Things That Were Totally Normal To Do in Disney World 10 Years Ago, But Would Be STRANGE Today

It’s no secret — Disney World looks a lot different today than it did a decade ago.

Magic Kingdom

Over the past decade, we’ve seen amazing park expansions — such as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — and the addition of innovative new attractions — like Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind at EPCOT and TRON Lightcycle / Run and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom. But all these additions come at the price of subtraction.

Visiting Disney World is way different today than it was 10 years ago. From missing rides and shows to things you can no longer do, we’ve come up with 10 things that were totally normal to do in Disney World a decade ago, but would be strange today!

Use Paper FastPasses, Tickets, and Maps

Disney World, like most of the U.S., has made an effort to go paperless over the last decade.

There used to be FastPass kiosks all over the parks!

Nowadays, paper maps still exist but are largely replaced by the My Disney Experience app, which also holds your park tickets and Lightning Lane reservations/Genie+, the newer FastPass system. While you can still have a physical park ticket, it’s no longer made of paper. Welcome to the digital age.

Make Dining Reservations 180 Days Out

Making Disney World dining reservations 180 days out from your trip used to be possible, but has since been replaced by 60-day windows.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Making dining reservations 180 days out in 2024 is not only strange, it’s impossible! The only workaround is that some Disney Springs restaurants take reservations through OpenTable and you can grab those over 60 days out. But as far as Disney’s system goes, it’s no more than 60 days in advance!

Ride The Great Movie Ride

Yes, The Great Movie Ride’s Hollywood Studios replacement Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is charming, adorable, and loads of fun. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pine for what you used to have.

RIP to The Great Movie Ride

The Great Movie Ride was a dark ride that featured audio-animatronics, practical sets, live actors, special effects, and projections to take riders through scenes from 12 iconic movies. Don’t get us wrong, we love Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, but we’d rather have both.

Bring a Selfie Stick to the Parks

Believe it or not, there was a time when Disney allowed selfie sticks at the parks!


Disney banned selfie sticks from its theme parks in 2015 and they’ve been prohibited since. We get it though, there is a safety risk. Visitors were using selfie sticks during rides and ignoring rules so Disney had to ultimately ban them. Fortunately, small gimbals are still allowed in the parks.

Experience the Offseason

Believe it or not, Disney World used to have an off-season when parks weren’t completely crowded.

It gets crowded!

A decade ago, you could count on parts of January, school time during the spring, and parts of the fall to be the slower seasons at Disney World. That’s just not the case most of the time anymore. Any day you go to Disney World now could viably have large crowds. If large crowds make you anxious, click here to check out some tips for a smoother vacation at Disney World!

Eat Cheap Lunch at Be Our Guest

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom used to be a lot more affordable. That is, until 2018 when it officially switched to prix fixe services.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Nowadays, Be Our Guest serves Lunch and Dinner prix fixe meals for $70 plus tip and tax per adult and $41 plus tip and tax per child. The ability to be picky on the menu to save money is long gone.

Audition for American Idol

The American Idol Experience in Disney’s Hollywood Studios sadly closed a decade ago in 2014 and was replaced by For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.

American Idol Experience

This show invited park guests to sing in front of a live audience and the audience would vote for their favorite singers. The winners would get a Dream Ticket, a pass that allows the holder to go to the front of the line at a regional audition for the real American Idol television show. Singing at Hollywood Studios just isn’t the same anymore.

View the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Do you remember when the Osborne family had a spectacular presence at Hollywood Studios? The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights was very popular and featured 5 million lights, snow, and music all on the Streets of America during Christmas time.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights officially ended in 2015. You could go searching for it in what is now Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and to that, we say…uh…good luck.

Get a Pirate Tutorial

While you can become a princess at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Disney World, there used to be a time when you could become a pirate as well! and used to be able to learn how to be a pirate from Captain Jack Sparrow himself!

Captain Jack gives a pirate tutorial

Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Tutorial ran from 2006 until 2018 and took place in Magic Kingdom on the stage across from Pirates of the Caribbean. During the tutorial, kids could learn from Captain Jack Sparrow himself how to fight with a sword and swore the oath “a pirate’s life for me.” While the tutorial is gone, Captain Jack Sparrow still makes appearances in the area so not all is lost!

Meet a Talking Mickey Mouse

As a general principle, talking is a big “no-no” when it comes to Disney characters at the theme parks. With that said, there was actually a time you could talk to Mickey Mouse at Disney World!

Mickey in Magic Kingdom

Back in 2013, Mickey got a speaking upgrade in his meet and greet location at Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom. He would speak to guests, perform magic, and interact with folks before sending them on their way. We honestly still don’t know how we feel about this change to this day. Mickey went back to being silent in 2018, so don’t expect a verbal response if you speak to him today.

10 Ways Disney World is Changing in 2024

And there you have it! Clearly, Disney World is always changing, so stay tuned right here at AllEars for the latest Disney World news, tips, and more!

Disney World Got Rid of the Osborne Lights Over 8 Years Ago…and There’s Still a MAJOR Problem Because of It

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What are some things you wish you could go back in time and do at Disney World? Let us know in the comments!

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