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Where the "World of Motion" AA figures finally came to rest

Where the "World of Motion" AA figures finally came to rest

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Are you like me? Do you find yourself really missing Epcot's "World of Motion" ?

That Future World pavilion was always a favorite of my father and I. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it was because -- in a theme park that wasn't exactly long on laughs -- "World of Motion" was this really funny ride. Featured great comical tableaus that the late Disney Legend Ward Kimball had dreamed up, which were peopled with dozens of these AA figures.

That's what I think truly impressed me & my Dad about this Epcot Center show. As we rolled through this ride, we'd see all of those audio animatronic figures continually going through their paces. Trying to put a comical spin on the history of transportation.

It was a Disney theme park attraction with a real sense of scale and grandeur. Which is what probably compelled my father and I to take dozens of photos of the interior over the years. So that we could then document our favorite bits & pieces of "World of Motion." The tiny little gags that were stashed away in some of the scenes.

Of course, what we didn't realize is that -- while he & I really loved "World of Motion" -- evidently Epcot's managers (More importantly, the folks back at General Motors) did not. Which was why -- in January of 1996 -- this Future World pavilion was shut down and then gutted to make for a brand-new thrill ride, GM Test Track.

This one move on Disney's part damn near broke my Dad and I's hearts. The very thought that we'd never get to see all of those great old Ward Kimball-designed AA figures again. I mean, we still had all of our photographs. But that wasn't quite the same as getting to ride through the really-for-real "World of Motion" pavilion. Seeing all of these great scenes that the Imagineers had cooked up.

But -- as time went by -- I kind of resigned myself to the loss. I knew that I'd never get to see those AA figures again. Which was why it was actually probably a good thing that my father and I took all those pictures when we did.

But earlier this month, while I was vacationing at the Walt Disney World resort, I and my friends made a trip over to Disney-MGM Studios. And while we were waiting for that theme park's new "Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show" to start, we decided to go check out the Backlot Tour. To see if the tram tour was still worth taking now that they'd torn out Residential Street to make way for the stunt show stadium.

So we got on line for the tram. And -- as we made our way through this attraction's new queue area (Which has been rethemed to resemble a Hollywood prop house) -- A few of the items hanging on the wall caught my eye. As I looked closer, I said to my friends ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

"I think that those are the signs that you used to see ...

Photo by Walter Lange

... in the 'Used Chariot' section of Epcot's old 'World of Motion' attraction."

And then -- as I looked closer -- I realized that behind this same chain link fence were also some of the masks that the AA figures in this Future World pavilion used to wear.

Photo by Jeff Lange

And then -- as I began to look around me -- I began to realize that I was literally surrounded by old AA figures from the "World of Motion." The papoose that you used to see in the attraction's opening scene ...

Photos by Walter & Jeff Lange

The man who was strapped to that flying machine in Da Vinci's lab ...

Photos by Walter & Jeff Lange

The French aerilist and his hot air balloon ...

Photos by Walter & Jeff Lange

The pig from the bicyclist-in-the-mud sequence ...

Photos by Walter & Jeff Lange

Even the dog & the horse from the horseless carriage scene.

Photos by Walter & Jeff Lange

It was great to get to see all these AA figures again. Even though it was (admittedly) kind of sad to see them unplugged, out of their costumes and not moving.

So -- if you're also a fan of Epcot's old "World of Motion" ride -- then I suggest that you check the queue area of Disney-MGM's Backlot Tour. Which has kind of turned into an elephant's graveyard for AA figures.

Now -- if you'll excuse me -- I've got to call my Dad. Let him know where the "World of Motion" finally came to rest.

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