Follow TV Tropes


What Could Have Been / Disney Theme Parks

Go To
This could have been Walt Disney World.

Disney's Imagineers work to dream big and bring magic into reality. However; whether it be budget considerations, unrealistic expectations, unforeseen issues, better options, development hell, or just general cases of reality slowing down progress; many ideas developed for the Disney parks have never been made or are adjusted heavily. While some ideas have been refitted for other attractions in one way or another, some of them only exist in concept art and the dreams of Disney fans.


  • Originally, Walt Disney World was going to be in St. Louis, Missouri. Then the mayor of St. Louis mocked Walt's plans to run a resort without selling liquor. His moment of jerkassery cost the city billions in tourism revenue.
    • Another possible location for Disney World was on the site of the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, where the Disney exhibits from the fair would be retained. However, Walt Disney instead decided to move the rides to Disneyland, and thus the project was scrapped.
    • Epcot was originally planned as a fully-functioning city rather than a theme park, and was a major part of Walt Disney's personal plans for "The Florida Project." After Walt died, the idea fell by the wayside for over a decade. When the plans were revisited, the prospect of building Epcot as a functional city exactly as Walt envisioned it was simply too impossible, so it was re-tooled into a theme park. The would-be model is now a display viewed from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover while transiting through the show building that formerly housed Stitch's Great Escape.
    • Advertisement:
    • The basic idea of Disney forming their own city was not forgotten however, and the idea was later realized when Disney created the town of Celebration, Florida.
  • Submarine Voyage (which closed in 1998)/20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (closed in 1994) rides at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, respectively, were to be re-themed into a ride based off of Atlantis: The Lost Empire. When the film bombed at the box office, the Florida submarine lagoon was demolished in 2005 and the land eventually reclaimed for New Fantasyland, while California was subject to additional ideas for re-theming the ride to Treasure Planet (which also bombed) and The Little Mermaid (which had multiple attraction ideas over the years before an OmniMover dark ride opened at Disney California Adventure in 2011, and Magic Kindgom in 2012), and eventually got a Finding Nemo retheming that opened in 2007 and is still running (though inside reports state that management has been trying hard since the first dry rehab in 2014 to find an excuse to close and bulldoze it along with Autopia).
  • There are a bunch of resorts at Walt Disney World that never made it out of the planning stage:
    • The Boardwalk Inn & Villas and their adjoining actual boardwalk were salvaged from plans for a mini-park that would have recreated seaside amusement parks of the early 20th century.
    • Disney's Pop Century Resort was originally going to cover 1900-1949 with a second set of buildings on the other side of Hourglass Lake, but 9/11 happened shortly before the completed first set (1950-99) was to open; those eventually opened in 2004. The second set had the building "shells" put up, but there was never enough demand for rooms to complete them. Disney ultimately made the shells the basis for the Art of Animation Resort, which opened in 2012. As a result, fans jokingly referred to the Pop Century for the longest period of time as the "Pop Half-Century Resort".
    • There were three resorts planned for the Magic Kingdom area that would've been located on the monorail loop, had they not been scrapped for various reasons:
      • The Venetian Resort was to have been built along the monorail straightaway between the Transportation & Ticket Center and the Contemporary Resort, but the site would have needed a very deep foundation. Despite this, the land was actually cleared in the 1990s for a similar Mediterranean Resort, which was also cancelled because of swampy, poor ground samples.
      • The Asian Resort actually began construction in the 1970s but was scrapped due to the decade's energy crisis. Progress got so far as to have a plot of land in the Seven Seas Lagoon for its foundation, and the road leading up to it being named Asian Drive. After a decade of sitting vacant, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa was eventually built on the vacant lot.
      • The Persian Resort was to have been themed around Iran. In fact, the Shah of Iran was ready to fund it, but the Iranian Revolution and the resulting new government being openly hostile towards the United States (and the west in general) caused the plans to be scrapped. Concept models show that the monorail would not have gone straight from the Contemporary Resort to the Magic Kingdom station, but would detour to service the Persian, then run through Tomorrowland (against Walt's wishes, which were to keep the monorail outside the park) to backtrack to the Magic Kingdom station. Part of this route up World Drive was built, as the spur to the monorail barn. The vacant lot planned for the Persian Resort is used for backstage storage and cast member parking.
  • WestCOT would have been Disneyland Anaheim's answer to Epcot in Florida. It would have had its own version of Spaceship Earth, a World Showcase based on the individual continents, clones of Journey into Imagination and Horizons, and a Spiritual Successor to Adventure Thru Inner Space. Alas, the whole thing was scrapped in 1995 due to budget issues and local opposition to the park's version of Spaceship Earth (or Spacestation Earth, as it was to be called) being a whopping 300 feet tall, as opposed to Spaceship Earth's more reasonable 160-foot height (a revised plan replaced Spacestation Earth with a less-obtrusive spire), and Disney built the California Adventure park instead. (And it's too bad, because the concept art for WestCOT looked really cool.)
  • In the early 1990's, Disney planned to open a theme park devoted to American history called Disney's America near Manassas, Virginia. The plan fell through in 1994, due to vehement opposition from people worried about the impact on traffic and the potential for damage to key historic sites (the Manassas National Battlefield, site of two major American Civil War battles, is located very close to the site that had been proposed for the park), not to mention concerns about the company that named the trope Disneyfication presenting a whole park built around Real Life history — one announced attraction would have cast riders as runway slaves on the Underground Railroad! The idea was revived a few years later when Disney considered purchasing Knott's Berry Farm, but once again came to nothing (ironically, Disney would have changed less in the park than Cedar Fair has). Some elements of the proposal were finally incorporated into Disney California Adventure when that park opened in 2001.
  • Also in the early '90s, Disney tried to get Nintendo to license their characters for their theme parks. This was actually part of a huge plan then-Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg had formulated for Nintendo had the Super Mario Bros. Live-Action Adaptation been successful. They would have begun efforts to integrate Nintendo into their business in every possible medium they had. The film, however, ended up becoming a Troubled Production, and it was ultimately released to disastrous reviews and box office returns, though it has since become a Cult Classic. Disney soon abandoned these plans once Nintendo started becoming more restrictive toward their property after the film's failure, along with Katzenberg's departure from Disney a year after the film's release to start DreamWorks. Two decades later, in 2015, Disney's worst fears were realized when Nintendo snubbed them for Universal.
  • Myst almost had a Disney World attraction — Disney owned the company that published the Myst book series — which would have been set up on the island that once hosted the Discovery Island wildlife mini-park. (That attraction shut down in The '90s, but its name was subsequently given to a land at Animal Kingdom.)
  • Disney was actually the first company to acquire the Harry Potter theme park rights. The rights were unfortunately picked up during a turbulent time at Disney, and were partly motivated by then-CEO Michael Eisner's desire to show Hollywood that he still knew what he was doing in the wake of the Disney-Pixar breakup. But then Eisner was ousted and replaced by Bob Iger, who felt that mending Disney's relationship with Pixar (along with fixing Disney's own studio) was at that moment more important to the company's long-term growth than any other deals that Eisner had made with outside companies, which included the Harry Potter theme park rights. J. K. Rowling eventually got tired of waiting for Disney to sort itself out, and went to Universal.
    • It probably didn't help that Disney's plans consisted of just one ride that would involve guests shooting at 3D interactive screens with wands. Rowling wanted something more immersive, but Disney refused. Shortly after losing the Harry Potter rights to Universal, Disney retooled the plans into Toy Story Midway Mania.
    • Before Michael Eisner was ousted, Disney planned for an entire theme park themed after Harry Potter in Singapore. The plans were shelved when Bob Iger replaced Eisner as Disney CEO and shot down for good when Disney tossed the Harry Potter license to the can for Universal to recycle.
  • Tony Baxter, former Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering, joined the company after sharing this concept for a Mary Poppins-themed ride. Had it actually become built, guests would mount merry-go-round horses that would leap off their turntables, and prance through the same chalk drawings where Mary Poppins, Bert, and the Banks children shared a "Jolly Holiday". After the rain dissolves the drawings, the horses would take their riders across the rooftops of London.
  • For years it was known in theme park circles that Honey, I Shrunk the Audience did not originally cast Eric Idle as Dr. Nigel Channing, and that in fact he volunteered for the attraction at close to the last minute when he learned from Marcia Strassman that the original actor was no longer available. Idle's 2018 memoir Always Look on the Bright Side of Life revealed who that actor was: Raúl Juliá, who had to drop out due to the health issues that took his life by the end of 1994 (the attraction premiered a few weeks after he died in fact).
  • Disneyland Paris was supposed to have an accompanying indoor water park, called "Lava Lagoon".
  • At multiple times throughout the 1990s and 2000s, plans were announced to construct a Disneyland park in Australia, but so far none have come to fruition.


  • The Haunted Mansion went through several different ideas. Early concepts included a hangout for horror-themed Disney villains, like the Lonesome Ghosts, the Headless Horseman, and having a Raven narrate the ride (abandoned when it was decided the Ghost Host would work better). Other concepts from the 1950s included several much darker walkthrough attractions, a version where Walt himself narrated, and several very long illusions including a ghost flooding a room.
  • The Haunted Mansion anniversary issue of the D23 magazine revealed plans for an indoor, perpetual-twilight Disney park that would have featured the Haunted Mansion on a hill at the end of their Main Street USA equivalent, rather than the familiar Disney castle that serves as the entrance for Fantasyland.
  • Early concepts for Disneyland called for Adventureland to be where Space Mountain is now (directly east of Main Street - it was built directly west instead). Some prototype maps even show parts of it existing on both sides of Main Street. (It was moved on the recommendation head Disneyland landscape artist, Bill Evens, to take advantage of the existing Eucalyptus trees on the other side of the park.)
  • The original design for Disneyland incorporated numerous orange trees already present on the property. Walt's staff marked trees to be kept and trees to be removed with different colors of ribbon. Unfortunately, all of the trees were destroyed - the bulldozer operator was colorblind.
  • There were many locations Disney was going to originally build Disneyland before he decided to locate in California. One of the places he really had his heart set on was none other than... Flagstaff, Arizona (no, really). He loved the weather the place got during the summer, but then he came and visited during the winter, felt the harsh snowy weather, and subsequently changed his mind.
  • When the Country Bear Jamboree was to be removed from Disneyland, the Imagineers attempted an Author's Saving Throw to at least keep the Country Bear characters themselves in the form of a Wacky Racing attraction called "Critter Country 500". Unfortunately, nothing could stop then-Disney Parks head Paul Pressler's demands for a profitable Winnie-the-Pooh attraction, whose exit is directly next to a major gift shop.
  • Marc Davis' last ride concept was Enchanted Snow Palace, a boat ride in Fantasyland that would have involved real and mythical creatures. The board very, very reluctantly rejected the proposal, as guests in the 1970s didn't want slow-paced dark rides, they wanted roller coasters (and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia had plenty, while Disneyland only had the Matterhorn Bobsleds at the time). Davis quit shortly thereafter. A ride kinda like this would come into existence in 2016, when Maelstrom at Epcot's Norway pavilion was retooled into Frozen Ever After.
  • Enchanted Tiki Room was originally meant to be a restaurant (hence it having its own bathroom).
  • The original concept for Indiana Jones Adventure was called Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition, and would've been housed in a building ten times more massive than what was ultimately built, so big that both the Disneyland Railroad and the Jungle Cruise would've passed through it. The proposed attraction would have included both the EMV ride and a mine cart coaster based on the sequence from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It was canned after higher-ups decided to give the budget money to Splash Mountain.
  • At one point, there was talk of the Muppets taking over all of Disneyland in 1991 and renaming it Muppetland, with the explanation that Mickey and friends had taken a vacation following the 35th anniversary year. Like the original Muppets Courtyard, it was scrapped after Henson's death.

Disney California Adventure

  • The original concept of Superstar Limo was a thrill ride in which the riders were cast as movie stars being chauffeured to a movie premiere at Graumann's Chinese Theater. On the way they'd have a run-in with hordes of obnoxious paparazzi, which the limo driver would gun it to avoid, taking them on a high-speed chase through Hollywood and past setpieces featuring well-known celebrities such as Elvis Presley. In a really bad case of "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, Princess Diana was killed in a similar situation, resulting in the Imagineers heavily retooling the ride into the slow, stereotypical, cartoon-ish dark ride that ended up opening instead. Given how the ride ended up being one of the most-reviled attractions in Disney history, one can only imagine how different things would be if the "paparazzi chase" concept had been utilized.
    • Before the decision was made to turn it into a Monsters, Inc. ride, two other proposals for replacements were made.
      • The first was Goofy's Superstar Limo, which would've had Goofy as your chauffeur and the celebrities replaced by one hundred Disney character figurines from Disney Stores all over the country that were being remodeled at the time. This, the Imagineers were hoping, would've helped with the complaint that the park didn't have enough Disney characters. Alas, the idea was dropped after 9/11.
      • The second was called Miss Piggy's Superstar Limo, a version starring The Muppets. Imagineers would've announced the ride by placing an ad in newspapers reading, "Okay. We admit it. Superstar Limo is a really terrible ride. Not to worry, though. We're going to fix this DCA attraction. In fact, we've got two of our best men working on it right now." Right below the text would be an image of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker. The plan was then to re-open the original attraction, but as guests rode through it they would see Bunsen, Beaker, and some Muppet construction workers placed around the ride making measurements and snarking about the ride, and over a gradual period the celebrities would one at a time be swapped out for Muppets, the idea being that attendance would go up as guests would revisit the ride just to see which Muppet would show up this time. If the ride was successful, it would be cloned for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. However, Disney's negotiating to purchase the Muppets was still a work-in-progress at the time, and Disney executives didn't think that the Muppets were popular enough anymore to justify the millions of dollars needed for the update, so the idea was rejected.
  • Cars Land began development before Cars was even released as Carland, a land set in an imaginary Route 66 town. The main attraction was an Autopia-esque ride called Road Trip U.S.A., where guests were to ride small cars through the desert mountains that enveloped the town, with scenes including a car wash and the glistening "Carland Caverns". Another attraction was a dark ride called Junkyard Jamboree, an original attraction featuring cars and car parts in a junkyard coming to life and playing music at night. Road Trip U.S.A. was later revised into Goofy About Roadtrips, featuring guests going on a road trip with Goofy. When the Imagineers found out about Cars, they reworked Goofy About Roadtrips as a Cars-themed ride, then they eventually decided to make the entire land Cars-themed.
  • There were multiple re-theme ideas for Orange Stinger, a swinging chair ride. One was based around Geppetto's puppets, another around campy sci-fi, and one on "The Claw" from Toy Story. The ride ultimately ended up being themed to the Silly Symphonies short The Band Concert.
  • Golden Dreams was going to be an animatronic show called Circle of Hands.
  • Pacific Wharf would've had a chocolate factory tour, with free chocolate samples being offered. This didn't come until the Mission Tortilla factory tour closed and was replaced with a Ghirardelli shop.
  • World of Color was originally pitched as a show called OdysSEA
  • Early concept art for Paradise Pier showed a flume ride that would've dipped into the lagoon.
  • A similar version of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was planned, with it featuring the band No Doubt instead of Aerosmith.
  • Early plans suggested actual surfing lessons being offered on Paradise Bay.
  • There were plans for a ride based off of The Incredibles, that would've utilized the KUKA arm technology, but it was scrapped in favor of Cars Land. An Incredibles themed attraction ultimately came with the retheming of Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier, with California' Screamin being rebranded as the Incredicoaster.
  • The original designs for Soarin' Over California planned for it to use a suspended Peter Pan's Flight system, through physical models and sets depicting the Golden State.
  • Original designs for Toy Story Midway Mania! included having the entrance and exit be through the giant mouths of Woody and Buzz (such an entrace design would be used in Tokyo), and one proposal for the egg tossing game would've been "Make Al Dance", in which guests shot eggs at the chicken-costumed toy collector.
  • An Armageddon special effects show was planned but shelved, but would later come to life at Walt Disney Studios Paris.

Magic Kingdom

  • The Western River Expedition was intended as the Wild West version of Pirates of the Caribbean and was to be exclusive to the park, thus making the California park the only one with the pirates. It was going to be housed in a giant pavilion that also included a "runaway" mine train themed roller coaster, hiking trails atop Thunder Mesa (the show building that housed the attractions), a Pueblo Indian village, and a pack mule attraction. But then a few things got in the way:
    • Early visitors to the Magic Kingdom were upset that Pirates of the Caribbean wasn't included in the lineup, so getting a Florida version of Pirates up and running became top priority. Western River Expedition was seen to be a western themed version of Pirates.
    • Phase II development of Tomorrowland was underway at this time (which added Space Mountain, the Carousel of Progress, the Rocket Jets, and the WEDWay PeopleMover). The construction of the Tomorrowland rides meant that money and resources couldn't be allocated to construction of attractions in other lands.
    • Ultimately, the Western River Expedition was scrapped, but two of its rides would eventually be built in Frontierland: the mine train roller coaster opened in 1980 as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad primarily to convince people not to put off their next visit to the resort until after Epcot opened (the ride had opened at Disneyland in 1979 as a replacement for the more sedate Mine Train thru Nature's Wonderland), while the boat ride opened in 1992 as Splash Mountain.
    • Incidentally, when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was being built, Imagineer Marc Davis (the brainchild of the WRE), desperate to save the boat ride, tried to compromise: the roller coaster could be built as long as a scaled down WRE with just the boat ride was built opposite the railroad tracks. Unfortunately, this didn't work, and Frontierland didn't get a water ride until Splash Mountain opened in 1992.
    • Much of Disneyland Paris's Frontierland is derived from the plans for the Western River Expedition. In particular, the land is themed as the town of Thunder Mesa, named in tribute to the WRE. 'Dry Gulch', which would have been a depiction of a wild mining town in WRE, would be incorporated into Phantom Manor as a ghost mining town called Phantom Canyon, including elements like a bank robber and cowardly sheriff engaging in a gunfight, as well as a showgirl and bartender at a saloon.
  • Disney announced in 2009 that they would try to compete with/catch up to Universal Studios' Wizarding World of Harry Potter by expanding Walt Disney World's Fantasyland with immersive meet-and-greets for Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, and Tinker Bell. However, they later realized this expansion might not have an audience beyond little girls. They later decided to keep the most gender-neutral parts of the expansion, move the meet-and-greets into one of the pre-existing Fantasyland buildings, and use the newly opened space (formerly the site of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) to construct the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (providing an adequate replacement for Snow White's Scary Adventures).
  • Adventureland was supposed to get Fire Mountain, a unique roller coaster experience.
  • A Disney Villains ride was once slated to replace 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, that would've been set in Bald Mountain.


  • A few pavilions for Epcot's Future World were proposed, but ultimately became other concepts. One was the Movie Pavilion, which the board liked so much, that it became a dedicated theme park, opening in 1989 as Disney-MGM Studios. The other was the Space Pavilion, which eventually saw the light of day in 2003 as Mission: SPACE.
  • Several more countries were considered for Epcot's World Showcase, including a country from Africa or a simple "Equatorial Africa" pavillion. This one was scrapped because the only country willing to back it was South Africa, which was under apartheid in the 1980s, but was so close to completion, that a model appeared in the opening day telecast starring Danny Kaye. Two years after the park opened, Morocco was added to the lineup.
    • Scrapped attractions for World Showcase included boat-based rides for Germany and Italy. Meet the World, an Audio-Animatronic show retelling the history of Japan, made it as far as its show building going up — but since it glossed over the country's actions in World War II, Disney executives feared it would offend Americans (especially veterans). The show did successfully make it into the original Tokyo Disneyland lineup.
      • Elements of the boat rides for Germany and Italy actually did see the light of day. One was the massive show building in Germany being built and still standing, the other being the boats for the Italy ride, which are now static props in the World Showcase Lagoon in front of Italy.
    • Japan was also originally going to have a ride. Possibilities included a Mt. Fuji roller coaster (supposedly scrapped because of Fuji Film, and Eastman Kodak sponsoring other rides...seriously), and a Circlevision (similar to what Canada and China has) bullet train simulator, one version of which called for the train to be attacked by Godzilla! The Godzilla part may have fallen through because Toho wasn't making Godzilla films after the mediocore box-office returns for Terror of Mechagodzilla, and Godzilla wasn't relevant at the time, and wouldn't be until two years after Epcot.
    • For more on the original plans for World Showcase, which also included Israel and United Arab Emirates pavilions, see this article featuring a 1978 press release. For the record, the UAE pavilion was scrapped due to financial issues, and Israel was scrapped for fears it would turn the resort into a target for Palestinian or Islamic extremists, though it actually came very close to construction, to the point that signage announced that it, along with Spain and Equatorial Africa, were coming soon.
    • There were plans for a Switzerland pavilion which would have existed primarily as an excuse to bring the Matterhorn Bobsleds down to Florida. With the construction of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom in 2006, combined with the fact that Florida's Space Mountain is essentially an indoor Matterhorn Bobsleds, these plans were scrapped.
  • A Russia pavilion was planned and would've featured a recreation of St. Basil's Cathedral but it was later dropped after the Soviet Union collapsed.
  • Illuminations was originally going to have its score composed by Hans Zimmer. Due to scheduling conflicts on Zimmer's end, his colleague Gavin Greenaway was sent instead, by Zimmer's recommendation.
  • Re-theming the Journey into Imagination ride at Epcot to Flubber was planned at one point.
  • After the success of Inside Out, there was a proposal to re-theme Journey into Imagination into a ride based off of the movie. The plan was discarded after Pete Docter, the film's director, balked at the idea, as he didn't want an Inside Out ride to come at the expense of Figment.
  • In early 2003, blueprints were leaked for a discarded plan called "Project Gemini," a complete redesign of Epcot's Future World area in an attempt to solve its Zeerust problem. As part of a three year plan, Future World would be renamed "Discoveryland" (even though the name had been used as Disneyland Paris' version of Tomorrowland) and feature some of the most bizarre concepts that Walt Disney Imagineering ever came up with:
    • Spaceship Earth would become a thrill ride called Time Racers' sponsored by Microsoft, though its post-show Global Neighborhood would still be sponsored by AT&T for some reason. The attraction would be a look at how man is literally racing through time.
    • Innoventions would have been split into six separate buildings for two restaurants, two shops, and two exhibits.
    • The Universe of Energy, Mission Space and Test Track would remain intact, but the Wonders of Life pavilion would become an unknown new attraction and Disneyland's old Junior Autopia would be resurrected and added to the exterior of Test Track for kids too short to ride the main attraction.
    • The Land pavilion would gain an outdoor hedge maze and an outdoor "rainforest" roller coaster, in addition to receiving an East Coast port of Soarin' from California Adventure (which managed to go through). The Living Seas pavilion would become an attraction re-themed to The Little Mermaid called "Under The Sea" (which was later realized in the New Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom and the $1.1 billion overhaul of Disney's California Adventure), while the Journey into Imagination dark ride would get a re-theme to Monsters, Inc. (later becoming Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! at Disney California Adventure, replacing the short-lived Superstar Limo).
  • According to this fan website, the Electric Umbrella Restaurant was going to be replaced by "Test Track Café." Why it didn't happen is currently unknown.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Plans for Disney's Hollywood Studios (then Disney-MGM Studios) included some Who Framed Roger Rabbit-themed attractions (cancelled due to legal issues, though the Benny the Cab ride did see the light of day at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland as Roger Rabbits Car-Toon Spin), a Muppet version of The Great Movie Ride (cancelled due to Jim Henson's death) and a Dick Tracy ride (cancelled due to King Features Syndicate taking Warren Beatty to court).
  • Originally, much more of The Great Movie Ride would have been based around The Wizard of Oz — riders would be "swept away" by the tornado to Munchkinland, and the final room would be the Wizard's chamber, in which he introduced the closing Montage of great film moments. Because Ted Turner (the movie's rights-holder) stipulated that only so much time could be given over to Oz scenes, the tornado was replaced by a Fantasia segment, and the final room became nondescript.
  • There were originally plans to have an entire themed land based on the Muppets called Muppet Studios, which besides Muppet Vision 3D, would had also included a parody version of the Great Movie Ride known as The Great Muppet Movie Ride, an interactive resturant called The Great Gonzo's Pizza Pandemonium Parlor (which would had animatronics of the rats serving food to customers) and a show known as Swedish Chef's Cooking School. Unfortunately however, the death of Jim Henson in 1990 put a screeching halt to the entire project, leading it to get scrapped entirely. While the idea of a Muppet themed area did get realized with the area around Muppet Vision 3D becoming Muppet Courtyard (abeit only briefly as the land was rethemed to Grand Park only a year after), it was massively scaled back in comparsion to the planned Muppet Studios area (for one, none of the aforementioned attractions saw the light of day).
  • There was an idea for a Mel Brooks-centered attraction, called Hotel Mel, which basically would've been a comedic Monster Mash ride; instead The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror evolved from this concept, retaining the hotel setting.
  • Strangely, Disney apparently tried to sought out properties like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead (1968), and various Stephen King properties for a thrill ride, but did not achieve success.
  • Copperfield Magic Underground, backed by Stage Magician David Copperfield, was announced as a restaurant — actually one of a chain of such, similar to the Hard Rock Cafe and Rainforest Cafe chains — but was canceled due to both the company behind it running out of money and the themed restaurant industry losing its popularity.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Dinoland USA initially had a roller coaster called the Excavator, a runaway mine train through an abandoned archaeological dig site alongside a safari ride featuring animatronic dinosaurs. While the Excavator was scrapped, Dinoland eventually got its roller coaster in the form of Primeval Whirl, and the safari ride was reimagined into Dinosaur, a.k.a. Countdown to Extinction.
  • Ever wonder why there's a dragon in the logo for Animal Kingdom? That's because the original plans for Animal Kingdom had called for a land called "Beastly Kingdom" (or perhaps "Kingdomme") based around mythical animals, which would have included a dragon-themed roller coaster where talking bats recruit you to steal from the dragon, a unicorn-themed hedge maze, a Fantasia boat ride, and a Loch Ness Monster resturant. Budget cuts forced that to the back burner. Camp Minnie-Mickey was constructed in its place and nineteen years later was replaced by Pandora: The World of Avatar, finally realizing the "land of fantasy creatures" idea.
    • Rumor has it that the designers of Beastly Kingdom jumped ship to Universal and took some of their ideas with them. Specifically, Dueling Dragons (later the Harry Potter themed Dragon Challenge) would have been a major thrill ride for Animal Kingdom as "Dragon's Keep"
  • The original plans for Animal Kingdom's Countdown to Extinction (now Dinosaur) would have featured a Tyrannosaurus rex. With the discovery of Carnotaurus sastrei, however, Disney wanted to be less cliché and added Carnotarus instead. It's also said that Disney didn't want it to look like a rip-off of its rival's Jurassic Park River Adventure.

Tokyo Disneyland

  • One piece of concept art for the park implied that Tomorrowland was meant to be located at the opposite side of the park.
  • A clone of Matterhorn Bobsleds was intended for the park at one point, but ultimately never came to be.
  • There was once an overlay planned for the Enchanted Tiki Room that would've involved vacationing penguins.
  • An elaborate overlay for Tomorrowland was planned, which would've transformed it into "Sci-Fi City", which would've been set around a place called "Crater Town", and would've included a Rocket Bikes attraction, a modern version of the Flying Saucers, a HyperSpace Mountain overlay, a new version of Autopia called Lunar Rovers, a "Sci-Fi Zoo", and a "space pirates" hideout.

Tokyo DisneySea

  • There were initial planes for a polar-set area called "Glacier Bay". Why it never came to be is unknown.
  • Frozen (2013) was meant to be its own area at first that also would've included an unrelated Scandinavian area. It was scrapped in favor of adding more Disney properties to the concept, forming the upcoming "Fantasy Springs" area.

Disneyland Paris

  • An early concept showed a futuristic tower would've been the park's icon rather than a castle.
  • Discovery Arcade was intended to feature a collection of Victorian figures on display.
  • Main Street U.S.A. would've had a Circle-Vision theatre themed around a silent picture house.
  • Main Street U.S.A. was originally going to be themed to the 1920s, complete with speakeasies, jazz, gangsters roaming about, and an elevated railway. When Michael Eisner discovered just how violent the era was, he shot the plans down.
  • There would have been a Club 33 restaurant behind the Main Street Transportation Company, themed to dining on a train.
  • Space Mountain would have been located in a more elaborate indoor area called Discovery Mountain, which also would've included a clone of Horizons, a Journey to the Center of the Earth free-fall ride, and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit in addition to a Nautilus restaurant. They had to scale-down significantly to just the Jules Verne-themed Space Mountain for budget reasons.
  • A clone of ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was intended for Discoveryland.
  • A number of different entrances were considered for Star Tours, including full sized recreations of an AT-AT (like at Disney's Hollywood Studios) or the Millennium Falcon, a huge dome themed to look like the upper half of the Death Star, and a large pole with a stylized Death Star at its top displaying the name of the attraction.
  • A suspended dark ride for The Little Mermaid was planned for Fantasyland.
  • Fantasyland was also going to have an Enchanted Tiki Room-type show for Beauty and the Beast.
  • A concept for Alice's Curious Labyrinth had a slide for guests to descend the Queen of Heart's castle, ending by sliding out the mouth of a large recreation of her face.
  • A jeep-based version of Jungle Cruise that would've included elements from The Jungle Book was initially in the cards for Adventureland.
  • A duplicate of Indiana Jones Adventure was slated for the area as well at one point.
  • Adventure Isle would've had a Tarzan roller coaster that would've incorporated the Swiss Family Treehouse into the theming.
  • Frontierland would have had Geyser Mountain, a Tower of Terror-esque ride set inside a exploding geyser.
  • Frontierland also could have had its own Splash Mountain, but the extremely variable weather including the cold French winters led to these plans being shelved.

Walt Disney Studios Paris

  • A duplicate of The Great Movie Ride was planned at one point.
  • "Toon Studios" would've included a shortened version of "A Bug's Land".
  • The Cars ride was going to be called Doc Hudson's Desert School of Driving, and would've been a land-based version of Aquatopia.

Hong Kong Disneyland

  • On opening day, the park would've had a Frontierland and a Mickey's Toontown, the latter of which would have included an animatronic show. Frontierland would've been a combination of the Disneyland Paris's Frontierland and California Adventure's Grizzly Peak, with a Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, a version of Grizzly River Run, The Haunted Mansion, and oddly enough, It's Tough to Be a Bug!.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean would've been its own land, complete with a combination of the usual ride and Splash Mountain, and a shooting gallery.
  • Both Star Tours and Soarin' were rumored for Tomorrowland.
  • A Raging Spirits coaster clone was slated for Adventureland.
  • Adventureland would've had a Dinosaur-themed thrill ride.
  • Fantasyland was meant to have both Peter Pan's Flight and a Little Mermaid ride.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: