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The Disney World attractions you'll sadly never get to experience

Walt Disney World in Florida has definitely changed a lot over the years. Though it started with Magic Kingdom in 1971, Disney World grew quickly, with EPCOT opening just over a decade later. Hollywood Studios (then called Disney-MGM Studios) joined the group in 1989, and Disney's Animal Kingdom opened to the public in 1998.

With new ride technology and visitors' ever-changing opinions, Disney World has consistently adapted with the times. Along with that, the Walt Disney Company continues to make more movies, television, and other experiences for the parks to incorporate and take inspiration from. Most recently, Disney has added massive new sections to both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom with Toy Story Land, Pandora – The World of Avatar, and the Star Wars-centric Galaxy's Edge, with various restaurants, shops, and attractions. Plus, an overhaul of EPCOT's design is currently in progress.

A lot of the time, a new attraction has to replace something, which means fans have had to say goodbye to a lot of their favorite rides over the years. For newer visitors, there are a handful of great attractions that they'll never get a chance to experience. They may be long gone, but they're certainly not forgotten.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in Magic Kingdom

Only those who visited Disney World's Magic Kingdom before 1998 would remember Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Despite that, it remains a classic, and one sorely missed. Inspired by the animated film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad from 1949, which itself is based on The Wind in the Willows, the dark-ride attraction saw riders entering one of Mr. Toad's newfangled motorcars and traveling through bright and fun scenes depicting Mr. Toad's disastrous story. It was one of the rides in Magic Kingdom on Disney World's opening day in 1971, and quickly became a fan-favorite.

Before it premiered in Orlando, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was an opening-day ride for Disneyland, which opened in 1955 in California, where it's still open and running today. For Disney World, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was a victim of budget cuts and desires to have more marketable attractions in the 1990s (via AllEars.net). Disney officials announced in 1998 that they were replacing the ride with a Winnie the Pooh attraction, and fans did not react well. Many protested and created campaigns to save the ride, but Disney World still went through with it, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride officially closed its doors on September 8, 1998.

While the replacement attraction is well-liked, fans of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride still feel the loss. Though it's not the same, there are still nods to the classic ride throughout Magic Kingdom, both in the new attraction and at the Haunted Mansion.

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter

Considering all the other attractions that have come and gone through Walt Disney World, ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter had a particularly short lifespan. Opening in 1995, this Tomorrowland attraction was one of the most intense thrill rides Disney has ever created. Then-CEO Michael Eisner even pushed back the opening in order to add special effects and recast characters to make it that much scarier. 

The story of the attraction was that some friendly aliens wanted to share their new teleportation technology with visitors, but they accidentally teleported a carnivorous, winged creature to the chamber holding park guests. The lights went dark and the creature started attacking staff, who ran around trying to send it back to where it came from.

Footage of the ride can still be viewed online, but because it was deemed too scary for Magic Kingdom, the ride was swiftly reimagined as Stitch's Great Escape. Disney recently announced that the replacement attraction would be following in ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter's footsteps and permanently closing, though it hasn't been operated since January 2018. The House of Mouse might have never planned to reopen the ride, or it may simply be another victim of the coronavirus' effect on the economy.

Since ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter closed, Disney has slowly added more thrill rides to its repertoire. Considering the Alien franchise is still alive and thriving, it's possible ExtraTERRORestrial was ahead of its time — or maybe it just wasn't meant to be a part of Disney World.

The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The most recent closure on this list, the Great Movie Ride used to be the centerpiece of Disney's Hollywood Studios, located inside the park's re-creation of the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. One of the park's opening-day attractions, the Great Movie Ride used audio-animatronics (featured in many Disney World attractions) to bring almost 50 well-known movie stars to life and to allow guests to travel through many famous scenes in film history — like Munchkinland from The Wizard of Oz and the final scene from Casablanca. 

Disney announced during the D23 Expo in 2017 that the Great Movie Ride would be closing. When the ride shut down on August 13, 2017, it became the last opening-day ride of Disney World's Hollywood Studios to do so.

The Great Movie Ride was eventually replaced by a new attraction centered around Mickey and Minnie Mouse: Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, which opened on March 4, 2020. While Runaway Railway is innovative and entertaining, the Great Movie Ride was the inspiration for the Hollywood Studios park and really honored the history of cinema — and though the Chinese Theatre facade survives, the old attraction will truly be missed.