As a Disney nerd, I spent most of my teenage years looking at what Disney was like before I started visiting and things I didn’t experience because I was too young, but those experiences no longer exist. For example, I wish I could’ve experienced EPCOT in the ’80s and seen it in its original form. EPCOT was pretty great in the early 2000s and is still my favorite park, even though it’s not perfect. There are so many things I wish I could’ve experienced, and I want to share a handful of those with you. Let’s jump into this list!
Birthday Cake Castle for the 25th Anniversary
October 1st, 1996, only two months before I was born, the infamous birthday cake castle came to life. The opinions on this castle are very split. Some people love the cake castle, and some strongly dislike it. This castle remodels lasted 15 months. This means I had been in Magic Kingdom when this existed, but I have no memory of this castle. Granted, I was only nine months old when I was in its presence. I know I would’ve been a massive fan of that castle if I had been a little older and aware in 1996 and 1997. Knowing me, I would’ve curated the perfect makeup look to match the castle during that time. I would’ve also bought all the merch with the castle on it.
Dreamfinder and Figment’s Imagination
Figment is one of my all-time favorite characters; he is so adorable. I have always wished I could’ve experienced his original attraction because anything is better than what it currently is. The initial attraction closed in 1998 and reopened in 1999, so there’s a slim chance that I rode the attraction, but I have no memory of it. I love that “One Little Spark” was in this attraction’s original and current versions. That song is one of my favorite Disney songs of all time. My dad and I would sing it to each other when I was younger; we also sang “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow” together all the time, so I hold those two songs close to me. I have watched plenty of videos on the original attraction, but that’s not the same as riding that version.
Body Wars at Epcot
I have small, very vague memories of the Wonders of Life Pavilion. I remember a few things here and there, like the film on babies and how they come to life. I remember that. I never got to ride Body Wars, and I know it’s just like Star Tours over in Hollywood Studios, but I would love to experience that attraction. Even though motion simulators make me nauseous, I would still have loved to ride that attraction. I want to see how the graphics were on the ride and compare them to our current technology. My dad is a nurse, so he loved that pavilion. I wish I could experience that now with him. After MetLife ended its sponsorship, this pavilion started to decline, leading to closure in 2007. This pavilion is supposed to become the PLAY! Pavilion, but who knows when that will open.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at Magic Kingdom
This attraction seemed so innovative, and I’ve always wanted to ride in a submarine, so it makes sense why I’d like to experience this. This ride lived in Fantasyland, which is hard to imagine while looking at the current version of the land. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea closed in 1994, so all I could see were the remains of this ride, Ariel’s Grotto. Does anyone remember the King Triton statue? I loved Ariel’s Grotto as a kid; it was such a fun space, even if it was mainly tables and chairs. It was such a colorful area, and it was quirky. This section was very different from the Fantasyland that exists now.
I’m curious to know which experiences or attractions at Disney you wish you could’ve done. Let us know in the comments!
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Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.