The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster had been closed for refurbishments since February

Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Disney World
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Walt Disney World [Matt Bishop/The Rock Revival]

UPDATED: June 8, 2023

After being closed for several months for refurbishment, the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith has re-opened. Disney Cast Members and Guests were back in the saddle for a soft opening over Memorial Day Weekend, according to BlogMickey. Cast Members confirmed to the outlet that the sets inside the actual ride were repainted, with fresh glow-in-the-dark paint, new signs, and new lighting rigs. The Studio and Parking Garage line queues also got a facelift.

Even with all of the recent refurbishments, it remains unclear just how long Disney will be dedicated to having Aerosmith headline the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The attraction was announced in April 1998, and opened to the public on July 29, 1999. At the time, Aerosmith were back on top. The band was riding the wave of their twelfth studio album, 1997’s Nine Lives. Their first outing since re-signing with Columbia Records, the album hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The lead single “Pink” garnered the band the GRAMMY® Award for Best Rock Performance.

In 2001 – just two years after the attraction launched – Aerosmith were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, Disney opened another Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disneyland Paris in France. The attraction closed in 2019 and was replaced with Avengers Assemble: Flight Force, as part of the all-new Avengers Campus.

Now, just as the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World in Florida has re-opened, Aerosmith’s career is coming to a close. Earlier this month, the band announced their Peace Out Tour – a final 40-date trek across North America. With retirement on the horizon, it begs the question whether future generations of Disney park guests will relate to Aerosmith the way fans have over the last 23 years since the coaster’s inception.

At the end of the day, it’s a textbook high-speed thrill ride through the dark – an attraction formula that Disney and many other theme parks throughout history have had a high success rate with. However, the Aerosmith branding attached to the attraction has always been a significant draw to fans of the band. The Walt Disney Company already made way for a more relevant attraction at Disneyland Paris. Now that Aerosmith are mounting their last tour ever, we can only wonder if the original Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is going to be the next Disney attraction to “peace out.”

Disney could simply re-brand the ride with another high-profile music act, however, the list of artists who have had the musical and cultural impact that Aerosmith has for so long is a very short one. Bands from the generations that followed Aerosmith that could be a decent fit include Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, blink-182, and Green Day. Foo Fighters perhaps top the list. The band’s lyrical content is the most mild out of all the aforementioned acts, plus Dave Grohl and company would make masterful banter in the queue.

Grohl already has some ties to Disney. Due to his drumming style, fans have often said that he’s a real-life version of Animal from The Muppets. In 2011, it became a reality when Grohl made a cameo in the feature film The Muppets when he played Animal in the faux Muppets cover band The Moopets. In a 2015 episode of The Muppets television show, Grohl appeared as himself and challenged Animal to a drum-off. In 2022, Foo Fighters penned the theme song for the Fraggle Rock reboot and made a special guest appearance on the show.

Speaking of The Muppets, a new twist has entered the chat. Jeff Yorkes – creator of the all-new series The Muppets Mayhem based on the fictitious band Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem – confirmed in a since-deleted tweet that a re-brand of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to Muppets Mayhem was part of the original pitch of the series. As first reported by WDW Magic on June 8, Yorkes stated, “Not gonna lie – this was absolutely part of our original pitch.” It’s a good pitch, honestly. “Fingers crossed that it happens,” he added.

One major question, however, is whether or not the high-speed coaster is too intense for the youthful audience that The Muppets attract.

While Foo Fighters would be a lot of fun, Disney could reach an even younger audience by going beyond traditional rock music with an act that certainly has Disney ties – The Jonas Brothers. The group is essentially a Disney product, as they broke out with hit series and movies on the Disney Channel. The trio went on to sell out arenas and stadiums around the globe. After going on hiatus in 2013, the group just released their first album in four years and are mounting a massive stadium tour this summer.

Of course, this is assuming Disney wants to keep the central theme of the ride intact. With the company’s monstrous depth, there’s no shortage of content if they decided to do a total re-brand of the attraction. Right next to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, which opened in 2019. It is a sit-down show for all ages based on Disney and Pixar’s hit film franchise Cars.

The original 2006 flick has hauled in over $460 million at the global box office since its release and produced two sequels – Cars 2 (2011) and Cars 3 (2017). Given that the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster puts guests in a high-speed limo ride, re-purposing it to a Cars attraction isn’t that much of a stretch. However, in ordered to be geared towards the film’s young audience, the ride would have to downshift significantly to accommodate rookie racers.

As for Aerosmith, their farewell run kicks off on September 2, 2023 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and wraps up on January 26, 2024 at Centre Bell in Montreal. The tour will see the band perform in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, as well as band’s native Boston, among other cities. The Black Crowes will serve as special guests for the entire trek.

“It’s not goodbye, it’s PEACE OUT,” Aerosmith said in a statement. “Get ready and walk this way, you’re going to get the best show of our lives.”

Aerosmith are the best-selling American rock band of all time. Selling over 150 million records worldwide, they have 12 multi-platinum certified albums under their belt. Throughout their career, have garnered four GRAMMY® Awards, six American Music Awards, and ten MTV Video Music Awards. In 2001, the band performed at the Super Bowl Halftime Show.