What Are the Worst Disney Attractions Ever?
Sure, we lament the loss of beloved attractions like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and The Great Movie Ride.
We shouldn’t get the situation twisted, though. Disney Imagineers have blown it from time to time over the years.
Yes, their signal-to-noise ratio is irrefutably the best in theme park history. Still, we’ve noticed a few clunkers over the years.
Here are the worst eight attractions ever built at Disney parks.
Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin
I felt like I’d have cheated to include several international attractions. After all, international parks come with construction complexities.
Still, I couldn’t ignore one of the worst recent Disney creations. It’s Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin at Disneyland Paris.
You can watch the video and draw your own conclusions. I think you can tell that it’s not worthy of the Disney brand, though.
Yes, a Slinky Dog ride is innately cute. It needs more, though. This version, Zigzag Spin, merely rolls guests over a tilted incline.
Folks, it’s a carny ride, and Disney knows it. That’s why the version at Disney’s Hollywood Studios exists as a roller coaster instead.
For all the grief that Alien Swirling Saucers receives, it’s night and day better than Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin.
The only reason I haven’t ranked this attraction higher is that so few Americans have experienced it.
Astuter Computer Revue
When EPCOT Center opened in 1982, park planners didn’t share a cohesive vision for what it would be.
Some of the attractions varied wildly in nature and tone, something critics latched on as a frequent complaint.
Perhaps the weirdest part of the menagerie involved a working part of the park.
Disney built a computer processing center and then added soundproof barriers around it.
Guests could enter the building and watch cast members as they worked at their computer jobs. Often, the employees had no idea, either.
Astuter Computer Revue took place on the second floor of the computer hub. Every few minutes, a new batch of guests would enter this room.
There, they would watch a strange video celebrating the importance of computers while they viewed people doing actual computer work.
A Pepper’s Ghost effect projected an actor onto the computers below, even as the employees totally ignored the people watching the show.
The whole thing failed on every level, and Disney quickly ended the revue. In fact, it got canceled so quickly that video of it is the holy grail for some Disney fans.
Luigi’s Flying Tires
If, at first, you don’t succeed, try and fail again 50 years later. That’s the takeaway lesson from Luigi’s Flying Tires.
During the early 1960s, Disneyland operated a quirky but fun attraction called Flying Saucers.
Guests would levitate off the ground thanks to their saucers, which employed a similar technique to air hockey tables.
Alas, the system broke down constantly, forcing Disney to shut down Flying Saucers after five years.
Imagineers loathe failure and kept the premise in the back of their minds for generations.
Then, when Disney California Adventure introduced Cars Land, Imagineers brought back the premise with Luigi’s Flying Tires.
You won’t believe what happened next. Yes, the ride suffered numerous outages as history repeated itself.
Luigi’s Flying Tires failed even worse than Flying Saucers, as it lasted less than three years.
Disney later replaced it with the more popular and effective Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters. And nothing of value was lost.
Stitch’s Great Escape
My family has spent the gross national product of Bolivia on Stitch merchandise over the years.
NOBODY should have loved this attraction more than us. Alas, we agree with the overwhelming majority opinion here.
One of Magic Kingdom’s worst mistakes of the 21st century was closing ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, the scariest Disney attraction ever.
In life, mistakes tend to propagate, which is what happened here. Disney replaced a thrilling attraction with a humdrum one.
Stitch’s Great Escape utilized the same mechanics as Alien Encounter. Audiences sat in a theater and watched a show in the round.
Unfortunately, the new version lacked much of the intensity of its predecessor. Even worse, it demonstrated none of the charms of Lilo & Stitch.
Park surveys continually ranked Stitch’s Great Escape as one of the worst attractions at Walt Disney World.
Eventually, management accepted its fate and ended the show.
Disney sometimes hosts a basic Stitch character meeting in the same building. That’s a vastly superior use of resources.
Some of Disney’s most high-profile mistakes have come down to math errors. I’m not even joking.
Somebody messed up the calculations on the Disco Yeti, which has left the foundation of Expedition Everest problematic for many years now.
Similarly, Disneyland executives ignored the objections of two storied Imagineers, Marty Sklar and Tony Baxter.
Instead, management chose to close the PeopleMover in favor of a new attraction that would highlight a new and improved Tomorrowland.
This attraction, Rocket Rods, would use the same infrastructure as the PeopleMover, only guests would move at high speeds across the tracks.
The Rocket Rods were undeniably cool-looking. There was just one problem. The vehicles tore up a lot.
Oh, wait. There was also a second problem. The foundations from the PeopleMover couldn’t sustain the heavier demands of the Rocket Rods.
Frankly, we may have caught a break that the vehicles tore up so frequently in the early days, forcing a prolonged closure.
If not for that, part of the PeopleMover structure might have given way.
The Rocket Rods lasted about two years in operation over a three-year period. The gap stems from the multiple safety-based shutdowns.
As a reporter, I sometimes come across a story that I wish I didn’t know. The same problem applies to Disney when I learn about doomed projects.
In some other, better world, Beastly Kingdom has anchored Disney’s Animal Kingdom for more than 20 years.
Alas, we got DinoLand U.S.A. instead. That’s like opening a pack of Upper Deck baseball cards in 1990 and pulling a Chris Sabo instead of a Ken Griffey Jr.
Whereas we could have enjoyed a liquid-metal hot roller coaster, we got carnival attractions instead.
TriceraTop Spin didn’t make this list since it’s just a clone of two Magic Kingdom attractions. But it could have.
I mean, why is Disney cloning its worst Magic Kingdom rides at other parks anyway? But I digress.
The unforgivable mistake involves Primeval Whirl, a spinning roller coaster that does nothing other than upset people’s stomachs.
Disney willingly chose to make this ride when it had blueprints for E-ticket Beastly Kingdom attractions.
It’s the worst trade since the Falcons sent Brett Favre to Green Bay for a second-round pick.
Journey into YOUR Imagination
When Imagineers created Journey into Imagination at EPCOT, the ride had two things going for it. I’m speaking of the Dreamfinder and Figment.
As the new millennium approached, park officials decided to modernize Journey into Imagination by creating a new version.
That attraction, Journey into YOUR Imagination, included neither the Dreamfinder nor Figment.
Folks, when you order a BLT, you’re gonna get upset if your sandwich is missing the bacon and the bread.
The middle version of Journey into Imagination lasted for two years and a week, which is two years longer than most Disney fans would have preferred.
The current iteration of the ride remains flawed, as Dreamfinder is still absent while Eric Idle IS there. Humorously, Idle doesn’t even remember this gig.
I loved working with Don Rickles. We had fun. https://t.co/suvy0LTTFr
— Eric Idle (@EricIdle) January 23, 2021
He’s referencing an animated movie called Quest for Camelot because he has no idea who Figment is. That makes my argument for me.
Anyone with even a passing familiarity of Disney history would know what the worst ride is.
When Disney California Adventure opened, it suffered a media onslaught due to its unmistakably low-budget nature.
Disney cut corners everywhere, most noticeably on Superstar Limo, the most cringe thing in park history.
Michael Eisner, who formerly worked as a studio boss, loved the idea of creating a Hollywood attraction, one that embraced celebrity sightings.
Eisner’s opinion was…not a popular one. Superstar Limo feels like satire, a ride someone would create to make fun of Disney.
You drive a limo across the time, stumbling into C-level stars like Drew Carey and Whoopi Goldberg along the way.
Disney didn’t even pick DISNEY stars for this ride. I mean, at least Kurt Russell and Julie Andrews would have made some sense!
Superstar Limo is what happens when someone has a general idea for a ride but cannot list any specifics. It’s become an awkward fill-in-the-blank compromise.
This ride lasted less than a year in 2001/2002, yet it continues to be a black eye for Disney 20 years later.