The idea of Disney closing a ride always meets with some measure of dismay. Disappointment dominated the day when Disney closed the Babes in Toyland exhibit in 1963. Park-goers were pained when the Flight to the Moon ride shuttered its doors in 1975. In fact, The Magic Kingdom may have been the unhappiest place on Earth when the Submarine Voyage ride released its final E-ticket curtain of submersion-simulating window bubbles in 1998.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror to be terminated on January 2, 2017
A recently announced Disney ride closure is not sitting well with fans of the 1960s black and white TV shows who’ve come to cherish the Rod Serling-influenced adventure ride, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Bell Gardens resident Sam Tabares is one of those fans. Deeply disappointed when he learned about Disney closing the ride, Tabares launched a petition to save the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure. So far, more than 2,500 supporters have signed the petition.
“An iconic and beloved part of DCA is being taken away in exchange for a Guardians of the Galaxy themed ride. From being spooked by hotel management to being dropped in an elevator, please don’t let this gem be taken away, it is one of the most prized and beloved parts of DCA. Future generations deserve to experience it’s greatness! The memorable Aladdin show has already been replaced by FROZEN. We can’t let them take this away from us now! SAVE THE TOWER!”
A Disney Imagineer explains
Joe Rohde is creative director of the Walt Disney Imagineering Department. As reported in Teen Vogue, Rohde spilled the proverbial beans when he announced plans for the new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! ride at Comic-Con in San Diego last July.
“The captor doesn’t know it, but Rocket Raccoon has escaped and is enlisting our aid — all the guests — to help the Guardians in a breakout scheme. And the rest is comical chaos; a very funny, very irreverent story and a really wonderful addition to Disney California Adventure.”
In addition to Rocket Raccoon, the newest Disney ride will feature characters and situations from the Marvel Comics inspired movie, Guardians of the Universe. Not coincidentally, construction of the new Disney ride is scheduled to be completed in May 2017, right around the time the movie sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, will be released in theaters.
One last horrifying hurrah
From September 9 through Halloween, visitors to Disney’s California Adventure Park who dare to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror may do so after dusk –with all the lights out. The special “Late Check-Out” is slated to offer park guests a chance to be truly terrified, especially during the ride’s climactic, 13-foot elevator free fall. As Halloween approaches, the Hollywood Tower Hotel which currently houses the Twilight Zone ride, will offer special presentations by Vaudeville veterans, the Silver Lake Sisters.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is not the only California Adventure ride that will close this month. Unlike the terror tower, which will be “re-imagined” into a new Disney ride, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Paradise Pier will begin refurbishment on September 6 and will be reopened later in September. Goofy’s Sky School, also at Paradise Pier, is scheduled to be closed for a two-day refurbishment on September 26 and 27, reports All Ears Net.
Disney closing ride: it’s happened before and it will happen again
For the six-decades-old Anaheim theme park, Disney closing rides is nothing new. Since opening the candy-colored gates to the Magic Kingdom on July 17, 1955, Disneyland has retired dozens of exhibits and rides. Disney California Adventure, which opened for business in 2001, has also called the kibosh on numerous attractions. That’s simply the Disney way. Disneyland, Disney World, California Adventure and other Walt Disney-inspired theme parks are in a constant state of change, modernization and merry mutation.
Sometimes, Disney closes rides forever and builds something entirely different in its place. Other times, as is happening with the transformation and re-branding of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a tired ride is gutted and re-purposed with a new name and theme.
Try this at home
If the past truly is prologue to the present, a brand new generation of Disney ride fans will eventually go gaga over Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! just as they did when other once-beloved attractions went by the wayside. Ask a Baby Boomer if they remember not one, but two Tomorrowland attractions that made a hero of Monsanto in 1965 and 1966.
The “It’s a Small World” theme will continue to get stuck in people’s heads until further notice.
[Photo by Disneyland Resort/Getty Images]