Worst Disney Ride Mistakes Ever
Imagineers get so much right that we take them for granted. Even a team of Disney geniuses isn’t perfect, though.
On a few occasions, Imagineers have badly miscalculated with Disney attractions, leading to some hilarious or frustrating problems.
Here are seven of the worst Disney ride mistakes ever.
What we’re discussing today isn’t a bad ride like, say, the famously terrible Superstar Limo or Journey into YOUR Imagination.
No, we’re talking about rides that opened. At some point afterward, guests realized that something was very, very wrong.
For instance, we aren’t supposed to have a disco yeti at Expedition Everest.
Imagineers constructed the greatest Audio-Animatronic of all time. But then, they quickly deduced that they couldn’t use it as intended.
Someone in the organization made an infamous math error in calculating the structural integrity of the mountain’s foundation.
The overly active yeti weighed so much that it risked the collapse of the entire Forbidden Mountain.
Barring something unforeseen, the yeti will operate in B-mode forever since Disney cannot easily reinforce the mountain’s floor at this point. Oops.
Frozen Ever After
You may be blissfully unaware that there’s an occasional problem with Frozen Ever After.
On the other hand, once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.
The state-of-the-art Anna and Elsa Audio-Animatronics employ digital projection mapping.
Ostensibly, this makes the queens of Arendelle appear more realistic.
Here’s the thing about digital mapping, though. Sometimes, someone accidentally messes up the coordinates.
When that happens, Elsa and Anna’s faces turn into dystopian nightmares sure to freak you out.
We’ve seen this happen, and my wife and I sometimes exchange looks on the ride because we’re afraid we’ll see it again.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
This criticism only applies to the Lightning Lane side of the ride; however, the fact that you’re paying makes it all the more jarring.
When you enter the Lightning Lane queue for Guardians of the Galaxy, you get herded into a series of three rooms.
The second room explains the basics of the experience, while the third room demonstrates the danger posed by a Celestial.
The first room is just an empty holding cell, and you’re the prisoner. It is so strange.
Cast members dump you in a barren room with nothing on the walls.
You stand there for a few minutes while you wait for the second and third rooms to clear out in front of you.
There’s nothing to do. There’s nothing to see. So it’s pointless, cheap, and lazy.
At least put some paintings in there, Disney!
We can mark this one down as inevitability more than incompetence, but it’s still bad.
Some Jungle Cruise boats at Magic Kingdom have started sinking into the water in recent years.
I’m neither speaking metaphorically nor joking about this.
Some boats developed leaks that were substantial enough to take on water and sink.
One of them famously happened mere days after Bob Chapek got the job as CEO of Disney.
Whether you choose to believe this was an augur is entirely up to you.
Walt Disney loved space travel. It was an obsession.
Tragically, he didn’t live long enough to see humanity walk on the moon.
Still, Imagineers have maintained Disney’s connection with space travel over the years.
Imagineers excitedly worked with NASA on Mission: SPACE, an attraction that simulates the astronautical experience of escape velocity.
What nobody at Disney considered is that few people at NASA even qualify for the astronaut program.
Even scientific minds often lack bodies capable of surviving intense gravitational force.
So, when Mission: SPACE opened, the first would-be space travelers wound up vomiting a lot.
History is currently repeating itself somewhat with Cosmic Rewind, but the scale is totally different.
Mission: SPACE made so many people sick that it triggered national headlines.
Ultimately, park officials had to create a second, calmer version of the ride for those of us who don’t want to projectile vomit churros in a zero-gravity setting.
This is the only attraction on this list that is inactive today. That speaks volumes about how much Disney messed up with Rocket Rods.
During an attempt to reinvigorate Tomorrowland, park officials chose to close the WEDWay PeopleMover in favor of a new thrill ride.
If you’ve ever ridden the PeopleMover, you know that it’s the opposite of a thrill ride.
So, Disney committed to creating an intense ride experience using the same infrastructure as a calm one.
Imagine someone trying to run a drag race on train tracks.
That’s the equivalent of what Disney did, and somehow nobody there wondered whether it was a good idea.
Sure enough, the new attraction, Rocket Rods, soon showed signs of collapse.
There’s a word you don’t hear often about Disney attractions.
Rocket Rods was literally eroding the foundations.
In addition, the tires on the ride carts didn’t fit the ill-formed track well, so Disney was briefly in the tire replacement business.
Rocket Rods lasted less than 18 months, and it spent a great deal of that time unavailable to guests since it was constantly malfunctioning.
Soarin’ Around the World
If you’ve ever sat in the wrong place for Soarin’ Around the World, you know what I’m about to say.
When Disney films the scenery for this attraction, it uses unique cameras that are both expensive and rarely operated.
This kind of IMAX cinematography isn’t something you can repeat easily.
So, when multiple shots came in with the same issue, Disney had no choice but to go with what they had.
Unfortunately, guests who don’t sit in the middle section of Soarin’ notice distortion in the shots.
The pictures look as they should, but they’re tilted.
For instance, during the infamous Eiffel Tower shot, guests sitting on the sides of the Soarin’ auditorium can’t help but notice a slant.
The same issue applies to other famous structures like the Taj Mahal and even Spaceship Earth.
For various reasons, the initial version of Soarin’ (Soarin’ Over California) lacked this mistake. This caused diehard fans to lament that Disney ever updated the ride.
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