When I was a small child preparing for my first trip to the Magic Kingdom, my grandpa was telling me tales of the adventures I would have when I went there. He described what it would be like to sit in a “Doom Buggy” and travel through a Haunted Mansion. He told me about setting sail to the Caribbean and meeting some fierce pirates. I had no film to reference these attractions. So, I had no idea what to expect. That made my first trip to Walt Disney World that much more exciting.
Disney leadership is currently under the mindset that the more IP (intellectual property) attractions added to the parks the better, but so many classic attractions have no film or TV show to reference it. I decided to make a list of all the non-IP experiences that are still available at the Walt Disney World parks. Let’s hope Disney Imagineers will continue to create unique storytelling experiences within the parks.
Some bad movies have found inspiration from Magic Kingdom’s iconic attractions, but thankfully, Haunted Mansion and Country Bears Jamboree were not given the movie makeover that Pirates of the Caribbean received. This park might prove just how risky it is to play around with IP and original theme park attractions.
For example, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was an original attraction that catered to the park’s older guests who may not need fluffy cuteness in ALL attractions. It was replaced with an IP character and became one of the most despised attractions in the park, Stitch’s Great Escape. It’s always a bit of a gamble to mess with an iconic attraction as evident in another IP disaster, Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management, where Zazu (Lion King) and Lago (Aladin) replaced the familiar feathered hosts we have come to love.
Liberty Square Riverboat
It’s a Small World
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
The Hall of Presidents
Carousel of Progress
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
Jungle Cruise (for now)
Country Bear Jamboree
Walt Disney World Railroad
Enchanted Tiki Room
EPCOT created non-IP attraction characters that became so beloved by fans that one of them is the mascot of EPCOT. I’m speaking of Dreamfinder and Figment, of course. As this park moves further and further away from being an “edutainment” park, it finds more IP attractions on its horizon. These new experiences will include IP from Ratatouille, Moana, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Journey into Imagination with Figment
Soarin’ Around the World
Living with the Land
The American Adventure
It makes sense that the park dedicated to movie magic would have mainly IP attractions. I’m only including the single ride that is not based upon a movie or tv show.
Rock n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
In an interview last January, Bob Iger in an interview about acquiring multiple IPs and including them into Disney parks, Iger seemed to have made a jab at Expedition Everest when he described it as a non-descript coaster that might be in India. He was making the point that guests only want to go on adventures where there are recognizable IP characters. This is not true. Joe Rohde and his Imagineering team created a submersive park with equally submersive attractions that rely on unique and original storytelling. With Joe Rohde retiring from the Disney company, let’s hope that this park still maintains its originality. It’s what makes Animal Kingdom my favorite of all four Disney parks.
Kali River Rapids
Wildlife Express Train