Originally I was going to take that and make a video posing the question of why we don’t see the attraction equivalent of movie sequels, but then the more I thought about it the more I realized we have. Not direct sequels in the way A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back are sequels, but spiritual successors that carry on the theme and goal of an original ride. Some might be intentional, perhaps some are accidental, but either way, here are five examples of Disney ride sequels.
Let’s jump into the first example, which is Mostano’s House of the Future in Tomorrowland at Disneyland, and the Dream Home exhibit at Innoventions in Disneyland. The House of the Future opened in 1957 and offered guests a look into what home life in the future would look like in 1986. It stood in Disneyland for just over ten years and was closed at the end of 1967. Over 40 years later in 2008, Disney opened the Innoventions Dream Home which featured a number of high tech devices that were built into the various rooms of the house to give us a glimpse of what a technologically cutting edge house would look like.
Next up is Adventure Thru Inner Space in Disneyland and Body Wars in Future World. This 1967 Tomorrowland attraction, also sponsored by Monsanto, was an omnimover ride in which scientists shrank guests down so that they could explore and experience a snowflake all the way down to its subatomic scale. The ride would close 18 years later, and just four years after that it’s spiritual successor, Body Wars, would open at the Wonders of Life Pavilion in Epcot. Similarly, Body Wars was a ride in which scientists shrank the guests down.
This next one is the Carousel of Progress and Horizons. This pair is a spiritual successor of a different sort. While the previous two were a revisiting of the same concept in a new way, Horizons was said to be a continuation of the Carousel of Progress. The Carousel of Progress was designed to show us how human innovation has improved our lives in the past, with its last scene covering the present or near it. Horizons was a similar concept that faced forward and showed us how human innovation could improve our lives well into the future. Some even say that the sequel status is strengthened by the fact that both attractions focus on this theme through the lens of a family dynamic. There’s even a few callback, with Horizons using the theme song of the Carousel, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.”
This next pair is interesting because while they’re both Disney attractions, the original was never a Disneyland or Disney World attraction. I’m talking about Ford’s Magic Skyway from the 1964 New York World’s Fair and World of Motion at Epcot. Like the Carousel of Progress, Ford’s Magic Skyway was one of the four attractions developed by Disney for the New York World’s Fair. If you want to learn more about the fair, I have a mini-series that covers the history of each of the four attractions. The Magic Skyway was a slow moving ride that predated the modern omnimover system. It took guests back in time to the days of the dinosaur. From there it progressed through history to the introduction of mankind and its various advancements, including harnessing fire and inventing the wheel before jumping ahead to a futuristic city filled with advanced cars. It was the only World’s Fair Attraction to not make it back to a Disney park, but 17 years later it’s spiritual successor, World of Motion, would open in Epcot.
Last but not least is the pair I feel most deserving of the title of spiritual successor, and that’s Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln from Disneyland and The Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square. Beyond their obvious connection of focusing on a theme of the office of the president, there’s a historical connection linking them together. In 1956, years before the creation of Great Moments for the New York World’s Fair, Walt Disney had planned a new area for Main Street called Liberty Street. It would be a representation of colonial America that featured a show called “One Nation Under God” in which guests would get to see robotic recreations of every US president. The technology for such an idea just wasn’t feasible at the time, and so the idea was ultimately shelved.
It was revived nearly a decade later when Walt would create an animatronic show for the World’s Fair. The technology was now possible, but due to time and resource constraints, the idea was cut down from representing every US president, to just one, Abraham Lincoln. Years later imagineers were finally able to follow-up on Great Moments, and in 1971 the Hall of Presidents would open, featuring every US president, just like Walt originally wanted.