5 Ways Disney Pays Tribute to Old Attractions
From Space Mountain to Pirates of the Caribbean, there are a lot of iconic rides at Disney theme parks—but there are even more that have come and gone, sometimes in a matter of months. If you have sharp eyes, however, you can spot references to rides of yore in current attractions. Here are a few to look for the next time you visit.
1. THE VULTURES FROM SNOW WHITE’S SCARY ADVENTURES
As part of the new Fantasyland update at the Magic Kingdom, Disney installed a new roller coaster called the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This meant that "Snow White's Scary Adventures," the other ride based on its first hit movie, had to go. Fans of the original can still catch a glimpse of some key figures from the old ride, though—the vultures from “Scary Adventures” are now perched in the sky right before your train car plunges down into a mine shaft. After you’ve survived your tumultuous trek through the mine, watch for Snow White and the dwarfs celebrating in the cottage. The dwarf animatronics were also borrowed from the original ride. Finally, Imagineers had one more trick up their sleeves for paying homage to another past attraction: the ride's weather vane is a squid, which is a little nod to the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride.
2. PICTURES OF MR. TOAD AND FRIENDS
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride came to an end at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando on September 7, 1998. Opting to capitalize on the popularity of Winnie the Pooh, or perhaps just feeling that Wind in the Willows characters were no longer in vogue, Disney decided to replace Toad, Badger, and Moley with Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore. But if you sneak a quick glance behind you just after the ride starts, you’ll see an interesting set of framed pictures on the wall and floor: Toad handing the deed over to Owl and several other snaps of characters mingling.
3. TAXIDERMIED HEADS FROM COUNTRY BEAR JAMBOREE
Jonnyboyca via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Country Bears buffs may remember a talking trio of taxidermied heads named Melvin the Moose, Buff the Buffalo, and Max the Deer. They still chatter away at the Country Bear Jamboree attraction in the Magic Kingdom, but the Disneyland counterpart was replaced by the Winnie the Pooh ride in 2001. (Pooh seems to shove everyone aside.) Though the Country Bears themselves got the ouster, Melvin, Buff, and Max stayed put. If you turn around after exiting the Heffalumps and Woozles scene in Disneyland’s "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" ride, you can still see the trio hanging out. Sadly, they no longer talk.
4. SKYWAY BUCKETS AT THE MATTERHORN
The Matterhorn at Disneyland went through a major overhaul in 2015, but that doesn’t mean that everything in the ride is new. In a scene Imagineers refer to as the “Hoard” scene, riders can see the collection of things the Abominable Snowman has found on the mountain over the years—including buckets from the Skyway that closed in 1994.
5. THE TOWN FROM THE RAINBOW CAVERNS MINE TRAIN
Long before Disneyland had Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, it was home to Rainbow Caverns Mine Train (also called Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland). After it opened in 1960, guests boarded miniature trains to take a tour of roaring falls, howling coyotes, animatronic bears diving for fish, and hawks protecting their nests. The ride's novelty eventually lost its luster, so Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster opened in its place in 1979. You can still spot Rainbow Ridge, the Old West town featured in the original ride, as part of the Big Thunder scenery. Though it went through a refurbishment in 2013, many of the original props and signs still remain.