Friday, February 18, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten (Disney Memories)

I first fell in love with Walt Disney World when Marilyn and I spent a few days there following our honeymoon cruise on The Big Red Boat (now defunct) in 1986.  The love affair got really serious when I brought my first youth group there in 1987, and became an obsession when we (along with my parents) got our first annual passes in 1992.  Since that time I have spent so many wonderful hours in the parks of WDW, and adding my son to the mix in 1995 only increased our love of the place.  And we all still love it.  Yet...often now when I think of WDW am I more saddened by the things that are no longer there than I am excited by the things that are.  So today you get to share in my sad memories.  Here are just a few of the things that I really miss:
  • Eating breakfast at Tony's Town Square in the Magic Kingdom before the park was actually open for the day.  Great food, and it was always amazing to see the MK so empty.  They don't serve breakfast anymore.
  • Mr. Toad's Wild Road.  Best cheesy ride ever.  Bring it back now!
  • The Sorcery In the Sky show at the Disney/MGM (now Hollywood) Studios.  Vincent Price narrating, great movie music, choreographed fireworks and Mickey the Sorcerer's exploding finger. Epic!
  • Ariel's Restaurant at Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts. It was our favorite restaurant on property.  It was always packed (reservations required) yet was shut down without notice.  The space is still empty some 15 years later. Argggggg... I want my blackened scallops!
  • I'm dating myself big time now, but I loved the live shows in Mickey's Toontown (now closed) featuring the characters from Tail Spins, Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck.  I also miss those cartoons.
  • I miss coming in the "back door" of EPCOT early in the morning, grabbing breakfast at the little bakery at the French Pavilion, and then having World Showcase to ourselves for a couple of hours before the tourists made it past Spaceship Earth.  And speaking of Spaceship Earth, I REALLY miss Walter Cronkite's narration and the closing song, Tomorrow's Child
  • River Country.  I was only there twice, and once was a private party for the National Youth Workers Convention- but I loved that place!
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame show at the Studios.  Total awesomeness!!!
  • Pleasure Island is all gone now, but I had already missed The Fireworks Factory Restaurant for years before they started tearing down such great memories as 8 Tracks, The Adventurer's Club and The Comedy Warehouse. Loosing 8 Tracks officially puts an end to my dancing days...
  • Climbing aboard the Walt Disney World Express (MK train) and hearing the song begin: "Rolling, rolling on the Express..."
  • Superstar Television at the Studios.  They picked audience members to be in the show, and over the years I played at least 5 different parts, including the "news anchor" at least 4 times.  When they closed that show it felt like my showbiz career went with it.
  • Knowing that a cast member- ANY cast member- would know more about WDW than I did.  That is very seldom true anymore...
  • And finally, EPCOT in general.  The whole atmosphere is so different now.  I miss World of Motion, Horizons, Cranium Command. Figment and Listen To the Land.  I miss the Kitchen Cabaret show featuring Veggie-Veggie-Fruit-Fruit.  And I miss being able to watch Illuminations from the patio behind the pub at the United Kingdom Pavilion.  That's only for VIPs now.  And I haven't been in a while now, but if the changes recently made to the San Angel Inn (restaurant at Mexico) are too drastic, I might just cry.  So many great memories there.
  • I surveyed some of my Twitter friends to share some the things they miss, and by far the top answers were Horizons and The Tomorrowland Skyway. Also receiving mention were Alien Encounter, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the original Imagination Pavilion, The Tapestry of Nations and the great Handwiches they used to serve at the food court in The Land.

    What are some of the things you miss at WDW?  Do you have memories of the things mentioned above? I may be stuck in the past, but cut me some slack.  Every thing I mentioned has at least one story that goes with it, and it's hard to let go.  But the memories are awesome- and the best part is, sooner or later I'll get to make some new ones!  Have a blessed weekend!


  1. Anonymous2/18/2011

    Absolutely, positively Mr. Toad. Still can't believe they did that...

  2. I know that Jeremy Godwin will agree with that one- Mr. Toad rules!

  3. Bring back Mr Toad! While I love Pooh & Tigger, it's just not the same!

  4. Completely agree with most of it!! Especially, Mr. Toad, Figment, and the dancing fruit, most of my young Disney memories ALWAYS included those!!! I am also not real pleased about Pleasure Island.... Had some great times there with my friends!! (Especially that country bar on my 21st with some good friends and some random creepy old guy... LOL)

  5. The dancing fruit? LOL Never thought of Kitchen Cabaret quite like that. And yeah the Pleasure Island thing stinks...

  6. Anonymous2/19/2011

    You are right, Epcot just isn't the same without Horizons, Figment, Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit, and Cranium Commando. I still think of Charles Grodin being in my head and saying things like "That is highly ill-advised Jennifer."

    Now they're totally gonna make fantasy land in the MK into Princess land. Sigh. Oh well, if we have a girl she'll be sucked into the princess vortex like every other female aged 7 and younger and I suppose I will endure it for her sake, just as long as they don't take away my Dole pineapple whips across the way from the Swiss Family Robinson tree house!

    -Jen aka Bob


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