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Posts Tagged ‘Skyway to Tomorrowland’

R.I.P.

It’s not unusual to hear complaints from loyal Disney fans who continue to pine for long-lost attractions and entertainments.  While we expect to see new and ever more spectacular offerings, we don’t want to lose any of our sentimental favorites.   There was so much fuss about the Wonders of Life, for instance.  Now, I have to say that no one was more distressed than I to hear news of this closing so I understand the dismay.  However, it was open seasonally for a very long period after the announced closure.  I went every time I visited Walt Disney World, and I would stay there for several hours because I always felt it might be the last time I would set foot in the building.  I’d watch the show, play the games, sit and have lunch…I was pretty much alone.  Only a handful of people came through, and this was often at Christmas time when the parks were jammed.

Disney doesn’t shut down a ride to antagonize millions of people who throng to the attraction.  Most often, it closes because it because it isn’t pulling its weight – no one is visiting.  Horizons closed because it wasn’t getting the traffic, the same with, yes kids, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

Other attractions closed for different reasons.  With the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Discovery Island became redundant.  The company chose to build new water parks rather than address the issues of fresh water and an aging infrastructure at River Country.  We know that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was both slow-loading and not handicapped-accessible, as well as being incredibly expensive to maintain.  The Skyway to Tomorrowland was shut down for many of the same reasons.  The Plaza Swan Boats suffered from ongoing engine problems; the Tapestry of Dreams Parade was adversely affected by winds across the World Showcase Lagoon. If You Had Wings lost its sponsorship.

Because Disney is in the business of making people happy, it’s easy to forget that, first and foremost, they are in the business of making money.  It’s not reasonable to expect any company to continue to foster an element that is no longer financially feasible due to its being out of date thematically, mechanically, or historically; too expensive to update or maintain; or simply not pulling sufficient numbers through the doors.

Yes, I miss the time when today’s bright red double-decker “Character Bus” was a fun and relaxing form of public transportation around the World Showcase; and I loved the World of Motion.  It’s sad to know that the wonderful Streetmosphere cast at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been reduced.  But, I’m not sorry that ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter has passed into memory, and I wish Stitch’s Great Escape! would follow.  Don’t hear much clamoring for a return of Tarzan Rocks!, either.

On the bright side, after 45 years, the Carousel of Progress is still turning.  The PeopleMover is still moving people, and It’s a Small World is still big.  If you have a special affection for a ride or show, don’t pass it by.  Make a point to experience your favorites each time you visit – show your support with your feet!

November 2014
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