Ellen’s Energy Adventure will be closing on August 13th to make way for a new Guardians of the Galaxy thrill ride. This is a lose-lose situation for me as I don’t like Guardians (I can hear you yelling already. I’ve tried and I can’t get into a franchise where a planet is a villain. Sorry ’bout it.) and Ellen’s Energy Adventure is my favorite attraction.
You heard me. Ellen’s Energy Adventure is my favorite ride.
The ride system is incredible and never ceases to blow my mind. A theater that spins 180 degrees, then moves in tandem into dinosaur show scenes, breaks apart into individual cars through the diorama, then joins together again. There’s nothing else like it in the world and it’s spectacular.
Now, I understand Universe of Energy is more beloved, but I adore the script and humor of Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Yes, the film is incredibly outdated (Stop yelling at me, I can hear you!). I mean, she uses a cell phone with an antenna. It’s rough. Yet, the humor never gets old for me. I always laugh at “Stupid Judy” or “The Piggy Bank? The Ding Dang?” or when she goes to punch Bill Nye after he continues to speak after drenching her. It has some truly hilarious moments. “Sorry Ellen, we were looking for something more than just an embellishment of what I had already said.” It’s just so good!
Besides my love for the attraction itself and the humor and how it’s the greatest pre-show in the history of Disney World don’t @ me, it has the importance of representation, as well.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure opened on June 14th, 1996, at the height of her titular sitcom’s success on ABC. In April 1997, however, was the infamous Puppy Episode. Just hitting it’s 20-year milestone 4 months ago, the episode featured Ellen’s big coming out moment, instantly becoming an iconic TV moment and a huge ratings success. Immediately after the success, however, Ellen’s career took a hard nose dive. Her revealing her sexuality caused her to not get work for months, even years, after the episode aired. She didn’t get back to her earlier success until her daytime talk show premiered in 2003.
Think about it (“You’re in your car, you’re driving and I just pop up behind you and go HEY!” Oh, sorry, that’s more quotes. Continue.), during her downfall being shunned by all media for her sexuality, Ellen’s Energy Adventure remained open. The ride hadn’t even been open for a year before her coming out, and yet, Disney kept it open, despite the backlash it’s star was facing.
For the past 21 years, the lead in an attraction at a Disney theme park has been and out and proud lesbian. That is pretty remarkable. Looking at current “Celebrities in Disney Rides,” Rosie O’Donnell still leads up the Boudin Bakery Tour, but now in a smaller role and not with the same impact a ride has had. Unless I am mistaken, everyone else is straight. Having that representation at the Most Magical Place on Earth is comforting. It shows many that being gay is not a disease or an illness, but something that is normal, something to be proud of, and something that allows you to hang out with Bill Nye on a trip to the Big Bang.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure, I will always love you. I will see you on August 12th to pay my respects, take photos against your beautiful tile mural, and leave a high efficiency light bulb on your reflection pool. Stupid Judy, Ellen. *wipes tear away*. Stupid Judy.