El Rio del Tiempo, Epcot
It was the only coaster in Epcot’s World Showcase when it opened in 1982. El Rio del Tiempo, a nighttime ride in the Mexico Pavilion, carried riders through Mexico’s history. A mariachi band played as marionettes in traditional costumes danced, merchants bartered, and swimmers dove over cliffs. It was the perfect thing to do after a massive supper at the Mexico Pavilion restaurant or one of the other restaurants in the park. The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros replaced the ride in 2007. In this reimagining, the three animated bird characters — Jose Carioca, Panchito Pistoles and Donald Duck — are the central characters in finding Donald Duck in Mexico. The new attraction retains many of the previous ride’s aspects, but it has a different focus that detracts from the sceneries of Mexican history and culture.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Epcot
As part of the Epcot Universe of Energy pavilion, Ellen DeGeneres’ 1994-1998 ABC series “Ellen” inspired Ellen’s Energy Adventure opening. To learn about energy with park-goers, DeGeneres was the ideal person. DeGeneres narrated a series of documentaries and a diorama starring mechanical dinosaurs on the history of energy production and its potential future. A segment from “Jeopardy!” with Alex Trebek and Jamie Lee Curtis as DeGeneres’ old college adversary Judy Peterson was interspersed with scenes of DeGeneres participating in the game show. There were a few sections of Ellen’s Energy Adventure that were very enjoyable. These were the seating area, which moved, rotated, and split as needed, and the dinosaur scene was a carryover from the original Universe of Energy attraction that it replaced.
Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, California Adventure
Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train was a kids’ train ride in A Bug’s Land, an area of California Adventure dedicated to attractions based on the Pixar film “A Bug’s Life.” A railway covered with giant food reproductions, including sweet corn, watermelon, and carrots, was used to transport guests on Heimlich-shaped trains. He spoke about the many delicacies they passed throughout the voyage. As seen by the number of bits he took out of the dish, he also regularly ate them. The numerous objects’ odours were piped in at the same time, providing a multi-sensory experience. Heimlich, a caterpillar who aspired to become a butterfly, was brilliantly captured in the ride’s mild comedy enjoyed by both children and adults. Unfortunately, because “A Bug’s Life” was never the most successful Pixar picture, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train and the entire region were demolished and replaced by the recently-opened Avengers Campus.