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The Disney lands that never was


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  • [Other] The Disney lands that never was

    I was posting a reply to the thread were should the villains go or something like that and I recalled an article about four months ago I read on blue sky Disney. this might have been posted four months ago but I wasn't a member then so I don't know.

    It was an article on the Disney Lands that never came into play thought up but nothing built based on it.

    It's pretty long but just get a look at the names of them. Some youv'e proably heard some you might not have.

    It's really cool and here it is (My favorite is the villain based theme park)

    MOD NOTE: This blog post is taken from here: Blue Sky Disney: The Disney Lands That Time Forgot...

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    The Disney Lands That Time Forgot...

    <hotlinked photo removed>
    With all this talk about Disney cutting back, I thought it might be appropriate to reflect on what Imagineers have worked on in the past few decades. Remember that they're a house filled with many ideas and unfortunately the Suits haven't always bought what they've tried to sell them. So let's reminisce about what was proposed before and could someday be again(in some form)...

    In no particular order:

    Dark Kingdom

    Also known as "Shadowlands," a theme park that was proposed as addition to Walt Disney World. It's never gotten far enough along to be approved, but this park would be a villain's theme park designed as a reverse of the Magic Kingdom. In this one, the Disney Villains are in charge and the center of the park was to have been Malificent's Castle. There was supposedly plans for a Captain Hook attraction, a Night on Bald Mountain roller-coaster ride, rides built around Ursula, Cruella De Ville and others. Personally, I would go crazy at this park were they to have given it the detail of Tokyo DisneySea.

    Discovery Bay

    A proposed new land for Disneyland in the late 70's. Discovery Bay was a Victorian place, a village or small town that was supposed to have cropped up in the north west around the turn of the nineteenth century. Imagine if Captain Nemo had escaped the disaster at the end of Leagues and had came across a mining town nestled in a bay in northern California in the middle of the Gold Rush. He and other reclusive inventors would have used the place as a base for experimenting and developing their ideas for a brighter future. The kind of place that Verne or Wells would have inhabited. An area where airships could be flown in seclusion(much like the Videopolis in Paris) or one could have dinner inside a luxury restaurant aboard the Nautilus(again, part of the original proposal for Discoveryland in Paris). Or you could have a Journey to the Center of the Earth ride... sounds familiar, don't it? Many of the concepts of "Discovery Bay" have made it into parks in Paris, Orlando or Anaheim. This land has also been talked about as a park unto itself. Some have suggested it could be one of the new theme parks proposed in Asia, but it's doubtful that this will be the Second Gate for Hong Kong.

    Disney's America

    Disney's attempt in 1993 to build a park celebrating the greatness of America which went down in flames a year later when preservationist and various interest groups began to protest the location of the park in Virginia. The design of the park, headed by Bob Weis(DCA's head Imagineer) was to be eight distinctly themed lands. The plans for Disney's America called for 8 distinctly themed areas:

    A Native American Village depicting an accurate Native American village reflecting the tribes that were known in this part of the country. And also enjoy interactive experiences, exhibits and arts and crafts, as well as an exciting white water river raft ride that would have gone all around the area, based on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

    Civil War, based around a Civil War Fort would have plunged guests into a more turbulent time of American history, and adjacent to it, a big battlefield, where Civil War re-enactments and water battles between the Monitor and the Merrimac would have once again be fought.

    Ellis Island, which moved into the 20th century, a replica of Ellis Island building where many immigrants came through, guests would have live the "immigrant experience" through music, ethnic foods and a great live show presentation.

    State Fair Area which was going to show how even during the big Depression of the '30s, Americans knew how to entertain themselves. With folk art exhibits and a live show on baseball, guests could have enjoy, too, classic wooden thrill rides in memory of Coney Island.

    The Farm, recreating an authentic farm where guests could have the opportunity to see different types of farm industries related to food production in addition to some hands-on experiences like milking cows and learning what homemade ice cream tastes like.

    President's Square, which was a celebration of the birth of democracy and those who fought to preserve it. The Hall of Presidents of Walt Disney World would have moved to Disney's America.

    Enterprise, representing a factory town, would have highlights American ingenuity and guests could have ride a major roller coaster attraction called the "Industrial Revolution" , traveling through a 19th century landscape with heavy industry and blast furnaces. And, on either side of the coaster, exhibits of famous American technology that have defined the American industry in the past, as new developments that will define industries in the future.

    Victory Field, celebrating aviation where guests would have experience what America's soldiers faced in the defense of freedom during the world wars. It would have look like an airport area with a series of hangars containing attractions based on America's military fight using virtual reality technology. The airport would have serve also as an exhibit area of planes from different periods, as well as a place for major flying exhibitions.

    Disney's MGM Studios Backlot

    This attraction, which was kind of a hybrid park/mall was to be situated on 40-acre park in Burbank, near the Walt Disney Studios. Many of the rides and attractions that would show up in Disney-MGM Studios were included in this design(Great Movie Ride, ect.). Some believe that the park would have never seen the light of day and it was only proposed as a threat to Universal Studios plans to open a version of their Hollywood park in Florida.

    Edison Square

    This new "land" for Disneyland would have been an expansion to Main Street USA designed as as side street that was themed around the addition of electricity into American homes. Would have featured a statue of Thomas Edison, and a stage show about harnessing electricity.(The Carousel of Progress would borrow from this plan).


    Sounds kind of familiar to you guys that have read the latest "Blue Sky Buzz", eh? This was also known as "Roger Rabbit's Hollywood" at times and would have a 30's Hollywood theme that included representations of Walt's famed Hyperion Studios among others, located between Main Street USA and Tomorrowland. The side of Space Mountain facing the land would have been converted into the hill with the Hollywood letters on it. It would have featured The Great Movie Ride from Disney's Hollywood Studios and Dick Tracy's Crimestoppers along with several other attractions.

    Liberty Street

    This was an additional side street off of Main Street in Disneyland that would have been a side street expansion to Main Street USA themed around a New England town circa the American Revolution. It would featured themed period shops, The Hall of Presidents, a beautiful bay scene, and recreating many famous American landmarks(much of this idea would come to fruition at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Liberty Square).


    A new land addition to Disneyland that was based on Greek and Roman myths, it would focus on classic creations, Hercules was supposedly an idea floated around as one of the center attractions. Some of the ideas for this land were discussed as a possible theme park of its own, many of the ideas from this would influence the proposed land in Disney's Animal Kingdom that was known as "Beastly Kingdom."

    Lava Lagoon

    After designing the elaborately detailed Euro Disneyland park, WDI wanted to expand the Resort into a real resort that didn't just have a park with a bunch of hotels. Planning to create a European version of Walt Disney World, the guys in Glendale planned to create a water park as beautiful as the theme park they were just completing. The Imagineers came up with a Polynesian themed attraction that was built beneath a glass dome to handle the weather of Paris. Of course, once Euro Disneyland has such a bad first year the project was shelved. It would never see the light of day.

    Beastly Kingdom

    This was to be the third themed area of the new animal park that Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde was planning on opening. It's original intend(lost now to many) was to focus on: The actual design was animals that are extinct(Dinosaurs), animals that are living(those alive today) and animals that were fantasy(the stuff of myths and legend). As a cost cutting measure, Michael Eisner chose to cut this land to keep the budget down and instead put in a "meet and greet" area know as Camp Minnie-Mickey. The land would have had all sorts of elaborate rides and shops with two "E-Tickets" that explored fantasy. One would be a good ride known as "Quest for the Unicorn", while the other would be a foreboding roller-coaster that was a dark ride know as "Dragon Tower." There were plans(hopes) to add the attraction at a later date. It would eventually get shelved like so many other rides. If the economy stays good and WDW continues the good times over the next few years we may see a new version of it come to life. If you look at the logo for DAK you'll notice that it has a dragon on it to reflect that part of the park which was to be built.

    Mineral King Ski Resort

    To be located within a subalpine valley in southern Sequoia National Park, this project was to be an elaborately themed ski resort unlike anything before it. One of Walt Disney's last projects, Mineral King was to look like an old Alpine lodge resort that blended in with the surroundings of the beautiful nature that this valley offered. The Country Bear's Jamboree was going to play a part in this entertaining people. When the project was canceled in the 70's because of environmental concerns, those ideas moved on to become part of the parks.

    Tomorrowland 2055

    This was going to be the much hyped about retheming of TL that Tony Baxter and others planned on doing to give a new experience to the dated look that the area was becoming. It involved an elaborate show at where Innoventions is and would have turned TL into something out of the Star Wars cantina. The area would be teaming with detailed creations that Imagineers wanted to use to create the impression that you were in an alternate future. The cost of the project continued to rise until Michael Eisner, dealing with the fiasco that was Euro Disney started to cut back funding for the park. What we got was Tomorrowland 98, which was a very pale and anemic layover that resembled little of what WDI had planned on doing to this cherished part of Disneyland(a future article about TL 55 is coming).

    Port Disney

    A proposal known as the "Long Beach Project," that was to be located near the Queen Mary that would feature aquatically themed rides based around the ocean, seas and exploration. The project would have a terminal for the yet to be finished Disney Cruise Line, 300 slits in the marina, five ocean related resort hotels and a theme park called, what else: Disneysea in which the center icon would be "Oceana," a giant bubble-like structure that would have been the water equivalent of Spaceship Earth in EPCOT. Some believed that this was a park proposed just to intimidate Anaheim into ponying up more to have the Second Gate built there. It finally went down in flames after a couple years, but luckily for us parts of it were resurrected to form the basis for Tokyo DisneySea.


    This West Coast version of EPCOT was to be built where DCA now resides. The limit of land would have made the majority of the park resemble the World Showcase section of EPCOT, only instead of individual countries there would be a focus on the "Four Corners of the World", with the Americas Corner, the European Corner, the African Corner and the Asian Corner. It would feature at its center a Spaceship Earth that was gold instead of the silver one we're all familiar with in Florida. Alas, it was not to be and went down in flames under the weight of the Euro Disneyland mess... and from it arose DCA and the mess we've been left with. Ahem...

    Last edited by NeverNeverland; 10-29-2008, 05:35 PM.
    "To All Who Come To This Happy Place Welcome" - Walt Disney

  • #2
    Re: The Disney lands that never was

    Yep, that was a cool article, I don't think we really discussed it here but many of us are familiar with most of those projects. Definitely some cool stuff.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
    -Walt Disney


    • #3
      Re: The Disney lands that never was

      Great rundown of all those different ideas . There were some I didn't know about before.

      Just one thing - I read on Mouseplanet that Quest for the Unicorn at Beastly Kingdom/Beastlie Kingdomme was going to be walk-through maze similar to Alice's Curious Labyrinth at Disneyland Paris (I don't know whether or not there were also plans to make it a ride).
      "Happy Working Song" parody for DCA remodel:

      Retro Rant Review of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" (comedy review of direct-to-video
      Disney sequel):
      Part 1:
      Part 2:

      Retro Rant Review of "Home on the Range" (comedy review of Disney movie):
      Part 1:
      Part 2:
      Part 3:

      Visit my site:

      Pratfall the albatross superheroine visits the Carthay Circle Theatre.


      • #4
        Re: The Disney lands that never was

        Heh ... being as obsessed as I am about some of these concepts (especially Shadowlands, Discovery Bay, and International Street), I wonder if some of these concepts were really that much cooler then anything that actually has been built, or if it is just the mythological wonder if what never was that makes it so unique.

        I would have love to seen the much-lamented Tomorrowland 2055 take shape, but in a way I think perhaps that the new Tomorrowland to be built in the next few yeas might be a bit cooler than the 2055 project? I know that's risky to say seeing as how we haven't seen the details of it, and the fact that we've had to live with the Tomorrowland of 98 for the last ten years, but what do you all think?


        • #5
          Re: The Disney lands that never was

          Disney's America sounds like it would have been great where DCA is.


          • #6
            Re: The Disney lands that never was

            The list mentions Mineral King...but seems to skip Disney's "Independence Lake" project that was being worked on pretty extensively around the same time.

            I also recall seeing plans for a "Riverboat Landing" project for St. Louis in the mid-60's that never came about.


            • #7
              Re: The Disney lands that never was

              One of my leads had a brochure for Disney's America that he got signed by bob weis when bob was at the blue sky cellar for it's opening.The funny thing is it's very similar to dca but would have been very cool had it been built.


              • #8
                Re: The Disney lands that never was

                Oh, so that was Westcot? Thanks for the info.


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