WDW Magazine - - WDW Magazine Fanzone - BY JAMES WARDA

With apolo­gies to psy­chi­a­trist Elis­a­beth Kubler-ross, and tongue firmly planted in cheek, I re­al­ized that I go through Kubler-ross’ five stages of grief ev­ery time Dis­ney an­nounces an­other ma­jor change at Walt Dis­ney World.

My most re­cent jour­ney through the stages be­gan over a year ago, when Dis­ney an­nounced that Mael­strom would be re­placed by a Frozen- themed ride.

Now, to un­der­stand the full mag­ni­tude of this, you need to also un­der­stand that my fam­ily has been go­ing to Walt Dis­ney World al­most ev­ery year since our kids were young. And, ev­ery time we went, we added more and more tra­di­tions.

One of these tra­di­tions was to ride Mael­strom in Ep­cot’s Nor­way Pavil­ion on the first night we ar­rived. It grew to be­come an im­por­tant part of each visit. So when we first heard it was clos­ing, I im­me­di­ately de­nied it was hap­pen­ing, “No, that can’t be right! I must have heard it wrong.”

Then I got a tad bit an­gry, since we were los­ing some­thing that meant some­thing to us, but just a tad—since I can’t stay an­gry at Dis­ney.

After that, I tried bar­gain­ing. “Ok, well, it hasn’t closed yet, and I haven’t heard any­thing re­cently about the clos­ing, so maybe they called it off. Maybe Dis­ney knew that I was out there, word­lessly send­ing my thoughts and con­cerns, and de­cided to honor my wishes.”

Then came the de­pres­sion. And if you’ve never seen a 50-year-old man with de­pres­sion about a ride go­ing away, then I’d sug­gest you con­tinue not see­ing it. Not pretty. But, now, fi­nally, with it be­ing a year since the an­nounce­ment, I’ve come to ac­cept it, how­ever grudg­ingly.

Of course, I’ve gone through this same cy­cle to vary­ing de­grees with many of the changes they’ve made at WDW through the years. Go­ing back to our first visit in 1998, when Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was re­placed, to 2004 when Food Rocks closed, to the most re­cent changes when they re­moved the Back­lot Tour and ended the Os­borne Fam­ily Spec­ta­cle of Danc­ing Lights and Star Wars Week­ends at Hol­ly­wood Studios, to get ready for Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land, to fu­ture changes like Dis­neyquest’s clos­ing.

Yes, each change brings its own jour­ney. But, as they say, it’s bet­ter to have rid­den, then to never have rid­den at all.

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