions so much over the years!) but there’s really no proper “land” for it. At Epcot, there is that building next to Test Track that never seems to be used and to me always looks out of place, but again, a museum of Disney-gone-by doesn’t really belong in Future World or World Showcase. Of course it wouldn’t fit in at Animal Kingdom so the natural choice (and by process of elimination!) is Hollywood Studios.
Somewhere around Echo Lake or perhaps even as part of the desperately-needing-a-facelift Backlot tour would be ideal. It would be a walk-through (or perhaps a slow moving ride through) exhibit. Imagine seeing the concept models and artwork in the first section of many beloved attractions and then going through to a gallery of ride vehicles from the past.
Each now-defunct ride would have it’s own display. So when we get to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, we would not only see the ride vehicle but perhaps a video of what the ride was about – sort of a history of the ride. Wouldn’t it be great to see the submarines from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? Or maybe even some old animatronics from the Mickey Mouse Review? How fun would that be?? And don’t even get me started on how exciting it would be to see some of the now discarded parade floats!
I can remember seeing pictures of the de-construction of the sorcerer’s wand that was over Spaceship Earth at Epcot. It was sad to see it all in a crumpled heap. So where does it all go? How much is recycled? I think this would be a fantastic way to pay tribute to some classic attractions that many of us grew up with while cutting back on having to just keep things either pointlessly in storage or worse, destroyed.
I know that I would gladly wait in line for a chance to walk through an actual history of Walt Disney World. And right now, with this massive rehab of Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, there is a great opportunity to keep some beloved pieces of Mickey and Minnie’s house for generations to come to see and enjoy.
If any Disney Imagineers would like my input, I’m available…