Primeval Whirl, Stitch's Great Escape and Rivers of Light are now permanently closed

Jul 16, 2020 in "Primeval Whirl"

Posted: Thursday July 16, 2020 3:45pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

In a memo to Cast Members, Disney has today announced that Primeval Whirl, Stitch's Great Escape! and Rivers of Light are now permanently closed and will not reopen.

Stitch's Great Escape! at the Magic Kingdom has been mostly closed since late 2016, and was at one time strongly tipped to be replaced by a Wreck It Ralph attraction that did not ultimately get approval. The show's lobby area had been host to a Stitch meet and greet prior to the COVID-19 shutdown. Since the Magic Kingdom's reopening, Stitch has been appearing at the Rockettower Plaza Stage in a physically distanced setting.

Similarly, Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom has been closed for more than a year due to a series of technical and operational difficulties, alongside poor guest ratings.

Rivers of Light at Disney's Animal Kingdom opened with great excitement after a series of delays due to ground-breaking autonomous technology, but ultimately did not meet guest expectations. Budget cuts were made to the show last year, which saw the live performers removed, but this was not enough to save the show from cancellation.

No announcements of any plans for replacements have been made at this time, but with great uncertainty and budget constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be some-time before we hear more.

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lazyboy97oJun 15, 2022

Except the people complaining about timelines are the ones seeing permits and work, so they still know something is happening before this closer date that would change perception. People don’t talk about how quickly the Skyliner was built even though it’s announcement was held off.

Jrb1979Jun 15, 2022

I disagree a bit with your last point. I don't think new attractions really bump attendance like it does to regional parks.

Vegas Disney FanJun 15, 2022

People would endlessly speculate and search building permits, etc if they just started building without an announcement, it would create great buzz. The downside would be that a lot of people have to save for a few years to be able to afford a Disney trip, the earlier they announce the earlier people get excited and start saving.

Jrb1979Jun 15, 2022

Agreed. That's one thing that Disney could learn from not just Universal but every other park out there. Don't announce til after the planning stage and construction has started. Imagine the hype they could get if they changed the way they announce things. Why not start building something new before D23 and then announce it as opening a year or 2 later.

Jon81ukJun 15, 2022

The bigger issue with Pandora was the time of announcement through to time of opening was so long. As Universal doesn’t make official announcements until construction is almost finished it makes all their projects feel quicker. Although the construction time might not be too bad, overall project length is Disney’s issue.

lazyboy97oJun 14, 2022

Those issues aren’t really different than anywhere else, particularly in Central Florida. Disney owning the local electric company makes electric service easier. The utilidors don’t get expanded so they’re largely a non-issue.

mikejs78Jun 14, 2022

Attractions also aren't built in a vaccum. The whole of WDW is an operational juggernaut, and for a new attraction to be added, it needs to be inserted into that juggernaut - electrical grid, park operations, utilidor access, etc. Even the land use is more complicated than WDW then elsewhere -WDW is basically a swamp that has been engineered to the max to support what's there.

JohnDJun 14, 2022

When I'm asked the best parks for children, I say MK and AK. MK is obvious. What AK lacks in rides, it makes up for in the live shows, animal walking trails and Rafiki's which includes the petting zoo.

MickeyLuv'rJun 14, 2022

Currently, a key thing to do when visiting Rafiki's Planet Watch is the animation drawing class. Current schedule (subject to change) is 10am, 10:45am, 11:30am, 12:15pm, 1:45pm, 2:30pm, 3:15pm, 4pm, and 4:45pm. The class takes about 25minutes. An animator shows step-by-step how to draw a Disney or Pixar character. It is open to all ages but is a little beyond the ability of very young children. (They are given classic coloring book pages and crayons if they want.) Everyone else comes away with a free drawing if they participate. I agree the animal attractions are worth visiting, but I also think AK needs more attractions. For a long time, the only rides small children could ride were the safari, Triceratops Spin and later Na'vi. Compared to over 15 attractions they can ride in MK. Even Epcot has 7 all ages rides.

ToTBellHopJun 14, 2022

That’s the only way I would have ever gotten into the Cinderella Castle Suite…

Jrb1979Jun 14, 2022

IMO Disney would be better off not announcing anything til later in the process of creating the new attraction. The critism comes from that most other parks don't announce the new attraction til it's passed the planning and development stage. Due to that it feels it's done much quicker.

MisterPenguinJun 14, 2022

TRON cycles should have gone through the castle and the whole Western side of the park. It would've been like the people mover. And then it could have been pitched as the cycles breaking out of their computer arcade game and going through computer MMORPGs set in different genres!!

ToTBellHopJun 14, 2022

I think it would have looked stunning on Tom Sawyer Island as originally planned. The Grid across from Haunted Mansion? Chef’s kiss.

UNCgolfJun 14, 2022

They have the animation experience up there full time now -- focused on drawing different animal characters. It's pretty fun and worth going up there to do. We drew Tick-Tock when I was there last.