Saturday, January 10, 2015

Two Homages to Past Attractions hidden in Walt Disney World

     As is the way of things, attractions at Walt Disney World are always coming and going. They become outdated, are no longer popular, or simply need to go to make way for something bigger and better. When this happens, Disney does not just forget about what was there before. Disney will often remove an attraction from one of its theme parks and leave a copy of that attraction in another park. Just that has happened to Walt Disney World in the demise of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
     Disney Parks are famous for their constant and clever hidden attributions to the origins and history of their parks. When you see a name on something in Walt Disney World, there is a very high chance that behind that name or label or title is a story. Nothing is there for no reason. One example, which I wrote about here, is the decoration of windows along Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. In this post, however, I will tell you about two hidden homages to extinct and beloved attractions: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
     Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was an opening day attraction at Disneyland and in Walt Disney World in 1955 and 1971, respectively. It was based on Disney's 1949 film, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The Magic Kingdom incarnation of the ride closed in 1998 and was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. However, there is a wonderful little homage to the former attraction in the new ride there. On the ride, observant guests will notice a picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to the property to Owl of Winnie the Pooh fame.
     Another attraction that has not been forgotten in Walt Disney World is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. 20,000 Leagues opened in 1959 in Disneyland during a major expansion along with Matterhorn Bobsleds. The 20,000 Leagues in Walt Disney World opened in 1971, and closed in 1994 due to the fact that it didn't handle crowds well, and was expensive to run. In the New Fantasyland expansion of 2013, Disney added several attractions, including the new Journey of the Little Mermaid. This attraction lies roughly on top of where the lagoon for 20,000 Leagues was. In the queue for the Mermaid attraction, Imagineers carved into the face of the rock one of the submarines from the former ride.
     Keep your eyes out for Disney referencing former attractions and shows in their new construction. This is all part of Disney's obsession with storytelling that is constantly adding incredible depth to their parks.

Thanks for reading!

-William (