The inspiration for this blog post came a couple of weekends ago when we held our weekly Disney movie night and the movie was Tarzan.
Of course while singing along to the soundtrack, my wife and I started to tell the kids about Tarzan Rocks! at Animal Kingdom.
Before we knew it, we had paused the movie so the kids could watch the Tarzan Rocks! show on YouTube.
So, in honor of it being Throwback Thursday, I’m going to take a look at three Disney attractions that are no longer around that I miss.
3. Studio Backlot Tour
There were a few attractions I was considering for this spot, but ultimately the original Backlot Tour won out.
Now, when I say Backlot Tour, I mean the original one, back when you actually did the entire backlot of Disney’s MGM Studios. I didn’t like the abbreviated version where you rode behind Lights, Motors, Action, did a circle around Streets of America and then headed into Catastrophe Canyon.
So, for those of you who didn’t experience the original version, it started just like the newer version. They’d show off their pyrotechnic and water effects in the big theater area before you make your way through the prop storage.
This was one of my favorite areas, but it always seemed like they were rushing you through it. It would have been nice to be able to linger and actually look at a lot of the props.
Once you boarded the tram, they took you through the backlot areas of Disney Studios. During the original version, you’d travel down Residential Street and pass house facades such as the Golden Girls house, and other houses used in commercials.
You’d also visit an area called the Boneyard, which featured vehicles from Disney movies. It also featured Walt Disney’s private jet.
From there, you’d head to Catastrophe Canyon, which was billed as a live set, but the cast and crew were all on break. Well, living up to its name, there’s a catastrophe, and before you know it, thousands of gallons of water comes rushing down. If you had an inside seat, you could either get a little wet or soaked.
Once you exit Catastrophe Canyon, the ride ends at the American Film Institute museum, which featured costumes from some of the most popular movies ever.
All in all, the original ride (and even parts of the refurbished ride in 2003) was a nice glimpse behind the scenes of the movie business. Of course, the ride got shorter and shorter and now it’s been demolished to make way for Star Wars and Pixar attractions.
File this one under nostalgia as well. This is the first night-time parade my wife and I attended in Disney and even though we did have to fight a couple of jerks who decided at the last minute to stand in front of us, even though we had been sitting at our spot for 30 minutes, it was still memorable.
Featuring thousands of lights, the SpectroMagic parade was visually appealing. And the soundtrack that played along with it was awesome, as well.
The parade had two runs in Magic Kingdom. One lasted from 1991 to 1999 and then it was resurrected in 2001 until 2010.
I don’t know if it was better than Main Street Electrical Parade (which also has run its course at Magic Kingdom), but it was certainly a fun parade to watch.
1. Tarzan Rocks!
I don’t know if it’s the nostalgia of watching this with my wife during our Honeymoon, but it’s my number one missed attraction.
It once occupied the building that now houses Finding Nemo: The Musical. It was an exciting mix of stunt show and rock concert.
It tells the story of Tarzan through the animated movie’s soundtrack. It featured roller-blading performers who would pull off some death-defying stunts.
It also featured a swinging Tarzan, as well as other stunt performers.
The centerpiece of the show was the music. It had all the great songs from the Tarzan animated movie and was performed live by Disney performers.
I guess the only negative about it was that the venue wasn’t indoors like Nemo is now. It was more like Indiana Jones, an open-air theater and it would get pretty hot during the summer.
I really enjoyed the show, but it seemed like it wasn’t nearly as popular as Lion King or Nemo. It played to some mostly-empty theaters at the time. But then again, that was Animal Kingdom pre-Expedition Everest and for a lot of people at the time, it was a park that they would skip. (remember the Nahtazu commercials? Not a zoo!)
The last Tarzan Rocks show took place in January 2006. It made a quick turnaround into Finding Nemo: The Musical, which I love also.
But Tarzan Rocks was fun while it lasted. And I thought it fit perfectly in Animal Kingdom.
So, what’s on your list? I know there are some other very popular attractions that a lot of Disney fans miss that I never got to see. Things like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Horizons, etc.
What’s the one attraction you miss the most from Disney World?
Let me know in the comments. Be sure to share this blog with your Disney friends.
Thanks for reading and remember to always let your conscience be your guide.