SATURDAY SIX: In Memoriam – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in 2015. As theme park fans, we’ve had a lot to be thankful for this year. However, as much as we are looking forward to the upcoming Star Wars Land at Disney and Universal teaming up with Nintendo, it wasn’t all good news. This year we had to say goodbye to some old friends. In the case of Captain EO, we had to say goodbye again.Today we pay our respects to some of those that we lost in the past year, starting with….

 # 6 – Twister… Ride It Out!

Alas poor Paxton, I knew him well Horatio…

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“I will remember you…” – Sarah McLachlan (photo by @DrewOfOU)

Friends, Brazilians, Annual Passholders, lend me your ears. I come to bury Twister…Ride It Out! not to praise it. The evil that C Ticket attractions do, lives after them. The good is oft interred with their flying cows. So let it be with Twister. The noble Jimmy Fallon hath told you Twister was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault. And grievously hath Twister answer’d it. Here, under leave of Jimmy Fallon and the rest, — For Jimmy Fallon is an honorable man. So are they all, all honorable men, — Come I to speak in Twister‘s funeral. Twister was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Jimmy Fallon says Twister was ambitious. And Jimmy Fallon is an honorable man.

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Twister…Ride It Out! (photo by Brandon Glover)
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Another attraction joins the great big theme park in the sky. (photo by @DrewOfOU)

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Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon coming soon to Universal Studios Florida!

# 5 – NBA City

The classic NBA logo is a beautiful silhouette of Jerry West. In Universal’s CityWalk, the NBA City restaurant recreated that logo as a giant statue, except it looks as it was created by Saruman to scare away hobbits in Lord of the Rings. So that’s your first impression of this fine eatery. Once you got inside the seating area was deceptively small, but the menu was actually pretty decent. There were a ton of TVs in the restaurant, the arcade area was really good, and it had a fantastic green screen area where guests could get pictures taken and have their faces put onto actual NBA photos. That’s right, you could get a picture of yourself dunking in an NBA game or standing on the foul line watching DeAndre Jordan brick another foul shot. One of the best photo experiences at Universal or Disney, it was that good.

While NBA fans no longer have NBA City to go to at Universal, they do have an NBA Experience coming to Disney Springs to replace DisneyQuest. Five floors of NBA City? As Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Good luck with all that.”

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NBA City it all its glory (or something.) (photo by Trygve Nelson)
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NBA City’s Towering Cheesecake. RIP, you will be missed.
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Who wouldn’t want to have a picture of Len Testa, the grand poohbah of TouringPlans, talking shop with Allen Iverson? Talk about mantle worthy.

# 4 – Mulch, Sweat and Shears

You could probably book a good Lollapalooza style event just using musical acts Disney has kicked to the curb over the past few years. Joining Off Kilter on the main stage will be Mulch, Sweat and Shears, who played their last song at DHS on October 10th. Unfortunately, DHS fans are used to the mourning process as they have lost a lot over the past few years. Studio Backlot Tour. The Legend of Jack Sparrow. The weird lounge that replaced Legend of Jack Sparrow. The Magic of Disney Animation. Mulch, Sweat and Shears joins this hit list and it might not be the last one as rumors persist Muppets might be in the path of Star Wars destruction.

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Mulch, Sweat and Shears carried off to the great concert hall in the sky. (photo by Matt Cleary)

# 3 – Villains in Vogue

This time, it’s personal.

Having a theme park retail store ranked this high on this list may seem questionable to you, Dear Reader, but this one sticks in my craw. I’ve always loved Villains in Vogue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s very rare we get anything themed to “the bad guys” at the parks. At the Magic Kingdom we have Gaston’s Tavern, and over at Universal they have villain’s alley in Marvel Superhero Island. But what else? Villains in Vogue at least used to try and be a store with a good amount of merchandise dedicated to the actual Villains (such as plush for the Siamese cats from Lady & the Tramp). While most of the “bad guys” items have been removed for a while, at least we had the window displays. However those left (to be replaced by “Made With Magic” stuff) and even the name was changed this past summer to Reel Vogue. A once proud merchandise location offering a unique feel and now it is just another generic Disney store. It is the retail shopping experience equivalent of the ending to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

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Villains in Vogue. (photo by Brandon Glover)
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Reel Vogue. #UGH

# 2 – Canadian Lumberjacks

A 2015 Burgy Award winner (for “not being as bad as we thought it would be”), the Canadian Lumberjacks show in EPCOT’s Canada Pavilion had its run unceremoniously ended in late November with little notice or kerfuffle. Lasting just over a year, the Lumberjacks were given the bum’s rush and now are back in the Great White North trying to get maple syrup out of trees, watching hockey, eating backbacon and whatever else they do up in Canada. We will miss the log rolling, the log splitting, and the flannel.

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Canadian Lumberjacks. (photo by Daisy Lauren)
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The Lumberjacks in action. (photo by Rikki Niblett)

# 1 DISASTER! A Major Motion Picture Ride Staring You!

We’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of classic Universal Studios Florida attractions over the years, but they’ve always been replaced by something even better. Kongfrontation gave way to Revenge of the Mummy, one of the most underrated coasters in Orlando. Back to the Future: The Ride stepped aside for The Simpsons Ride and all of Springfield USA. Most recently we lost Jaws, an opening day attraction and possibly Universal’s most well known ride, for Diagon Alley. In 2008 Disaster! took an outdated Earthquake attraction and made it fun again. With an amazing preshow featuring Christopher Walken (using Musion technology), the ride culminated with an always HILARIOUS video of The Rock in Mutha Nature.

With the Fast and Furious franchise skyrocketing in popularity, it was only a matter of time before they made their way into the Orlando parks. In typical Universal fashion, in August an accidental email leaked that Fast and Furious: Supercharged would be coming to USF, replacing Disaster! If anything could help make us forget Christopher Walken as Frank Kincaid, the role he was born to play, it’s Vin Diesel. Well, maybe not, but we hope the ride is good anyway. Universal Creative’s track record is so strong right we’ll trust them on this one.

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From the producer of the smash hit Mutha Nature comes the latest movie sensation! (photo by Michael Sheehy Jr)

COMING SOON! Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue

This is where the story gets interesting. When Universal announced Fast and Furious Supercharged was coming, they announced that Disaster and Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue would be leaving. We were told the last date for Beetlejuice would be December 3rd, and there was actually a decent amount of online support trying to “save” the show.

However, in a shocking last minute reprieve of sorts, Universal announced there actually would be more Beetlejuice shows in December and continue into the first week of January 2016. What makes this story even better is that we have heard from several sources in the know that Universal announced upcoming Beetlejuice shows before alerting the cast.

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HONORABLE MENTION: EEYLOPS

When Diagon Alley opened in 2014 it was nearly flawless, but one of the things which still has us scratching heads is the lack of capacity for the smash hit Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour, While lines stretch out the door in what is arguably the best ice cream shop in the Muggle world, the place next door – Madame Malkins – had an extra room dedicated for a queue that was never used.  A non-themed room below, but having the pretty cool Eeylops Owl Emporium above, this was the only place in Diagon Alley where you never saw a single person. The space is now the home of Shutterbuttons where Muggles can partake in a magical Photo Connect experience.

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Eeylops. (photo by @AmusementBuzz)
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Your owl emporium. (photo by @AmusementBuzz)

DOUBLE SECRET HONORABLE MENTION: WIMPY’S RISES FROM THE GRAVE

“Do you believe in miracles?!” – Al Michaels

As the saying goes, reports of Wimpy’s death at Islands of Adventure were premature. It’s true, last year I wrote the obituary for Wimpy’s, my white whale, thinking I was never going to see the restaurant open for business. Then, this past summer, like a gift from Heaven above, Wimpy’s opened for a limited time. Even better? I WAS THERE. I still can’t believe it, and every time since I have gone back to Universal Wimpy’s has sat dormant in its closed state. Maybe I dreamed it. Maybe I hallucinated it. Whatever the case may be, Wimpy’s is now off my bucket list.

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Wimpys….OPEN FOR BUSINESS! (photo by Brandon Glover)
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Wimpy’s food, photographed by ME! Yes, I TOOK THE PICTURE BECAUSE I WAS THERE!!!!!

So there you have it: In Memoriam – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in 2015See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)

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Eeylops as seen in its usual state. (photo by Megan Stump)

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:

In Memoriam – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in 2014

Six Ways To Repurpose Your Extra MagicBands

Six Things WDW Can Take To the Dump With the Sorcerer’s Hat

Six Ways To Get Your Disney Fix Outside of the Theme Parks

Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, #blocked and reported for spam Michael Sheehy, Who Knew But Drew of OU, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey (who gets a special No Thanks this week after his week long trip to Disneyland resulted in a total of two pictures taken.)

FINAL PLUG! Did you know The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. PRE-ORDER this baby now! (For every copy sold, a percentage of the profits* go towards buying a DVD of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rap video.)

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18 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX: In Memoriam – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in 2015

  • December 19, 2015 at 8:07 am
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    Your apt Julius Caesar and Tonight Show references with Twister: Ride It Out reaffirms why I continue to read this blog every Saturday morning. Kudos.

  • December 19, 2015 at 8:51 am
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    I can’t believe my one ally in supporting the Canadian Lumberjacks is Derek Burgan.

    • December 19, 2015 at 9:23 am
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      Well, as the saying goes theme parks make strange bedfellows.

  • December 19, 2015 at 9:34 am
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    your blogs never fail to make me laugh. thanks for another year of Saturday snickering Mr Burgan!

  • December 19, 2015 at 11:50 am
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    Dang, now I want the F&F ride to feature Christopher Walken driving a car through a subway station.

  • December 19, 2015 at 1:10 pm
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    The Canadian Lumberjacks? Seriously?!

    I’m sure you’ll be inconsolable when Duck Dynasty finally gets cancelled.

  • December 19, 2015 at 3:05 pm
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    Always funny, clever and timely. I’ll miss Villians in Vogue, too. The only place I could ever hope to find Chernabog merch.

    • December 19, 2015 at 5:43 pm
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      Very confused why they killed that store. There’s a lot of money to be made selling evil queen stuff to the goth girls.

  • December 20, 2015 at 10:21 am
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    Nice article. I believe Wimpy’s is a seasonal restaurant like Green Eggs & Ham in Seuss Landing though I have rarely seen them open even during the peak tourist season.

    • December 20, 2015 at 11:20 am
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      Brian I had heard from sources that Wimpy’s was not coming back after it’s last seasonal run in 2014 and was being considered for retail space. Thankfully cooler heads prevailed if that was the case. AS for Green Eggs & Ham, I have seen that open many times where there was only one day this summer I have seen Wimpy’s selling food.

  • December 20, 2015 at 10:40 am
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    They got rid of the villains store at the Studios? Wow. I’m very upset by that. I loved going into that store, if only to browse.

    As someone above said, where am I supposed to get Chernabog stuff now?

  • December 20, 2015 at 7:10 pm
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    You didn’t mention Captain Eo!!

  • December 21, 2015 at 12:01 pm
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    I will really be upset if they get rid of the Muppets. I’ve seen the show a bunch times and still love going to it. I’ve never understood why they haven’t had a bigger presence in the park. Like why there isn’t a character spot with Sam The Eagle or Sweetums?

    • December 21, 2015 at 11:23 pm
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      Disney’s use of the Muppets has been questionable from almost Day One.

      • December 24, 2015 at 9:53 pm
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        Agreed. If ever a “bought” property was a near-perfect fit with Walt’s vision and style, it was The Muppets. They deserve so much more than an (excellent) attraction and tiny gift shop.

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