Worst Disney Attraction Ever

Despite creating the genre and 57 years of experience in the theme park industry, The Walt Disney Company has not hit every attraction out of the park. In fact, some were complete strikeouts. Here are a few of my nominees for the worst Disney Attraction Ever, add yours in the comments.

1) Superstar Limo – Now, don’t get me wrong. There was something very disturbing about the whole concept of this ride. But the Imagineers were trying to make a ride that fit in with the horrible theme of Disney’s California Adventure. The queue had horrible puppets charictures on TV Screens and the ride had a list of B, C, and D level celebrities, with oversized cartoonish heads, that Disney wanted you to think were top of the game.

Superstar Limo opened with the park on February 8, 2001 and was put out of its misery less than a year later on January 11, 2002. That must be some sort of record.

2) ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter – I may be in the minority on this one. But any attraction that drips blood on a captive audience gets a big ‘No go’ in my book. Additionally, I’m just not sure that level of scare is appropriate for a Magic Kingdom style park.

3) California Adventure’s Midway attractions – From Jumpin’ Jellyfish to Mulholland Madness and MaliBOOMer, someone was off their medication the day they approved those attractions to appear in a Disney theme park. Actually, it was budget cuts that did the park in. Wanting to build a full day experience on a half-day park budget, a lot of ‘off the shelf’ rides were placed in the park with minimal themeing to justify their existance.

4) Tomorrowland Exhibits 1955 – Construction on Tomorrowland only began with 6 months to go before opening. A lot of temporary structures were used and much of the land frankly felt more like a business expo than a theme park. Attractions like Bathroom of Tomorrow, the Hall of Aluminum Fame, the Hall of Chemistry or Fashion and Fabrics Through the Ages were just not the stuff of legend.

Those are a few of my nominees. Add yours in the comments below and we’ll hold a vote later to find out which was the worst attraction of all.

(photo courtesy LaughingPlace.com)

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38 Responses to Worst Disney Attraction Ever

  1. Amphigorey says:

    I thought Alien Encounter was great, and especially interesting for the subversive social commentary it made about the dangers of trusting corporate entities.

    Its replacement, Stitch’s Great Escape, is MUCH worse. It fails on a story level, as it doesn’t draw you in and makes very little sense. It’s just plain gross, for no good reason; seriously, I don’t think “alien burping in my face” is magical or amusing in any way. It takes one of Disney’s more interesting and fun characters and turns him into a boring attraction with no redeeming qualities.

    I’m totally with you on Superstar Limo (god, that was awful) and the midway attractions. The midway in Animal Kingdom is just as bad, and possibly even worse because the surrounding park is so beautiful. It makes me cringe just to think of it.

    • phyllis says:

      i totally agree!

      • Mike says:

        Animal Kingdom doesn’t need the midway section of it. I get the “story” but it still seems off to me.

      • Jeni says:

        I agree with Jim about the arcade area in AK. Its a dismal area that lacks Walt’s touch. How should u “plus” it? Bulldoze it and put T-Rex restaurant in there!!! Ice cave dining is fun!

  2. Jim says:

    Stitch’s Great Escape, Tiki Room Under New Management, current script for Spaceship Earth, and the current Imagination ride. We got the Tiki Room back in top form. The others would be easy to restore as well.

  3. Sara says:

    I agree with the first comment. Alien Encounter was a good attraction. Not for very small children or the faint of heart, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. It’s not any more scary than the Dinosaur ride in Animal Kingdom. The Stitch one, however, is HORRIBLE.

    Other nominations: the dinky “amusement park” section in Animal Kingdom (I forget the name), Mission Space, and, as much as it pains me because I love the movie, the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor.

  4. paul says:

    Hmmmm……tough to even think that some “Disney” could suck…but it does happen. The one that sticks out in my mind….was the Narnia ‘thing’ at MGM. Brutal! I could not believe there was a line up for that (other than to get out of the sun).

  5. NT3 says:

    No mention yet of the horrible second incarnation of Journey Into Imagination??

  6. jeffk says:

    I’ll agree with the previous commenters: Stitch’s Great Escape is far worse than Alien Encounter. It’s got my vote.

    And while I don’t think I’d put Mission: Space on my worst-of list, it’s definitely one of the most disappointing, particularly considering what it replaced.

  7. megan says:

    Ellen’s world of energy. Worst ride ever. I felt like it was never going to end!!

  8. Artie says:

    Gotta disagree on Alien Encounter (and agree with the commenters). It was one of my favorite rides at the park when it was there. It had a great backstory,with the whole evil corporation, an entertaining introduction with the robot and zippy, and the atmosphere and effects in the actual show were perfectly done.

  9. AC says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I would have to vote for Toontown in the DLR. It may have been good before the lawyers got it and there was stuff to do (I never got to see it then) but now it’s just a terrible waste of space. On some trips I have never even entered the land (and I have 4 little kids) because I don’t want to waste my time on it.

    When I first glanced at the picture at the top of the article I thought it was Toontown – they have the same gaudy cutouts in Toontown as Superstar Limo had.

  10. DWhite says:

    By far the worst: Stitch’s Great Escape!!!! No doubt about it. What’s worse – it’s still in existence!

  11. Allie says:

    I’d like to nominate Innoventions. I don’t know ANYONE who EVER wants to visit that attraction. And if they do, it’s because they know nothing about it/have never been in it before. I think they should go back to the concept of ‘America Sings’ for that show building and put in a similar show that fits in with the Tomorrowland theme. Or at least make the current attraction more interesting and updated!!! It would be really cool if C3-PO could be the host, or a character like him.

    • Ann says:

      Right on, Allie! The one at Disneyland is lovingly referred to as the “Carousel of Sponsors.” Bring back Carousel of Progress I say!

    • Mary Ann says:

      The only thing it’s good for is getting out of the heat.

  12. Wilby Daniels says:

    Alien Encounter was horribly misunderstood. I proudly state that I am the last person to go on this attraction, as I was at the last show and was the last person to leave the theater back in 2003. Simply put, AE was in the wrong place. It should have been at MGM near the Sci-Fi Drive-In and it would have fit much better.
    Stitch’s Great Mistake, I’m sorry, ESCAPE, stinks, especially after going on AE. If AE hadn’t been there and it was always Stitch, it might be different and it wouldn’t seem as bad.

  13. Julie says:

    I absolutely agree with the revamped Journey into Imagination. Go back to the original, please.

    But my all-time worst was Mission to Mars. Not that I’ve liked anything else that’s gone into that space, but that ride (if you can call it that) was just dumb. Such a long wait for no payoff.

    • ed says:

      It’s funny how perception can change with the times. When I first visited WDW in 72 Mission to Mars was considered to be a pretty neat attraction. At the time we had no Space Mountain or other coaster type ride to compare it to. From that perspective it was fun to watch the AA’s in the pre-show section and experience the takeoff with the trick of dropping the seats to make you feel like you were experiencing “G’s” from acceleration. Looking back through the lens of the years it does seem tame.

  14. Alexa says:

    Stitch’s Great Escape, all the way. While I wasn’t much of a fan of Alien Encounter, I would have preferred it to Stitch. It’s boring, gross, and kind of silly (and not in a good way). It’s just uninteresting. The fact that it’s still in existence and there are actually long wait times during busy points of the year make me scoff. I sometimes want to warn those people in the queue.

  15. I may be on the minority here, but my all time least favorite attraction (That I’ve been on, of course) was Honey I Shrunk the Audience. I just couldn’t sit through that show. I was overjoyed when Captain EO came back and replaced it, and I hope whatever replaced Captain EO is not Honey I Shrunk the Audience.

    On Stitch’s Great Escape, It’s weird, but it is one of those attractions that I just don’t mind. It’s just there for me, you know? I don’t think it is particularly good or bad, it just is. I’ll go on if I feel like going on. Sure, I’m not a huge fan of that style of attraction, but I guess I don’t have the venom that other people do.

    The current version of Journey into Imagination has grown on me considerably over the years. Sure, the original is the ultimate versions, but I still rather enjoy the message the ride gives, and at least Figment is a part of the story now, unlike that middle version of the attraction. Stupid Nigel Channing (See? Nothing good comes out of HISTA! :P)

    And about Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama: At least that midway collection has a backstory that makes sense. At least there is a whole theme to why those rides are there. (Two Gas Station owners trying to take advantage of the Dino Institute’s Presence while also parodying the seriousness of the Dino Institute.) That’s the reason that DCA’s rides get so much flak. There was not any theming to that area of the park. It was just a collection of rides. AK’s collection has a story behind them. Sure, the rides may not be fantastic, but they are more Disney that DCA’s Midway rides have ever been.

    I think that’s all I can say about rides I hate. Only one, truly. Now, if this were about Disney rides I think need to go, that’s a whole other story. (Backlot Tour, I’m looking at you!)

  16. Marshal Knight says:

    Worst attraction was Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management for one reason alone…Iago

  17. One of the worst and most costly attractions was the conversion of the People Mover to Rocket Rods. Continual mechanical breakdowns aside, I was just a bad idea to take a ride which allowed people to catch their breath and escape the heat and hubbub of the packed crowds for twenty minutes and convert it to a ride in which people often waited over two hours for a two minute ride. What a waste!

  18. Michael says:

    I guess I’m in the minority, but I much prefer Stitch’s Great Escape to AE. The attraction in either incarnation is nothing more then “Let’s turn off the lights and make scary noises at people.” But that being said I find Stitch far more enjoyable. (Truth be told, I’m a huge stitch fan and would probably like anything they do as long as they acknowledge his existence).

    I’m not a fan of innovations in Disneyland, and would much prefer Carousel of Progress in that space. Innovations is really only useful when it is raining out – but really who wants to see a bunch of tourists pouring over a map on a MS Surface computer, when they have a phone in their pocket that does the same thing!

    • Ann says:

      Michael, I have a mantra I repeat whenever anyone from Disney is listening: “Everything needs more Stitch!” Keep up the faith, brother!
      And, the only thing I ever like inside Innoventions was the “Talk to Stitch” phone. Awesome!

    • Susan Davis says:

      yes! bring back COP & the peoplemover !!!

  19. I have to agree with Michael. I am a huge Stitch fan so I like that ride. Some of these rides I have never actually been on because I always go to Disney World and not Disneyland. I have never been to California Adventure either.
    The ride I hate and will never go on again is It’s A Small World. It goes on forever and just repeats the same thing over and over again.

  20. Ann says:

    I vote for DL’s Innoventions. Ever since they removed Stitch’s Picture Phone I haven’t stepped foot inside. (If you’ve seen Asimo once you’ve seen it enough.)

  21. wedway says:

    Stitch’s Great Escape is FAR worse than its predecessor, Alien Encounter.
    I’d also nominate Innoventions at Disneyland (aka the Carousel of Sponsors).
    I’m shocked that Chester and Hester’s Dinorama isn’t on here!

  22. J.D. says:

    Superstar Limo was super lame, but is not my least favorite. Anaheim’s Innoventions is innovative in its blandness, but it’s not #1, either. Dinoland and DCA’s boarwalk games are not my most hated attractions, even though calling them attractions is giving them too much credit. Others that come close to ‘most-hated’ status are the second versions of Journey/Imagination and Tiki Room. But, in my opinion, the vilest, most horrible pile of fresh dung is Stitch’s Great Escape. Just thinking of what Disney has done to one of their most wonderful characters makes me cry and vomit. That “attraction” is a bigger bomb than the Hindenburg. Oh, the humanity!

  23. Disfan says:

    Am I the only one who remembers the ridiculously bad attraction that was in the Living Seas? They couldn’t get rid of that one fast enough – waited in line for an hour for a fake elevator ride that had a vibrating floor. After all the disney fans fell for it once, they eliminated that harrowing journey to “SeaBase Alpha”…

    Also, what about “The Making of Me?” in the Wonders of Life Pavillion? Since when does Disney have an attraction based around the sex talk?

    I’m also remembering one of the Tomorrowland attractions that was a CircleVision 360 attractions presented by Monsanto. Can’t remember the name – but I just remember it being one giant commercial for genetically modified food.

    As an aside, I actually liked the Tiki Room under new management…

  24. Mike says:

    It’s really strange to me that I have seen on numerous sites, blogs, travel sites, etc that Stitch’s Great Escape is horrible- yet Disney seems total oblivious to this. I’m not talking about a few upset people. I mean, even look here…so many of us don’t like it. Yet Disney has done nothing. While I get that they’re pumping tons of money into Fantasyland right now at MK and DCA is getting ready to open Cars Land but seriously….how much to get rid of this terrible attraction and do something better? Heck, even just ripping out the set and making it another meet and greet area for Stitch, Monsters Inc, Buzz Lightyear, etc would be better than the current state. (But not that I’m a huge fan of the ongoing conversion on Tomorrowland to a sci-fi toon town).

  25. Jennifer L. says:

    I always hated Circle Vision. My Dad would drag me in there every time we went to Disneyland and I was bored to death every single time.

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