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OpEd: Three ‘Untouchable’ Disney Park Attractions That Can be Replaced

As Disney Fans get closer and closer to the day they will have to say goodbye to Splash Mountain–at least, in its original form–Walt Disney Imagineers are making it clear that Disneyland and Magic Kingdom attractions thought to be ‘untouchable’ are not safe from potential retheming or outright replacing. The same thing is happening across the Pacific as the Tokyo Disney Resort gets set to completely revamp its Space Mountain variant to where it will essentially be a completely different ride.

Splash Mountain retheme

Credit: Disney

Related: Last Days of Splash Mountain: What to Expect from Disney Adults

Now, Splash Mountain is not the first ‘untouchable’ attraction to be targeted in the history of the two first Castle Parks. Magic Kingdom Park has already seen its version of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Disneyland Park lost the original WedWay PeopleMover for the ill-fated Rocket Rods and rethemed the iconic Submarine Voyage after Pixar’s Finding Nemo.

But as we look ahead to the next 50 years of Disney magic, especially at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, here are three other “untouchable” attractions that I am fine with seeing going the way of the Dodo.

Tomorrowland Speedway

Tomorrowland Speedway

Credit: Disney

Related: Eight of the Most Overrated Rides at Disney World

Okay, this one is probably a given and most likely not even that much of an “untouchable” attraction, but this is the first thing that needs to go. Yes, the Tomorrowland Speedway at Magic Kingdom Park is a fun, sometimes relaxing experience that allows kids to get behind the wheel of their very own race car. But it is in need of a complete overhaul and could easily be replaced with something new and cooler (so long as its construction does not take as long as TRON has taken). At the very least, Walt Disney Imagineers should update it to have it be representative of Tomorrowland once again and replace the gas-powered cars with electric engines or use maglev technology to create some type of hover car. Personally, readers, I have no replacement ideas to sell you on at this point. But if Disney Parks announced that they were closing the Tomorrowland Speedway for good to make way for a brand new Tomorrowland attraction, I would not be disappointed at all.

Tom Sawyer Island

I have never understood why Tom Sawyer Island has remained relatively untouched for so long, especially at The Walt Disney World Resort. From what I can tell, it is nothing more than a glorified playground. Sure, it allows kids the chance to run around and explore an adventurous landscape and can help Cast Members tremendously in matters of population control, but I don’t get it. The area takes up a significant space of the Theme Park and reeks of untapped potential. Walt Disney Imagineers should rehash this whole area with either a new attraction or create a new organized immersive experience for Guests, taking what they’ve learned from Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Country Bear Jamboree

Country Bear jamboree

Credit: Disney

Back on the “mainland” side of Disney’s Rivers of America sits a show that should have been gone a long time ago: The Country Bear Jamboree. But, I am not offended by any of the show’s “outdated” content or its admittedly hilarious portrayal of certain stereotypes. I stand with the other Disney Fanatics in simply saying that it is an old show that has lost its connection to its potential audience. No one really knows what the Country Bears are, and their show served as inspiration for one of the worst movie adaptations in the wake of the meteoric success of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. It should make way for a successor show. While, once again, I am without an idea of what exactly that replacement should be, my only condition is that it continues the Jamboree’s tradition of featuring original Park characters instead of being yet another way Disney is able to incorporate its pre-existing IP into its Theme Parks.

Bonus: Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe

Sonny Eclipse, Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, Disney World

Credit: Disney

While this is not necessarily an attraction, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a Magic Kingdom staple that is in dire need of a complete overhaul. Sonny Eclipse has been playing the same set for decades, and the ambiance is a worn reminder of the ’80s and ’90s. I am not saying that Disney World should get rid of Sonny or necessarily put in a new restaurant. This is the best spot for chicken nuggets on property. But, after seeing how the Imagineers were able to create Space 220 at EPCOT, there is no reason why Cosmic Ray’s can’t become a truly out-of-this-world quick service experience.

Last Thoughts

Space Mountain, Tokyo Disneyland

Credit: Disney

What is the point in keeping all of these ancient attractions as they were when they were first created decades ago? Seriously, are we just keeping things the same simply to appease our own nostalgia, or do we genuinely think that the current version of the attraction is the best version that can ever be made? Look at Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland, for example, compared to Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Look at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at the Shanghai Disney Resort compared to the museum piece that is Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom. Look at how Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT soars above Space Mountain. The magic-making capabilities of Walt Disney Imagineering are only getting better, and while more recent adaptations are arguably tainted by over-zealous political correctness, there comes the point where we need to trust them to take the experiences that we love and go to the next level.

If I were to pick two attraction that could not be updated in any meaningful way and should be preserved how it is, save for increased quality in the prop display, it would be “it’s a small world” and “Peter Pan’s Flight.”

We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Disney Parks news and stories as more developments come to light.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About T.K. Bosacki

TK is a writer and editor based in Tampa, FL with a passion for all things Disney, and adventure.