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Top Historical Attractions (Non-Magic Kingdom)

By September 8, 2017 April 8th, 2019 No Comments

Not my greatest subject in school but History does have its place in academia. Looking at the history of a person, place or thing maybe provide perspective, reasoning and background that may be of importance today. So too is the importance of the history of the attractions within Disney Parks. Using a historical perspective, we can research tremendous facts and backgrounds behind the creation and debuts of our favorite attractions. History also allows us to determine which attractions have stood the test of time from the first time they allowed guests to experience them. And because of that, it’s a large part of our agent poll.

Welcome to Believe Vacations Top 10 where we continue our search for the GREATEST DISNEY ATTRACTION OF ALL TIME. This week, we provide the Epcot/Hollywood Studios/Animal Kingdom voting results for Top Historical Attractions (Non-Magic Kingdom edition). For this list, our team was asked to rank attractions based on how each one has the most history associated with it. The total scores are grouped into clusters and that’s what you have in front of you. Okay, okay, enough explanation, let’s get to the attractions!

Zero to Little History

Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros – While Three Caballeros was the 8th Walt Disney Animation Studios production, the attraction does not carry as much historical weight.
The American Adventure – An attraction about the history of America is in the lowest tier for history? Sometimes you just have to accept the results!
Disney Junior – Live – Widely relevant in pop culture, the Disney Jr. characters are still catered towards a younger audience and not towards our agents who voted.
TriceraTop Spin – There’s nothing special about taking a fair ride and assigning random dinosaurs to it.
Primeval Whirl – Nor is there anything special about a rotating, fair rollercoaster and assigning random dinosaurs to it.
Finding Nemo: The Musical  – While the production is amazing, not enough history behind a show that capitalizes on the Finding Nemo franchise.
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration – Seconded for the Frozen franchise.
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage – Are you sensing a trend yet with the history of stage shows based on movies?
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple – The franchise has more history than any other movie ever but this interactive attraction is still in its infancy phase.
Dinosaur – The focal point of DinoLand USA, it’s hard to claim any Animal Kingdom attraction as historical when aare still only 20 years old at most.
Mission: SPACE – The only “historical” thing about this attraction is that it’ll help you remember what you had for breakfast.
Turtle Talk with Crush – Had Crush gotten the sequel instead of Dory, I think the vote would’ve been higher.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid – Let’s revisit our point about stage shows based on movies one more time, shall we?
It’s Tough to be a Bug – Fun Fact – The attraction opened months before the movie. Nowthat’s historical!
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! – Rinse, wash, stage show, repeat!
Muppet*Vision 3D – The history here is that this attraction was the first time the public saw a partnership between Jim Henson Productions and the Walt Disney Company.
Star Tours: The Adventures Continue – More history as the concept for the original version was discussed as George Lucas was working on Captain EO.
Kali River Rapids – It’s the water ride at Animal Kingdom. Really the only historical fact here.
Festival of the Lion King – We conclude the “Stage Show” tier with, admittedly, the best of the bunch.

Some History

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Journey into Imagination with Figment – Good for Figment! The unofficial mascot of Epcot, Figment and his buddy, the Dreamfinder, were at one time the most popular characters in this park. While his attraction has been rumored to close for several years now, it is nice to see the little purple dragon still getting some love!

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Fantasmic! – There have always been nightime forms of entertainment at Disney, be it parades, fireworks or other parties. But this extravaganza will always be the leader for how to maximize all the senses into a 20-minute production that has to be seen to be believed.

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Frozen Ever After – We are only 4 years into the Frozen phenomenon and yet, one can not deny it has already had a historical impact on us. The attraction could go down as one of the fastest to appear after the initial movie/show release. And with a sequel not far away, the historical importance of this attraction may continue to grow for years to come.

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Toy Story Mania! – It’s not crazy for Disney to take a popular movie/show and make an attraction out of it. But while they may have simply “settled” when it comes to The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and Journey of the Little Mermaid, the Imagineers went all out with this one and made it a ride, a game and an adventure all in one. Look for future attractions to take on this type of interactivity throughout the duration of the experience.

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – 2 months prior to the opening of this attraction, a local competitor opened a theme park consisting of the one thing Disney Parks lacked – high speed roller coasters. Once Rock n Roller Coaster launched, Disney had a high speed coaster that looped. To top it off, they partnered with one of the greatest American rock groups in history. I guess you could say Disney knew what it was doing!

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Test Track – Disney has had a long history of attraction sponsors but this attraction may be the one where the sponsor is so predominantly featured from start to finish. On top of that, it is currently the fastest ride in the parks so that’s some history for you!

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Soarin’ – Flight Simulators are very common in malls or largest tourist cities. But in California in the mid-90s, Disney Imagineers wanted to take it to the next level. Sights only do this attraction a bit of justice. Adding in the smells, sounds and natural elements to the scenes you are soarin’ over set the bar for future 4D attractions to come.

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – With 3 mountains in the Magic Kingdom to conquer, it was hard to imagine a 4th becoming more popular that its predecessors. It did not take Everest long to be a huge draw for the Animal Kingdom. Still only a decade plus in age, the legend will grow forever with this incredible experience!

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Historically, it was a very quirky B-Level show mixed with science-fiction and horror. Not necessarily a combination to set Disney Parks on fire. But like it often does, Disney captured lightning in a bottle by attaching it to a multi-story elevator drop. And all it did was become one of the best themed (spoiler alert?) attractions in Disney history.

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Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney World

Kilimanjaro Safaris – Animal Kingdom without animals seems silly. A Disney Park that charges a huge amount of money to be considered a “zoo” would fail instantly. So would you believe marketing the park as a place you could go on your own personal African Safari actually worked? I could never go to Africa to do that but going to Central Florida for a safari seemed more reasonable. And with that, Disney had it’s fourth theme park in Central Florida and has not looked back since.

Copious Amounts of History

You may have noticed there are no pictures or entries in this top tier for Epcot/Hollywood Studios/Animal Kindgom attractions. As the newer of the 3 Walt Disney World Parks, it can be argued that the history of the attractions associated with these parks does not meet the “classics” we have available at Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland before that. As you will see in next week’s post, several of your all-time favorites at the Magic Kingdom make the final tier with regards to history. As for the ones in this post, only time will tell if they will be just as historically saturated as the others.

Did we miss anything? Are there some in tier 2 that need to move up to the highest historical level immediately? Leave your comments in the section below and remember, there’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow!

Brian Pavlick

Brian Pavlick

Brian Pavlick is a husband and father residing in Maylene, AL. His love of Disney goes back to his early memories of watching the New Disney Channel on cable, occasional vacations to Orlando Florida and attending Disney Institute Management Training classes. He keeps up with Disney news and updates by reading numerous websites, experiencing attractions by watching YouTube videos and introducing his family to classic and timeless Disney movies, attractions and songs.