Lite 99
Tampa's Feel Good Favorites

Some things in life are certain, such as the inevitable change at Disney World. Blink, and the Disney Parks could look completely different.

Magic Kingdom

Attractions close all the time for refurbishment in Disney World and it feels like we’re always looking ahead to the next big ride opening. In short, Disney World attractions consistently keep us on our toes thanks to their evolution. While we appreciate how Disney World manages to still pay homage to the past while implementing updates and changes, we can’t help but reflect upon and admire some truly outstanding ride transformations over the years.

Disney World has had no shortage of ride transformations since it officially opened in 1971. However, some transformations have landed better than others — here are four that positively stand out!

Test Track

While EPCOT’s Test Track will be entering its THIRD iteration with this latest reimagining, it is sometimes overlooked that the attraction wasn’t always “Test Track” to begin with!

Test Track

Test Track wound up replacing World of Motion, a former attraction in Future World (now known as World Discovery). Presented by General Motors, this EPCOT opening-day attraction was in operation from 1982 to 1996 and gave rides a thrilling tour through a GM testing facility.

©Disney

Riders would board Omnimover vehicles that would go through scenes full of audio-animatronic figures and projection effects that showcased the history and achievements of transportation — all with a comical approach. The finale of the ride also gave a glimpse at the possible future of transportation, with looks at future vehicles and Pepper’s Ghost illusions. Finally, once disembarked, riders would visit the TransCenter — an interactive area featuring Gm developed products.

©Disney

Due to slumping business and contract uncertainty, Disney opted to turn the ride into a car-focused attraction that took riders through test scenarios to see if their vehicles were road-ready. In 1996, World of Motion closed and Test Track opened three years later in 1999.

Since 1999, Test Track has had two iterations (heading into its third) and regardless of which version you prefer, it’s safe to say the change to Test Track has been a success.

Test Track boarding area

The most recent version of Test Track (Test Track 2.0) changed the storyline and added a pre-ride interactive design center.  The redesigned lobby introduced guests to “vehicles of the future” with full-size concept cars and models and took passengers into the Chevrolet Design Center to virtually design their own car.

You’d then board a special “SIM Car” and road test your designs on a futuristic journey through dark terrain sets with neon lights. Once off the attraction, you’d find yourself in a high-tech showroom full of interactive games, simulators, and photo opportunities. While it’s wildly debated which version of Test Track is superior, what’s generally accepted is that the attraction overall is a worthy successor to World of Motion. We’re excited to see what version 3.0 has in store!

Frozen Ever After

While the projections can be…iffy…at times, there’s no denying the popularity of Frozen Ever After. This EPCOT attraction replaced Maelstrom in the Norway pavilion in World Showcase back in 2016.

Frozen Ever After

Don’t get it twisted — Maelstrom was a good ride. The reversing boat ride attraction that opened in July 1988 had passengers board boats modeled after longships as they journeyed through mythological Norway, facing peril and adventure — and some pretty cool audio-animatronics. Scenes depicted Norse gods, seafarers, maritime villages, polar bears, puffins, monsters, and other Viking imagery. Boats would reverse, speed up, and plunge down a 28-foot drop into the stormy North Sea.

RIP Maelstrom

Eventually, the Disney Parks became more IP focussed and Maelstrom closed for good in October 2014.

Frozen Ever After took its place as the main Scandinavian attraction in 2016. The layout isn’t all too dissimilar from Maelstrom, still featuring the boat element, accelerations, reversals, and drop. Riders journey through Arendelle as the citizens celebrate the “Official Summer Snow Day”.

Frozen Ever After in Disney World

Riders sail off into a winter wonderland, where they’ll hear familiar music from Frozen as well as encounter familiar characters like Olaf, Sven, Grand Pabbie, Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Marshmallow, and more. Riders can sing along to songs like “For the First Time in Forever” and “Let It Go” as fluid animatronics and special effects mostly dazzle (we mentioned the shoddy face projections) while they dip down small drops backward and forward to the final village destination.

All in all, this is a wonderful attraction based on an incredibly popular Disney animated film full of innovative ride effects — what’s not to love?

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Wow, we really love these EPCOT ride transformations, huh?! Our next pick is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in World Discovery. This AMAZING coaster replaced Ellen’s Energy Adventure.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Previously Universe of Energy, Ellen’s Energy Adventure was open from 1996 to 2017 and starred, Ellen DeGeneres, Bill Nye “The Science Guy”, Jamie Lee Curtis, Alex Trebek, and Johnny Gilbert. The attraction took a lighthearted look at the science behind energy and the origins of fossil fuels by using a traveling theater system to depict movie screens, show a primeval diorama, and play some Jeopardy!.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Cosmic Rewind opened in 2022 after delays due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but the wait was worth it as it instantly became one of Disney World’s BEST rides. Based on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, this coaster embodies the spirited team well, being equally chaotic, hilarious, and absolutely entertaining.

Cosmic Rewind Queue

Ride shuttles launch you backward at the beginning 60 mph to one of six randomized songs — “Disco Inferno” by the Trammps, “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls, “Conga” by Miami Sound Machine, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, “One Way or Another” by Blondie, or “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire. From there, you’ll drift through space on smoothly rotating ride vehicles that, while fast, mitigate any unpleasantness that comes with other dark coasters like Space Mountain.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

We can’t stress how much this ride gives us a feeling of pure joy. Thrilling but not too scary, this coaster is a definite crowd-pleaser and the biggest and best Disney World upgrade in years.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Over in Magic Kingdom, Pirates of the Caribbean has gotten a few upgrades over the years.

Pirates of the Caribbean

While not an opening day attraction at Magic Kingdom, fans were so in love with the Disneyland version that they basically forced Disney World’s hand in adding a Florida version in 1973.

Being a classic Disney attraction, every change to this beloved ride has been met with controversy on both coasts, but we feel like two major changes have been for the better.

Jack Sparrow

The first was the introduction of the CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow animatronics and storyline in 2017. To tie the ride into the movies that were inspired by the attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean installed a few Jack Sparrow animatronics in various parts of the attraction. Without compromising the classic feel of the ride, Disney was able to seamlessly blend the old with the new Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise to create something both longtime fans and movie fans could appreciate.

Redd

The next big change was adjusting the controversial auction scene. Disney abandoned the buy-a-bride scene in 2017 and instead went more for a traditional auction — with a twist. The change turned the former redhead bride into Redd, a swashbuckling buccaneer who was inspired by Anne Bonny. A whole lore has been created around Redd and we love that she’s become a full-fledged character in the Disney character archives.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Which ride transformation is your favorite? Let us know in the comments and continue to follow us here at DFB for all the latest Disney World news, tips, tricks, reviews, and more!

Disney Fans Are Calling Out the Overhyped Rides that Are Super Underwhelming

Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!

WE KNOW DISNEY.
YOU CAN, TOO.

Oh boy, planning a Disney trip can be quite the adventure, and we totally get it! But fear not, dear friends, we compiled EVERYTHING you need (and the things to avoid!) to plan the ULTIMATE Disney vacation.

Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, our insider tips and tricks will have you exploring the parks like never before. So come along with us, and get planning your most magical vacation ever!

Which Disney World ride transformations are your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

The post 4 Jaw-Droppingly Good Disney World Ride Transformations first appeared on the disney food blog.