10 Failed Disney Rides That Were so Unsuccessful They Were Removed Swiftly

Disney theme parks are known for their enchanting attractions and magical experiences that capture the hearts of millions of guests worldwide. However, not every ride introduced to the parks has stood the test of time. Over the years, Disney has experimented with various concepts and themes, and some of these attempts didn't resonate well with visitors. As a result, several attractions were swiftly removed from the parks due to their unpopularity or other issues. In this article, we will delve into the top ten failed Disney rides that quickly vanished from the parks, leaving behind intriguing tales and lessons learned.

Rocket Rods (Disneyland)

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Rocket Rods was envisioned as a thrilling high-speed attraction that would take guests on a futuristic race through Tomorrowland at Disneyland. Opening in 1998, it replaced the beloved PeopleMover, which had become outdated.

While it seemed promising, Rocket Rods faced numerous technical difficulties from the outset, leading to frequent breakdowns and long maintenance periods. Guests often endured extended wait times, only to be left disappointed when the ride inevitably broke down again. The high-speed nature of the attraction also resulted in uncomfortable vibrations and an uneven track, further adding to its unpopularity. After just three years of operation, Rocket Rods was closed in 2001 and never reopened. It stands as a lesson in the importance of thorough testing and the potential pitfalls of replacing beloved classic attractions.

Superstar Limo (Disney California Adventure)

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Superstar Limo, which opened with the launch of Disney California Adventure in 2001, was one of Disney's most infamous failures. The ride was originally planned to be a high-speed chase through Hollywood to avoid but after the Death of Princess Diana in an accident much like that described in the ride, the Imagineers had to reimagine the ride.

In its debut, this dark ride took guests on a paparazzi-style tour through Los Angeles, with the goal of meeting Hollywood celebrities. However, the ride's awkward animatronics, lackluster storyline, and poor execution left visitors underwhelmed. Critics and parkgoers alike found Superstar Limo to be an odd and uninspiring attraction. Within just a year of its debut, it was removed in 2002, becoming one of the shortest-lived Disney rides in history.

The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter (Magic Kingdom)

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The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, located in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom, was an ambitious attempt to create a thrilling and scary experience. Opened in 1995, the attraction featured an intense storyline where guests would witness a teleportation experiment gone awry, leading to a horrifying alien escape.

Unfortunately, the attraction proved too intense for Disney's family-friendly image, and numerous complaints about its scary nature led to its closure in 2003. It was replaced with a tamer attraction, Stitch's Great Escape, which also faced its share of criticism and eventually closed as well.

Journey into YOUR Imagination (Epcot)

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Journey into YOUR Imagination replaced the beloved original Journey into Imagination ride at EPCOT in 1999. Unfortunately, the new iteration did not live up to its predecessor. The attraction featured a storyline focused on a lackluster character named Dr. Nigel Channing, portrayed by Eric Idle, who led guests on a less imaginative journey through the Imagination Institute.

Fans of the original attraction were disappointed by the changes, and the ride lacked the charm and creativity that had made the original so beloved. Due to its poor reception and negative feedback, Journey into YOUR Imagination was closed within a few years, and the original Figment character was restored in a revamped version called Journey Into Imagination with Figment.

Luigi’s Flying Tires (Disney California Adventure)

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Formerly Disneyland's Flying Saucers, Luigi's Flying Tires was an attraction located at Disney California Adventure park. The ride featured a fleet of spinning saucers that glided on a cushion of air, much like a giant air hockey table. Guests would board their own flying saucers and steer and spin them around the attraction floor, trying to avoid collisions with other saucers.

While Luigi's Flying tires provided a unique and fun experience, it faced several challenges that eventually led to its closure. One of the main issues was the ride's limited capacity, which resulted in long wait times for guests eager to experience it. Additionally, the giant beachballs that were added to give some appeal to the ride resulted in some minor incidents when guests were bumped with them. As a result, Luigi's Flying tires closed its doors in 2015, just three years after its grand opening.

The space was later reimagined into the Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters attraction, featuring new ride technology and a similar theme but addressing the capacity and operational issues of its predecessor.

Body Wars (EPCOT)

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Body Wars was an attraction located at Epcot's Wonders of Life pavilion in Walt Disney World Resort. It opened in 1989 as a thrilling simulation ride that took guests on a journey through the human body. The attraction used cutting-edge technology at the time, featuring a motion simulator and forced perspective that made guests feel like they were miniaturized and exploring the human bloodstream.

Despite its innovative concept and impressive ride system, Body Wars faced declining popularity over the years, especially when in competition with the addition of another motion simulator ride, Star Tours. The Wonders of Life pavilion, where the attraction was housed, was only open seasonally, limiting its exposure to visitors. Additionally, the attraction's educational focus and intense motion simulation may have deterred some guests, resulting in lower attendance. Body Wars closed its doors permanently in 2007.

Delta Dreamflight (Magic Kingdom)

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Delta Dreamflight was an attraction located in Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort. Opening in 1989, it replaced the original If You Had Wings ride sponsored by Eastern Air Lines. Delta Dreamflight was an omnimover dark ride that took guests on a journey through the history of flight and visions of future aircraft through sets and animatronics.

Despite its charm and nostalgic appeal, Delta Dreamflight faced declining popularity over the years. As a result, Delta Dreamflight closed in 1996, making way for the more modern interactive attraction Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.

Skyway Cable Cars (Disneyland)

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The Skyway was a beloved attraction that operated in Disneyland in 1956, consisting of cable cars that transported guests high above the parks, offering picturesque views and a unique perspective of the attractions below. Despite its popularity, the Skyway faced several challenges, including high maintenance costs and safety concerns.

As the attractions aged, keeping them operational became increasingly complicated and expensive, and the ride closed in 1994 due to decreasing rider demand and metal fatigue, with cracks having developed inside the Matterhorn tower battery supports. Although it's missed by many nostalgic fans, its closure allowed Disney to focus on new, innovative attractions that better align with current safety standards and guest expectations.

The Skyway was the predecessor to the Skyliner at Disney World, which transports guests from place to place via gondola.

Adventure Thru Inner Space (Disneyland)

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Adventure Thru Inner Space was a groundbreaking dark ride attraction located in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. Opened in 1967, it was considered revolutionary for its time, using innovative special effects to take guests on a simulated journey into the world of molecules and atoms.

Despite its initial success, Adventure Thru Inner Space closed in 1985 to make way for Disney and George Lucas's Star Tours ride. Star Tours—The Adventure Continues pays tribute to Adventure Thru Inner Space with a hidden “mighty microscope” reference.

World of Motion (EPCOT)

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World of Motion was an original attraction located in EPCOT's Future World at Walt Disney World Resort. Opening in 1982, it celebrated the history and evolution of transportation, taking guests on a whimsical journey through time, from the invention of the wheel to futuristic modes of transportation.

Despite its charm and popularity, World of Motion faced declining attendance over the years. After General Motors' second sponsorship deal ended for World of Motion, they started signing one year contracts until it was decided that a car-focused thrill ride would replace the attraction. As a result, World of Motion closed in 1996, making way for the popular Test Track attraction, which showcased modern automotive design and technology.

Avoid These 10 Major Boomer Mistakes at Disney

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There are some major Boomer mistakes to avoid in order to make the most of your experience at the Disney Parks. From ignoring mobile apps to resisting breaking out of the same food routine, be sure to read our list of the biggest mistakes that boomers make at Disney.

These Are the Biggest Complaints We Hear About Disney World Trips

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1 comment add your comment

  1. I don’t think World of Motion could be considered a “fail” given it was open for more than a decade and entertained millions of EPCOT visitors.

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