Walt Disney Co. (DIS) theme parks occasionally shut down popular rides and attractions for extended periods of time for repairs, refurbishment and for construction projects.
Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando is scheduled to reopen its Star Wars Launch Bay attraction on July 17 after closing during the covid pandemic. Guests will be able to meet and greet Darth Vader, Chewbacca and BB-8 up close and personal in this Star Wars experience.
But there are many other attractions at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California that will soon be reopened and reintroduced to visitors, via roller coasters, trains, and even submarines.
Another experience at Walt Disney World, the railroad in the Magic Kingdom, shut down in December 2018 and has remained closed while the park builds its Tron Lightcycle Run roller coaster. The train ride is expected to reopen in October 2022 at the earliest and maybe in early 2023, Disney Tourist Blog reported.
Reimagined and Refurbished Rides Coming to Disney
Both Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., have announced plans to reimagine their "Song of the South"-themed Splash Mountain ride and convert the theme to its animated film "Princess and the Frog." No definite dates have been announced for the transition.
Disneyland and Disney World also have a history of removing some rides and attractions that never return. Disneyland in 1995 took the PeopleMover, which opened in 1967, out of Tomorrowland. The ride still exists at Magic Kingdom Walt Disney World in Florida. Disneyland also in 1993 removed the Motor Boat Cruise that had opened in 1959. Rocket Rods opened in May 1998 and closed in September 2000. Another rocket ride, Rocket Jets, opened in 1967 and closed in 1997, but returned in a redone Tomorrowland in 1998 as the Astro Orbiter.
The Anaheim park disappointed many guests by shutting down its popular Pirates of the Caribbean attraction on March 14, but recently announced that refurbishments would be complete on June 30.
At Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which still operates at Disneyland, opened in 1971, closed in September 1998 and was replaced by the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Other attractions to go away include Timekeeper, which opened in 1995 and closed in 2006; and ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter which opened in June 1995 and closed in October 2003, according to Fandom.com.
Magic Kingdom's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage traveled at the Disney park from 1971 until it closed in 1994. Disneyland had an earlier version of Submarine Voyage that opened in 1959 and closed in September 1998 because of the ride's age, low hourly capacity, and outdated special effects as well as high maintenance and labor costs, according to Fandom.com.
Popular Ride Will Have a Much Different look
The Disneyland version of the Submarine Voyage reopened in 2007 as Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, based on the Disney Pixar "Finding Nemo" animated film. However, the covid pandemic forced its closure in March 2020, which prompted Disney into a two-year refurbishment of the popular ride.
When the ride first opened in 2007, wait times for the ride were often an hour and a half or two hours. The attraction isn't always the most comfortable ride inside for some adults as the submarine's low ceiling can make peering through the portholes difficult.
The good news for fans is that Walt Disney Imagineering, the Disneyland resort and Pixar have spent the past two years updating and improving the ride, adding new colors, new lighting, special effects, projections, 3,000 coral pieces and about 12,000 feet of seaweed, which measures out to about 2 miles of seaweed, according to a Disney video on its website.
The refurbished ride will also feature a new character, septopus Hank from the "Finding Nemo" sequel "Finding Dory." Fans of the ride can celebrate its new look when it reopens on July 25, according to Disney Parks Blog. If you want to know why Hank is a septopus instead of an octopus, read this from Disney fandom.