11 Wonderful Former Disney Rides

daveland
daveland

Since Disneyland's opening in 1955, and Disney World's in 1971, a lot of attractions have come and gone. Disney likes to hold on to its successful rides, but some were too costly, or just not popular enough; others were just collateral damage for newer and more exciting rides (the fact that Disney World's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride closed still stings). These rides are lost, but not forgotten. Let us look back at the nostalgic graveyard of defunct Disney rides. 

1. Phantom Boats // Disneyland, 1955 – 1956

This ride never stood a chance. Lasting just a year, its big problem was that it was too boring. Originally called the Tomorrowland Boats, this ride featured slowly moving white vessels that visitors could drive around the lagoon. On August 16, 1955, they were rechristened The Phantom Boats and redesigned with tailfins that were apparently a mechanical nightmare; the boats left park-goers stranded in the middle of the lake and undoubtedly very unhappy. The boats' last appearance was in the summer of 1956, making it the first ride to be removed from Disneyland.

2. Submarine Voyage // Disneyland, 1956 - 1998

Inspired by the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, The Submarine Voyage replaced the Phantom Boats. Passengers could board the Disneyland Nautilus—or one of the other seven submarines—for a fanciful re-creation of the actual craft's journey to the North Pole. Although the submarines never actually went underwater, bubble jets gave the illusion of diving deeper and props were scattered throughout the track. Patrons could see sea monsters, turtles, glowing fish, and even mermaids. You can check out this video from 1959 to see what it was like:

The ride stayed mostly the same for its duration, with the exception of a new coat of yellow paint in the mid-'80s. A similar ride opened in Disney World called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1971, and due to costs, the Florida ride was shut down in 1994, followed by the California version in 1998. The original Submarine Voyage was renovated to become a new ride. Today, you can hop in a submarine and see your favorite Disney fish in the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. 

3. Flying Saucers // Disneyland, 1961 - 1966

The Flying Saucers ride was sort of a mix between bumper cars and air hockey. Giant saucers big enough for an average-sized person to sit on were propelled across an arena by air valves; riders shifted their weight to direct the craft where they wanted to go. It was popular, but suffered from a lot of problems when larger guests tried to ride. As a result, it closed for good in 1966. Today, the spot is occupied by Space Mountain.

4. Astro Jets // Disneyland, 1956 - 1966

Located in the heart of Tomorrowland, this delightfully retro-futuristic ride gave patrons a great view of the park. Each rocket was big enough to snugly fit two riders and came with a lever that made it go up and down. Rocket Jets, a similar spinning ride with more modern-looking jets, eventually replaced the ride in 1967.

5. Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach Ride // Disneyland, 1956 - 1959

The stagecoaches in Frontierland gave visitors a chance to get the feel for transportation in the Wild West. After deciding whether to sit up top or inside, riders were transported back in time and through the Living Desert. The scenery featured balancing boulders, cartoonish cacti, and interesting rock formations. Unfortunately, the stagecoaches had a tendency to tip over and spook the mules; breakaway harnesses resulted in stranded passengers and missing mules—yikes!

6. Rainbow Caverns Mine Train // Disneyland, 1956 - 1977 

The mine train also went through the Living Desert, but unlike the stagecoaches, this ride brought its passengers into the rainbow caverns. Riders were transported through a beautiful cavern illuminated by beautifully colorful lakes and waterfalls. After the ride, patrons exited through the Mineral Hall, where rocks glow with the power of a black light. 

The ride was expanded in 1960, and became the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. This new and improved ride now featured robotic animals, fossils, and Cascade Peak, a large mountain complete with waterfall. The ride was replaced by the rollercoaster Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in 1979, and most of the remnants have been bulldozed or removed. 

7. Delta Dreamflight // Disney World, 1989 - 1998

This ride aimed to encourage visitors to travel the world, and more importantly, to use Delta Airlines to do it. The attraction featured a hodge-podge of projection screens, animatronics, and pop-up storybook style sets. Passengers waited in an area fashioned to look like a terminal, and climbed into painted blue cars. The guests would then “take off” and travel through the ride. The ride was replaced by Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin in 1998. 

SEE ALSO: 13 Facts About Disney’s Haunted Mansion

8. Adventure Thru Inner Space // Disneyland 1967 - 1985

Patrons of this ride would start by climbing into "Atommobiles." These cars would slowly enter a giant microscope, where the riders would then be "shrunk down" to microscopic size. (People waiting on line would watch the visitors ahead of them shrink and disappear.) After passing through the microscope, passengers were then shot into a snowflake. This simulation was created by moving the cars back and forth while bringing them through a dark tunnel. The tiny navigators emerged from the dark tunnel and were welcomed by gigantic falling snowflakes. As the riders shrunk in size, the sights changed: giant snowflakes became molecules, and molecules broke down to atoms. Up on top, a giant eye watched the ride through a microscope. The ride was eventually replaced by Star Tours in 1986.

9. PeopleMover // Disneyland 1967 - 1995

The PeopleMover was a lot like Florida’s Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Made to seem like the transportation mode of the future, these trains took patrons on a 16-minute ride around the park. The loading was done with some hustle: the train cars never stopped and doors closed automatically. After hopping inside, riders got a nice view of Tomorrowland. The ride was closed in 1995 in an effort to save money, but it remains standing.

10. Flight to the Moon // Disneyland 1967 – 1975

Previously called Rocket to the Moon, Flight to the Moon took place beside the Moonliner, the giant spaceship in the middle of Tomorrowland. At the time, the ship was the tallest thing in the park. The attraction inside was more like a simulation than a ride; visitors would sit in chairs surrounded by projectors, and the chairs would vibrate as the screens showed images of the moon. In 1975, the ride changed to Mission to Mars since, by then, humans had already been to the moon. No word on what the next iteration will be when we finally make it to Mars. 

11. Journey Into Imagination // Disney World 1983 - 1998 

Like many other Disney rides, this one has seen many different incarnations. The current ride is called Journey into Imagination with Figment, but Figment didn’t always have such a large role. In the original ride, the passengers glided through what seemed like clouds. A bearded man with a top hat and goggles would fly over to the guests and introduce himself as “Dreamfinder.” He drove a contraption that collected dreams and the guests came along for the ride. The visitors are shown multiple rooms with different themes, like art, literature, and science. Today, the ride focuses on the five senses and Figment is in every scene (although Dreamfinder is nowhere to be found).


7 Top-Rated Portable Air Conditioners You Can Buy Right Now

Black + Decker/Amazon
Black + Decker/Amazon

The warmest months of the year are just around the corner (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway), and things are about to get hot. To make indoor life feel a little more bearable, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the top-rated portable air conditioners you can buy online right now.

1. SereneLife 3-in-1 Portable Air Conditioner; $290

SereneLife air conditioner on Amazon.
SereneLife/Amazon

This device—currently the best-selling portable air conditioner on Amazon—is multifunctional, cooling the air while also working as a dehumidifier. Reviewers on Amazon praised this model for how easy it is to set up, but cautioned that it's not meant for large spaces. According to the manufacturer, it's designed to cool down rooms up to 225 square feet, and the most positive reviews came from people using it in their bedroom.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Black + Decker 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner and Heater; $417

Black + Decker portable air conditioner
Black+Decker/Amazon

Black + Decker estimates that this combination portable air conditioner and heater can accommodate rooms up to 350 square feet, and it even comes with a convenient timer so you never have to worry about forgetting to turn it off before you leave the house. The setup is easy—the attached exhaust hose fits into most standard windows, and everything you need for installation is included. This model sits around four stars on Amazon, and it was also picked by Wirecutter as one of the best values on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Mikikin Portable Air Conditioner Fan; $45

Desk air conditioner on Amazon
Mikikin/Amazon

This miniature portable conditioner, which is Amazon's top-selling new portable air conditioner release, is perfect to put on a desk or end table as you work or watch TV during those sweltering dog days. It's currently at a four-star rating on Amazon, and reviewers recommend filling the water tank with a combination of cool water and ice cubes for the best experience.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Juscool Portable Air Conditioner Fan; $56

Juscool portable air conditioner.
Juscool/Amazon

This tiny air conditioner fan, which touts a 4.6-star rating, is unique because it plugs in with a USB cable, so you can hook it up to a laptop or a wall outlet converter to try out any of its three fan speeds. This won't chill a living room, but it does fit on a nightstand or desk to help cool you down in stuffy rooms or makeshift home offices that weren't designed with summer in mind.

Buy it: Amazon

5. SHINCO 8000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner; $320

Shinco portable air conditioner
SHINCO/Amazon

This four-star-rated portable air conditioner is meant for rooms of up to 200 square feet, so think of it for a home office or bedroom. It has two fan speeds, and the included air filter can be rinsed out quickly underneath a faucet. There's also a remote control that lets you adjust the temperature from across the room. This is another one where you'll need a window nearby, but the installation kit and instructions are all included so you won't have to sweat too much over setting it up.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Honeywell MN Series Portable Air Conditioner and Dehumidifier; $400

Honeywell air conditioner on Walmart.
Honeywell/Walmart

Like the other units on this list, Honeywell's portable air conditioner also acts as a dehumidifier or a standard fan when you just want some air to circulate. You can cool a 350-square-foot room with this four-star model, and there are four wheels at the bottom that make moving it from place to place even easier. This one is available on Amazon, too, but Walmart has the lowest price right now.

Buy it: Walmart

7. LG 14,000 BTU Portable Air Conditioner; $699

LG Portable Air Conditioner.
LG/Home Depot

This one won't come cheap, but it packs the acclaim to back it up. It topped Wirecutter's list of best portable air conditioners and currently has a 4.5-star rating on Home Depot's website, with many of the reviews praising how quiet it is while it's running. It's one of the only models you'll find compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, and it can cool rooms up to 500 square feet. There's also the built-in timer, so you can program it to go on and off whenever you want.

Buy it: Home Depot

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The Maestro: 10 Facts About Ennio Morricone

Peter Tea via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Peter Tea via Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Famed composer Ennio Morricone died on July 6, 2020 at the age of 91, leaving behind a body of work that eclipses the idea of “productivity” itself. It’s not just that Morricone composed thousands of hours of music for hundreds of movies. It’s that he managed to create so many original, indelible moments over and over again, in such a broad variety of genres for so long, without acquiescing to repetition or compromising his creativity. The last, best comfort to take in his absence is the thrilling—and rather intimidating—volume of music he left for us to revisit and, more likely, discover while celebrating his legacy in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.

In spite of his seemingly constant presence in the film industry for more than 70 years, there are many details about Morricone's life and career that even longtime fans may not know. In honoring the man and the artist, we’ve collected a handful of facts and figures about the Oscar-winning composer and his vast, incredible, and unforgettable body of work.

1. Ennio Morricone made music for 85 of his 91 years.

Ennio Morricone was encouraged to develop his natural musical abilities at a young age—he created his first compositions at age 6. He was taught music by his father and learned several instruments, but gravitated toward the trumpet. When he was just 12 years old, Morricone enrolled in a four-year program at the prestigious National Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome, where he was born, and completed his studies within six months.

2. Ennio Morricone's career primarily focused on film, television, and radio compositions, but he also worked in popular music.

Morricone’s professional career began in 1950 as an arranger for jazz and pop artists. He helped compose hits for a diverse slate of stars including Nora Orlandi, Mina, Françoise Hardy, Mireille Mathieu, and Paul Anka, whose song “Ogni Volta” (“Every Time”) sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.

Morricone later worked with Pet Shop Boys, k.d. lang, Andrea Bocelli, and Sting. From 1964 to 1980, he was also part of Gruppo di Improvvisazione Consonanza (or “The Group”), an ensemble focused on avant-garde improvisations. Although it was reissued a few years ago, original copies of their 1970 album The Feed-back once fetched as much as $1000 on the collector’s market.

3. Ennio Morricone hit the ground running as a composer—and never slowed down.

Many of Morricone’s first efforts in the movies were as an orchestrator for more established composers, but he quickly joined their ranks. Between 1955 and 1964, when he created his breakthrough score for A Fistful of Dollars, he either orchestrated or composed (or both in some cases) some 28 film scores. During this time, he was already working with Michelangelo Antonioni (L’Avventura), Vittorio De Sica (The Last Judgment), Lucio Fulci (twice!), Lina Wertmüller (I basilischi), and Bernardo Bertolucci (Before the Revolution).

4. Ennio Morricone helped turn A Fistful of Dollars into a worldwide classic.

When Sergio Leone hired Morricone for his first Western, he’d already embarked on an iconoclastic journey, referencing Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Leone’s initial “concession” was to evoke Dimitri Tiomkin’s score for Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo in its music. Morricone combined ideas from Tiomkin’s music with an arrangement of folk singer Peter Tevis’s cover of the Woody Guthrie song “Pastures of Plenty” to create what became the opening title theme. The music won the Silver Ribbon Award for Best Score from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists and forged a longtime partnership between Morricone and Leone.

5. During their heyday, Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone worked in a way that was virtually unprecedented outside of musicals.

The music in Leone’s films is at once one of their most distinctive features, and also one of their most inextricable. Later in his career, Morricone explained that he would often compose portions of the music for Leone’s films before shooting began, and then scenes were staged and shot to match the timing and rhythm of the composer’s music. “That’s why the films are so slow,” Morricone joked in 2007. His use of so many then-unconventional instruments, including electric guitars, the mouth harp, and sound effects like gunshots redefined the musical landscape of the genre, while Leone razed its traditional morality tales to explore darker, more complex stories.

6. A Fistful Of Dollars spawned a lifetime of awards.

Morricone won his only competitive Oscar just four years ago, and had previously received an honorary Oscar in 2007. But after that recognition from the Italian National Syndicate of Journalists, he racked up hundreds of nominations and awards from the Motion Picture Academy (five other nominations), the American Film Institute (four), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (six nominations, three wins), the Grammys (five nominations and four awards including their Grammy Hall of Fame and Trustees Award), and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (a Career Achievement award and a win for his score for Once Upon a Time in America). Somewhat predictably, much of the work he did in “genre” films, even the acclaimed “Spaghetti Westerns,” was marginalized at the time, but went on to be appropriately recognized and reevaluated for its impact and artistry.

7. Ennio Morricone was both a critical and a commercial success.

Morricone's work with Leone raised his profile as a formidable collaborator for filmmakers and gave him worldwide chart success. His score for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly sold more than 2 million copies, and the soundtrack to Once Upon A Time In The West, his fourth collaboration with Leone, sold approximately 10 million copies worldwide. It remains one of the top five best-selling instrumental scores in the world today. To date, Morricone has sold more than 70 million records worldwide.

8. Ennio Morricone’s partnership with Sergio Leone was exemplary, but he wasn’t the composer’s only frequent collaborator.

From A Fistful of Dollars to Once Upon a Time in America, Leone’s final film, he and Morricone always worked together. While working primarily in Italy, he often teamed up with Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Dario Argento, among others. After being courted by Hollywood, Morricone began developing long-term partnerships with American and international filmmakers like Brian De Palma, Warren Beatty, Samuel Fuller, and Roland Joffe. By the late 1970s, he was working with John Boorman and Terrence Malick, and by the 1980s and ‘90s, he was regularly collaborating with John Carpenter, Barry Levinson, George Miller, and Pedro Almodóvar.

Beginning in 1988, Morricone began working with Giuseppe Tornatore on the Oscar-winning Italian film Cinema Paradiso, and subsequently worked on all of Tornatore's other films, including 2016’s The Correspondence and the director's commercials for Dolce & Gabbana.

9. Quentin Tarantino championed Ennio Morricone’s work even before the two of them ever worked together.

Quentin Tarantino’s films are always an exciting pastiche of past and present influences, and he has used cues from Morricone scores in many of his films, beginning with Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2. Tarantino first hoped to work with the composer on Inglorious Basterds, but when the timing couldn’t be worked out, the filmmaker utilized eight older tracks by Morricone on the soundtrack.

Morricone composed the song “Ancora Qui” for Django Unchained, but it wasn’t until The Hateful Eight that he composed a full score for Tarantino, who still used archival tracks—namely, some unreleased cues from his score for John Carpenter’s The Thing—to expand the film’s musical backdrop. In 2016, Morricone won his first competitive Oscar for his work on Tarantino's film after being nominated six times over the course of nearly 40 years. Morricone also earned an Honorary Oscar in 2007 "For his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music."

10. Morricone’s discography remains an embarrassment of riches—at least, whatever’s left of it.

Though the extent of the loss hasn’t been reported, Morricone’s was among the work reportedly destroyed in the 2008 fire on the Universal backlot where the company’s Music Group stored original recording and master tapes from some of the world’s best-selling artists. But Morricone recorded more than 400 film scores throughout his career and more than 100 classical pieces, not counting the thousands of pieces licensed for use. More and more of them have been restored and re-released digitally, on CD and vinyl. Meanwhile, his work continues to elicit as strong reactions from moviegoers as the images they were originally written to accompany.

Yo-Yo Ma released an album of performances of Morricone pieces in 2004 that sold more than 130,000 copies. His work tested and redefined the boundaries of film composition, what instruments could be used, and how music and imagery could work together to tell stories and generate powerful feelings. And each listen of those recordings, whether of transgressive experimentation, pointed drama, or lush sentimentality, honors Morricone's enormous talent and evokes his irreplaceable spirit.