/ Monday, March 25th, 2013

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Abandoned Spaces of Walt Disney World and Our Ideas for Them


Hello and welcome to The WDW Radio Show – Your Walt Disney World Information Station. I am your host, Lou Mongello, and this is show #317 for the week of March 24, 2013.

Join us this week as we virtually explore and visit many of the Abandoned Spaces of Walt Disney World, and dream a little about what we could do with them as “Armchair Imagineers.” From lost attractions, shops, restaurants and even entire pavilions, we’ll look back at what was once there, and what we would create for the future. I’ll then ask you to play Imagineer and submit your own suggestions in the comments section of this week’s show notes.

I’ll have the answer to our last Walt Disney World Trivia Question of the Week, and pose a new challenge for your chance to win a Disney prize package.

Stay tuned for additional information and announcements before I play more of your voicemails at the end of the show. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode of the WDW Radio Show.

Thanks for listening! Be sure to tune in next week!

– Lou Mongello

Information and Links from This Week’s Show

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What abandoned Walt Disney World location would you change and how? Leave your answer in the comments section below!

Visit Ryan Wilson’s Main Street Gazette

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23 thoughts on “WDW Radio Show #317 – Abandoned Spaces of Walt Disney World and Our Ideas for Them”

  1. Tony E (BacksideOfWater) says:

    As soon as I saw the topic of this week’s show my mind jumped right to the 2nd floor of the Imagination Pavilion, Wonders Of Life, Discovery Island, and River Country. Awesome job as always Lou and Ryan

  2. CriesDuringWishes says:

    This is my new fav episode. Starting with memories from long ago of relaxing at Polly’s because I was a picky eater so we always went there so I could have a real PB&J.

    The Wonders of Life pavilion is what resonated with me. SO much space! Sky’s the limit! But, I think Epcot would really benefit from some space/attractions/dining that appeals to younger kids. I don’t care what or where, as long as it gives me a reason to bring my 3 year old and sets the occasion for some magical memories with him in Epcot.

  3. Craig Hargrove says:

    Great Job guys, enjoyed the show. I don’t have any suggestions, just a comment. As a WDW park fan, it is dissapointing when an area or attraction closes and nothing replaces it. I thing we can all accept losing a great attraction when we see the pay off like New Fantasyland, but when an area is turned into stroller parking (Pochontas and her forest friends) it is sad. My daughter who is now 10 helped open that show as a junior camp counselor in 2006, so it is a special place for our family. Now it, like so many you covered are just being wasted.

  4. Not to shamelessly push the blog, but given Epcot is missing something, and our thirst for health and life themed showcases are beginning to show, perhaps doing something with Wonders of Life would be a necessarily good idea. Even my blog carries just a handful of suggestions worthy of inspiration.

  5. Keith Chandler says:

    Gteat show. Love your ideas. At EPCOT. I would love the Imageworks at the Imagination Pavilion updated and once again used as a kids play area. The Odyssey should be turned into the Astronomers Club. The African Outpost should changed to India. Amazing architecture and unique food. At DHS. I would love the Sounds Dangerous Theater to be used as a radio station, which is what it looks like. Disney could do reactments of time radio shows in the theater with cast members dressed in their 40s garb.I think that old Hollywood idea is underutilized at DHS.

  6. I’m about halfway through the episode, but I just wanted to share how much I loved the idea of a lounge atop the Imagination Pavilion! What an inspired idea! When I worked at Imag in 2007, we would often walk up to that second level for training sessions and things, and it was so sad to see the old playground components just being left alone.

    In addition to not only re-opening the Wonders of Life Pavilion with new life, I was thinking that there could be some real tie-in with Cigna…since they sponsor WDW Marathon Weekend, it would be a perfect venue for that.

    I am sure I will have some more thoughts to share after I finish listening 😀

  7. Paul C says:

    I’m taking your treehouses at Discovery Island idea and bumping it up a notch with an awesome theming idea …… ENDOR(and/or Kashyyyk)!

    Imagine the entire island themed with Ewoks, Wookies and other Star Wars items, and staying in a treehouse similar to those at SSR. Great DVC spot. 🙂

  8. Lizzie says:

    I haven’t had time to listen to the entire show yet, but I have to say that the first thing that came to mind when I saw the topic was my brother. He has this strange obsession with everything that seems to be closed, and often talks about how he wishes he was an Imagineer just to refurbish and reopen many of the areas you have talked about already.

    His favorite though…River Country. He’d loved to see it refurbished and reopened in a way that represents it’s original design…just with some cleaner water. In fact, we had an entire discussion about it earlier this week!

    Me? I’d LOVE to see the upper level of the Imagination pavilion opened again…and a restaurant there sounds amazing. Aside from that, Aunt Polly’s was high on my list. I never got to experience it (I’m a bit too young and I always went at the wrong time), but it’s one of those things that I would have loved to see.

  9. Dennis M says:

    What about using some or all of the backlot area and stunt show of Disney Hollywood Studios to create an OZ area? The stories are classic and timeless. Didn’t you say that Disney owns the rights to Baum’s sequels to the first book? And the movie is doing very well at the box office. There could be virtual flights over Oz, dark rides taking guests through the story, water/bubble play areas, meet and greets with characters, interactive talks with the wizard using projection, shops, restaurants,and who knows what else. They might even have a black and white entrance gateway opening into the full color OZ itself. Something like OZ would be different from anything the other parks have and might still leave room for Planes or Star Wars themed areas.

  10. Michael says:

    Great topic, Lou. Like you guys mentioned, I think the Wonders of Life Pavilion would be a great place to be updated. Future World needs more ‘future’ things in it. This could also be a potential place for a Tron pavilion. Enter the game grid, ride light cycles, disc wars, anything. The End of Line club would be great as well. For the World Showcase, Swizterland would be a great addition, and bring the Matterhorn to WDW.

  11. Samantha says:

    This show was a blast to listen to – made my mid-terms week a bit more enjoyable! I absolutely love listening to others’ takes on what could be done with abandoned spaces, seeing as I do the same thing myself. Among my favorite ideas were the restaurant in the Imagination pavilion, revitalizing the Wonders of Life, Ryan’s idea with Fantasia in DHS, and pretty much everything that was suggested in regards to Discovery Island. Also, I very much appreciated that someone (I believe it was Ryan?) suggested some sort of “Up” themed attraction – I’ve thought the same thing myself, but I saw it as being somewhere in EPCOT. I think I’m off to do some arm-chair imagineering of my own 🙂 Keep up the great work, guys!

    PS – Lou, I’m right there with you – I really hope that they do not add Carsland to DHS. It’s such an incentive to travel out west!

  12. Stephen Conti says:

    Great show guys! What an awesome topic to talk and dream about. My ideas are:

    Odyssey Restaurant – year round Epcot Food & Wine Festival themed restaurant

    Wonders of Life Pavilion – runDisney pavilion

    Epcot Country – Spain

    Discovery Island – Disney’s Honeymoon Resort & Villas

    River Country – turned back into a water park and attached to a new moderate; Disney’s Wilderness Junction Resort (which was at one time rumored to be built in between the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness)

    DHS Backlot – massive, game changing Star Wars themed land

  13. This is my new favorite episode- you two have outdone yourselves! I love Ryan’s idea of the old timey photos w/ costumes & props- and it seems like something that would be relatively easy to do.As for the not-so-easy…my absolute favorite is Lou’s idea for a several-hours-long mystery type event on Discovery Island. The possibilities would be incredible!

  14. Katie says:

    What a great episode – and of course like everyone else I had some ideas of my own.

    LOVE the idea of a restaurant upstairs at Imagination. And I agree – the old playground was more “interactive”.

    I agree with both of you guys in saying that they shouldn’t redo EXACTLY what they’ve done in other parks and yes UP is dead but I think DHS could use some more rides geared towards its younger guests. What about an UP ride like Peter Pan? Or like the old Back to the Future attraction at…that other park?

  15. Betsy says:

    Great show as always, Lou. I have to agree with you on most of your ideas, but with regard to the Odyssey. I love the idea of it being an Adventurer’s Club type of place but then I though that maybe it could be a place to dine with Mickey & crew by day (like it was back in the 80s/90s) and Adventurer’s Club sort of place by night. Then again they could always take the area that is the outpost (or the area around it and make it the new Adventurer’s club..or something like that. Speaking of the outpost, they could make that area Greece and put in a ride, a restaurant, and bring in the characters from “Hercules” for meet and greets. I too will say that something needs to be done with the ImageWorks area, heck the whole Imagination pavilion needs an upgrade or to be made like the original version but for the 21st Century-complete with Figment and Dreamfinder.
    Another area I think could use a spruce up is the Veranda-yes, the fairies are there but they could easily make that a quick service or snack place and theme it to anything in Adventureland (or stick Indy in there lol) or to the Fairies/Pixie Hollow.
    One more idea- Star Wars area at DHS complete with many meet and greets.
    Star Wars could also go into Tomorrowland-that old theatre there could be turned into the Jedi Temple and let it be a bigger version of the Jedi Training Academy-but this time kids AND adults could do it!

  16. I would love to see the restaurant across from the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse reopen. I forget the name of it, but it was the coolest place to eat and it went with the whole Tropical island theme, with open windows with shutters, big ceiling fans, and the food was delicious. My favorite was the teriyaki chicken and rice. Now they have made it, from what I have heard a meeting area and a “meet and greet” for characters. Adventureland really could use another dining venue!

  17. Katie says:

    Hmmm bringing the Adventurers Club back – what about running with Ryan’s Old Timey Hollywood idea and doing something with that theme. Like dinner theater- kind of bring the characters from the Hollywood Hotel to life!

    I also thought about the lounge idea in the Imagination Pavillion – what about making it a DVC perk? But would it really get used?

  18. Tracy says:

    I absolutely loved the topic for this week. Keep up the great work! Personally, I’ve always hoped the Imagination Pavilion would be home to a snack bar or restaurant. I’ve fantasized about a venue called “Figment’s Taste Lab”. A place where imagination meets food! On a small scale maybe an ice cream bar where guest can create their own custom flavors or sundaes. On a grander scale, a restaurant similar to the Animator’s Palette with a Figment twist. Maybe one day 🙂

  19. Alex says:

    I went to an IB International high school in Canada. To graduate with the IB certificate, you are required to complete a personal project. You can do absolutely what ever you like. You spend a year working on it I decided my project would be imagineering a new Disney ride. My ride was similar to the ride and go seek ride in Tokyo. Mine was a Princess and the Frog dark ride. You used Ray’s light to make your way out of the Bayou. I wrote the script, I designed costumes and car maquettes, mixed the soundtrack and decided on my location. I actually chose where they put the Tangled bathrooms. It was a really fun experience. For research I actually went down to WDW to do dining with an Imagineer at the Brown Derby.

  20. John says:

    Awesome episode. There were some great ideas that could definitely go into play. My favorite would be the TRON attraction and I really think that an IllumiNations Lounge would be constantly be packed. NeverLand Island would be insane. Also, WDW, his crowning achievement, deserves a Disney Museum. Some of us are constantly thinking “what-if” with WDW. Monorail (albeit expensive) expansion from Downtown Disney to Animal Kingdom. People-Movers of some kind for Downtown Disney. Some people do want CarsLand. What about a ‘Lucas’ World replacing the Back Lot? A new Flagship Hotel using the TomorrowLand/Star Wars vibe (The New Cosmopolitan Resort)? The list goes on and on.

    Excellent episode.

  21. JC says:

    Was just wondering why neither of you touched on the old Millenium Village building at Epcot. Seems like there could be potential for many different things from a country to a restaurant to a grab bag pof countries attraction (much like the Millenium Village).

  22. Arthur Allen says:

    I took my first visit to Walt Disney World almost a year ago, and I had been wanting to go since my sister went in 1993. Unfortunately, several of the great attractions I heard about back then in Epcot had been closed or drastically changed. I particularly regret not being able to go on the old Journey Into Imagination and The World of Motion. Ward Kimball designed that one, and it seems a shame that no one can experience that again. My idea for an attraction at Disney World, which would be a perfect fit for Innoventions, would be an attraction simulator for old attractions. Disney could try to find old film of former attractions, or make a convincing computer simulation, and project it on a 360 degree screen around riders on a ride vehicle. It would take some of the sting out of future closings of attractions too if you knew you could still go back to the simulation.

    I’m saving up my money to buy an Xbox 360 just to get Disneyland Adventures based on a mention of it on a show a few months back, so I’ll get to see how convincing that simulation will be.

  23. Chuck Zitta says:

    Bingo! A Walt Disney Museum! I had just touched on this topic in another episode I commented on not too long ago. I know it wouldn’t be a big draw for many visitors. But for the Disney Geeks, such as us, it would be such a touching/amazing place for us to visit. And to have people like Jim Korkis come speak to those who don’t really know who Walt was, or that he was actually a real person (some of our youth today), would be priceless. I’m also down with anything that is slow, and/or brings back the golden days of Disney. It’s important we never forget where and how it all started, and who stared and/or made Disney what it is today. Lou touched on it briefly, in regards to Hollywood Studious as well. Bring back the club that used to be above Playhouse Disney, something I never had a chance to experience, but would be sure to visit, if Disney brought it back. That would be a great hidden treasure. Bring back more Hollywood to Hollywood Studios. Utilize the space of the park. More hidden treasures please. For all us older (or getting older) folks. I know it’s not that simple. But we can dream can’t we? All this, and I didn’t even answer your question for this episode. Oh boy. Sorry.

    Thanks again for another great show, Lou and Ryan!!!