20 Things You’ll Never Believe Used to Be in Disney World

Over the years, quite a few things have changed in Disney World!

There have been some big changes in Disney World!

We’ve seen rides, restaurants, and stores come and go in the last 50 years, and some of them were pretty “out there.”

Today, we’re sharing a list of the 20 things that you’ll never believe were actually in Disney World!

  • Barbie — and continuing this same theme, let’s discuss how Barbie used to parade around World Showcase in a hot pink limousine. For a few years in the 90s, Barbie was the “Ambassador of Friendship” in EPCOT and had both a meet-and-greet and a 20-minute show. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very popular.
  • EPCOT Circus — ready to have your minds blown in a weird way? There used to be a circus that performed in EPCOT with some truly death-defying stunts. It was called EPCOT’s Daredevil Circus (with emphasis on “daredevil”) and it ran from 1987-1988. 
Barbie Cruising Through Epcot
Goosebumps at Disney. – @Paul_Woz Twitter.
  • Swim with sharks at Typhoon Lagoon — did you know that you used to be able to swim with sharks in Disney World! That’s right, at Typhoon Lagoon there was a Shark Reef where guests could don complimentary snorkels, masks, and life vests to swim over colorful fish and small sharks. It closed in 2016 to make way for the park’s expansion, and the sharks were moved to other parts of the resort. 
  • Push the Talking Trash Can — another strange thing that used to be at Magic Kingdom was a talking trash can! PUSH was his name and he was a robot operated by a nearby Cast Member in plain clothes. He could speak to guests and move around, and he was a huge hit among some die-hard Disney fans. Unfortunately, PUSH was retired in 2014.
PUSH in the wild
  • Splashtacular — if we’re going to talk about weird shows that were in Disney World, we absolutely have to mention Splashtacular. The show only lasted seven months, and if you’ve ever read the plot then you’ll understand why. Basically, an alien woman comes to earth to “steal all the color” from our world, attacking Mickey Mouse and his friends in the process. Mickey calls on the Future World guards, but the alien woman summons her pet alien dinosaur, TerrorsauX. They battled it out, and the audience cringed the whole time.
  • Toilet Paper Cinderella Castle — when Stitch’s Great Escape opened in Magic Kingdom, Disney tried a very weird promotional stunt to get the attention of guests — they TP’ed the castle! That’s right, they covered Cinderella Castle in toilet paper and graffiti, courtesy of the mischievous alien himself. 
Body Wars was a wild ride.
Tarzan Rocks
  • Ellen’s Energy Adventure — Ellen Degeneres, Bill Nye, Jeopardy, dinosaurs…this attraction had a variety of random things smushed together to create one “energy adventure.” It was also 45 minutes long, so it makes sense that it closed down in 2017 to make way for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. The theme song was killer, though.
  • American Idol — one of the more recent things that you could check out in Disney World was the American Idol Experience. The show allowed guests to audition and perform just like real American Idol contestants, and the best performers could move on to a final showcase at the end of the day. It’s kind of strange to think that a reality show-style competition ever existed in Disney World, but it only just closed in 2014.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure
  • Kitchen Kabaret — this opening day attraction was located in The Land at EPCOT and featured a show of animatronic food characters singing about healthy eating. Yeah, it was as weird as it sounds. 
  • The Making of Me — speaking of weird things at EPCOT, let’s talk about the very uncomfortable show, The Making of Me. It was in the Wonders of Life Pavilion, hosted by Martin Short, and discussed, well…how babies are made. It included some detailed animation about “fertilization” and we’re pretty shocked that it was ever allowed in the park.
Kitchen Kabaret
  • Here Come the Muppets — ever wanted to see full-size walk-around versions of The Muppets? No? Us neither. But that’s exactly what we got with Here Come the Muppets at Hollywood Studios, and it was definitely strange.
  • Pleasure Island — and finally, we HAVE to talk about Pleasure Island. A whole area at Disney world dedicated to nightclubs and bars? Yeah, that would shock any of the resort’s newer visitors these days. 

Which of those things surprised you the most? There are so many big changes that we’ve seen in Disney World over the years, and some of them were probably for the best! Stay tuned to AllEars for more Disney World news, history, and advice!

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21 Replies to “20 Things You’ll Never Believe Used to Be in Disney World”

  1. My mom actually taped some of the Barbie show back in 1994, so that’s definitely something we remember! It was my first Disney trip, I was 4 years old! She also taped Tarzan Rocks, on our 2001 trip! It’s so fun to watch videos like that from past trips!

  2. I got engaged at the Beach Club bar at Pleasure Island – and saw many great musical acts on stage there over the years (it was so much better than Downtown Disney or Disney Springs!)

    Obviously this is a younger writing about these old park features; I remember all of them!

  3. I fondly remember all of these attractions. We loved the lands kitchen cabaret “veggie veggie – fruit fruit… cha-cha-cha” downtown island was soooo much fun night clubs comedy clubs and dance places themed to the decade… the 80s are still my kids favorite decade of music they listen to today. Disney used to infuse education with fun. Now it’s just cheap thrills and gimmicks (except rare ones like ROTR) to sell cheap products. It’s so disappointing. Check out Spider-Man in CA or Ratatouille in EPCOT. Completely missed the mark. Could have been so great and instead made them B or C ticket attractions at best. Mr Disney wanted a place a family could spend time together … NOT stare at their cell phones and wake up at the crack of dawn to only NOT get a time for a ride .. at additional cost.
    Many of us older gen x kids have such a fondness and hope the parks will return to its glory of what it was supposed to be about. Profits Yes … but not at the sake of parents having to choose shorter lines over a meal!

  4. The only thing on the list that I think should come back is PUSH, along with all the other little unexpected things that made Disney unique.

  5. I remember body wars and the making of me and the other exhibits at that pavilion. I thought they were awesome!

    1. Those were the early days of EPCOT, when they thought we would pay to be educated. They then followed up with Animal Kingdom where they thought we would pay to see animals and learn to be responsible stewards of the earth. Sadly, we just wanted to pay to be entertained and worry about education and responsibility later.

  6. Used to love pleasure island. Was great to go-to at night when I was younger. Do disappointed it closed but Disney always wanting to make a buck decided to close them and lease the space to businesses without having to hire their own employees. Such a shame

  7. I remember most of those attractions. Pleasure Island was Disney’s answer to Church Street Station in downtown Orlando, which was popular for a while in the 1990s.

    Alien Encounter was never very scary… That’s why it didn’t last.

  8. Pleasure Island actually had a really cool adult themed vibe. Nightclubs, bars, music, comedy club and if I recall it had a New Year’s Eve type celebration nightly.

  9. I loved Kitchen Kabaret. Was my kids and my fav thing. Also, Exxon’s Energy Adventure. Loved the dinosaurs. Some of the other things mentioned, I never saw.

  10. I really liked Ellen’s Energy Adventure and I loved the Alien Encounter. It was scary, but in a very good way. I was sorry when it closed.

  11. What about Michael Jackson in the show “Captain EO” ? I, too miss the Adventurers Club and a few of the other clubs at Pleasure Island. It was SO much fun for adults “way back then”!

      1. Ah yes. Disney got more popular while capacity remained the same, leading to increased prices to try to balance supply and demand…walts least favorite basic principal of economics right?

  12. Well, to each his/her own, I guess. I remember many of those attractions in the article, some of them fondly. “Tarzan Rocks” was a very fast paced show, full of energy and, for me at least, really well done. Besides the Turtles, DHS also had, for a time a least, a place where you could meet and greet some of the Power Rangers characters (weird, I know). Also, when it first appeared, we were big fans of The Kitchen Kabaret. Later on, though, the show was changed to a shorter version and it lost a lot of its appeal.

    You have to understand that things and people change over time. What it would have been wonderful and innovative some years ago, now it makes a lot of people cringe. Some things are, of course, out of place, never mind when (Toilet paper on the Castle, really? What were those guys smoking?)

  13. You can see a couple of the travel scenes that used to be shown in Delta Dreamflight (aka Eastern’s If You Had Wings) on the Gran Fiesta Tour ride in Epcot’s Mexico.

  14. I soooooo miss Pleasure Island, especially the Adventurers’ Club!! It was nice to have an adults-only area!!!!!

    1. I miss Pleasue Island and the Adventurers’ Club as well. This is when it was a great time to visit as an adult. When you could go to restaurants and not be assaulted by cartion characters. Norway had a great restaurant for instance. Miss that too.