I Miss the Little Things

Jack Spence Masthead

Things are constantly changing in the Disney parks and hotels. Sometimes we like the changes, sometimes we don’t. But like it or not, things are going to keep changing so we might as well get used to it. As I like to point out to people who grumble about change, if the parks didn’t grow and evolve, at Disneyland brassieres would still be sold on Main Street and bathroom fixtures would be on display in Tomorrowland. Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop us from waxing nostalgic for the “good ol’ days.”

Sometimes it’s obvious why the Imagineers remove or change something. Sometimes it’s not. I like to believe that they always have a good and compelling reason when they tinker with the parks, but sometimes I believe it comes down to simple economics. It’s cheaper to do without.

Today’s blog will not be about the big changes that have taken place at Walt Disney World over the years, but rather the little things. We all miss the full-scale attractions like the Skyway, Mickey Mouse Review, Horizons, and World of Motion. But these attractions have all been lamented over in numerous articles through the years. Today I want to talk about the small stuff. The details. And minutiae.

So here we go. I’ll start with the Magic Kingdom.

I miss slow days. When I lived in California, I always visited Walt Disney World over its anniversary on October 1st. I found the weather tolerable and the crowds more than manageable at this time of year. That’s not the case anymore. Now seasons at the Disney parks can be sorted into two categories, Busy, and Very Busy. Even January, which used to be the slowest month of the year, is hectic nowadays.

Disney is a business. And contrary to what many think, their primary goal is to make money, not magic. Because of this, the Disney marketing team is constantly coming up with new ways to entice people to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth. I understand this, and accept it, but I still miss my beloved Octobers of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.

These next two pictures were taken right after the Magic Kingdom opened (9am) sometime in early October, 1989. When was the last time you saw Main Street this empty during the day?

Main Street

Main Street

I miss breakfast at Tony’s Town Square Café. If you want a full-fledged morning meal in the Magic Kingdom, you can either go to Cinderella’s Royal Table or the Crystal Palace, both character meals. Not everyone wants to pay extra to dine with Tigger, Pooh, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. Some of us would like eggs & bacon sans characters.

One of my fondest memories of the Magic Kingdom is enjoying a Christmas morning breakfast on Tony’s porch, watching the holiday guests arrive.

Tony's Town Square Café

I miss the House of Magic on Main Street. As a kid, I loved going into the Magic Shop at Disneyland and marveling at the magician’s slight-of-hand illusions. I also loved browsing the merchandise racks in this shop, longing to buy a marked deck of cards or a fly suspended in plastic that looked like an ice cube. These were good times and have provided me with good memories.

I didn’t start visiting Walt Disney World until I was an adult, but the kid in me still enjoyed the illusionist and the shelves stocked full of tricks and gags found in the House of Magic on Main Street. Unfortunately, magic tricks and gags don’t bring in as much cash as Disney souvenirs and magicians are paid more than sales clerks.

House of Magic

I miss the large trees that once graced the Hub. These beautiful old oaks provided shade and softened the overall feel of this area. And in the evening, they lit up with hundreds of make-believe fireflies. These trees were removed to provide more viewing opportunities when Disney started projecting images on the castle as part of their nighttime entertainment.

Big Trees on the Hub

Big Trees on the Hub

Big Trees on the Hub

Small Trees on the Hub

Small Trees on the Hub

I already miss the recently removed Rose Pavilion that was razed as part of the Hub makeover. This was such a wonderful place to escape and relax.

Rose Pavilion

Missing Rose Pavilion

Here is an artist rendering of what the new Hub will look like when complete.

Hub Artist Concept Drawing

I miss the rocking chairs that once sat beneath the arbor next to Liberty Tree Tavern. This was a wonderful place to sit and people watch. I don’t know why these were removed as rocking chairs still exist in Frontierland and in front of Exposition Hall on Main Street.

Liberty Tree Tavern

I miss Aunt Poly’s. This spot on Tom Sawyer Island once served cold fried chicken, ham sandwiches, chips, and brownies. It was a wonderful place to have lunch and escape from the crowds.

Aunt Poly's

I miss the log cabin on fire as seen from the Liberty Belle Riverboat. I realize that burning gas for this prop was wasteful, but I was okay with the cellophane fire effect that replaced the real flames. I mean, if you can accept the “statuesque” moose and deer on the banks of the river, fake fire is okay. Now this all-but-forgotten structure isn’t even mentioned by Sam Clemens or Captain Horace Bixby as we pass by.

Log Cabin


Over at Epcot, I miss the Lucite work-of-art that sat on top of the fountain in front of Spaceship Earth. Well, that’s not really true. By the time the Imagineers got around to refreshing this fountain, the Lucite was looking pretty tired and dated. But I do feel this fountain looks naked without something eye-catching perched on top of it. Disney must agree on some level because they occasionally use this spot during the annual Flower and Garden show.

Epcot Fountain

Epcot Fountain

Epcot Fountain

I miss Dreamfinder. Enough said.


I miss the double-decker buses that once circled World Showcase. I admit, they really didn’t offer good transportation around this promenade, but I loved sitting on the upper level for a different perspective of the countries. But alas, the large crowds of today would not grant these stately vehicles safe passage.

Double Decker Bus

I miss the flamingos that once enjoyed the waters near the Mexico Pavilion. They were beautiful to watch and added atmosphere to the area.


I miss the song that played in the old “El Rio del Tiempo” attraction, “Ola Mis Amigos.” I like the re-imagining of this attraction to include the Three Caballeros. And I understand why this song was retired. But I still miss it. It was a catchy tune.

El Rio del Tiempo

I miss the Viking ship playground that once sat beside the Norway Pavilion. Not that I played on it, but I did enjoy watching kids getting lost in make-believe. This mini-attraction was removed due to safety concerns.

Viking Ship

I miss long trains on the miniature railroad at the Germany Pavilion. By ‘long train’ I mean an engine pulling six or seven cars and a caboose at the end. I can’t remember when I last saw more than a single vehicle traveling along the tracks here.

Germany Trains

Germany Trains

In the same pavilion I miss the movement of the wooden oompah band inside the Der Teddybär shop. At one time, this cute display perched in the rafters of the store was animated. But alas, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen these characters move to the rhythm of their music. I hope this lack of movement is on someone’s punch list and these characters will be brought back to life someday soon.

Oompah Band

In the France Pavilion I miss the second story of Plume et Palette. At one time, this space was an art gallery and sold prints of the French masters. This spot also offered wonderful views of the World Showcase promenade.

France Pavilion

France Pavilion

France Pavilion

At the Canada Pavilion, I miss the fine shop that was located within the Hôtel du Canada. The merchandise here was more refined and genteel compared to the goods sold in the Northwest Mercantile located on the lower level of the pavilion.

Canada Shop

Canada Shop

Canada Shop

At the Coral Reef Restaurant, I miss butter shaped like Mickey Mouse. It was fun to cut his head off.

Mickey Butter

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

At Sci-Fi Dine-In I miss the clever menu names that were once offered here. Most selections had sci-fi appropriate names such as “Onion Rings of Saturn,” “Milky Way Shake,” and “Monster Mashed Potatoes.” Now the menu offers standard names with no imagination. I also miss the roller-skating servers.

Sci-Fi Dine-In

On the Great Movie Ride, I miss the rotating Busby Berkeley Girls. When this attraction first opened, each level of this circular platform revolved opposite the level below. It added some pizzazz to an otherwise boring tableau. But due to technical problems, this movement was discontinued and a scrim was added to help hide this embarrassing display.

Come on Disney. How difficult can it be to rotate these plastic-looking girls?

Busby Berkeley Girls

Anyone who has taken the Studio Backstage Tour knows that you visit Catastrophe Canyon. After experiencing this special effect, the tram drives around behind the make-believe scenery to reveal how the magic is created. When I took this tour in October 1994, I snapped this picture of a sign posted on one of the electrical control boxes.

You're Fired Sign

You're Fired Sign

This sign cracked me up because it was so un-Disney. It was so un-magical. I’m sure this is why it was removed. But I miss it.

In the fall of 2009, Imagineers tested an animatronic version of Pixar’s Luxo Jr. (the dancing lamp). Every 15-20 minutes, Luxo Jr. made an appearance across the street from Toy Story Mania. Perched on a stage above the crowd, this cute little fellow danced to a variety of tunes. The passing crowd would come to a standstill as Luxo Jr. went through his routine. However, he was discontinued soon after his debut with no official explanation. Luxo Jr. was cute. I miss him.

Luxo Jr.

Luxo Jr.

I miss the unobstructed view of the Chinese Theater at the end of Hollywood Blvd.

Chinese Theater

I miss the vehicles that were once parked on Hollywood Blvd, Sunset Blvd, and New York Street. I’m sure they were removed to accommodate larger crowds, but they added a touch of realism.

Street Vehicles

Street Vehicles

Street Vehicles

I miss the coin-operated rocking horse that stood in front of Celebrity 5&10 on Hollywood Blvd. As a kid, I often begged my mother to let me ride similar machines that were strategically place in front of our local food market. I have seen this Disney horse come and go over the years, but it’s been quite a while since its last appearance. I suspect upkeep on this machine became more than maintenance wanted to deal with.

Mechanical Rocking Horse

Animal Kingdom

Since the Animal Kingdom is the newest park at Walt Disney World, it has seen fewer changes over the years. But there are still a few things I miss. The first are the scarlet ibis that once greeted guests just passed the ticket booths. Their vivid color always impressed me.

Scarlet Ibis

I know that in any zoo, the exhibits are constantly changing, but I still look for the return of the scarlet ibis someday.

Also on the Oasis are the “tunnel” rock formations. Similar underpasses spanned both the west and east passageways leading to Discovery Island. These portals provided a nice transition into the main park. About a year ago, the upper rock portions were removed on both walkways.


Missing Tunnels

When this happened, I figured management needed a higher clearance for vehicles to pass beneath. However when I asked a cast member, I was told that water had seeped into the fake rocks and damaged the structure beyond reasonable repair. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I miss the tunnels.

I miss the name “Countdown to Extinction”, the original name for the Dinosaur attraction. I also miss the menacing triceratops that once stood sentinel.

Countdown to Extinction

To help promote the 2000 Disney movie “Dinosaur,” Michael Eisner had the attraction’s name changed to “Dinosaur” and the triceratops replaced with Aladar, the friendly iguanodon that starred in the movie. The film was mildly successful, but certainly not counted among one of the Disney greats.


I understand the importance of Disney tie-ins, but I wish they had left this attraction’s name and mascot alone.

In the spring of 2012, a branch fell from the Tree of Life. No one was harmed, but it was an alarming event. As safety is always top priority with Disney, they immediately took action to make sure no guest could be harmed while they investigated and repaired this and any other trouble spots. To that end, they built open-air canopies over the Discovery Island Nature Trails and portions of the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” queue.

Protective Covers

I totally understand Disney’s move and I applaud their quick response. But now I feel like I’m in a cage and my view of the Tree of Life diminished. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someday, after all repairs have been made, these canopies will be removed.

Downtown Disney

Over at Downtown Disney, the Empress Lilly riverboat (Fulton’s) is missing its paddlewheel.


Missing Paddlewheel

I have no idea why it was removed. It added realism to the structure. Without the paddlewheel, the boat looks stupid. Once again, I suspect this was an upkeep issue and management didn’t want to spend the money.

I miss the personalized swizzle sticks and fruit picks that every resort and restaurant once offered. These made wonderful souvenirs.

Swizzle Sticks

Okay. Now it’s your turn. Tell me what LITTLE things you miss. Please don’t tell me you miss the Adventurers’ Club or Horizons. These are BIG things and we all miss them. I’m looking for small details that help promote the magic. The “stop and smell the roses” stuff.

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171 Replies to “I Miss the Little Things”

  1. Ok. I know I am way behind on reading this but I just had to post the one thing I miss. There use to be a statue of Pleakly from Lilo and Stitch in Tomorrowland. Everytime we visited my husband got a picture of me hugging him. A few years ago he disappeared and no cast member can tell me why.


  2. I finally got around to reading this last night, and ended up an hour past my bedtime, but I could’t stop reading. As pointed out by many readers, your blog was a trip down memory lane. So may things one could say, but I think they were all well-covered, and with great emotion. I even learned about a few things that I guess we never discovered throught the years. I am glad I took so many pictures, even with my kids howling about all the posing. We can’t afford to visit much any more, so I learned through your blog of some of the changes. Someone mentioned missing Art the Greeter. I had a nice conversation with him one slow day. He was a humble man, and I am sure he is part of the magic that many guests remembered that stayed at the Beach Club. One change I noticed was that the hotels no longer provide logo-themed stationary. Instead of postcards, I always wrote short letters, but at some point they either quit providing paper and envelopes, or they were out when I was visiting. Like everything else, probably too expensive. I noticed long ago that many of our pictures were taken in those off-the-beaten-path locations which are now gone. On a side note, someone mentioned that the barber shop is now merchandising rather than haircuts? We first went to WDW on our anniversary in 1975. One of the things I could never justify the cost of was getting a razor shave there, but I vowed I would do it someday. The year I was going to finally do it, they had stopped doing it because of the blood-bourn laws, so I just got the haircut.

    I had hoped that Disney would pull off the proposed park out east, and that it would relieve some of the congestion in Florida, but I guess a 3rd park is off the table. We would like to be at the World with the group of people that read your blogs. You touch a chord of harmony with readers. Birds-of-a-feather sort of group.

    My wife and I are going to spend a couple of days at Vero Beach the next time we come down. I have never talked to anyone that has even been there. I am hoping that it holds the same Disney magic that we need, though we realize there is a radical diffference. I need to check the archives to see if you did a blog on it. I hope you are enjoying your new home. As has been said by many…keep up the great job you are doing. You have kept the memories alive for so many of us long after our visits to Disney.


  3. I miss the Pirate and Princess Party and the counter service kids meal plates/containers that were shaped like Mickey’s head.

  4. I miss the releasing of Tinkerbell in the little shop by the castle. I miss hunting for paint brushes at Tom Sawyer Island. Also many more that jab already been posted… But I still love WDW.

  5. I know I’m a little late to the party on this, but I wanted to add my two cents. My first trip to Disney World was in 1994 when I was four. Since then, I’ve gone to Disney World 10 times and my last trip was just a few weeks ago!

    So, little things I miss:

    1. This one isn’t really Disney’s fault, but I miss talking to other guests as you wait in line. Now everyone (including me unfortunately) will have their phone out, or if they (or I) don’t, they still will give you strange looks if you just start talking to them.

    2. I too miss the paper fastpasses. It took us almost the whole trip to really get the hang of the new fastpasses. With the paper ones, we could be more spontaneous and we got to get more of them. On this last trip, (it might have been confusion on our part, the part of the cast members, or maybe things changed mid-trip) we were told that once you use a fast pass at one park, you cannot get more at a different park. What is the point of park hopping then?

    3. I do miss the lessened crowds. Maybe when I was younger I didn’t pay much attention to them, but the parks seem to be teeming with people everywhere you go now. My brother and I showed our Disney Side at this year’s 24-hour day, and one reason why I loved it was that, for obvious reasons, the crowds were extremely light at 4:00 a.m. We walked straight on to Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.

    4. I miss PUSH. I used to LOVE PUSH the trashcan. I would stalk around EPCOT looking for that trashcan.

    5. I miss the themed “Celebrations,” and all the effort that was clearly put into each of them. I loved Millennium Celebration and all that came with it. I fell in love with EPCOT during that trip. 100 years of magic was also fun.

    6. I miss being able to meet with characters without having to wait in extremely long lines. I miss seeing them in more random places throughout the park (like in the Teacups or on Dumbo).

    7. I miss being a child at Disney World. The place was SO magical as a kid. It still has that magic for me, but I truly believed in the magic when I was younger. I know that has nothing to do with changes at the Disney Parks, but it place a huge factor in how I view the parks now.

  6. The first time we took our daughter to DW was in 1987. By accident we boarded the sky ride just as the fire works were going off. SCORE!! Then it became a family tradition. Sure miss that.

  7. I may be in the minority here, but I miss the Monorail stopping at every resort. The express monorail is fine, I suppose, but it was just somehow better when both clockwise and counter-clockwise, the Monorail stopped at the Contemporary, the Grand Floridian, and the Polynesian.

    I miss all the more unique souvenirs, too. Things specific to each park and various attractions in each parks. Now, it’s all lumped together under the generic “Disney Parks”.

  8. Erin, I think it was Listen to the land we all love natures plan will shine above listen to the L A N D , listen to the land ….. Love that song I had a record of it once. I miss Kitchen Cabaret. Broccoli and his cool purple sunglasses , Cha cha cha! Veggie veggie fruit fruit song.
    And the first carousel of progress song. Now is the time , now is the best time my friends and I had the memorized. still do.
    Monorail Purples at the Top of the World Lounge.
    Crockets Tavern When it was a restaurant by itself not part of the Buffet, They had the best wings.
    You could take a late night cruise around bay lake and you could get drinks and hear music.

    K surah surah (not sure of the spelling lol)

  9. If it doesn’t bring in money but simply makes people smile, then it doesn’t seem to be considered important enough to maintain. I like that statement from an earlier post.
    Miss the free little touches. A rattan basket with shell shaped chocolates on your bed at night at Grand Fl., The M&M machines on the table at 1900 park fare, The nice shell lei’s at the Luau, Miss the Good Turn and those little carrot muffin’s, Miss Alfredo’s and the stuffed mushrooms, The Magic Shop could have stayed all day in there guess that is why it’s gone :(, Coconino Cove at the Contemporary, 20,000 Leagues, If you had wings, The Orig. Journey Into imagination, When they greeted you at Poly with an Aloha! Alien No Stich, Double decker buses, When you could actually rife all the rides in one day if you got there early and stayed late. With NO fast pass, You could make a dining reservation for next week,month, now forget if you miss the 180 day start. You didn’t get trampled after the fireworks or parade. Imageworks love the new things too. But miss my youth in the old. 🙂

  10. Our family used to look forward to the Millionaire attraction in MGM every year. While the TS ride is a great addition, we are really missing that audience participation and fun that was millionaire!

  11. Thanks so much for bringing back some memories. I’ve got a list of things I miss too.Fort Wilderness ResortI miss the steam train that circled the campsite. While I know it wasn’t properly built or even run by real train engineers, it was a small additive to the experience.I also miss being able to ride the tram around the campground. It was an easy way to just waste 30 minutes or so. Now all they have are buses. Not as much fun.I miss the Marsh Mallow Marsh. Every night, behind The Meadows Trading Post on the dock, you would gather with other campers and get into canoes and paddle out towards the beach at Bay Lake. There you would walk to the beach to some fire pits and then sing songs and roast marshmallows. It was great on cold nights. Then you would paddle back to the trading post.I miss being able to canoe all over the waterways of Fort Wilderness. Upkeep of the water routes had gone undone for years and the water level has dropped so drastically that it’s almost impossible to get a canoe through there now.I miss the floating docks and slides that used to be off the beach in Bay Lake. You would swim out to them and be able to climb on them and slide off into the lake. I miss swimming in Bay Lake. That was one of the coolest things when you were a kid. I understand the health concerns now but still miss it.Around Fort Wilderness, they used to have actual forts instead of these “standard” playground sets. You used to have to use your imagination a lot more and have battles occur at the fort.I miss the feel of isolation when you went camping. Your campsite, whether it be a tent, camper or even renting one from Disney, had a lot more trees, bushes and nature blocking your site. There used to be trails in between them but it was rare if you could see your neighbor. Now, there seems to be nothing but a few trees and bushes but you can clearly see your neighbor. Not sure if it was for fire hazards or just reducing the maintenance work.I miss the old arcade in The Meadows Trading Post that is now all important retail. Not even camping gear but just the normal stuff you can buy in any other Disney store. The double doors are still there as is the side door.I miss the arcade in Trails End buffet. On the lower part, there were air hockey games and video games. It was just very cool to go down after eating but I guess it got replaced for more seats and tables.Contemporary I miss the old arcade. On the first floor was a huge arcade that had a very large amount of games. It had the older 80’s games, those great air hockey games and a wide variety. There was also a really quick snack bar down with it that sold hot dogs and sandwiches.I miss the way the pool used to actually be surrounded by water from Bay Lake. It was so unique and cool just to see that but now it is surrounded by the beach. Not sure if the water level has gone down over the years or more sand was put in.Lake Buena Vista (aka Downtown Disney Marketplace)I really miss the original Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village. It was so intimate and not overly decorated like the places are today. It had some small stores and there was even a play area that had a climbing ad slide structure that kind of looked like a big water bucket with a spout. I know that it was expanded for the sake of growth and getting more money out of guests pockets but I do miss that original part.The Magic KingdomI’ll list some rides I miss cuz I know a lot have pages dedicated to them.If You Had WingsStar JetsMission to MarsThe original Grand Prix Racers (Before the track reduction)SkywayMr. Toads20,000 Leagues Under the SeaThis isn’t a ride but a ride was added. I miss the wide open area in Adventureland where Aladdin’s Flying Carpets are. Why did they feel the need to drop that in there? They already had 2 other similar type rides in the park. It now just congests that area.OK, on to the smaller items I miss.End of Main Street heading into the Tomorrowland Terrace there used to be a wall that blocked the view of the back of Main Street. Now it’s wide open and you can see the backs of the buildings and it looks a lot less magical and inconspicuous as it used to be. Not sure if they are planning anything there with the hub rehab or what but I hope they do. It’s hideous.I also miss the Magic Store on Main Street. I miss that extra wing on the side of Mainstreet that had the Barbershop in it. Now we have more retail space. Just what is needed.I miss the Penny Arcade on Main Street. Great way to use those pennies in your pocket and yest, they had machines that took pennies.I miss the two tall fountains that stood on each side to the entrance to Tomoorowland. I know it doesn’t go with the new look it got back in 94 but speaking of that, I miss the old, white and clean cut Tomorrowland. I miss the queues for Alpha and Omega and then being able to look up and seeing the glowing rockets ride along the track.I miss the original ending to Space Mountain where you saw the “Home of Future Living”. You could see another part when you rode through on the WEDWAY People Mover. It had an upstairs.I miss the other Magic Store just behind Cinderella’s Castle. While smaller than it’s counterpart on Main Street, it was every bit as cool.I miss the original Haunted Manson queue and this goes to all the queues. Since when did we become so impatient that we had to be entertained while waiting by these games and other things while waiting in line?I miss not hearing a Spanish announcer for The Haunted Mansion when getting into your DoomBuggie. I miss The Mile Log Bar in Frontierland. I miss the old Frontierland train station. While it was small, it was very cool.I miss the “shooting” guns in the fort on Tom Sawyer’s Island. You would climb into the tower and there would be a couple of mounted rifles that would make shooting noises and steam would come out too.I miss the small arcade outside of Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s closed up now but it was in that same general courtyard.I miss the skeleton that would tell you, “Dead men tell no tales” just as you’re about to go over the waterfall in Pirates.EpcotI too miss the fountain topper before Spaceship Earth.I miss the original Innoventions. So many cool things in there.Original Universe of Energy. The foggy mist, the smells of the first swamp were so cool.The “ice cave” that turned into club cool. You would go in there and there would be snow, or shredded ice, on the floor and you could make snowballs.I miss the Hydrolators in The Living Seas.I also miss the entrance to it with the waves splashing against rocks.The original Journey into Imagination playground on the second floor. So many things to do there.OK. I guess this is enough for this submission. It was nice to be able to “vent” like this and also see yours.

  12. This was so beautiful. I found myself having nostalgia for things I haven’t seen before. I wish I could have been able to visit this Disney 🙁

  13. I miss these:

    *The Orange Bird and all the good treats you could get at the Sunshine Tree Terrace. I know they brought it back, but it wasn’t the same.

    *The elevator in The Seas. That use to be such an awesome attraction. The first time I carried my daughter, she wanted to take the manatee home. He could stay in her bath tub she claimed.

    *The young Chinese acrobats in the China pavillion at EPCOT.

    *The candy lady could give the candy away at the Japan pavillion at EPCOT.

  14. It hasn’t been that long, but our family misses Art The Greeter in the Beach Club Lobby. Always a smile, so happy in his work. He made you feel that you were TRULY back home.

  15. The absolute favorite thing for me on all my trips was riding in the front of the monorail. I am going back to DW this July and was so looking forward to that ride. My favorite picture is one with my husband and granddaughter in the front with the Contemporary in the background. And of course riding into the Contemporary. I see on your blog people saying they miss that. Why can’t you ride in the front anymore?

    Jack’s Answer:

    There was a tragic accident involving the monorail cabs a couple of years ago. For safety reasons, the cabs have been off limits to guest ever since.

  16. SIGH!!
    Ah Jack,
    What a lovely trip down memory lane.
    I miss the flower carts, the magic shop, riding in front on the monorail and getting a co-pilot license, Mr. Toad,Tapestry of Nations parade and the old shops on Main Street, and now the Rose Pavilion!
    I am excited about the new Lion King Theatre, the new night-time at the AK Park and 7 Dwarfs Mine train. Ah well, the older we get, the more we miss.
    On a different note: I did visit Aulani when I went to Hawaii 2 weeks ago. WOW it was beautiful and only paid $10.00 for an hour

  17. Great article! I have been visiting Disney World since my first birthday (I’m about to turn 35) and while it remains a favorite place, there are definitely things I miss!

    -Decent room rates. I remember when Florida residents could get room rates at a moderate for $60 and rooms at the values for $40. Everything has gotten so expensive that as frequent visitors, we are often priced out and stay off property.
    -Slow seasons when you could go and really enjoy the parks with no crowds.
    -Spontaneous restaurant visits. I do not like having to decide where to eat 6 months in advance! We rarely book our trips that far out.
    -The flower carts on Main Street. One of my all time favorite childhood pictures was taken there!
    -Unique merchandise. One of my favorite souvenirs as a kid was a special Minnie Mouse dressed in a silk kimono that could only be purchased in Japan in Epcot. Everything is the same everywhere now and it’s sad.
    -Free demos at the food and wine festival.
    -The original Rio del Tiempo ride in Mexico.
    -The poacher scenario on Kilimanjaro Safaris- kinda anticlimactic at the end now!
    -20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    -Snow White’s Scary Adventures
    -Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
    -People having a sense of decency- I saw some outfits this past weekend that were pretty offensive to a theme park (much better suited to a nightclub)

    Soooooo many changes over the years! Still love it but there are so many things I wish had stayed the same.

  18. As always, great blog!!

    At the Magic Kingdom, I miss the firehouse and the small movie theater where Town Square Theater now exists that also had photo-op cutouts of characters and scenes. I remember one rainy afternoon in which we had the place to ourselves. Pluto came through and played hide & seek and fetch with my kids for about 30 minutes. I also miss the flower cart area that was removed to enlarge the Emporium on Main Street. I miss the gear at the Carousel of Progress that had the year on it. I miss the golden bow on the horse at Cinderella’s Carousel and her story told with pictures inside the ride. I miss the trees with the twinkle lights around the hub.

    I miss the Christmas music fountain show at EPCOT and the arches. I miss the ride inside the Living Sea that went around the aquarium areas. I miss the open entrance area before Leave a Legacy was there. I miss Rome burning in Spaceship Earth. I miss the double-decker buses.

    I miss the working animation studio at MGM (miss the name, too). I miss the view before the Sorcerer’s Hat was installed.

    I miss riding with the pilots (conductors?) on the monorail. I miss the kids’ plastic cups that were specialized for each park and the printed Disney napkins. I miss the old fast pass system and lower ticket prices. 🙂

  19. Hi Jack,

    Sorry Im checking in late. Once again another great article. I too miss many of the things you do Jack. For one I think that fountain looks naked without those Lucite panels. Would like to see them replaced. In addition here is my list of things I miss:

    – The Wonders of Life Pavilion
    – The bleachers and cartoons in Caseys
    – That little theater that use to be in the back of the Exhibition Hall.
    – I noted the projected animation of Brier Rabit skipping away from home, over the hillside is missing from Splash Mountain following the most resent refurb.
    – Candle lighting/flicker bulbs. I have noticed more and more of these are being replaced with standard conventional bulbs. It really diminishes the atmosphere. Many areas in Frontierland, Thunder Mountain, and Pirates just do not look the same without them. Disney is known for its attention to detail. It seems to be loosing more and more of it every year.
    – Going hand in hand with this I miss the lower lite areas. If anyone has noticed this last refurb of Pirates has brightened everything up. The loading area is much more bright and whats really disapointing is the new back lighting of the wall on the far side of the Lagoon at the bottom of the drop. This area across from the Ship use to be pitch black leaving an air of mystery and feeling that it went on forever into nothingness. Now its bright and ruins the effect.
    – I miss the peg leg marks in the exit ramp of Pirates.
    – I miss being able to choose the left or right Que (and getting to see the different decore of both). Now many attractions have converted the right Que over to Fast Pass and the Left to Standby. You no longer get a choice.
    – I miss “There be rough waters ahead” anounced before the drop on Pirates.
    – I miss the “Barker Bird” on Pirates.

    Im sure there are quite a few things I miss but they are not coming to mind right now and my list is pretty long as it is. I guess at the end of the day thats what they call Progress. Lol. BTW, Have a magical day!

  20. Thanks, Jack, for the reminiscing.

    I miss Mickey piloting his boat (photo op) as you entered “Fittings and Fairings Clothes and Notions” in the Yacht Club shop! And then they removed the ships wheel and port and starboard (red and green) lights from the waiting area just outside Captain’s Grille.
    I think you might have posted a picture of Mickey in his boat – a small version of “Breathless”, I think?

  21. I miss hearing that my party from Saturn had arrived and I needed to give them a ring while on the TTA. And if the secret message that had fallen from the sign in the ToT lobby between the libraries is gone for good, then I miss that, too. It certainly is the little things.

  22. I miss the old Mickey soap—it was still H2O branded, but it had such a unique smell that anytime I smelled one of the newly opened bars, it would just flood me with memories of previous trips.

    Also, as a kid I LOVED the mac and cheese at Dixie Landing. Even when we started staying at All-star Sports in the mid-90’s, we would make a trip all the way to D.L. just so I could get an order. Now, when you order the mac and cheese (like I did at Pop Century 2 weeks ago), you get a scoop of cold cavatappi noodles topped off with two scoops of nacho-cheese. Gag!

  23. I miss the old “voice acting” on the people mover in magic kingdom (though precariously it technically doesnt move people from point a to b its just a loop). the new voice acting just isn’t the same. my favorite part was ” paging tom, mr tom morrow”. but the way its said now isn’t the same.

    Im also one of the few people that misses paying for the extra time at night. when they use to have this feature, very few people took advantage of it and the park was virtually yours (as a kid, it was awesome riding buzz lightyear without getting off). I understand the business side of making it more appealing to stay on-site, but its something illl miss.

    Finally a comment on the future. I will miss fastpass tickets (do they still have these or is it all myw wristbands now?). I use to go around the park and get all fastpasses and not use them. it was free disney memorabilia. It’ll be a sad day when all of these booths are gone

  24. The littlest thing I miss is the chariot that would appear in the Rome scene of Spaceship Earth… though I know it’s no longer there, I still wait with anticipation for it to appear and leave disappointed when it doesn’t.

    I miss the Adventurers Club and its hodgepodge of characters…Kungalush! I also miss the New Years celebration every night at Pleasure Island.

    Even being a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, I miss Mr Toad’s Wild Ride and the headlight of the train that would come at you only for you to veer off at the last minute.

    We miss the fire trucks at the firehouse.

    We miss the old entrance to Ice Station Cool.

    We miss Main Street Bakery.

    My son misses the crash wall at test track and the elements test (acid rain) there as well.

    So glad the Tiki Room is back!

  25. Jack, this is not relevant to this blog, but to your response about characters. I have always felt the same way. When we took our daughters to character meals, I would make sure I sat in a position where the characters could not “interact” with me. I don’t want to be the center of attention while the character is next to me. This is the same reason I will never go to Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor in Tomorrowland, because I just know I will be picked as “that guy.” I avoid any attraction involving “audience participation.” It’s just not me.

  26. I miss the lights that framed the Grand Floridian and all the pavilions at epcot. I also miss the different menus at each restaurant in world, since the meal plan was implemented it seems the menu is basically the same in all restaurants. The final thing I miss is the resort and theme park specific merchandise

  27. The crowds…uhg, the crowds!!! I miss the slow days where you could casually stroll around the parks and take in everything! And I mean EVERYTHING! I love the details but, these days, there’s just no time.

    Great post as always!


  28. As always, LOVE your blog. I miss the flower cart area that was removed with the Emporium expansion on Main Street. We took pictures there every year since my first visit at 10 years old with my Grandpa. I miss the gold bow on the horse on Cinderella’s carousel and her story told in pictures around the top of the carousel. I miss the year shown on the gears at Carousel of Progress (another annual picture spot). I miss the old fire station. At EPCOT I miss the unobstructed view of Spaceship Earth at the main entrance. I miss the ice cream store that is now a Starbuck’s. I really miss the Christmas songs fountain show and the arches. My husband misses the yards of beer at the Rose Crown & Pub. At Hollywood Studios, I miss the working animation studio. I miss the horse ridden by Mary Poppins display in the Great Movie Ride. I miss being able to ride with the pilot on the monorail and I miss lower ticket prices

  29. Wow – this post sure got people responding! Brilliant idea. You really push a few buttons on this one…

    We just took our 15th trip in April, and even though we had lots of new stuff to deal with (FP+ challenges, no Main St Bakery, etc), we still managed to have a great time. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a ‘small thing’, but my family is all in agreement that we miss the SpectroMagic nighttime parade in MK. Sorry, the Electric Light Parade or the main Street Electrical Parade or whatever it is called does NOT cut it for us. However, that means we do get some time to hit rides while everyone else is lined up for it, so that helps! And since we thoroughly enjoyed the new daytime parade (first time we ever lined up for one during the day), I guess it evens out.

    And I miss being able to get non-expiring tickets thru Disney, using my Disney Visa Rewards points to purchase them. We can still get them through other ticket suppliers, at least for now, but it used to feel like we were getting them for free (and yes, I know better, but since I wasn’t handing over cash that’s how it felt). Oh, well.

  30. Great post Jack. I’m getting a list together, but I wanted to ask if you have ever done a blog on the evolution of the Character Costumes? or maybe unique characters that have been spotted? I think that would be interesting. If you have already done this, could you email me link!

    Thanks for your blogging. We really enjoy it.

    Jack’s Answer:

    When I was a kid, I was terrified of Santa Clause. In all my youth, I only sat on his lap once and that was only because I was visiting a department store with my younger cousin and I could not be shown-up by his bravery and my cowardice. I hated the experience.

    Although I am not afraid of characters today, they still are not anything I seek out. I have almost no pictures of me and the characters in all my travels to the Disney parks worldwide. Today, I only get my picture taken with a character for the sake of AllEars. I avoid character meals like the plague.


    I have never written a blog about characters and the chances of me doing so are slim to none. Sorry. 😉

  31. Thank you for this quite sweet blog! I love and embrace change (as it sounds like you do too) but still, I think it’s completely natural to miss the way things were when we first fell in love with Disney. I want to share two memories this blog brough up (and brought a smile and happy tear to my eyes as I thought of these memories of my past).

    The Magic store: My first trip to Disney (that I can remember-I went when I was 4 but that time is fuzzy). I have this faint memory of that trip when my parents took us to the parade at the end of the night. My brother and I were young and got bored, and my mother told us to go explore some of the stores while her and my father watched the parade (OH the good old days when you could let your kids run wild alone!!). My brother and I found ourselves in a magic store and I remember spending an hour browsing. My brother loved magic tricks and had videos where he would practice and learn new tricks. We had SO much fun together in that store. It wasnt a particular memory that meant much to me…my brother and I had MANY nice memories throughout our childhood…but 20+ years later when I was an adult planning my kids disney vacation that memory that was forgotten popped up in my head. I told my kids all about that shop and how much fun we had. My kids were so excited!!
    We never found the store and I never thought more of it, except for to think I either remembered a memory that happend somewhere or sometime else or the store had gone away. Either way I was a little disapointed to not be able to share that magic with my boys.

    Also, I have a WONDERFUL memory of the rocking chairs next to Liberty Tree Tavern. The first time I took my kids to Disney they were little (I think maybe 5 and 10). They were SO excited and wanted to GO GO GO all day. Well, the rain in Florida is so unpredictable and it rained so badly we couldnt see two inches in front of us. We ran over and those rocking chairs were OPEN!!!!! We sat on those chairs, rocking and talking…my kids complaining that they were SOOO mad the rain ruined their day. I was so tired of their crying about the rain ruining their day, I jumped off the rocking chair, threw off my flip flops and found the first puddle I could see and splashed in it. My kids thought I was crazy but when I wouldnt stop splashing they finally jumped off the chairs and started splashing as well. We were SOAKED and cold but we had the most fun! That was YEARS ago and my kids talk about THAT memory more than any other one we had in Disney.

    Thanks for the nice trip down memory lane today. It was lovely to relive those memories 🙂

  32. Sadly Anthony, SeaBase alpha is no longer there… It’s been “Pixarified” by Nemo and Friends. Instead of riding in a hydrolator and seacab, you now ride in a “Clammobile” I’m going back for my honeymoon/1st anniversary in Sept. Ive not been since 1993-so most of this stuff is gone 🙁
    As for me-top things I miss in order are- Hydrolator/SeaBase Alpha, Main Street Bakery, The POTC X Atencio skull/no fastpasses at all and unlimited rides/Making an ADR 5-6 hours before you wanted to eat… OR just walking up and being seated and last but not least-the Skyway.

  33. At the Magic Kingdom in Tomorrow Land I miss, “Push” the talking Trash Receptacle. Many years ago I remember my daughter having a conversation with him. Coming back with this big smile and telling me all about it. Watching other children’s reactions as Push would talk with them.

    The other was in Epcot at the Living Seas. Perhaps these are still there and maybe you can confirm this, Jack. We miss the “Hydrolators”. I will never forget my daughters first reaction on these in 1995. It was such a cool feeling of descending to Seabase Alpha.

  34. welcome back. I sure did miss you! I miss how clean the resorts used to be. I know they cut back on personnel but the rooms aren’t as clean as they used to be. I also miss the old character breakfasts. you didn’t have the same character all the time. I remember when Coral Reef had a character breakfast with bubbles and Mickey swimming in the tank. Pocahantas and friends were at the Artist Point. We had different character breakfast everyday. Now it is the same characters in every breakfast. I miss the Soundstage restaurant always different characters. mainly I miss the old cast members. the cast members now a day don’t have the Disney spirit but come to think about it neither do the guests. People are just so rude just miss the good ole days. when people just respected one another.

  35. Great post as usual; obviously hit a nerve!

    Of all things you mentioned, I have to say I miss getting a lemonade at Aunt Polly’s–when everyone else was standing in long lines on the “mainland”.

    I too miss riding in the front of the monorail, and am so glad I took a “front seat” video of BOTH monorail tracks before that came to an end. It may seem strange, but one of the things I miss the most is an un-adulterated view of the Contemporary hotel…when it was just a hotel (with 2 Garden Wings) and not a Convention Center, or DVC location.

    While one of our most memorable WDW trips with the family was during one of those Fall Break (from school) “slow times”, I recognize that if it was always that slow, eventually there wouldn’t be any park to visit! In fact, I’ve been impressed with the creative energy that the company has displayed starting with the DL/CA makeover a few years ago…to the creation of brand new lands (Pandora) and even a whole resort (China) in the next few years.

  36. I also miss the candy lady in Japan and the little remote control boats that were next to Jungle Cruise.

  37. I miss the air conditioning! We were at WDW last week and it was HOT. Buildings were cool enough compared to outside but not COLD. When I was younger, every building and every bus was freezing and it was delightful! 🙂

  38. Great piece. Forgotten how many little things have changed over the years. I miss the Rose Pavilion with the castle in the backdrop quite a bit as to this day it’s still the wallpaper on my computer.

    I miss the viking ship as well. My daughter and yes, myself did play on it 🙂

    And I do miss the Sci-Fi Cafe menu names. Those are the top things I miss but there are many others. Definitely miss the small crowds. Was a time we could just stay on a ride over and over again. There are still good times to go with fewer people.

    With change however comes new magic and new memories for all of us.

  39. As I read your blog and the many comments it has generated, I realize I miss something that Disney can’t control: I miss bringing a new visitor to Disney. I’ve visited often enough that the atmosphere of Main Street no longer sweeps me away. Not being totally enthralled allows me to notice the little flaws that were probably always there. But when Disney puts in something new, such as Radiator Springs at Disneyland or the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at WDW, I once again get lost in the magic. So while I miss the things that used to be, I really appreciate the changes that keep it fresh and new.

  40. A few things I miss are:

    1.) Dreamfinder & Figment
    2.) The Original Figment Ride
    3.) Mr. Toads Ride… (I still am in protest over Winnie the Pooh)…
    4.) I’ll give you 20,000 reasons I miss 20,000 leagues Under the sea. lol. It’s a Phun. I don’t have 20,000 reasons but thought it was cute.

    I miss not being able to sit in the front of the monorail. I think they should bring this back since an accident is one in a million chances.

    Last thing I newly miss is the
    Paper fast passes. In my opinion the new system sucks. With the old paper fast passes if you can’t use the tickets you can easily give them to someone else so they wouldn’t go to waste. This year we weren’t able to use our Tower of Terror fast pass…which went to waste.

  41. Hi Jack,
    I always enjoy your blogs, they are so informative and fun and they bring back memories of great vacations with my husband at WDW.

    I miss Gordon Lightfoot songs played while walking through the gardens in Canada, Epcot.

    I love Ellen DeGeneres, I think she’s very funny and I enjoy the Jeopardy pre-show video in Universe of Energy, now Ellen’s Energy Adventure but I liked the ride through the primeval section with the dinosuars better without her in it. I loved the quiet, misty, dark ride the way it was before those changes.

    Something else I miss that I’m hoping you or a reader can confirm really existed. Near the beginning of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, there are pirate skeletons on a beach to the left. I remember one of the skeletons arms moving as if beckoning us while saying “Dead men tell no tales”. I asked about this on another Disney related website and those who responded said that the skeleton’s arm never moved. Please tell me I didn’t imagine that.

    Thanks for another fun blog.

    Jack’s Answer:

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, but your memory is playing tricks on you. The skeleton pirates have never moved with the exception of the guy with his hands on the ship’s wheel. This is because there is no way to hide the AudioAnimatronics when all you’re working with is a skeleton. You need “flesh” or clothing to hide the electronics.

  42. Hi Jack
    As usual I love your articles. I miss the ceramic figurines of all the characters. I have so many of them, now they are gone. All I can find close to that are salt and pepper shakers!

  43. We started our Disney Magic back in Dec. 1971, our honeymoon. We have shared our special place with our daughters and now our grandchildren; but I miss that wonderful, magical, happy feeling I got just walking down Main Street. I loved how the scenes in the windows used to change, I loved the flower carts, I loved seeing the towering waterfalls and I loved seeing Cinderella’s Castle for the first time on every visit.
    We just came back from our Disney trip and I miss how easy and exciting it was to plan our trips. Now it was more like a mission of ( I hope I get this fast pass before anyone else) or not getting one for the Frozen characters; so you stand in line and wait for 4 hours!!
    Now, we love Disney, but it’s not the same; and I miss the Disney of years past. Sometimes a little change is for the good, but now it just seems like the magic is slipping away.

  44. Hi Jack

    Boy, you really opened up a can of worms with this great post, eh?

    I miss real topiaries. They just seemed so much more impressive because of all the time it must have taken to grow them, rather than the moss-covered sculptures that pass for topiaries these days.

    My baseball-loving family misses the 10-cent baseball game that used to be in the penny arcade. It survived the passing of the arcade, being moved into a corner of the sports-themed shop on Main St., but now it’s gone.

    I miss the old Discovery Island, too. So relaxing.

    I heard one online wag describe the new “canopies” around the Tree of Life as the “nets of death.” Har!

    Thanks Jack!

  45. Thank you for this post! I’ve been to WDW many times since 1983 (as a tot) with our last 2 visits in November & April. Now with my own kids, it is easy to get sucked in to the fast pace of everything (planning everything months in advance, rushing from one attraction to another…). I miss the simpler days especially with more benches to people watch and relax. It’s crazy how packed the park gets now. Also the trees! I noticed that as well these last couple visits.

    We still have some printed napkins. Also, don’t think anyone mentioned this, but I noticed from 2009-2011 They stopped printing WDW exclusively on park shopping bags. Now it’s just “Disney Parks.” I get it, like many other changes, but they are taking the special things out little by little. I didn’t even realize how much until I read your post and everyone’s comments.

    When we were there in November, there was an older CM who worked in the Emporium who chatted with me because I was looking for “old/classic Disney music on cd and some books. He said he was surprised because most people don’t care about that anymore.

    I remember when I went in the spring of ’98, and the Tiki Room was changed with characters from the Lion King etc. It was terrible. I’m so glad they brought back the original.

    I still cannot get used to “Hollywood Studios.” Really miss MGM. Also the original views without the big hat. They even took out the parade…not sure why? Or if it will be back.

    {Skyway, Mr. Toad, & Leagues were awesome and a huge part of my Disney memories. So sad.}

    Maybe someone from Disney will read everyone’s thoughts…and bring back something…anything! Some things they’ve made better, but they have definitely taken the slower, friendly atmosphere away. I think it’s the newer generation? Love reminiscing about “old/classic” Disney!

  46. I loved all of the “small” things that are no longer in the Parks. I remember all of them. I actually miss the small restaurant that was in the Contemporary where the cafe is now. I especially miss their “sticky Mickeys”. Yum.

  47. Since moving across the country (SoFLA – PDX) two years ago, these are the things that worry me! I won’t be able to visit the parks so frequently. Therefore, on my future trips I’ll probably be too overwhelmed by ALL the changes that I won’t be able to notice those little things that made/make WDW trips special! 🙁

    Thankfully, you do an AMAZING job of chronicling changes at WDW, et al. big and small! <3

  48. Jack, this post makes me sad but also reminds me of some of the great parts of Disney World that I’ve enjoyed over the years.

    I miss all the different songs that connected with the Future World attractions, especially Universe of Energy and Tomorrow’s Child.

    I miss the goofy side of Disney World, embodied by PUSH, talking drinking fountains, Kitchen Kabaret, If You Had Wings, and so much more.

    I miss the spiel for the People Mover that wasn’t trying to make it sound like an alien or really act like we were in the world of the future.

    I miss all the little parts of Communicore and the explorations you could do there. To a kid, that place was magical.

    I miss the fun of the Worldkey Information System. Another great treasure for a kid.

    I could go on and on…

  49. I miss Breakfastasaurus – a great character breakfast.

    I miss not being able to walk up to a character breakfast and get a seat without making advanced reservations.

    I miss being able to just catch a character walking by and they’d snap a quick photo with you and joke around a bit. Now a line immediately forms when a character is spotted and you have to be quick about your business (and it seems very much like a business too!).

    I miss how people just enjoyed being at Disney. Now it’s like a profession. Everyone wants every moment to be a super-special lifetime memory moment, and they don’t care how much they ruin your visit to get it. I remember one woman who kept pushing her kid into Timon and Pumbaa during the moment they were interacting with my son and we were taking pictures. I had to tell her to get out of the way – she certainly lacked common decency.

    I miss common decency.

  50. I so miss the Mickey butter too! I also miss the hotels having personalized items. Back in the late 70’s and 80’s we would always take back something from the hotel we stayed at, be it a napkin or small pad of paper that had the hotel’s name by the phone. I used to love the Golf Resort and wish a Dwarf themed hotel would come back.

  51. I miss the Coca Cola Ice Station Cool with the caveman buried in ice and the chilly break from the heat. I also miss the dramatic video (I loved that lady’s voice) and the theme of Sea Base Alpha before the Living Seas was all about Nemo. I know the movie is very popular and I love it, but the Living Seas had a powerful and almost scary vibe with the Sea Base Alpha theme….I thought it was impressive.

  52. Great blog, as always, Jack! Seems like everyone has something that they miss… I am with you on missing slow days more than anything. Busy and Very Busy are definitely the Disney seasons now! I miss the variety of gift shop merchandise from store to park to resort, although on the plus side, this does now make for a lot less shopping time. If you’ve been to one store, you’ve seen what Disney is currently offering. I also miss the flower carts of Main Street and the charming “small town” feel. I miss dining and people watching at Au Petit Cafe in France. What a novel Disney concept, a table service restaurant that would not accept reservations! I, too, miss the Norway boat. I miss when the Wonders of Life was an open pavilion and not an event space, (Cranium Command was a favorite!) Most of all, I miss watching real Disney animators at the Studios. I loved the Robin Williams/Walter Cronkite film at the beginning of the walk through and then I would spend forever watching the animators work. So fascinating! I rarely ever go to the Studios now that experience is gone.
    Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane, Jack!

  53. Hi, Jack–

    Thanks to you (and all of the folks posting here), I realize we are not the only ones who notice how the magic is disappearing with each yearly visit… As one person noted above, we miss the simple joy of giving someone an unused Fast Pass.

    On a more basic level, we miss the feeling that things were “cared for”. You mention the nutcracker figures in Germany. When was the last time you looked at the display case in England that houses the chess figures? Not only have they stopped spinning, they’re dusty, cob-webby, and sharing their chessboard with dozens of dead insects.

    And when was the last time you saw the water features in Splash Mountain all working? The Happy Place ain’t so happy when 75% of the animatronics are on the fritz.

    Each winter, we say we’re not going back, but then the snow starts to fall, and we remember what a WDW vacation used to be like. It isn’t till we arrive to throngs of rude teenagers and store after store of identical (and shoddy) merchandise that we realize those long-ago vacation memories are just that: memories.

    As others have said, folks who are new to WDW can’t miss what they never had, but for us old-timers, it’s hard not to get a bit bitter at what’s been lost.

  54. I miss Mickey and Minnie’s houses. My first trip with my children was in 2009 and they were 2 and 4. They were fascinated with Mickey and Minnie’s houses. I have the most adorable pictures of them exploring the “mouse” houses and gardens.

  55. The Little things – great blog as always . You and I have had exchanges on this before but here’s a few more to add to your list . Totally agree on all the things you point out – House of Magic – I had forgotten that . The burning log cabin was a treat to look forward to . Had our 25th visit a few weeks back and still get pangs but there is great stuff to soften the blow of losing Hoizons et al .Residential street – Golden girls House /Ernst saves Christmas – miss thatThe Bee section of the backlot tour where we had photos of my Son clinging on.Do miss Honey I shrank the Audience . It had presence . Captain EO is back and it was good 1st time round but a little overtaken by technology now .Discovery Island – a real adventure , seemed remote and exoticGoing down in the Hydrolator at the , then , Living Seas at Epcot .The 20,000 leagues submarines – real adventure 6 inches below the water !Goofy singing – ‘we’re rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ along ‘ on the WDW Railroad – ..got my foot caught in the brake ….”The Mike Fink Keelboats looked good on the water but can see why they went .Remember how like a real village the Marketplace was – kinda cosy , a Disney secret , soon to be Disney Springs and great I’m sure.Bet we can come up with more . It’s still great , I love it , but different and I suppose that’s the way to look at it – go with it Take careMike Keith / UK

  56. TOPIARY!!!! When I went as a kid around 1978 it was everywhere! I could be wrong, but I think I remember riding the monorail and marveling at the topiary down below. I was a gardener in the college program in the early 90’s and there was still quite a bit left. Every time I visit there is less. TTC used to have manicured hedges and topiary in the middle and that is long gone. There is still some around, but it’s a mere shadow of its former glory. Topiary seems to roll out for the flower & garden show, but that’s about it. The gardens have scaled way back in general, which is a shame since that is something that made Disney special. The former gardens were Bill Evans approved, the current ones would not be.

  57. My first visit to WDW was in 2009 when I took my 4 year old granddaughter.

    I miss many of the things already mentioned, but her big disappointment was when the Mickey shaped plastic dishes were discontinued. They made her Mickey Waffle breakfast magical.

    Fortunately I had rinsed out a couple Mickey dishes on that first trip to take home. She still loves to use them and is now almost eleven.

    Sadly the magic of WDW is being chopped away bit by bit.

  58. I was a rollerskater at Sci-Fi, that was my first job at WDW back when it was MGM Studios! I miss the Kristos at Epcot!

  59. Wow, I remember so many little things, some of which have already been mentioned, some not. Most of these memories are from the late 70’s through the late 80’s.
    Here are some of the little things I miss about the Disney World from my childhood:
    – the candy shop on Main Street where you could watch them pulling the saltwater taffy with a machine and buy rock candy in a clear plastic box (it was broken into little pieces rather than sold on a stick like it is today). All the candy was sold in these little plastic cubes and was one of our favorite places to stop in to load up on sweets.
    – Madame Alexander Dolls sold in the store inside Cinderella’s Castle.
    – the magic shop on Main Street (always had cool stuff)
    – the animatronic skull that warned guests of “rough waters ahead” (or something like that) before the little drop on the Pirate ride.
    – the gigantic glowing spider webs on the Haunted Mansion (which were replaced by the staircase scene, an improvement to the ride).
    – the original bride with the glowing heart in the Haunted Mansion
    – the double rider cars in Space Mountain. The person in front seat rode between the legs of the person behind them.
    – key lime pie sold in cardboard triangle boxes in Fantasyland.
    – Disney character figurines sold on Main Street. I have quite a collection of these adorable little statues. Can’t find them anywhere now.
    – horse drawn trolleys went up and down Main Street all morning. These were such a nice touch and the horses were beautiful!!!
    – the nightly classic Disney movies shown in the little theatre at The Contemporary Resort’s awesome game room.
    – the Polynesian beach on the Seven Sea’s Lagoon. I spent many hours swimming there with my sisters.
    – the rock slide at the Polynesian Village. Many more hours of entertainment.
    – the Barefoot Snack Bar, the Tango Terrace, and the Neverland Club at the Polynesian Village (can you guess where we stayed on most of our Disney Vacations???).
    – The Kitchen Kaboret at Epcot (already mentioned). The songs were very catchy. “Betty, Betty Fruit, Fruit”. Anyone???

    These are just some of the little things that came to mind. I still go to Disney World regularly (and coming from Texas my whole life, it’s not a short journey). I still enjoy my trips and love taking my daughter. It’s just a different experience now. She has her own memories of trips to Disney World and will make many more. I don’t expect things to be the same as they were when I was a kid. The world is a different place. It’s fun to reminisce, but I hope Disney continues to press on and continue to change with the times.

  60. Hi Jack…it’s me again. I didn’t think to mention the Biggest loss of all!: The Diamond Horseshoe Review!
    It was absolutely our most favorite thing to do in all the Magic Kingdom. We have the most wonderful memories of our times there. It was always a must do. We miss it dearly.
    Take Care,


  61. Just a few not already mentioned

    – Mickey Muesli
    – Red, lavender, and black plasticware at the food court
    – Rainbow swirl bread for PB&J sandwiches at the WL and AKL
    – the original size of the Artist Point Berry Cobbler

  62. I miss the little breakfast place on top of Virgin Megastore in Downtown Disney. You could sit out there and people watch with your coffee and bagels.

    I miss Hunchback of Notre Dame – a Musical Adventure.

    I miss running into characters around the parks instead of scheduling time with them. I understand the scheuling – I have a grandchild and I get it…but with my daughter, it was fun just to stroll around and see who you bumped into.

    I cerrtainly miss the resort-specific and park-specific souveniers.

    I miss the Tapestry of Nations parade. So much.

  63. “Paging Mr. Morrow…Mr. Tom Morrow….”

    Hi Jack…you pretty much hit on everything. But a very special thing Disney took away from me (and most recently) was the Swan Boat Dock in the rose garden. What we would do is pack a nice picnic lunch and while everyone else was standing in a long line at one of the counter service locations, we would be enjoying our lunch in a quiet and relaxed park-like setting with the ducks and other birds and a great view. We will miss it dearly….

  64. Wow! Have you ever had so many responses, Jack?

    I can appreciate missing smaller crowds, but ‘I miss a time when Disney made significantly less money’ is always going to seem like a weird thing to say. They make money, it shows them that there’s a demand for more entertainment, more restaurants, more events and when they see the crowds they also recognize a need for more space to stretch out, so we get new rides, new lands, new attractions and new shows. Though perhaps I am being a little optimistic.

    If anything, I do wish Disney was a bit better at crowd control. Though the addition of interactive lines makes waiting less of a chore (on the rides that use them) and working the parks counter to the crowds (the classic ‘back to front’) will still net you some time away from the press.

    As far as missing things (I forgot some on my giant list earlier!) I miss Spectromagic. I know that the Main Street Electrical Parade is considered a classic, but Spectromagic was MY parade and I wish there were still a way to see it other than YouTube, but from what I understand it is gone forever, the floats having been destroyed to use in other parades. A few years ago for Christmas my wife got me one hundred shares of Disney stock and had the certificate framed. At the bottom of the frame is a little plaque which reads ‘Though we say goodbye / We cast a spell that won’t be broken / Let this night forever / Live in our dreams!’ So I guess Spectromagic said goodbye, but it did cast a spell that will last forever.

    As much as I appreciate the resistance some have to changes, I’m a little sad to see some of the bitterness in the responses. Even a few years ago my wife and I used to go to Disney in September and face smaller crowds and while there’s always relaxation to be had at the resorts, it is a little frustrating to go to the parks these days and find that even going to Big Thunder Mountain during the parade is no guarantee that you’ll be able to walk on, but I have to believe that this will transition into bigger and better things. There’s room to grow if they want to. Magic Kingdom really is pressing its borders, but if Disney decided it was necessary they could move mountains to give us a little more Frontierland or Adventureland. To say nothing of Futureworld or the oft-demanded room for at least three more world showcase pavilions.

    Oh well. If there’s anything that can be said about Disney, it’s always looking forward.

  65. We miss the paint brush on Tom Sawyers Island, Push, the talking trash can, and riding in the front of the monorail.

  66. What I really miss is handing my unused Fastpasses to a family just entering the park and them looking like they just received a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket.

  67. Loved this week’s blog, Jack. Sometimes all those “little things” add up. At the end of the blog, you mentioned the personalized swizzle sticks and it made we think of something that kinda bugged me over the my numerous visits the past couple of years.I understand the economics of it, but I’m not a big fan of all the misc. paper products, cups, plates, napkins, etc, all just being “Disney Parks”. I liked all the individual items that had logo’s from whatever park/hotel/attraction you were at. I mean, not even different materials for WDW and DL? Just “Disney Parks” for all? <>

  68. I love reading your blog each week and this was no exception and I love the nostalgic walk around the parks. I can see why folks are lamenting about what is no more and it is sad to see something we all loved disappear for good (and that is what you asked people to comment upon after all). A lot of the comments I have read leave me with a feeling that many people think some of the magic has faded due to some of the changes? I agree with you that there have to be changes (I agree that Disney is a business and as such their priority is making money like most, if not all businesses) – perhaps your next blog should be about what new things you enjoy and see if folks are positive about some changes that have happened for the better LOL

  69. What a wonderful topic! I miss Food Rocks! and hate that The Land has turned into a crowded station for Soarin. I always loved the concept of the building but now you can barely walk through the mobs rushing on and off Soarin. My daughter misses making the chocolate chip cookies. Although she is a little old for that now she still talks about it.

    I do hate the crowds. My favorite thing was always to just stroll through the parks and enjoy the magical atmosphere. Now walking is aggravating anywhere and much of the atmosphere is gone. I miss being able to walk through the castle and hate the constant shows out front. The noise is overwhelming and the crowds make it impossible to walk anywhere through the hub.

    I am very disappointed at how generic the shopping has become. We used to go to every store we could and came home loaded down with merchandise. Now after seeing one or two stores you have seen everything there is to buy and there is no point in visiting others. When we visited this past March I saw very little clothing that wasn’t there a year ago on our last visit.

    What always made a visit to Disney special was that it was a “premium” experience. All the little extras and attention to detail made it special. Now it seems more like any other park, and as it becomes more crowded and the planning needed reaches ridiculous levels the magic that made it special is being lost.

  70. Wow, what a huge list of comments this turned out to be!

    I’ll keep it down to two things I miss. Commonly pointed out here, but I really hate how the resort-specific merchandise has gone away. I can’t imagine they didn’t sell, and it sure must be cheaper to not make so many items themed to one resort, but would a couple of T-shirts and a shot glass be too much to ask? I would’ve thought those items sold well as souvenirs.

    I also miss the older narration of the TTA, even though I think the new one is a copy of the even older narration. But it’s much more fun to have the announcements that make it seem like Tomorrowland is a real future city. Even that narration mentioned the different attractions, but it worked better when they weren’t simply treated as ads. It’s not like they need to advertise them. We’re already here! 🙂 Actually, I think every land could use a little bit more theming to make it seem like a lived in place. Take a look at how Star Tours really is set up like you’re in a spaceship/airline terminal. More of that, please!

  71. I miss the “living statues” outside of France in Epcot…just watching guest’s reactions was the best part of the “show”! I miss FutureCorps…I miss the roving caricature sketch artists, I still have one that was done of me while in queue for “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” (miss that too!) back in the late 90’s. Miss dinner in the Concourse Steak House. Miss when the bus drivers actually TALKED to you during the drive! I miss the “Member of the Clean Plate Club” stickers from the Prime Time Café in HS and how the waiter’s would actually sit down with you at your table to take your order, and introduce you to all your “cousins” and where they were from to all the tables in your area. As so many others have said, the magic is slipping away in favor of the almighty dollar and what used to make Disney “different” is being thrown aside.

  72. The last time we found Main Street nearly empty? Mid-September 2001. I’ll say no more about that. And we can recall going many days in Februarys when the parks were so underpopulated, we walked straight onto most rides, wondering if they were closed, there were so few people about. Fastpasses? We didn’t need no stinkin’ Fastpasses.

    I second most of the items you’ve mentioned. We seldom go to the Magic Kingdom anymore unless the grandkids drag us in. Epcot is “home,” although I feel like that park hit its peak during the Millennium Celebration. We’re spending more time in and around the resorts, and coming mainly for special events, like Food & Wine, Flower & Garden, D23, Tables in Wonderland, etc. Yeah, we’re still WDW fans.

    As others have said, the grandkids don’t know what’s missing, and they’ll make their own memories.

  73. Hi Jack,
    Thanks for a trip down Memory Lane. Some things I miss:

    at the MK- After I retired my Disney friends said I must go in October because of the weather and less crowds. That year Disney decided to have a special program for parents with toddlers so it was very crowded.
    I miss breakfast at Tony’s too.

    at Disney Studios – I miss the tour at animation where live animators were working and you could watch them.
    I miss the resident street that you walked along during the Osbourne lights in Dec.

  74. I miss that chairlift ride in MK (name?). My first trip there it was still in operation. I remember my girlfriend and I riding it high above the crowds, how warm the sun felt, such a cool experience.

    I wonder if it was taken out for safety reasons and too many idiots tossing things and spitting on guests below.

    Didn’t the loading building become a stroller rental place or something?

  75. I wanted to add one more from my comments yesterday.

    I miss spontaneity that came with each day. You could always make ADR’s, but were not always required like today with the dining plans and the number of visitors. Touring of the parks could also be more relaxed as you just took what the day gave you as you strolled from land to land. Now you have to have your touring plans 60 days in advance and now exactly where you want to be each moment of each day. It is suppose to be a vacation not a commando mission.
    Jack, that is why I love your blogs about the little things and “it’s in the details” as so many newbies to WDW have no idea what they are missing.
    The song “Walking Down the Middle of Main St USA” is no longer relevant because you can’t do it anymore.

  76. What a great blog Jack. I also miss having breakfast at Tony’s in the MK. We made a point of stopping here on every trip. It was so wonderful to relax and enjoy breakfast without it being a buffet or character meal. I also miss how you used to just walk up to a restaurant and be seated. Sure you might have a short wait but you did not have to book it 6 monts out.

    I miss the trees and rose pavilion on main st. They were so beautiful. They added so much to the feel of what it would of been at the turn of the century.

    I miss the Tapestry of Nations parade from Epcot. Sure it made it crowded around the showcase but the music and puppets made it so worthwhile. We still listen to the music on our Epcot cd.

    Finally I miss a lot of the decorations that they used to put out at Christmas especially the Winter of Lights at Epcot & the Country bears Christmas show in the MK.

    But for every loss we do gain. I love the new Fantasyland in the MK.

  77. I miss strolling down Main Street USA, now you walk fast. I miss the flower carts and white benches that were once part of Main Street.
    I miss being able to walk on every ride on Christmas morning!
    Years ago a friend and I would spend a day and hit all 3 parks ( before AK) ride some attractions and Christmas shop and end our day in Norway for dinner. I wish they would bring back the traditional Norway buffet minus the Princesses.
    Thank for the walk down memory lane.

  78. Hi Jack –

    Great blog as usual! I miss the original queue at Rock ‘N Roller Coaster – walking thru the corridors of offices with many more posters and much more “golden age” musical, recording and radio equipment.

    I miss the early 90’s version of the Backstage Tour (all that walking) and when the Studios were actually a working studio. It was very informative and entertaining.

    I went to River Country back in 1978 when it was the ONLY water park at WDW. I miss being able to enter the water at the World – swimming, water skiing, etc.; darn that brain eating organism. River Country might still exist if it wasn’t for that detail.

    I miss the resort themed merchandise – we have Coronado Springs and Dixie Landings shirts and mugs.

    I miss the original Discovery Island in the middle of Bay Lake. I went in 1994 and it was enjoyable and educational. The Aviary was so amazing, it never felt like you were separate from the world. I learned all about the Capybara on the Island.

    I used to go in September, from 1995 to 2006, and noticed how the crowds increased, but were still better than late August’s crowds. I remember trying to get a Guest Assistance Card with a Dr’s note the last week of September 1995 and having the Guest Services CM at Epcot just laugh and say “there’s no one in the park, there are no lines, you don’t need the card.” And I didn’t.

    I miss the fog, humidity and smells in the Universe of Energy. I especially miss the amazing mirrors in the last theater that made you feel completely surrounded/immersed by the show.

    I miss riding up front in the Monorail.

    I miss the amazing garlic smell that filled Innoventions Plaza which emanated from the Pasta Piazza restaurant in Innoventions West at Epcot. Never ate there, could never fit it in the schedule, but it made me sooo hungry every time I was in that part of the park.

    I miss that the only place you would hear “Welcome Home” was at the DVC Resorts – it made you feel like you “were home.” Disney’s taken away that nice, semi-personalized touch by using it everywhere throughout WDW for everything. The phrase is no longer special.

    I vaguely remember the Fab 5 appearing on payphone instruction signs throughout WDW (I know, what’s a payphone?).

    I’m sure I could wax poetic about much more, but this is a trip down Memory Lane and not a gripe session.

    As always, thanks for the great column.

    – Jeff

  79. Hi Jack,

    I think the one, major “little” thing that is missing is the magic. All these little things you mentioned add up to so much! Disney has always been a business, of course, but now, we can clearly see it is one and not a magical ideal of our dreams. Everything is so generic and commercialized. For example, I would love to find different, unique souvenirs in each store, within each park and each resort.

    I was saving up for a Disney trip in 2015. But with prices being raised (AGAIN) (twice in 8 months, I believe?), the new fastpass mess and the whole corporate feeling, I changed my mind. I’m going to Hawaii instead. And guess what – the price was the same for a 2 week cruise in Hawaii vs. 10 days at WDW.

  80. I miss the uniqueness that permeated each resort. Even with the merchandise and the things like napkins and swizzle sticks. I understand that Disney is a business, but somehow they were able to do all those things before and keep going.
    Great article as always, Jack.

  81. I miss the original frozen unsweetened orange juice and ice cream treats before they were replaced by Dole Whips.

    I miss the sleeping (and snoring) Lego guy sitting on a bench outside of the Lego stores at BOTH Downtown Disneys (CA and FL).

    I miss the penny arcade on Main Street in MK. Last time I was in Disneyland it was still there but very scaled down. They had machines that would flip quickly through cards to make a “moving picture show”.

    I miss the “Extra TERRORestrial Alien Encounter” in Tomorrowland (MK). Like the author of the article, I appreciate a tie in to a movie, but that was a good “scary” attraction that isn’t worth doing now that it’s been remade in the Stitch version!

    Although I like the original (which is also the current) song in Carousel of Progress, I also liked the song “Now is the Time”. It’d be cool to switch them up sometimes.

    I miss the Skyway!! What a wonderful way to get to see the park!! I remember riding that as a kid in Disneyland.

    I’ll also go with those who aren’t happy about the removal of the waterfall in the Polynesian lobby!

    That’s enough for now! 🙂

  82. Hi Jack. Always enjoy your articles. I miss swimming in Seven Seas lagoon at Fort Wilderness. We used to spend hours playing on the white sandy beach and swimming in the crystal clear lake. There was a carpeted platform not far from shore where we would jump into the water over and over again. Many fond memories!

  83. I miss “Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow… Your party from Saturn has arrived. Please give them a ring.”

    I miss riding in the front of the monorail.

    I miss old fast passes. I’m a planner, but even I don’t want to set up my trip in such detail that far in advance.

    I miss seeing CM’s sweeping. There are still a few, but certainly not as many as there used to be – and they were always so friendly!

    I miss the lights between Future World and World Showcase at Christmas.

    I miss being able to walk down Mainstreet without photographers every few feet.

    Finally, I miss the Nestle tollhouse ice cream sandwiches. I know the Mickey bars are the classics, but they were so good!

  84. Geez, Jack, you always think of such great topics! It looks like Alison beat me to it, but I must second her lament about the volcano waterfall in the lobby of the Polynesian resort disappearing. Have you seen the mock-up of the proposed new lobby design? I’ll try to be kind…oh I just can’t…it’s horrible. I still remember the first time I walked into the Polynesian lobby and saw the volcano waterfall. I was transported! I almost forgot I was inside, checking into the resort! It makes that lobby alive. The new design completely removes the centerpiece and replaces it with a tiny fountain with a Tiki statue in the middle. I cannot, for the life of me, understand who approved the bland new design!

  85. HI Jack,
    Great blog as usual. So many you brought up I forgot about. I agree with many of what others have said but to add my 2 cents:
    – I miss the glow in the dark strips on the space mountain cars you used to be able to see when riding TTA – it was always fun to see what they were doing now you can’t see anything
    – I miss hearing the music on my bus ride specific to the park or hotel you were going to. THey used to play it from the time you got on till you got there. Not much anymore.
    – I miss Kitchen Kaboret- it was a hoot
    – also miss dreamfinder
    – And although I am a planner and a little OCD I miss there being a slow time to go where it you can truly take in the atmosphere of the park
    etc. etc

  86. Another great column! I miss the early days of the Food and Wine Festival, when you could walk up to almost any booth without a line. Also, you could attend the demonstrations by just walking up to the standby line. I know it had to evolve, but it was so much more enjoyable then. And yes, I remember the quiet October and January months, too!

  87. Great article as always Jack. We have very similar memories.

    We used to love eating at the Crystal Palace for breakfast sans characters. We haven’t eaten there since.

    We miss the store that used to be inside Cinderella’s Castle. Back then it was unique, not like all the generic stores now.

    We miss the leather goods store in Frontierland. My husband found a belt and wallet there, the quality was excellent.

    We miss the original Extra Magic Hours when only guests who paid a small fee could stay in the park a few hours longer. We had the place to ourselves and was truly memorable!

    When we started going to Disney in 1990 we camped at Fort Wilderness and Crockets Tavern had a “Happy Hour” with FREE FOOD and drink specials. Boy are those days long gone! 🙁

  88. Wow this post made me very nostalgic. Almost a little depressed! LOL. Some of my best memories are of trips my family would take in the fall in the early 90’s. The weather was great and the crowds were really low. We stayed at Dixie Landings which is now Port Orleans Riverside. Why did they change the name? I have such great memories of that resort. I know a name change isn’t much, but it holds memories of my childhood. My father took some beautiful pictures there. We have countless family photos in front of the water wheel with the name Dixie Landings in the background.
    I also miss being able to walk up to the castle. I don’t like the stage in front. 🙁 I miss the jumping water at EPCOT. We would love getting soaking wet trying to catch it.
    Even thought there have been many changes that make me sad, I have to say that every time my husband and I bring our two boys it’s amazing. I get to see Disney through three year old eyes. It’s special to them and they don’t know what they are ‘missing’. We take our time and we don’t rush with the crowds. We do and see what we can, and don’t stress about getting on every ride. Right now my 3yo favorite ride is Dumbo. How simple and basic! It’s amazing to think that will all the high tech rides, computers, games, etc his favorite ride is flying around in a circle sitting in an elephant. It makes my heart melt. 🙂

  89. I miss Madame Alexander dolls at the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney, the Teddy Bear and Doll Weekend, the Animation Studio at MGM, MGM, and the If You Had Wings ride at MK.

  90. My Beach Club shirt and hat are wearing out and no new ones to buy. The Commodore at Beach Club. The side paddle steam boat in Seven Seas Lagoon. Little rental Sprite boats in lagoon. Loved the character skiers. Penny arcade. Slower pace. The Art of Animation.

  91. This was a great post!! In Epcot, I miss being able to walk around World Showcase in the early morning, watching all the countries come to life. That was such a great way to start the day. I miss the Jolly Holidays Show when you would recognize performers from other Disney Shows. I recall seeing ‘Ken’ from the Barbie show and Tarzan show (.miss those too!). His name was Billy something and he seemed to be everywhere. Buttons from the Very Merry Christmas Party and from the character breakfasts. Kids meals with Mickey Mac and Cheese and a Mickey shaped straw…even served in a sand bucket at Caribbean Beach resort! And seeing the handprint ceremonies when celebrities would visit MGM…it is still MGM to me.

    I love everything there is about the world today and am glad to visit a few times each year. Always something new to see but some things to miss as well! Thanks for the great memories here!!

  92. I miss the Main Street Flower Market A LOT, which is now a larger Emporium. Someplace to really stop and smell the roses, whether real or fake.

    I miss the foot long hotdogs sold at WDW. No more footlongs.

    I miss the steel drum bands in the evening at Port Royale at CBR. This entertainment stopped mid 90s.

    I miss the simplicity of a WDW vacation 😉

  93. I miss hearing chip and dale while waiting on line for splash mountain. I miss Spectromagic. I miss seeing older characters out and about and characters like the Country Bears… It happens so much less now. I miss the fun and ease of seeing what the day would bring…. With advanced dining and fastpass + everything is so scheduled! For a big thing, I miss the Adventurers Club!!!

  94. I’m going to miss the waterfall in the lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort 🙁 It is one of my first memories (3 years old). It was my first trip to WDW (1977).

  95. I miss the old narration on Tomorrowland Transit Authority– paging Mr. Morrow, I miss Four For A Dollar preshow at Beauty and the Beast, and I miss the bus drivers being able to tell their own stories and jokes on the return trip to our hotel after a long day of fun–especially Roger Dodger the old Codger.

  96. I too miss alot of the smaller things and rather than repeat what others have said I instead will hypothetically ask why? There are alot of comments on here about the crowds and lines and then there are so many already built unused spaces that could be opened to help allieviate that. Especially at Epcot we just spent Mothers Day there and it wasnt really crowded yet there were long lines as there are so few things left to do. I think in a way Disney has gotten greedy by closing areas of pavillions or even enitre pavillions when they lose sponsorship. Even the little things like the cooking school at The Land pavillion where children could bake fresh chocolate chip cookies. I am sure that the Mine Train will be great but taking several years to build??? Universal added two new roller coasters in one year. Disney is not keeping up. It is dissapointing. I miss the feeling of being in the most magical, transforming place in the world that no other park could match.

  97. Hey Jack,
    I look forward to your blogs every week, and this week’s blog is so appropriate for my upcoming trip. Here are some of the little things I miss from my trips starting back in 1993.

    1. I miss riding at the front of the monorail train, though I know why this was discontinued.

    2. I miss the Concourse Steakhouse at The Contemporary for breakfast with their Puffed French Toast and Sticky Mickey Buns.

    3. I too miss the Goofy bench and the slower times of May and early December

    4. The little specialty shops around the property that have given way to mass merchandising where every place pretty much sells the same items.

    5. I’m sure I will miss the bleachers and cartoons at Casey’s Corner

    6. Finally, I was telling my wife I miss the classic characters in the park that have lost there relevancy to the younger generations and given way to the newer characters. I too understand this change, but I still miss my childhood favorites.

  98. Jack…another great piece!
    I miss:
    *the animal topiaries along the road leading up to the Contemporary. That is my first memory of Disney World.
    *the old narration on the monorails and the TTA.
    *the old narration and descent of Spaceship Earth
    *the arcade/play area in the Contemporary where The Wave is now.
    *the quality of the personal caricature drawings. faces were sketched as a cartoon representation (realistic/recognizable) when I was a kid – they now seem pretty generic.
    thanks for forum to share and long live El Rio Del Tiempo!

  99. I miss the directional signposts in EPCOT Center that would guide gusts to the different areas of the park by using the attraction symbol.

    I also miss the tram that would take guests from EPCOT’s International Gateway to the Yacht Club, Beach Club, Swan and Dolphin resorts.

  100. Very good blog, Jack, and I could not agree with you more. I am very sad that they are filling large parts of the moat at Magic Kingdom for “improved guest flow” (read: to fit more people into the park). When is quality a consideration over quantity? You would think Disney would have an interest in having it’s guests have an enjoyable, unique experience rather than just shaking-down as many people as humanly possible.

    One of the things that I miss is the resort-specific merchandise that each of the gift shops within their respective hotels had on display.

    It is very difficult now to find a t-shirt at some of the resorts with the logo from that resort. I can remember a time when that was not the case. Now I believe only the Deluxe resorts sell items with the resort’s logo.

  101. Hi Jack!
    I definitely miss low crowds. The parks are always so crowded now, no matter what time of year you visit. Sometimes, it’s nicer just to relax at a Disney resort…
    As much as I LOVE Starbucks, I miss the Main Street Bakery.
    I miss the characters at Liberty Tree Tavern.
    I miss the talking parrot outside of Pirates of the Caribbean.
    I too miss Luxo Jr.
    Finally, I miss some of the vintage characters like Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Knottingham!!!They should be regulars in the UK pavilion… 🙂

  102. I miss:
    – big fat hot dogs at Casey’s Corner
    – cast members being able to (as well as want to), take time and chat
    – strolling along any park and soaking up the ambiance…too many people, too much noise, too much everything…
    – stopping anywhere to take a look up, or down, or sideways without being run over by a scooter or stroller.
    – short lines and being able to find the “right” times of the year to go.
    – on the first day I can make dining reservations, actually being able to. On day 180 at 6a.m., to find every day where we want to eat is already fully booked.
    – when there were not 20 herds of teenage kids for either cheerleading, dance or whatever the event is THIS month…and I wish they were better supervised so they cannot have one person in line and then as the line nears the attraction, 30 other of their group, in appropriate colored t-shirts and back packs, all show up to join the lone person in line.
    – when we road splash mountain 6 times in a row without getting off as there was no one waiting to board.
    – Just finding a place to sit in the shade and take a needed break…chairs? benches? I think they have one or two…almost enough eh?
    – Dreamfinder…a figment of my imagination perhaps?
    – EPCOT Segway tours
    – not needing to plan every dinner, every fast pass, and not needing to figure out where to run to first, so as not to get in a 90 minute wait later on..when we were guided along by our whims, not a spreadsheet…
    – Looking forward to getting a survey to report all the GOOD…instead of all the BAD….
    – The simple fun it used to be…now instead of coming away with filled with MAGIC ingrained…now it’s more like BUSINESS.

    At times I wish we had not been bitten by the bug (or the mouse, as it were) back in the 80’s….knowing how it WAS vs. how it IS, makes us lament over and over. Sometimes change IS for the good, but most changes lately seem to be for DISNEY’s good, not us big kids.

  103. As always, Jack, a post to give us all something to think about. I miss when bus drivers used to talk to the riders; they seemed to more about what was going on than most of the suits. Also, the living statue lady outside of France, Future Corps band at Epcot, the steel drum band at MK, the tumblers at AK, Ariel’s restaurant, Madame Bonfamile’s at PO, the late, lamented Capt’n Jack’s, the Fossekallen band at Norway, and Jack, stop me before I spin helplessly out of control.

  104. I miss…
    The Dreamfinder and Figment
    the napkins being printed
    The talking tree they had at AK, he wander around before the park opened
    The doll shop in Germany, mom would always buy a doll every trip
    The lower price in park tickets 🙂

    Going for the first time since the Magic bands have been introduced and I’ll have “schedule” fast pass times, I’ll miss the freedom of getting the fast passes when we wanted and not having to schedule everything before going. Ugh…

  105. I miss Exhibition Hall on Main Street. I remember having funny photos taken with the cut-outs as a kid, and later when I was a Cast Member on Main Street it was the place I’d tell guests to go while waiting for the fireworks to start… There was a little mini theater that played old cartoons (Steamboat Willie, Silly Symphonies, etc.) and it allowed for everyone to catch their breath, put their feet up, and cool down after a long day. I used to go there often in between Spectro and Wishes myself (not while working, obviously) because it truly was the perfect place to catch your second wind.

  106. I miss the napkins that each resort had. We used to “resort hop” just to take some home to relive the fun.

  107. Adam’s wife here just adding a couple of things he doesn’t know about being a late-to-Disney guy:

    The “Living with the Land” song. It’s still stuck in my head to this day. Living with the laaaaaaaaand. Living with the land!

    The…I think it was the Diamond Horseshoe Review? I remember seeing it when I was very little and liking the girls with the swirly dresses and the high kicks.

    Mickey butter was also at the Land restaurant (was it the Garden Grill back then? I can’t remember) and as a kid I LOVED it! It was just such a nice little touch.

    Even though it was corny, I actually really miss the 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride. As a kid I honestly believed we were going down to the bottom of the ocean. It was thrilling and terrifying all at once!

    And of course Mr. Toad. My sister and I once got stuck on that ride (it seemed to be forever breaking down) right at the part where you get hit by the train. We had just passed underneath the light so the tunnel was pitch black and the doors at the other end showing the dancing demons/devils had opened. We were there for a good twenty minutes laughing and singing songs to ward off how perfectly creepy it was and we ended up being the last people they walked off the ride. You just can’t get those kind of crazy memories with Pooh!

  108. I miss when Epcot was called EPCOT Center. If the Polynesian can revert back to its original name, so can Epcot!

  109. Now you guys really have me thinking. Sorry, this is my third post on this.
    River Country was a lot of fun and now it’s practically a graveyard of memories. and the other water thing I remember was staying at the Poly when Goofy and Mr.Smee would water ski onto the beach. I guess dirty water and gators put a stop to all that. OK, I’m done. (maybe)

  110. Oh wow…I never realized how much has changed! As I read your blog, I kept thinking, “I remember that..” It’s sad to see all those little changes because those are happy memories from my childhood visits to WDW. But as you pointed out, change is going to happen.

    Thank you for the walk down memory lane!

  111. I miss the entertainment in the lobby at the Polynesian outside of Ohana. I also miss the big huge arcade at the Contemporary.

  112. I have a picture taken in World Showcase from 10 years ago, when we went in late September. There was literally not a soul around, it looked like a ghost town. I miss that. I really miss the old ImageWorks upstairs after JIA, and also that original ride.
    I miss the way Epcot used to feel. It’s my favorite park, and in so many ways it’s become generic. I agree with the poster who says they’re chipping away at the magic…

  113. I miss the Fastpass Kiosks

    This is a recent disappearance and the reason i lament their loss is because disney is a master of detail.

    The Splash Mountain and Big Thunder ones looked like crates, the ones at Midway Mania looked like masked up toys, and the ones at soarin’ looked like Airport Kiosks (at least these were appropriate to the ride).

    When the FP+ kiosks popped up, tey were themed… at first.

    Near International Gateway they looked like columns, at the Tip Board in Hollywood Studios they looked like luggage, the ones in storyboard circus were colorful crates.

    Now the new ones are just bland colors.


    BTW, they REALLY need to make it less obvious that they are hiding old signs. The TOT and Kali Rapids are TOTALLY GONE but the one at Dinosaur covered with the same tarpaulin they use to cover the signs at Everest.


  114. I miss the way the holidays and parties used to be. I miss the complimentary photos that gave us a year by year memory and the souvenir buttons. I miss the Country Bears Christmas show. I miss the arches of Christmas lights that led to World Showcase and were synchronized to music. I miss the original backlot tour as part of the Osbourne lights. I miss the elaborate decorations that used to cover the entire parks, not just the main entrances as it is today. I miss mickey’s night before Christmas stage show in tomorrowland. I miss the Easter parade…..I just miss it being that going at a holiday time was special, not something that has been celebrated for the previous 2 months just so Disney can squeeze more money out of the holiday.

  115. I can’t agree with you on Mexico! I can appreciate adding the Three Caballeros, but I loved the crazy old ride. It was a completely bananas acid trip through Mexico, but it was so bonkers it was sublime. My favorite part was easily the people trying to sell you souvenirs that would follow you from screen to screen in the last part of the ride. These days, it really feels like something is missing. Not just the crazy assortment of videos, but it actually feels like the entire ride is more empty, with a lot of wasted space. Am I crazy, or did the ride used to have lots of vines and knickknacks covering the walls, adding a lot of visual interest. Now the walls are naked and it’s just going from room to room, looking at screens.

    I miss the interactive ‘robot’ characters in all the parks. I’m not sure why they had the mobile Muppet unit or the wandering dinosaur just to get rid of them and for them to disappear forever. Those props couldn’t have been cheap!

    As I’ve said before, I’ve only been a fanatic since 2005, so maybe it seems silly that I miss anything. Still, I miss really tiny things like people in the Orlando airport with big Mickey hands offering you help on how to get to the parks, specifically on how to get to the Disney’s Magical Express. (Or, as I tend to call it, Mickey’s Magic Bus thanks to the phrase once rankling a Disney customer service rep more than it probably should have.)

    I miss that there was a time when every bar and lounge at various hotels had separate drink menus. This made every lounge seem unique, as if each of them were run by a different staff and as such offered a different atmosphere. These days they all have the exact same drink menu that looks the same from hotel to hotel. I suppose it cuts costs and makes certain guests have the same experience no matter where they are, but I loved the touch.

    Speaking of hotels, it seems like story elements are slowly being ignored, if not removed, from the various hotels. Each of them used to have very thematic maps, each of them used to have their own mugs with different logos on them, now everything is as plain as day. There used to be a ‘newspaper’ at the Wilderness Lodge that explained the history of Silver Creek Springs and the founding of the lodge. Riverside and the French Quarter also used to have more story which united the two resorts, explained the split between the Riverside shacks and the Magnolia mansions, and the way the shacks get more and more rustic as you got away from check in.

    And dang it, I miss, miss, miss bongos at the Animal Kingdom Lodge! I genuinely loved those guys. When I noticed they were missing I asked a cast member who told me that it turned out they were just too clever to be contained. Which I can see. When I stayed there every day my wife and I would see the same bongo testing the fences. We named him Billy Bongo and considered him the mascot of our stay. Thanks to this experience I have started donating to bongo conservation in Kenya on a yearly basis. Now the only place to see bongos is on the safari, and that’s just not reliable.

    As for the safari, I miss the part where the bridge started to fall apart! I don’t at all miss the preachy poaching subplot, but the bridge added a lot of theme to the slapdash and patchwork nature of the safari experience.

    I miss the shop inside of Cinderella Castle. I know that just about everything in there is probably now sold elsewhere, but the assortment of objects there were themed to the magic of fantasyland, specifically the fantasy of a grand castle. Along the same lines, I miss the villains shop at Disney Studios! Or rather, Disney MGM at the time.

    I miss the view of Big Thunder Mountain you used to be able to get from the WDW Railroad. Now they have a big fence there that blocks most of the view. Being able to see the backside of water on the Jungle Cruise is one thing, but being able to see the backside of Tumbleweed was something altogether different and very cool!

    I also miss the boat at Norway. I can understand the concerns, but it really added a lot. Nowadays, considering the massive lines to see Elsa and Anna, I guess it would have had to go away anyway. It’d be nice if they could somehow add it to the lagoon as a way to spice up the view of Norway from the other side of the World Showcase. As for the oompah band in Germany, I believe they stopped performing as part of the Kim Possible Adventure. There was a stop in Germany where you could trigger them to perform. As such you lose the spontaneity of it happening at all now that Kim Possible is done. (Also, I miss Kim Possible. It was a ton of fun. And there was nothing as fun as sitting there near the Germany train set and triggering the zombie attack while people were watching. Suddenly everyone was like ‘What?! Did anyone else see that?!’)

    Is DeVine still in DAK? I haven’t seen her in years! If not, I miss her!

    I don’t miss McDonalds in the parks, but there was a McDonalds sign at DAK that I used to love. ‘Treats from the McDon of time!’ It made me laugh every time.

    I do miss the crazy McDonalds that was on property, with the gigantic characters sitting on the roof.

    And here’s one you probably wouldn’t have ever had any reason to know about, Jack! I miss the old website! There was a time when every hotel had its own webpage design. The design went along with the theme of the hotel, so the Contemporary was very modern and sleek, while the Grand Floridian was classy, the Animal Kingdom Lodge dripped the theme of African wildlife and the Wilderness Lodge was cozy and just felt like home to look at it, with dark greens and browns. Every page had its own music, too, if you felt like turning up the volume. The French Quarter played Louisiana ragtime, while Caribbean had steel drums and just felt like summah at the beach.

    My wife insists that I add in the rainbow tunnel that used to be in Imagination. This was before my time, but she said it was her favorite part of the ride.

    I miss the Adventurer’s Club. I mean, I really miss it. It’s not a ‘little thing’, but man. It was just so great. So. Great. I miss it so much I’m going to use an emoticon, and I do not often do that.


    Wow, I guess I miss a lot of things. Though not every change is bad. I love that the buses these days play music appropriate to whatever its destination is. If you’re going to the Animal Kingdom you hear African drums hinting at the mystery, if you’re going to the French Quarter you hear some Louisiana trumpets and if you’re going to Epcot you hear the futuristic and hopeful Epcot theme.

    And speaking of buses, some things will always be the same. Getting into that packed last bus out of a park, seeing kids being held by moms and dads, yawning at the end of a tough day. The bus is quiet and the lights are dimmed, everyone is exhausted, but mostly happy. And then the bus reaches its first stop and the lights turn on and everyone cries out because suddenly they’re blinded. CLASSIC DISNEY MOMENT!

  116. I miss the printed paper napkins, we would always take home a few and I’d stick them in the kids lunches during random times of the year. Also from when I was a kid, the orange, grape and lemon plastic juice bottles. We loved those! I definitely think they should still have the resort specific Christmas ornaments, I look for them every year but sadly couldn’t find a single one this past trip!

  117. Hey Jack
    As you said, things are constantly changing, so this was a great trip down memory lane. I miss dreamfinder the most. It was such a simple funny attraction, and now it is just not the same. I also miss Aunt Polly’s. It was such as nice place to sit and rest for a while. Can’t wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

  118. Ah, where do I begin.

    There are so many little things I miss about WDW that are a huge part of my memories as a kid. I miss the “Disney Village” with the cool two story toy store and the climbing structure they had as a playground. I also miss the “Empress Lily” before it became Fultons. My grandmother would take me and my brothers there for Shirley Temples and to listen to the piano player.

    I also miss the slow times at WDW. We used to always be able to count on smaller crowds in January/February and September/October. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

    Just like others, I miss the penny arcade and magic shop in the Magic Kingdom. Always lots of fun for my brothers and I.

    There are so many things I could name that I miss. Many of them are big items, like whole attractions that are no longer (Horizons, Mr. Toads Wild Ride, the back lot residential street, the skyway etc.) but I guess it is all in the name of progress and new attractions 🙂

  119. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the slow times also. It use to be like clockwork when the best times to go were, but now it seems like there is maybe a 1 month break. The one thing about Disney is I don’t see the company ever falling apart, the $ will always come in.

  120. Great blog. I’m 37 and my wife is 30 so I saw things as a regular WDW vacationer when I was younger that she didn’t. Her family only went a few times. We have this discussion a lot. I miss the old days.
    I miss Disney Village, it was so simple and relaxing. The big Disney store there now is great, but the original Character Shop was nostalgic. Capt.Jacks was a place my parents liked to go to. We would always go over there on our no park day.
    To me, EPCOT, AK, and DHS have differences but are still classic. I think we did the MK so much when I was younger I might have forgotten a lot of things at those 3. I’m glad they revamped Star tours and I believe their are a few things that could change for the better in the Great movie ride. I’m glad we can still see the Walt Disney Story although it belongs back in MK.
    MK to me is where I miss a lot. I loved the Penny Arcade and the Main Street Cinema. Seeing The Walt Disney Story there was always relaxing. I miss walking through the castle and the little shop inside, now it’s closed off half the day. Town Square being roped off for character pics and the Firehouse really not being a Firehouse anymore. I will break the rules here and say I miss Dreamflight, Skyway, and 20,000 Leagues a lot.
    I haven’t been there since December but I’ve heard there are more changes coming. I LOVE going to WDW, but there are several things that have just fallen apart. We are hoping to get our passes again soon, but the prices are getting insane. This new FP system was unnecessary but I won’t get into that here. Thanks to the internet and sites like YouTube we can still see the WDW we all remember. Have a Great Day Everyone!!!

  121. I liked the tubed-shaped sugar packets in the Sci Fi that had the Sci Fi logo on them.

    I also miss knowing there would be a star at the Studios. We saw so many stars over the years. They’d go through the parade then get their handprints solidified in concrete.

    In Epcot, where they now have tribute bands during the concert series, they used to be the real deal. Granted they were singers that you had to have been born before 1980 to remember, but it was cool to see Davy Jones, Peter Noone, and others over the years. I noticed that this summer’s concert series bands were all tributes. I’m sure they will be great but it’s just not the same.

  122. Even though this is a newer attraction, this to us was a huge change to the ride…. The animatronic Yeti in Expedition Everest. It apparently caused too many maintenance issues as it was so large and heavy…. Now you see a wimpy shadow and at the very end, if you look the right direction, you see the non-moving Yeti before the ride ends.

  123. What a great post. I would agree on so many items, from the unobsturcted views in HS, to the doubledecker bus, and especially Polly’s Landing.

    I miss the merchandise that wasn’t so standard.

    There are things I vaguely remember from my childhood that I LOVED at the time. I think there was a Johnny Rockets or something similar in the Dolphin and I thought it was spectacular. I also remember getting a special birthday cupcake in Toontown probably 25 years ago. For some reason, it had a huge impact on me and how I viewed that section of the park that’s now gone.

    I also think I remember swimming in the lake at the Swan and seeing all these little minnows, which you can’t do any more either.

    I also miss Tapestry of Nations. I LOVED that parade. I actually enjoyed the whole millenium village.

  124. Great column! I miss the slow times as well, especially now that we’ll be empty nest and can visit during what used to be slow times. We were there in January and I was appalled at the lines and crowds.

    And the Viking ship. My son still comments on how much he misses that and he’s 17 now. It was a huge part of his childhood.

    I miss the Epcot parade, Tapestry of Dreams/Nations. Have the soundtrack, one of my favorites, but miss the magic of those puppets and drums.

    I miss the unique merchandise (shirts, ornaments, mugs) that used to be available at all the resorts. Still have my old Dixie Landings shirt — it’s a keepsake.

    And while it is not a “little thing”, I miss the Main Street Bakery. I HATE that Main Street has been commercialized by Starbucks. The baked goods in the bakery were always incredible. I refuse to stand in line to get the same mass produced cardboard that I can get in thousands of malls and drive-throughs all over the world. Give me an Apple Charlotte any day. Keep the burnt coffee.

  125. The Magic Shop was a favorite of mine too. I remember buying a trick where you show a small cylinder in two pieces like a cookie tin about an inch and a half across and an inch and a half tall that’s punched with 7 holes in the top and bottom. Then you show a coin that just fits into the cylinder. Put the lid on and tell the audience you’re going to drive three-inch nails through the coin. Then take a nail and drive it straight through one of the holes and show that it comes out the other side. Do this with all of the nails.
    How’s it done? A magician never tells.
    Thanks for another great blog, Jack.

  126. My husband and I were reminiscing about past WDW trips and what we miss just this past weekend!

    I miss the shops on Main street. I have “fortunes” from the Penny Arcade. The emphasis was about “experiencing” Main street. You used to be able to buy park specific souvenirs. It’s sad that you can go to any shop and get 99% of the same merchandise.

    Ditto on missing the “real” studio feel from DHS. I got to watch Lumier being sketched, the backlot tour was fun and enjoyable. It was fun being in a park that was a real working studio. I wished we could have been there to be a part of the shows that were taped there, like Wheel of Fortune. Also, I miss the view…

    EPCOT had more of a futuristic feel, not just another place to get a thrill ride…

    Thanks for the article!

  127. Jack I’m guessing you already know this but the flamingos from EPCOT were moved to Animal Kingdom when it opened where they can be seen on Kiliminjaro Safari. I miss them in EPCOT too.

    Of all the things you mentioned I most miss the slow times. I always planned my trips for January/February slow times. As you noted, it’s never NOT busy anymore.

  128. At DL I miss the Disney Gallery above Pirates of the Carribbean. I have two chances of ever being a guest in the Dream Suite there now: fat and slim. The vistas over the Rivers of America and New Orleans Square were unique. Seeing Disney art in a natural light setting was magical. At one point guests could purchase desert and seating to enjoy Fantasmic. No more. When the Club is reopened after remodeling (Club 33) perhaps there will be more balconies to enjoy the views from but the Disney Gallery is what I miss most.

  129. My WDW memories don’t start until Oct. 2007, and I am amazed at how much has changed just in those seven years. Elliot Dyson at POFQ, gone. Push, gone. The Hat Lady, gone. The Italian sisters, gone. As you mentioned, the rose garden pavilion, gone (and what about the rose garden itself, will it survive the refurb in its entirety or will it be downsized also?). Renting boats at POR and some other resorts, gone. GAC, gone (made our trips possible and the reason we have no future trips planned). Epcot Segway tours, gone. Grand Gatherings, gone. It seems to me that the little things that make WDW different from other parks are slowly disappearing, the magic is being chipped away bit by bit. If it doesn’t bring in money but simply makes people smile, then it doesn’t seem to be considered important enough to maintain.

  130. I miss the swans around the rose garden in the Magic Kingdom. I miss being able to purchase resort-specific refillable mugs, t-shirts and Christmas Tree ornaments. I miss the Pirates and Princess Party that was offered during the “slow” times of the year. I miss Tapestry of Nations in the World Showcase.

  131. I miss the old Fountainview. It was a tradition for us to stop there for late afternoon refreshments. Once they changed it to the ice cream place we didn’t stop. We have gone in to the Starbucks, and it is nice, but I still miss sitting at the counter at Fountainview.

  132. I enjoyed this column. I always appreciate your eye for detail, but this week really made me say, “Oh yeah! I remember that!”

    It might count as a big thing, but I miss the Hunchback of Notre Dame show, with its mix of live actors and puppets.

    I also miss the early days of Star Wars Weekends, when it was much easier to just get in line and meet an actor.

    The Phineas and Ferb missions are fun, but my daughters enjoyed the Kim Possible ones a bit more – they felt more like spies on an adventurous mission.

  133. I miss everyone saying “Have a Magical Day!”….you used to hear it from every CM and now I only hear it from a few during my stay.

  134. I miss the watch shop on Main Street. I bought several watches from there. I miss going thru Cinderella’s castle too.

  135. Another great blog, Jack! I miss the place on Main Street where you got dressed up in period costumes and posed for pictures on the back of a train. I miss the fancy hats they used to see at Le Chapeau. I miss the unique shops each park/land used to have; now the merchandise is so generic.

    Sigh. I could go on and on but I still love Disney World.

  136. I miss it all. The relaxed feeling, the little things that made WDW a magical place, not a rat race – to quote one of my favorite rides, Carousel of Progress (which, by the way, I miss the “old future” there, too).

    But above all – you know what I miss most? The cast members who were kind, and the general feeling that you, the guest, were WANTED there.

    Now, we’re simply an annoyance to most of them – they’re generally rude, and seem bothered we’re interrupting their day. The new FP+ system has left me with a sour taste in my mouth after my hand was grabbed at nearly every ride as I approached the “turnstile” (what do we even call those anymore??). I don’t need touched and herded, thanks. The two seconds it takes for me to lift my own arm and proceed through will not hurt your efficiency scores.

    I miss the other guests who were happy to be there – willing to immerse themselves in the magic of the setting, to be a little kinder to fellow humanity, and a little more patient with their kids. Now, like much of the rest of society, it’s hurry here, hustle there – no time to look around, no time to simply exist enjoying one another’s company. It’s make this FP+ time, make that ADR, get out of the way, you’re blocking traffic!!

    I miss it all. I’m only 39, and I miss most the glory days – when WDW was a different WORLD.

  137. One of my oldest memories (I’d say late 70s or early 80s before EPCOT Center opened) was getting these juices at the Magic Kingdom that were shaped like the fruit. Orange shaped for an orange drink,etc. I miss that bit of my childhood.

  138. On a number of WDW trips in the early- to mid- 2000s, my family purchased a Christmas-tree ornament with a depiction of our resort on it. The first two times, it was a beautifully painted scene of the resort. (We have Animal Kingdom Lodge and Coronado Springs; I can’t remember the artist offhand, but the shop clerk made a point of telling us about him.) In 2006, we bought a ceramic Pop Century one that, while it didn’t have the lovely painting, was still a memento of the resort. During our 2013 trip, we searched in vain for resort ornaments at Art of Animation, but an employee eventually told us WDW no longer made ornaments for the individual resorts. (In fact, we couldn’t even get a dated “2013” ornament during our trip.) Minor, of course (and we bought a more generic ornament), but we would have loved to have added to the little cluster of resort ornaments on our tree. (I really miss House of Magic, too.)

  139. Wow! Swizzle sticks!! I miss the wooden nickels sold at the shop next to the Frontierland Shooting Gallery and the sleigh outside the Christmas Shop, perfect for watching parades.

  140. I miss the penny arcade, but understand the need for emporium over haul to buy all your souvenirs in one place.

  141. Thanks Jack, great piece (as usual). NOW I’m nostalgic. Good thing I get to go back in less than 4 weeks to enjoy the old that’s left with the new that’s been added. It simply never gets old…

  142. I miss the pre-show of Voyage of the Little Mermaid at MGM (I miss MGM too). The entire show has been cut back so many times. The ghostly hands that carried Ariel’s voice, the Sebastian puppet, but most of all the glowing trident over the door.

    Most of all I miss riding around Crescent Lake at the Boardwalk and up to MGM on the wooden speedboat, Breathless. That was always a “must” for us.

  143. Great and poignant article. There were some things that had been so subtly changed, that I didn’t realize they were gone (like the cars on Hollywood & Vine).

    There are a few things that I miss, as well. I miss the stages in Magic Kingdom (the “Galaxy Theater” in Tomorrowland) and the Castle Theater before they made it “huge”. I miss the Kids of the Kingdom performing where the characters augmented the show rather than “BE” the show. I miss the Castle itself. You used to be able to walk up there and have an entire area inside the castle to walk through because shows weren’t performed 24/7. There was a great store inside there, too, where Bibbity now sits.

    I miss the “hidden” area in Tomorrowland that used to be behind the Skyway terminal. For a while, this turned into a smoke area, but before then, it was a “hidden” gem where we’d go to sit and relax for a while. And along those lines, I miss the “open” feeling of the Tomorrowland area before they had to plop a stage down in the middle and have, yet another, Disney Channel / Stitch Commercial.

    I miss the phone booths in the UK where you could “talk” to someone – that was so cool!

    Speaking of that, in Epcot, I miss how you used to make dining reservations on those very futureistic “face phones”. Also, Communicore was great. Now it really seems they don’t know what they want “Innoventions” to be when it grows up. There are far too many “halls with nothing” in there.

    I am starting to miss the entertainment, too; in general. It used to be, in Epcot, you could walk around “the world” and hit something in pretty much every country (something good, I should add). Now, not so much. I miss the “Beetles band”; they were great.

    I think I’m done now, but thank you for the walk down memory lane. 🙂

  144. I miss the “sets” of the backlot tour at Hollywood Studios. The street the tram went down with houses where “The Golden Girls” and a few other things were filmed. It always intrigued me and I hoped to glimpse a star or two.

  145. You mentioned a particular butter Mickey, but I remember when every restaurant had Disney butter of some sort, and Disney chocolates at the end of the meal. I miss them both. We were so impressed when we first went that even the butter was special! I also miss the special care we used to get in the resorts, finding our stuffed animals rearranged, and towel characters on the bed. It still happens occasionally, but not consistently, and when it does, we appreciate it. I miss a lot of things in Imagination at Epcot…painting on the computer screens, and walking upstairs through the color tunnel to see photo displays and contests sponsored by Kodak, and the original pre-show with “True Colors.” (and don’t even get me started on Cranium Command and Body Wars, but I guess those are ‘big things.’)

  146. In the Magic Kingdom, I miss the swans in the water around Cinderella’s castle. As well as the trees. They were terrific!

    I also miss the photo shoot opportunities that they had in the back of the Kodak store at the front of the park. They were terrific! Especially the Steamboat Willie one.

    And I miss when the barbershop barbers actually sang.

    In EPCOT, I miss how the jumping water used to work. Sure, they still have it (or they did several months ago), but it’s seriously scaled back.

    In World of Energy, i miss the smell and that the brontosaurus were in the swamp. I know that’s not factually correct, but seeing them raise their heads, eating seaweed was always exciting.

  147. I arrive on 5/18 so I haven’t officially missed it yet but I will miss PUSH the talking trash can. 🙁

  148. I miss all of the park benches that used to be placed all along the Main Street hubs, near the Train Station and the Castle. I hate seeing Town Square roped off for character meet and greets. When visiting Disneyland last December I could not believe how many park benches are placed all along Main Street! Apparently, WDW does not ever want us to sit and take a break. Even WDW Starbucks has no seating, while all of the DL Starbucks have ample seating! I admit it, I hate how crowded WDW has become because the Magic Kingdom is losing it’s charm and small town feel!