With Disney California Adventure closing its Paradise Pier attractions this week to re-theme them to Pixar franchises, let’s look at Disney’s track record with similar changes in its parks.
Disney frequently changes its attractions, with seasonal overlays such as Haunted Mansion Holiday, new shows such as the “Frozen” musical replacing “Aladdin, and tear-downs such as Big Thunder Mountain replacing the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland. But I am looking just at rethemes, where Disney kept the same underlying attraction and just changed the characters, thematic setting or narration.
1. Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout: Disney’s best re-theme swapped a half-hearted “Twilight Zone” story line that lacked any of that franchise’s usual ironic punishment with an upbeat romp featuring one of Disney’s hottest properties.
2. Frozen Ever After: While some fans understandably complained about Disney bringing fictional characters into the previously non-fiction-driven Epcot, re-theming the formerly ignored Maelstrom ride in the park’s Norway pavilion made it one of Disney World’s must-see attractions.
3. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage: Adding Pixar characters to Disneyland’s submarine ride not only filled its once-empty queues, it gave Disney an excuse to keep this unique ride experience open for a new generation of fans.
4. Gran Fiesta Tour: The addition of the Three Caballeros – Donald Duck, José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles – to the former El Rio del Tiempo boat ride inside Epcot’s Mexico pavilion helped rescue an attraction that was sliding into self-parody with aging video clips of tourists in Mexico.
Do you agree with our choices? What are your favorite and not so favorite makeovers? Tell us below!