By now you’ve all heard the news or have seen some once popular or beloved attractions closing in Disney’s theme parks. Attractions like Maelstrom in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion, the Magic of Disney Animation in Hollywood Studios, the Aladdin musical in Disney’s California Adventure park, and the latest news, the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios, are all closed or are expected to cease operation very soon. Here are some of my thoughts on a few closing or closed attractions, and why things have to change in Disney’s Parks.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – As a runner who looks forward to running down the Streets of America and seeing these amazing lights during Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I am admittedly pretty sad to see these lights go. If you haven’t seen them, well, you have this year’s holiday season to book a trip (firstname.lastname@example.org is my email…just saying!). It’s truly a spectacular sight, and it’s even more amazing when you realize these lights originally came from a home in Arkansas (story HERE). There is one BIG problem with the current location of the lights, however, and here it is:
The upcoming Star Wars Land is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the future, and in order to make room for this enormous addition, things need to change. Hopefully, Disney realizes and acknowledges the popularity of the Osborne Lights and moves them to a different location in the future. If not, I’ll be sad to see them go for good, but I may not be feeling too badly about it when I’m walking around the new Star Wars Land, lightsaber in hand!
Aladdin Musical at Hyperion Theater in DCA – Another tough one for me, the Aladdin show is a local favorite in Anaheim at Disney’s California Adventure Park. The show has been running for more than ten years, and when Disney had plans to close it and put in a Toy Story musical years ago, there was nearly a coup in Southern California. If you haven’t seen it, the show is absolutely stunning! Huge musical numbers, fantastic special effects and stunts, and a very up-to-date and current, sharp-witted Genie have made this show one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) Disney theme park show of all time. It’s 40-plus minutes of jaw-dropping entertainment. And it looks like it’s going away. For…wait for it…FROZEN. Yes, a Frozen musical is set to take it’s place. Like it or not, everyone, Frozen is here to stay. While I’m not thrilled to see the Aladdin musical go, I get it. Disney couldn’t have ever imagined that Aladdin would run for as long as it has to packed houses every day. But Disney has to remain forward-thinking and has to give the paying public what it wants.
Maelstrom – And here is the big one. Already closed and gone for good, the Maelstrom will live on in the hearts and minds of all of its devoted fans that would rush to it’s queue once World Showcase opened every morning. Wait…what’s that? There wasn’t a mad rush to ride Maelstrom every single day? You mean, I could have ridden this attraction, whenever I wanted, with little wait at any time of the year? Folks, unfortunately, Maelstrom was dated and ready for a change. And “wow, am I so ready for this CHANGE (click here!)!” I understand what Epcot’s World Showcase was intended to be: somewhat of a permanent World’s Fair where each county’s culture, history, food, etc. could be experienced by people who may never get to the real thing. And I understand that Frozen is fictional, and Arendelle isn’t somewhere on a map. On the other hand, I understand that the Disney company is a business, and Frozen is what families want. I know that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Disney message boards will sometimes reflect otherwise, but when that new attraction and the new Anna & Elsa meet & greet open, I’ll bet the lines are absolutely crazy! I have two little girls under 5 years old who cannot wait to get there and don’t understand why those experiences aren’t open yet! Even my son is excited about seeing Olaf, Sven, & Kristoff on the new boat ride through Arendelle! And for those who will say that fictional characters shouldn’t be in World Showcase, I disagree, and counter with the fact that Disney already pulls that off really well with Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco, Snow White in Germany, Mulan in China, and even Donald Duck in Mexico! I trust the Disney Imagineers to retain all of Norway’s culture and charm in the new attractions, and as a father to small kids, I am so excited for the future!
These are just my thoughts as a former WDW Cast Member, Disney fan, and current Disney travel agent. And while I don’t always like to see favorite attractions shuttered or knocked down, I do understand that Walt Disney World and Disneyland were never intended to become museums where people could come back once in a while and relive every previous experience. I LOVE the nostalgia as much as anyone, and that’s why Disneyland’s Main Street, USA might just be my favorite place on the planet Earth. You can just FEEL Walt Disney walking down the street with you as you stroll toward Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The Disney parks are constantly changing and constantly evolving and have been ever since Walt Disney opened Disneyland on July 17, 1955. He was actually the one who said it best with: “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this! Please leave a comment here, email me at email@example.com, send me a message on Facebook, or Tweet me to let me know your thoughts, good or bad, of course! Thanks again, and please enjoy the rest of your stay here at Ear To There Travel.