Disney (NYSE:DIS) has been closing Disney World attractions at an alarming rate, and the latest one to get nixed is Captain EO, the 3-D sci-fi musical film starring Michael Jackson with in-theater effects that has entertained guests at Epcot -- on and off -- since the mid-1980s. Disney will close the attraction on Dec. 6, but the general consensus is that Disney buffs are generally cool with the news since it broke on Friday.
There are a few reasons most people seem to be cool with the move. Captain EO, for starters, was already on borrowed time. It screened at Epcot's Magic Eye Theater from 1986 until 1996, when it was replaced with Honey I Shrunk the Audience. It returned in 2010 shortly after Jackson's death, but it never seemed like a permanent fixture. Disney temporarily replaced it earlier this year with enhanced trailers for Tomorrowland and Inside Out for weeks ahead of those theatrical releases.
It also didn't help that Jackson himself can be a polarizing celebrity, given the accusations levied at him later in his career.
Another thing working in Disney's favor with this closure is that it isn't shuttering a popular attraction in a building that will remain closed for a couple of years as it waits for a controversial replacement. Disney experienced that at the same park last year, when it closed Norway's Maelstrom boat ride, set to be replaced by a Frozen-themed boat ride in 2016 even though the movie doesn't take place in Norway. It won't be the case now, as the Magic Eye theater will be hosting the new Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival right after Captain EO closes next month.
The new attraction will feature three of Pixar's animated shorts enhanced by 4D effects. That makes sense from a business perspective. Disney will be able to promote some of its more obscure animated works, possibly stirring up enough interest for some of those properties to birth merchandising or even full-length feature-film opportunities. It's what investors would like to see the House of Mouse do with its homegrown assets.
This is the right move. Epcot has been Disney's slowest-growing domestic theme park over the past decade, and while it's still the second most visited theme park in Florida, I didn't seem to rattle too many loyalists when I recently predicted that it would be Disney World's least visited park come 2020.
Disney's closing an aging attraction, but it's replacing it quickly with entertainment that's more fresh. I have blasted Disney for closing down several attractions at Disney World lately, but this time it's getting it right.
Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.