Three of the Most Controversial Attractions in Walt Disney World

The one thing that’s sure at Walt Disney World is that there will always be new experiences awaiting us. Over the years, the Imagineers have delighted us with technology that educates us, transports us to new dimensions, and immerses us in our favorite Disney movies.

To make way for all these innovations, unpopular and outdated attractions sometimes get the boot. Certain other offerings are phased out because they don’t fit the new theming or could be considered a step in the wrong direction. Disney World does have a reputation to maintain, after all. Ingrained in our minds forever will be some of these gone but not forgotten attractions that, for one reason or another, sparked some controversy.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Walt Disney World

3. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride – Ending Scene

With twists and turns on two separate tracks, it’s hard to remember all the fine details of this quirky dark ride. My own personal memory of this fan-favorite involved a friend’s little sister screaming in terror. She thought she was steering the car and running into everything, and the train crash did her in (she was maybe 4 years old). There have been many versions of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Disney parks around the globe, but the final Hell sequence in the Magic Kingdom’s version is something that might have you scratching your head. This was not part of the book or animated film, but Disney must have felt like this ride needed a little spicing up — because tight turns, beeping car horns, and strobe lights just aren’t enough.

Devil from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

A head devil who resembled the judge from a previous scene sent you on your way through fiery light effects where you were surrounded by cartoonish devils that wiggled up and down. The room was even heated to give you that extra sensory effect.

This ride was closed to make room for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. If you look to your left while traveling through Owl’s house, you can catch a glimpse of Mr. Toad in a Pooh-style portrait. You can also look for Mr. Toad’s gravestone in the pet cemetery outside of the Haunted Mansion.

2. The Jessica Rabbit Shop

Pleasure Island sign with Jessica Rabbit

You had to head outside of the Disney World theme parks to see this seductive sight. Pleasure Island in the original Downtown Disney was meant to be adult-themed, but even so, this store seemed a little over the top for Disney World. The Jessica Rabbit Shop sold lingerie, along with other Roger and Jessica Rabbit themed merch. Seeing a giant Vegas-style neon sign, complete with that long, shapely swinging leg might have caught some people off-guard. “I’m not bad,” Jessica Rabbit cooed famously in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” “I’m just drawn that way.” She was meant to be alluring, but demure, she was not. This store closed in the mid-’90s as the area began to undergo some retheming. If you got a chance to catch the three-story-tall Jessica Rabbit, we bet you were thinking, “Oh, Honey Bunny!”

1. The Making of Me

The Wonders of Life Pavilion had quite a few attractions that raised eyebrows of Disney’s more reserved guests. Quite possibly the most controversial attraction ever to open in Disney World, though, was The Making of Me. This film debuted in 1989 when the Wonders of Life first opened. The attraction was so controversial that a sign was placed outside to warn parents that they may not want to bring their littles ones to view it. What made The Making of Me so shocking for some was the inclusion of live footage of the birth process and illustrations of reproductive anatomy. Imagine spending your summer vacation sitting next to your dad through this mini Martin Short-led sex ed class. Even after though there were loads of complaints, this attraction remained open almost 18 years.

Martin Short in “The Making of Me”

Up until this year, you could still sit in the Making of Me theater during the Food and Wine festival every year, where a short film on wine production ran on a continuous loop. (The film is not being shown this year — the theater is now the site for annual passholder premium distribution.)

That’s our take on three of the most controversial attractions Walt Disney World has ever seen. Are there others that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Most controversial Disney World attractions

9 Replies to “Three of the Most Controversial Attractions in Walt Disney World”

  1. I feel that EPCOT is becoming less Magical. They lost Walt Disney’s idea and are now turning it into just another theme park. It used to be interesting, and yes I have visited WDW at least 25 times. Now I just feel it is becoming a park about Disney owned movie park. I miss the original ideas. I enjoyed Body Wars, The Norway ride and the original Figment ride.

  2. One correction needs to be made. The article states that Mr. Toad is “on the right” in Winnie The Pooh. Actually, he is on the left wall with Owl immediately when you go through the doors. Moley is on the right floor with Pooh. Yes I know I’m a nerd for pointing this out. LOL! Also the statue of Mr. Toad in the graveyard was actually removed for a while because it was damaged in a storm. He’s back now though.

  3. I enjoyed ExtraTerrorestrial because I appreciated the creativity behind it. I was very angry, however, when I saw the CMs warning parents that their young children in, but the parents insisted taking them in because THEY wanted to see it I shook my head. I heard so many kids screaming in terror in their that it was pathetic. The parents put themselves first and now the attraction is gone.

    1. I feel your pain Jan. Our daughter was four the first time we took her to Disney World. We headed straight to Fantasy Land. My wife needed to use the restroom, so I said, “no problem, I’ll just go ahead take her on a ride.” Well, that ride was Snow White, and she screamed the whole time and was afraid to ride another ride the rest of the day. Another family getting off the ride with us was saying, “where the hell was Smow White.” My wife will make sure i take that mistake to my grave.

  4. I see the ongoing dismantling of the original vision and philosophy of EPCOT as the current, and depressing, controversial changes.

    Taking Disney’s inspiring “big picture” historical and universal view of human technology and discovery and condensing it into a very narrow scoped and far less inspiring looks at the same topics. For example, they took the World of Motion, a detailed story of man’s discovery of modes of transportation, from cave man to space man, and shrunk it down to the narrow theme of making and testing a car. Every time I left the World of Motion, I wanted head to the nearest travel agent, book a trip and “hit the open road”. When I leave Test Track, I think about needing to change the oil in my car.

    Then there’s Horizons, the optimistic story man using technology and the pioneer spirit to conquer the otherwise inhospitable environments of deserts, oceans, and space. And what did the new age imagineers do? They replaced it with Mission-Space, a singular and less inspiring mechanically challenged flight to mars. Horizons left me wanting to better my world, while Mission-Space just leaves me a little nauseous.

    And the trend just continues from one attraction after another. The proud histories of Norway and Mexico now just cartoon rides. Imagination and the Living Seas just shells of their former selves as the creation of the worlds oceans (and life) from one drop of water to the great “deluge” was replaced with a Finding Nemo commercial.

  5. ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter? Probably one the most “Non-Disney” attractions. Despite all signs and warnings, I saw small children enter ( and be escorted out mid show ) every time I did this one.

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