8 "beloved" past Disney World attractions that weren't as great as you remember

Fans love to gush on some long-gone Disney World attractions but not all of them were as great as fans make them out to be!
The entry point to Imagination, a Figment ride. Photo Credit: Brian Miller
The entry point to Imagination, a Figment ride. Photo Credit: Brian Miller /

In its 50 year history, Walt Disney World has lost a lot of amazing attractions. Horizons, World of Motion, Mr. Toad, the list goes on. So many of these rides are deeply missed for how great they were and fans love to talk about them. However, in that talk, a few attractions have been elevated to a level they don't quite deserve.

The fact is, some rides have been subjected to rose-tinted glasses and seen better than they were. They had problems and often not living up to the Disney level, yet as soon as they were closed down, fans would gush at how brilliant they were. They were still good attractions, just not at the level fans talk of today. These are 8 Disney World attractions of the past that really weren't as great as fans recall them being to show how nostaliga can affect judgement. 

8. The Skyway 

It may be a surprising choice as a lot of Disney park fans miss those buckets going overhead with great views of the park. That ignores all the disadvantages. Even if you didn't have a fear of heights, it could be nerve-wracking being up there on a windy day or when a sudden rainstorm hit. The breakdowns leaving you hanging a hundred feet off the ground were worse. 

Then there was the sad fact there were always jokers thinking it was fun to spit or pour something out at the folks below. It also just wasn't as fun as the Disneyland version going through the Matterhorn, as those who gust on the Skyway may ignore its problems. 

7. Honey I Shrunk The Audience

While it lasted quite a while at the Journey Into Imagination pavilion, this attraction didn't seem as daring as its predecessor, Captain Eo. Based on the hit movies, the effects could be fun, with mice running at the audience and a huge snake lunging out at them. 

Yet it just didn't feel like a big deal, as evidenced by audiences fading as the years went on. The fact the franchise fell in popularity made it more dated, and the audience for this movie was never as big as Disney wanted to make this a forgotten entry in the Epcot annals. 

6. Studio Backlot Tour

When the Disney-MGM Studios opened, it was obvious they were copying Universal Studios by giving guests a backlot tour on how movies were made. The problem was, the actual Studios part of the park never took off as Disney hoped for so a lot of the time, guests walked past empty studios or lots. 

The only notable part of the tram tour was Catastrophe Canyon, and the walking tour was pretty dull. It got worse as the Studios moved away from any actual productions to make this dated quickly. It was a bygone relic of a concept that never got off the ground, yet not a top-tier ride in its time. 

5. Snow White's Scary Adventures

This may seem an odd choice, but for good reason. The original take on this ride lived up to its name by being absolutely terrifying for younger guests. The scare jumps of the Evil Queen lunging out at you and the forest sequence were wild enough and heaven help your nerves if you got stuck on the ride. 

The ending was just as bad, with the Queen about to drop a huge boulder on you. Disney had to soften it up with a happy ending, but even that still had the scarier sequences to throw guests. It could be a fun dark ride for some, but the ride based on this Disney icon was way too scary for its own good. 

4. Universe of Energy

Let's be blunt here: The key reason the Universe of Energy lasted so long was that it was the best place in Epcot to kill the better part of an hour in air conditioning. The dinosaurs could be impressive, but that was less than ten minutes of a 40-minute-long attraction. And even they could pale compared to the fancier AA of today (Jurassic Park instantly aged the entire attraction). 

The rest of the ride was made up of films that, in their original format, were boring in their presentation. The Ellen makeover had a bit more spark and humor but likewise too much information for guests. This was always the most forgettable of the original EPCOT Center dark rides, and few truly mourn its passing into extinction. 

3. ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

People complain about this attraction being changed into Stitch's Big Escape but ignore a key reason for it: Alien Encounter was just too damn scary for most parkgoers. The original idea was going to be even darker with a more sinister vibe for the aliens and had to be toned down before opening. Which is amazing, given how terrifying this show ended up being. 

The harnesses around the guests were rough, especially moving up and down for the effects. Making you think the alien was breathing on you made you jump in that seat and almost dislocate your shoulder. Then there was revealing the actual alien, which almost seemed a letdown as it was far scarier imagining what it could be. The declining interest showed guests found this ride too scary to keep going. 

2. Maelstrom 

When it was announced that the Maelstrom ride at Epcot's Norway pavilion was going to be changed into Frozen Ever After, fans were irate, howling about getting rid of a "classic" attraction. Which had me and others bemused at how this ride was suddenly becoming something so loved. It was a big addition to Epcot in 1988, yet the ride never deserved its status as a must-see.

The AA for the trolls could be off and while the boat threatening to go backward over a waterfall was a good effect, the plunge downward into the "storm" wasn't that impressive. It also lacked an overall story, just presenting random bits of Vikings, a polar bear and a village. Whatever else, at least Frozen Ever After gives a better experience than this ride did. 

1. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

There will be some who loved this ride, which was a fun adventure for the time. However, a recent trip on the Disneyland Submarine ride has made me realize how dull much of this was. It was slow-paced and except for the "squid attack" sequence (which you couldn't really see much of), the ride wasn't that exciting. Not to mention how it was so cramped and inevitable someone (and not just a kid) panicked in the space. 

That was when the ride was operational, as old-time WDW guests will remember how ridiculously long the lines were, combined with constant breakdowns. Even the Imagineers disliked it, with the upkeep and underwater effects often not working. The subs themselves were cool-looking, but the supposed greatness of this ride has been elevated too much.