Defunctland VR Lets You Experience A Classic Disney Ride 25 Years After It Was Closed

Illustration for article titled iDefunctland VR/i Lets You Experience A Classic Disney Ride 25 Years After It Was Closed
Screenshot: Defunctland / Kotaku

Way back in the groovy 70s, Disney World had a ride based on the classic 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea film released in the 50s. Sadly, in 1994, the popular ride closed. But now, thanks to a YouTuber dedicated to covering the history of classic theme park attractions, you can experience the old ride virtually, in either VR, 2D, or via an interactive YouTube video.

Defunctland is a YouTube channel that started back in 2017. It covers the history of classic and often closed rides at various theme parks. Back in 2017 Defunctland creator Kevin Perjurer also teased an ambitious idea: An interactive digital theme park that would include rides that had long closed down, recreated in VR. It sounded great, but as the years went by not much progress seemed to made and I (along with others) assumed the VR park project was dead.

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Well, I was wrong. And I’m happy to be wrong. Earlier this week, Defunctland released the free alpha of Defunctland VR, a playable build of the virtual park that contains a highly detailed recreation of the entire 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea ride first seen back in 1971 in Disney World Orlando.

For those of you without VR headsets, you can play the whole thing like a standard first-person exploration game. And if you don’t have a PC that can run the game or don’t want to download it, the channel has uploaded a video of the ride via YouTube’s 360° feature. All this means, anyone can experience this cool bit of history.

The virtual ride includes real audio from the attraction and looks wonderful. As you dive under the water, digital animatronics recreate the classic ride. I never got a chance to ride 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, but after spending 20 minutes with Defunctland VR I feel like I can now say I have.

The plan is to keep adding more rides and attractions to the digital park over time. And if future rides are this well made, I can’t wait to see what’s opening next in Defunctland.

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Kotaku Weekend Editor | Zack Zwiezen is a writer living in Kansas. He has written for GameCritics, USgamer, Kill Screen & Entertainment Fuse.

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DISCUSSION

This was the one ride that I still remember riding, wayyyy back when I was a young’in.  I think I was around 7-8, we took the trip just a year or two before that ride closed.  I recall being a bit terrified, at the same time it was magical, being underwater.