5 Endangered Disney Attractions You Should See Before They Disappear FOREVER (April 2017)

Theme park attractions come and go all the time, and even though we’d like all our favorite rides and shows to stick around forever, the sad fact is that we have to say goodbye to at least a few every year.

This month, we take a look at a number of previously-announced closures happening in the next few weeks at the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, plus a number of extended refurbishments that will likely result in the introduction of some “reimagined” dining locations in the near future. But first, let’s get one of the biggest closures of the year out of the way first…

1. Wishes (Magic Kingdom)

Image: Disney

Location: Magic Kingdom

Status: Going extinct May 11, 2017

Though we’ve known about the end of Wishes for several weeks now, April will be the last full month that guests will be able to experience this classic nighttime spectacular, as its replacement, Happily Ever After, will be making its big debut in just over a month on May 12, 2017.

When it debuts, this new show will be a little longer than its predecessor (18 minutes vs. 12 minutes), and feature projections, lasers, and a whole bunch of other cutting-edge special effects. Happily Ever After will also feature a lot more characters than Wishes, with classic Disney films including Moana, Big Hero 6, AladdinBrave, The Lion King, Zootopia, Peter Pan, Toy Story, The Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Princess and the Frog all playing a part in the new show. You can read more about Happily Ever After here and watch a video preview here.

2. Moana meet and greet (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Status: Going extinct later this month

Last fall Disney brought Moana from the film of the same name to One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a limited time to promote the (at the time) new movie inside this attraction. However, now that the DVD has been released for this movie, the promotion is no longer necessary, and Moana will be moving out sometime in the next few weeks. Rumors have swirled that this character could be moving to the Magic Kingdom later this year after she moves out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but thus far we haven’t seen any kind of confirmation of such a development.

Rumors are also circulating that the reason Disney is trying to move Moana out sooner rather than later is to make way for a new Guardians of the Galaxy character experience, potentially coming to One Man’s Dream to coincide with a new video preview promoting this upcoming sci-fi action film in this attraction’s theater. While we don’t have an official start date yet for this upcoming experience, Disney’s audition site confirms that at least two of the Guardians of the Galaxy will be appearing at this park sometime in the next 30 days, so if you want to see Moana one last time, you’ll need to stop by in the very near future!

3. Portobello Country Italian Trattoria (Disney Springs)

Portobello Cooking Class at Disney SpringsImage: Disney 

Location: Disney Springs

Status: Closing (potentially for good) April 24, 2017

It was announced several days ago that Portobello Country Italian Trattoria will be closing its doors later this month to undergo a major refurbishment. With an assist from James Beard Award-winner Chef Tony Mantuano, the restaurant will be completely reimagined (the same way Fulton’s Crab House was reimagined as Paddlefish) and will adopt a more authentic Italian concept including a family-style menu along with a selection of Italian craft beers and wines. It is unknown if the name will change as part of this refurbishment, but we do know that the menu will be completely overhauled, so if you have a favorite dish that is being served now at this location, it might be a good time to experience it one last time, as it probably won’t be there when this location re-opens later this year.

4. Bayou Pirate Adventure Cruise (Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside)

Image: Disney

Location: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

Status: Already extinct

Late last week it was announced that Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside would no longer be offering the Bayou Pirate Adventure Cruise entertainment option. Guests that have reservations for this experience will be contacted by Disney in the next few days to schedule an alternate option.

5. Shutters & Old Port Royale Food Court

Location: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Status: Closing next month, possibly for good

Disney announced last month that it has kicked off a project to reimagine Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and a big part of that refurbishment will be the overhaul of the Centertown area of the resort. Though we’re still not sure whether Disney is simply refurbishing this area or will be tearing it down completely, Disney has said that beginning in May all of the dining options in this area, including the Old Port Royale Food Court, Shutters at Old Port Royale and the Banana Cabana Pool Bar, will be unavailable.
While its possible that these dining locations may return at some point (potentially in a different location), the refurbishment will probably not be complete until 2019 (around the time Star Wars Land is projected to open), so if you are a fan of the dining options at Disney’s Caribbean Beach resort, April will be your last opportunity to enjoy these restaurants in their current form.
How do you feel about all of these closures happening at Walt Disney World? Will you miss any of these attractions, or are you ready for what’s next at the resort? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
-Originally in Theme Park Tourist 

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Don Korta
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