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Animal Kingdom

The sinking of Discovery Boats

The winding entry paths meet up again at a rustic bridge. To your right you'll notice the docked remnants below of the Animal Kingdom's first failed attraction. Discovery Boats opened with the park in 1998. It was a credibility killer. As one of the park's inappropriately named rides, guests soon realized that the only thing to discover on the Discovery cruises was that they had just wasted a good chunk of time floating around on a boat ride with nothing to see. Yes, there was a malfunctioning fire-breathing dragon tucked away in a cave and the serenity that filled up the void of nothingness may have been appreciated by some if it wasn't for the pointless wait for the intermittent boats.

Thankfully riders were forced to get off after experiencing only half of the journey around Discovery Island. In a tribute to bonehead architecture and a wink to Jungle Cruise comedy the park had set up a pair of docks paradox. While it would take one roughly five minutes to walk around Discovery Island to get from one dock to the other, the transportation attraction itself would run you an inconvenient half hour at least to accomplish the same thing. If the first half of the ride didn't completely snooze you, get off, get back in line, and complete the roundtrip of boredom.

Disney tried to make it work. It tied it to its Radio Disney brand as an excuse to pump out bubblegum pop music while animal handlers boarded the boat with small critters to showcase. The message was clear. Guests were being told to look inside the boat and listen to tinny AM music because there was nothing to see or hear outside of the boat.

Realizing that docks can also serve as character greeting areas the Discovery attraction was axed. Failure was put out of its misery but the same can't be said for many of the park's other shortcomings.

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