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2 long-time Disney World rides close doors for good

Plans announced for replacement rides

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(Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Sunday marked the end of an era for two popular rides at Walt Disney World.

Fans said their final farewell to Epcot’s "Universe of Energy" and Hollywood Studios’ "The Great Movie Ride," two of the theme-parks’ longest-running rides. 

"The Universe of Energy" opened in 1982 with a first-of-its-kind traveling theater ride system. 

The current version of the show, starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye, began running in 1996 and has entertained guests since then with its life-size dinosaurs. 

The ride ran for the last time Sunday night, but not without plans for a replacement.

During Disney’s D-23 Expo last month, company officials announced plans to open a “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride in place of "The Universe of Energy."  

The ride is something thrill-seekers might be excited about, as insiders have said that it may become a roller coaster.

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Work on the project is expected to begin soon. "The Great Movie Ride" also closed for the final time Sunday evening.

Since 1989, the ride has taken guests inside “The Wizard of Oz,” “Tarzan,” “Casablanca,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and other films.

"Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway" is set to take its place upon completion in about two years, officials announced at the expo.  

The railway ride, which company officials described as “groundbreaking” will be Disney's first ride based on Mickey Mouse.

Disney said the “mousterpiece” will be a “two and a half-dimension” ride and will allow park visitors to step inside the world of a modern "Mickey Mouse Cartoon" short, as seen on the Disney Channel.

Disney also recently announced plans for several other projects during the expo.

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