Disneyland Shuts Down Three Entire Lands, Reason Revealed

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Entrance of Disneyland

Credit: Miranda Jones / Flickr

There’s no doubt that the lands inside of Disneyland Resort are magical and unlike anything else you can experience elsewhere.

As guests step through the gates of Disneyland Park, they are instantly transported to a world of wonder and excitement. The familiar sights and sounds of Main Street, U.S.A. greet them, evoking a sense of nostalgia and setting the tone for their adventure. Strolling down this charming street, guests pass by quaint shops, inviting restaurants, and streetcar rides, all bustling with activity.

A wide shot of the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park in California.
Credit: Inside The Magic

One of the most iconic lands at Disneyland is Fantasyland. This enchanting realm brings classic Disney tales to life, allowing guests to step into the worlds of beloved characters. From the spinning teacups of the Mad Tea Party to the adventures with Peter Pan on the Peter Pan’s Flight ride, Fantasyland is a place where dreams come true for both young and old. The centerpiece of this land is the Sleeping Beauty Castle, a symbol of Disneyland’s magic, which serves as a backdrop for enchanting experiences, including visits with Disney princesses and fairy tale adventures.

Another captivating land is Tomorrowland, a futuristic world that transports visitors to a realm of innovation and exploration. Space Mountain, a thrilling indoor roller coaster, invites guests on a journey through the cosmos. The Disneyland Monorail glides gracefully above, offering breathtaking views of the park. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters lets adventurers join the ranks of space rangers, and Star Tours immerses them in the epic Star Wars universe. Tomorrowland is a place where imagination meets technology, making it a favorite for those seeking an exhilarating glimpse into the future.

Credit: Joshua Sudock/Disneyland Resort

These are just a few examples of the magical lands that make up Disneyland. From the Wild West adventures of Frontierland to the swashbuckling escapades in New Orleans Square, each land has its unique atmosphere and attractions, but interestingly enough, there have been other plans to create lands in the past that simply didn’t work out.

Reported by SF Gate, In a new episode of Behind the Attraction Season 2 on Disney+ titled Indiana Jones Adventure, concept art for the never-built Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition was leaked. The Imagineers working on this land project shared their visionary plans if budget constraints were not a concern.

The visionary behind this project, Tony Baxter, known for his work on groundbreaking attractions like Star Tours and the Disneyland Fantasyland redesign, drew inspiration from the Indiana Jones film franchise. He explained, “I feel like George [Lucas] almost planted a ready-made ride in every one of those adventures.”

The Indiana Jones land would have incorporated reimagined versions of Jungle Cruise and the Disneyland Railroad, offering a runaway mine train ride, a jeep ride, and dynamic walls that would change to challenge visitors navigating through the area. Baxter elaborated, saying, “We also wanted an interactive maze and it would be programmable to make it hard or easy. The walls would move so you couldn’t memorize it.”

Temple of Mara (exterior) from Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland in Adventureland
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

However, due to financial constraints, Euro Disney’s struggles in Paris, and budget limitations at the Walt Disney Company, the project had to be scaled back. Charita Carter, an Imagineer, acknowledged the delicate balance between investment levels and the guest experience’s impact. Ultimately, Disney decided to proceed with a single attraction, resulting in the creation of the Indiana Jones Adventure, which opened to critical acclaim in 1995.

Another fascinating story mentioned in the SF Gate report was the development of Thunder Mesa at Walt Disney World. Initially envisioned as a vast land inspired by the Wild West, Thunder Mesa was set to feature three rides, including the Western River attraction, which was an alternative take on the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Unfortunately, the success of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean in the years leading up to Walt Disney World’s opening led to a change in plans. Visitors to the Florida resort were disappointed not to find the popular pirate attraction.

To address this, Disney had to quickly design and build a pirate ride, diverting funds and real estate away from Thunder Mesa. Thunder Mesa’s original concept was shelved indefinitely. However, elements of Marc Davis’ renderings inspired the creation of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland in 1979.

Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland attraction with people inside the boat riding through the tunnel.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Lastly, the SF Gate report delved into the short-lived attraction known as Videopolis at Disneyland, which aimed to appeal to teenagers during the 1980s when there were few thrilling rides at the park. The club, inspired by the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, was created in just 105 days and became a temporary hotspot for teen dance and entertainment.

While it received positive reviews from local teenagers, it also garnered complaints about attracting a “rowdier element,” leading to its closure in 1989. Nevertheless, Videopolis left a lasting impact in the form of a popular snack: the churro, which was introduced to entertain teenagers and became a Disneyland staple.

Videopolis lives on in a similar concept in Disneyland Paris, and it was briefly revived for the Disneyland After Dark: ’80s Nite event as a separately ticketed attraction.

In retrospect, these untold stories of Disney’s attractions and lands shed light on the creative challenges and decisions that shaped the iconic theme parks we know today.

What do you think of these canceled lands at Disneyland? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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