Attraction makeovers: a few candidates that Disney may have overlooked

With New Fantasyland, Avatar, Toy Story Land, and Star Wars Land all major projects recently completed or on the horizon, Walt Disney World may seem like it’s in a perpetual state of makeover. It’s certainly true that the company is spending a lot to remake large sections of its parks, however, there are some areas that may have escaped the attention of management.

We just looked at Disney’s mixed record with attraction makeovers, but I would like to humbly suggest there are a few ‘worthy’ candidates for future makeovers. Even sacred cows should not be left abandoned and bereft of pertinence.

Carousel of Progress


As much as it pains me to say it, Walt Disney’s classic Carousel of Progress attraction needs a makeover. I believe even Walt would be disappointed that this attraction exists more as a museum piece than a functional theme park attraction. The concept of inspiring progress through innovation is a good one and I love the rotating theater concept, however, this attraction lives in the past, quite literally. It desperately needs a new vision. Return this attraction to a positive vision of the future with an integrated city of the future with new scenes that highlight trends of today and extrapolate how we’ll be changed by them in the future. For instance, take transportation with our system of mass transportation today and show how the future will be ruled by autonomous self-driving vehicles that go directly from pickup to destination.

Rock-n-Roller Coaster with Aerosmith


The attraction needs more than a small makeover. It needs to be brought into the modern era. Major record labels are passe and Aerosmith is about as relevant to today’s youth as Humphrey Bogart. Disney could look toward its recent acquisition Maker Studios for some help here. Flip the attraction to focus on online videos and the potential everyone has to be a star.

Universe of Energy

I love the idea of a 30-minute ride through air-conditioned bliss, but the attraction itself has seen better days. Time for a new vision. Ditch the decades old science on petroleum based fuels and move to the modern day needs for neutral or environmentally friendly power sources. There is a need to show how we have to do our part to reverse global climate change and it can begin in this attraction. Right now that message isn’t being heard at all. Alternatively, go back to the concept once heralded by Horizons. (See above as Horizons was seen as an update to the message of Carousel of Progress. Perhaps move the CoP to Epcot.)

Country Bear Jamboree

As we established yesterday, the most recent update to the Country Bear Jamboree was really a massacre that has left the show wounded and bleeding. Let’s import a bit of magic from the new Star Tours and a bit of gamefication by allowing the audience to vote for what song it wants to hear via applause levels. The show would then have the potential to be different with segments that mix and match to make a variety of shows each of which feature our favorite characters along with familiar and new songs.

Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama

On a slightly different note, this isn’t just one attraction that deserves a makeover, but a whole land. The road-side attractions that littered the landscape during America’s fascination with long distance car trips can certainly be commemorated, but the weird mix of a barely themed parking lot full of state fair games needs to go. It’s way too carny for a Disney theme park. I also think the park needs a few more kid friendly attractions and this is the perfect area to do it. Let’s just add a bit more class to the land.

Finally, we’re taking it up a notch. There’s actually a whole theme park that needs an upgrade. We know Disney’s Hollywood Studios is scheduled for a name change and two new lands. The rest of the park mustn’t be neglected either. Other Hollywood Blvd and parts of Sunset Blvd, the themeing is only a light veneer. After seeing the wild success of adding the story of Walt Disney’s 1930’s and 40’s life in Southern California to Disney California Adventure, I would like to see the same thing done in Orlando. While they’re at it, give the park a true entertainment corridor that can host a parade without clogging up the main entrance and primary thoroughfares. At one point this level of makeover was on the table, but lately I haven’t heard much about it. Let’s hope it’s back on the table and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or whatever name they come up with) finally reaches its full potential.

Well that’s it for my short list of attractions, lands, and theme parks that still deserve makeovers. Do you disagree with any of my suggestions? or do you have a few of your own?

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16 thoughts on “Attraction makeovers: a few candidates that Disney may have overlooked

  1. Mike B.

    Completely disagree with RnR. This is my favorite attraction in ANY of the parks and I feel is one of the few that is geared towards adults.

    1. Dean

      Agreed. Of all the things that could use a small tweak or a major re-haul, this would be near the bottom of my list.

  2. Kevin

    I agree that CoP and Universe of Energy are obvious candidates for a makeover. I disagree with RnR. The concept of big music labels is passé, but still very much in effect. Capitalizing on Maker Studios is a great idea, but what does that have to do with a roller coaster or limo rides? If you’re going to update it at all, just pick a new band, but even that’s unnecessary. You lost me on CBJ. Yes, the new shortened show is insulting. Audience voting for songs, though? What? Just what? You didn’t really explain that, but it sounds even worse. My pick for a makeover would be the Laugh Floor. That attraction was doomed from the start.

  3. Tom

    I have to say that I disagree with RnR as well. It has always been probably by favorite ride at Disney and Aerosmith is still extremely relevant to anyone older than probably 20 which is what a roller coaster such as that is supposed to be geared towards anyway. A roller coaster is not geared towards 5 year olds, its geared towards late teens or adults.

    The rest I kind of agree with however a lot of the smaller attactions in the Magic Kingdom do kind of make the Magic Kingdom special in the first place. Every single ride does not have to be an e ticket attraction. Its the smaller ones and less popular ones that provide a various degree of entertainment to fill out an entire day.

    1. Jeff

      “Aerosmith EXTREMELY relevant to anyone over 20”
      extremely relevant? 20??
      Are you being serious????

  4. Kara

    RRC is my absolute favorite ride; but I agree that it needs an update. I personally loved an idea of it being themed around Iron Man. The recording studio would change to Tony’s Lab. He steps out using hologram tech. and explains to the audience his new idea of including rocket boosters from the Iron Man suits onto motor vehicles to use at Shield for the ‘non-flyers’ (Lookin’ at you Cap). The ride stays the same as the audience goes in for a quick test run. They could even keep the rock music theme; having Tony turn on the radio for the duration of the ride. (Think ACDC blaring in your ears).

    1. David

      They cannot put Marvel properties in the Florida parks because of the Universal Florida deal made before Disney bought them.

      Nice idea for DLCA, though.

  5. Walter

    COP should remain the same. The only reason I say this is that they are trying to keep it true to how it was displayed at the World’s Fair. This was a great animatronic feat at the time, and it truly shows how innovative Disney was at the time, reflecting into how innovative they are today.

    You are certainly right though, it is outdated, but for possibly a good reason.

    I love Splash Mountain, and the old animatronics on it are nostalgic bringing many of us back go to the first time we ever rode it when we were younger. I can imagine they would redo the animatronics in there within the coming time, but it would also be difficult as this is one of their bigger attractions with constant long lines.

  6. Steven Vore

    CoP could use some updates, to be sure, but for me the main one from your list is UofE. Before anything, though (and I’ve mentioned it here before): nuke the Tomorrowland Stinkway – um, I mean Speedway.

  7. Jeff

    I’m 48 and own several Aerosmith albums/ cd’s and consider them one of my favorite rock bands of all time.
    But I agree, today’s generation can’t relate.
    It’s not really presented as a “tribute” attraction, and despite my love for them, I don’t feel they really qualify for that type of long term multi-generational celebrity status.
    Keep the ride, change the theme.

  8. Mark

    I am always surprised that the last scene in CoP doesn’t get updated fairly regularly. Keep the others, but update that one.

  9. Jim M.

    I don’t know. I mean, Carousel is what it is. A 1964 exhibit at the World’s Fair. Leave it alone. Sure, no one goes, but it’s great to spend time there when it’s blistering hot or raining. Hell, I’d say bring back If You Had Wings. Anyway, Carousel is fine. RnR is fine too. Everyone knows those songs. Let it be for another decade. It’s the ride that matters and it’s a great attraction. Ditto with the DinoRama area of DAK. It is what it is and it’s fun. Country Bear, now that could stand to be updated. If there’s one attraction that could be completely updated it’s Stitch’s Great Escape. So much potential there, and its predecessor was WAY better. Jungle Cruise could also use a redo. Get some new animals in there. Soarin’ needs a new screen, but I don’t want its concept to change. But the one thing that DEFINITELY needs to be reimagined is Tomorrowland Speedway. Go electric. Save the lungs of those cast members.

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