Walt Disney World has been entertaining crowds for more than 45 years. In that time many new rides and attractions have popped up over the four Disney parks but there are quite a few from those first few years that are still up and running. Let’s take a look at the five oldest rides at Walt Disney World:
Jungle Cruise – Jungle Cruise opened when Disney’s Magic Kingdom did on October 1, 1971. The ride was modeled after Disneyland’s River Boat Cruise, which opened in 1955. Jungle Cruise simulates a riverboat cruise down several major rivers of Asia, Africa and South America. The ride was inspired by a 1955 True-Life Adventure, “The African Lion” and the film “The African Queen.” It is said that Jungle Cruise helped Walt Disney create the concept of “plussing” or continuous improvement. After hearing a guest tell her child that since they had been on the ride during their last visit, they did not need to ride it again, Disney put his Imagineers to work designing upgrades to the ride.
Liberty Square Riverboat –Liberty Square Riverboat, which also opened on October 1, 1971, is a large paddle-wheel riverboat called Liberty Belle that navigates the waters around Tom Sawyer Island and Fort Langhorn. The 17-minute boat rides takes guests into America’s early frontier visiting such sights as an early American settlement, an idyllic Native American village, Harper’s Mill, Fort Langhorn, Wilson’s Cave Inn and more. Passengers will also be able to listen to narration by Mark Twain as he talks about a time when traveling was much more about new discoveries than transportation. The Mark Twain Riverboat in Disneyland is where Walt and Lillian Disney celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary four days before it debuted at Disneyland in 1955.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Pirates of the Caribbean was the last attraction Walt Disney himself participated in designing. It opened on March 18, 1967 at Disneyland three months after his death. The ride was originally meant ot be a walk through wax museum, but due to the success of the “It’s a Small World” boat ride in the 1964-65 World’s Fair, Disney decided to turn it into a boat ride. In 1973, the pirate-themed boat ride opened at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in a golden Spanish fort called Castillo Del Morro, which was inspired by the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in the Old San Juan in San Juan. Recent revamps to the ride now include Captain Jack Sparrow from the hit Disney films.
It’s a Small World – Walt Disney was already working on three attractions for the 1964-65 World’s Fair when UNICEF commissioned him to create a fourth. Disney Imagineers created a show that included hundreds of animated singing dolls, all of which were one design. The dolls went along with a simple boat ride that held a big capacity. This is what you now know as It’s a Small World!
Carousel of Progress – One of the attractions Disney was working on for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, the Carousel of Progress is one of the oldest attractions at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The attraction was created for General Electric. The company wanted to showcase consumer products. The 21-minute ride does just that as it moves audiences on a ride through short vignettes featuring audio-animatronics. It was reportedly one of Disney’s favorite accomplishments.
Orlando, FL – 5/16/16
By: Jena Pugh