Looking Back at Our Seven Favorite Attractions From Epcot’s Past

As Epcot continues to undergo its major transformation in 2020, we’re reflecting back on some of our favorite classic Epcot attractions that have come and (sadly) gone.

Epcot

Epcot will, after all, “always be in a state of becoming” and “will never cease to be a living blueprint of the future”!

Journey Into Imagination 1983-1998

We know what you’re thinking: “but Journey Into Imagination is still there!” Is it, folks? Is it really?

Imagination Institute

You see, if you’re an 80s baby, you grew up in the golden era of Figment. You probably toddled around the house holding a plush Figment in one hand and your binky in the other. Plus, you may even have some stellar photos of you with Figment and the Dreamfinder who used to greet at Epcot. We lost the classic attraction (as we knew and loved it) back in 1998. It was re-imagined into Journey into Your Imagination, which lasted briefly from October 1999 to October 2001 until it was transformed once again into Journey into Imagination with Figment — the current incarnation. Sad to say, the classic dark ride is only a shell of its former self. Don’t get us wrong: we adore Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, but we really miss all the crazy Figment scenes.

World of Motion 1982–1996

Speaking of sweet 80s rides, it doesn’t get much more retro than World of Motion! The cool started in the loading area that took you up a ramp around a mirrored pole where you got to see a great view of Spaceship Earth before entering the ride’s show building.

World of Motion

And just as Spaceship Earth tells the story of man’s ability to communicate with one another, World of Motion told the story of how we learned to get around. It seems appropriate somehow that World of Motion is now home to Test Track, where you can build prototype cars and take them for a test drive! But we sure miss seeing those cavemen blow on their feet from overuse!

Universe of Energy 1982-1996

Universe of Energy was another hard one to see go. Yes, the ride was incredibly long and took a large chunk of time out of your day, but it was a commitment we were willing to make!

Universe of Energy

And while the pre-Ellen DeGeneres, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Bill Nye version of the attraction closed in 1996,  Ellen’s Energy Adventure which ran from 1996–2017 was, at its core, similar enough for us to get by. Enormous roving theater seats, check! 180-degree movie screens, check! Giant audio-animatronic dinosaurs, check!

At least we’ll (hopefully) be rewarded with something equally, if not more awesome when Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opens sometime in 2021, although it pained us a great deal to see all those photovoltaic solar cells stripped off the roof which according to Wikipedia, partially powered the ride’s vehicles!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind Construction

Horizons 1983–1999

If we can dream it, then we can do it, yes we can, yes we can! How can you not love the aspirational message of the Horizons theme song? From its OMNIMAX screens to its visions of what the future could possibly hold in store for us, Horizons was the truest essence of what Epcot stood for. Do you remember how you got to choose your pathway back to the FuturePort? Which one did you and your family always choose?

Horizons

The attraction permanently closed in 1999 to make way for Mission: SPACE, but it remains alive and well in the hearts of many Disney fans!

Wonders of Life 1989–2007

The former Wonders of Life pavilion was a bit more polarizing than some of the other universally-adored attractions we’re reminiscing about. We remember being dragged onto Body Wars — a motion simulator ride similar to Star Tours where you shrunk down to the size of a cell and entered a person’s body. Love it or hate it, the new PLAY! pavilion that’s being built where Wonders of Life once stood will hopefully be more of a crowd-pleaser than the controversial Wonders of Life. And we’re glad to see the long-abandoned pavilion come back to life!

Wonders of Life Pavilion

Kitchen Kabaret 1982-1994

Do you love singing food? Then you probably would have adored Kitchen Kabaret, a musical revue starring the talented Boogie Woogie Bakery Boy, The Cereal Sisters, Kitchen Krackpots, Ham & Eggz, and of course, our favorites, the Fiesta Fruit who brought us the timeless classic, “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit”!

And we weren’t even that mad to see Kitchen Kabaret go in the mid-nineties. Food Rocks was entertaining in its own right with performances by Chubby Cheddar, The Peach Boys, and Pita Gabriel.

Food Rocks!

But all good things must come to an end it seems, and in 2004 the animatronic foods took their last bow to make way for Soarin’!

Maelstrom July 5, 1988 – October 5, 2014

Long before Anna and Elsa took up residency at the Norway pavilion, you may recall the space now occupied by Frozen Ever After used to be called Maelstrom. It wasn’t that long ago, but boy how times have changed! When we board the very same Viking longship ride vehicles we can still recall parts of the classic attraction. In fact, if you close your eyes and plug up your ears, it’s almost like still being on Maelstrom since the track is exactly the same! Except we think Elsa’s snow monster Marshmallow isn’t quite as scary-looking as the three-headed mythological troll that terrified us before the ride took a Frozen turn!

Frozen Ever After

What are some of your favorite Epcot attractions or experiences that are no longer around? What are some of the things you’re most excited about experiencing once the new Epcot transformation is complete? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 Replies to “Looking Back at Our Seven Favorite Attractions From Epcot’s Past”

  1. In the Wonder of Life pavilion, there used to be a show where you were inside the head of an early teenage boy. You got to live through a day seeing things through a teenagers eyes. The parts of the body were celebrities. (I remember George “Norm!” Wendt was the stomach.) I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it, but I loved it and still miss it.

    1. It was called “Cranium Command” and I used to love that show. The casting was perfect and the performances cracked me up!

  2. Cannot read anything about the good old days of EPCOT and what we miss the most and not think of Off Kilter. They entertained for many years at the Mill Stage in Canada and were a favourite of many. They are still very much missed as is so much other good entertainment. The thrill rides are fine but so were the great classic rides at EPCOT and so much great entertainment that has disappeared from EPCOT.

  3. I think most Disney World veterans enjoyed the unique Disney fantasy of the attractions. The ride didn’t have to be go fast and make you scream your head off. The old rides were fun and they were Disney. World of Motion was a classic. Horizons as well. Disney insulted Norway with Frozen. For me, every time I get on one of the classics (Small World for example) I always see something I hadn’t seen before. The new rides don’t do that for me. I remember this last January when we were there I had pointed something out to my wife while riding Peter Pan and we’ve been on that ride hundreds of times. The same goes for Spaceship Earth which they want to change. I know most people like to ride thrill rides and scream. So do I, but Disney has always separated itself from other amusement parks by stimulating all the senses. Most people look straight ahead on Everest screaming the entire time. Not me, I look around. Unfortunately, Everest doesn’t have much to see other than straight ahead. Heck, you can even see the metal structure below you.

  4. Compared to their replacements, all old rides are our favorites. Test Track is an insult to the history of transportation and the World of Motion. As is Mission Puke to Horizons.