Disney Rides of Change: Kitchen Kabaret to Food Rocks to Soarin’

The first edition of “Disney Rides of Change” saw a look at how If You Had Wings came all the way through a number of refurbishments to become the current Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. Well, it’s time to look at what came before another popular attraction and this time it’s at Epcot.

So, let’s check out how Soarin’ came to be since it was not the first attraction in its current place.

On May 5, 2005, Soarin’ took flight for officially the first time inside of The Land pavilion in Epcot’s Future World. As so many of us know, it is a fantastic journey through different parts of the world. In the attraction, you sit in hang-glider / airplane seats and rise into the air while looking at a screen and different sights of the world. You’ll also get the smells of orange groves, pine trees, the ocean, and more…and this makes your “flight” even better.

But let’s go back to opening day for Epcot on October 1, 1982 and see what was originally in the place where Soarin’ now resides.

It was a theatre instead of a long walkway to an attraction, and you’d wait in an area that looked like the outside of a Broadway theatre. There were lights all around and a huge marquee. This was all for a great little 13-minute show called:

kitchenkabaret Kitchen Kabaret

Your host was Bonnie Appetite (said App-uh-teet), and she introduced everyone to the different food groups of life, and they would come to life on stage to sing songs and even tell jokes. It was a show that had some incredibly memorable songs that so many people still remember. What fan of Disney nostalgia can forget the Broccoli with sunglasses singing “CHA-CHA-CHA!”

The animatronic food groups were a big-time hit and produced a great big of merchandise from pins to shirts to plush and so much more. The fruits and vegetables from the “Veggie Fruit Fruit” act even appeared at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival as mascots on promotional material from time-to-time.

It really was one of the most fun and ahead-of-its-time shows in all of Walt Disney World. But sadly, all good things seem to have to come to an end. Kraft had ended its sponsorship of the attraction on September 26, 1993. On January 3, 1994, Bonnie Appetite closed the Kitchen Kabaret for good and it became another lost attraction.

foodrocksFood Rocks

On March 26, 1994, a new show about nutrition opened up in the old theatre and it was simply entitled, Food Rocks. With music tastes changing and styles becoming different, Disney kept the overall idea of Kitchen Kabaret but changed up the music and characters for a new musical show about eating healthy.

The host of Food Rocks was Fud (said Food) Wrapper who was voiced by rapper Tone Loc, and it was about putting on a benefit concert for healthy eating, but constantly interrupted by Excess – a heavy metal junk food band. There were groups such as the Peach Boys (Beach Boys), the U-Tensils (Queen), the Refrigerator Police (The Police), Pita Gabriel (Peter Gabriel), and others. Again, the music was good, but it seemed as if this was a step down from its predecessor.

Food Rocks had some really shoddy animatronics, and sometimes didn’t have them at all.  A number of the characters on stage were merely plywood cut-outs that had one or two moving parts. One – Chubby Cheddar – was even just a shadow showcased on the wall. It was quite disappointing, but still not bad overall.

Only one character made the cut from Kitchen Kabaret, and it was the milk carton that was the lead singer of the Refrigerator Police in Food Rocks, but starred as “Dairy Goods” in Kitchen Kabaret.

Oddly enough, 10 years to the day of Kitchen Kabret’s closing, Food Rocks closed on January 3, 2004.

soarinThat brings us to Soarin’ which opened on May 5, 2005. Now, guests had an actual attraction instead of a short show to sit through. The theme is no longer about nutrition of course, but there is still memorable music and a great time to be had.

I’ve got to say though, that Food Rocks is truly missed. It was fun, catchy, and made for a nice break on a hot day or when you were tired of walking around for a while.

The big loss is Kitchen Kabaret though. It has characters that will live on forever in Disney history, and so many of us hope that one day it will make a comeback in some form or another. I’ve still got some of the plush vegetables and even a couple pins that have survived over the years. And I’ve still got “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit” running through my head every so often, and it makes me long for the days of Disney old.

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  1. Soarin’ only takes you through the state of California, not to places around the world. If you watch the TV screen when you are lined up to go in and before the ride instructions video plays, you will see city names flashing on the screen. They are the cities/towns in California you will see on your hang gliding journey. The attraction was originally created for Disneyland so they filmed California. I wish they would create some different places in the USA to see as part of the attraction.
    I really miss Kitchen Cabaret, too.

    • Marshall Ringler says:

      The Soarin’ at Epcot DOES travel through the whole world. The “smell-a-vision” even allows you to small a herd of elephants! The CA Adventure version only tours California. Kitchen Kabaret will always be a part of my family, as it was my dad who designed the 6′-tall broccoli!

  2. Harold Christie says:

    My wife thinks I’m nuts because I still lament the loss of Kitchen Kabaret. Nice to know others feel the same way. I did not realize it had such a short run. Well– maybe some day it will be revived. VeggieVeggieFruit Fruit!

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