This Abandoned Theme Park Was Meant to Be a Disney Park

in Disney

Credit: @shalanski (left) @steveronin (right)

When it comes to abandoned things at Disney Parks, there definitely are a few. 

From abandoned ideas to fully abandoned theme parks such as Disney’s River Country at Disney World, there is a lot to dig into. Although many may associate Japanese Disney Parks with Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, another theme park was meant to become a Disney Park and when then left to rot.

mickey at tokyo disneyland
Credit: Disney

Nara Dreamland opened in 1961 with a heavy Disneyland influence. The park hoped to become a Disney Park after “Kunizo Matsuo, a Japanese businessman & president of the Matsuo Entertainment Company, met with Walt Disney to discuss the attraction.” Things were going well during the park’s development in terms of creating the park in the eye of Disney; however, Walt and Matsuo would then disagree over the license fees for using the Disney characters, which put an end to the idea of Nara Dreamland becoming a Disney Park.

tokyo disney
Credit: Disney

Nara Dreamland stood looking like Disneyland; however, the park would have no affiliation with the park and company. When Guests would enter Nara Dreamland, it was easy to see where the Disney resemblance was held. The park also had a castle as the “weenie” (as Walt liked to call it), which looked very similar to Sleeping Beauty Castle. The theme park would also have its own version of a Main Street, a Mad Tea Party-Esque ride, a Jungle Cruise-style boat ride, and a Matterhorn-like attraction.

Take a look at the abandoned state of the park after it closed on naradreamlandthemepark’s (@naradreamlandthemepark) Instagram.

Shalanski (@shalanski) posted a photo in front of the Nara Dreamland abandoned castle. The area would have been closed off to Guests when this photo was taken.

One of the best days in Japan so far; snuck into and explored the abandoned Nara Dreamland. No Disney theme park will ever amount. 

Below is the Mad Tea Party replica attraction posted by Steve (@steveronin).

Nara Dreamland Japan

The theme park remained open for 45 years, but Nara Dreamland suffered greatly when Tokyo Disneyland was built. Attendance dramatically dropped at the theme park as Guests favored the new Disney-affiliated park over Nara Dreamland. In 2006, the theme park closed its doors for good, and not much was done after. The park would be left to decay for 10 years until 2016, when demolition would finally begin.

What do you think about Nara Dreamland? Let us know in the comments below!

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