Five Lost Disney World Rides from River Country to Mars (VIDEO)

Posted Apr 4th 2011 07:00 AMUpdated Jun 27th 2011 10:35 AM


five lost disney world rides

RodneyRamsey, Flickr

Walt Disney World in Florida might not have the same lengthy history as its California counterpart Disneyland, but it has seen its fair share of attractions come and go. As new technologies are introduced and new movies are released, the Mouse certainly feels the pressure to update – sometimes in spite of protests to the contrary. Here are five lost Disney World rides for a reminder of the good old days.

Plaza Swan Boats

A slow moving attraction, the Plaza Swan Boats took riders on a leisurely float around Disney World's waterways. From 1973-1983 the bird-shaped boats docked outside Tomorrowland, across from what's now the Tomorrowland Terrace. Open seasonally, the 17 minute guided boat ride originally featured only female operators, before going co-ed after a few years. The boats were known to constantly break down, and the ride likely closed due to excessive operating costs.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Based on the Disney film "The Wind in the Willows," Mr. Toad began whipping riders around in 1971. Passengers were driven through Mr. Toad's world on runaway "jalopies" that made sudden turns and seemed to drive full speed into obstacles. Luckily, through Disney magic, the obstacles would move just in the nick of time. The ride closed with seemingly no logical explanation in 1998, amid much protest by Disney fans. It was replaced with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

River Country

River Country is not just one attraction, but a waterpark located at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground along Bay Lake. The first of Disney's waterparks, this old-time swimming hole opened in 1976. It featured four water slides, a tube river, nature trail and sand-bottomed lake with swings and rope climbs. One contributing factor in River Country's demise was that its water came from Bay Lake and did not meet city standards. Adding to the park's woes, bigger and newer Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach lured guests away, while heated water allowed them to be open longer. Sadly, River Country closed in 2001 and still sits in disrepair.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Disney World's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is the sister ride to Disneyland's Submarine Voyage. Its premise differs, however, as it was based on the Disney movie of the same name, not a real life marine voyage. Beginning in 1971, guests boarded Captain Nemo's submarine for simulated trips through various underwater seascapes to the lost continent of Atlantis. The ride closed suddenly in 1994 for a number of reasons: constant breakdowns, loading difficulties, long lines and high maintenance costs. After the ride was filled in, it was home to the Fantasyland Character Festival and later a Hundred Acre Wood playground. The area is now part of what will be the expanded Fantasyland.

Mission to Mars

When this attraction opened in 1971 it was known as Flight to the Moon. With the assistance of NASA, it was updated in 1975 and the destination changed to Mars as man had been to the moon years before. After a briefing in Mission Control, guests were seated in a circular theater, aka spaceship. Screens on the ceiling and floor offered views outside the spacecraft, while moving and vibrating chairs simulated the feeling of a moving spacecraft. After the attraction closed in 1993, the theater was refitted to house ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, which was then replaced in 2004 by Stitch's Great Escape based on the movie "Lilo and Stitch."

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Mr. Hoffmann

We've been to WDW 36 times so far, and brought all the members of our combined familes. We've been to Disneyland & on the Disney cruise, but WDW in Orlando is still our favorite. When we eneter the Magic Kingdom, we feel like kids again! We always stay at HIS hotels..the Beach Club & the Contemporary are our favorites. Disney should reward frequent return guests some special rates, or priviledges.

July 14 2014 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They might make a pirates of the carribean water park witch would be sweet.

October 10 2013 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wow mister toad ride i have not of it being closed down lori

August 06 2013 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I REALLY miss River Country too! I remember every twist and turn on the lazy river (black) tube ride. I remember I was upset when the updated the tubes to yellow. LOVE your videos - a blast from the past! However, you forgot one of my favorites...the "free" ride - Eastern's If You Had Wings. I still miss it! Not to say that I don't LOVE The Buzz Lightyear Ride in it's spot, but I miss it just the same. Thanks again for the memories! Lisa

May 05 2011 at 12:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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╰━━━〇〇━━━〇 ╱ ︶ ★ Music make a better world .! ★


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JEWELRY(earrying necklace bracelet)

April 16 2011 at 6:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

How could "If You Had Wings" not be on this list? Cool ride considering, at the time, it was light years ahead of any existing technology. I grew up in Orlando and, thanks to knowing several Disney employees, I basically "lived" at the park for multiple summers. I had free reign of the park and I loved that ride and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Life was SO simple back then!

April 04 2011 at 8:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All good things come to an end. Whether or not everyone appreciated these rides, or if you are upset they are gone, you have to trust Disney. They are geniuses- they know exactly what they are doing (seriously, talk about mass manipulation as far as marketing goes. For example: did you know they keep their clothing stores several degrees colder than any other places in the parks, because people will buy more clothes that way? Just saying). As for the removal of these rides, it was a combination of the aforesaid things that led to their end. Whether need for more space, lack of interest, maintenance issues or otherwise, these rides went because it was neccessary. And even that doesn't mean they're gone forever: Disneyland park (as of my knowledge) still has a version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride up and running (though there were murmurs...) and have revamped Submarine voyage thanks to Finding Nemo. As far as DisneyWorld itself goes, I can't be sure, as I haven't visited in a couple of years, but keep in mind that these rides opened the way for others.
- A Disney Expert

April 04 2011 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Loiacono

Other past Disney World rides include World of Motion (Epcot), Horizons (Epcot) Superstar Television (MGM - now Hollywood Studios) Cranium Command (Epcot), Body Wars (Epcot) and the Skyride (Magic Kingdom).

April 04 2011 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Indian Village is gone from Disneyland Anaheim. My Mom and Dad first met there watching the dancers

April 04 2011 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wade Choate

Well i must say these videos took we way back to when i started with Disney in Dec.1988, was a Proud Disney Trainer & Summer Lead for Mr. Toad, 20k, Birthdayland, Teacups, Snow White, Dumbo and Mountain just to name a few. The College Program people were always fun to train. I was hired out of a Double Wide Trailer and made a mere $3.45/hr After 5 long years i decided the pixy dust had left and gave it up. I still get people from that era today telling me i trained them at one point or time. In those Days it really was a fun job and i enjoyed every minute. Please say hello if you remember who iam. Would love to hear from everyone.

April 04 2011 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply