Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lost Imagineering: Disney's America

Abandoned Imagineering concepts are popular topics among Disney fans. Since many of these “lost attractions” have been covered in articles on other Disney sites and blogs, I thought I would take a slightly different approach when featuring them here. The Lost Imagineering Virtual Trading Cards will be a regular ongoing feature of 2719 Hyperion.

The failure of Disney’s America is sadly compounded by the fact that the company opted not to relocate it to a more receptive community. While I don’t necessarily agree, many felt it would have made a better fourth gate at Disney World than Animal Kingdom. It was also very disappointing when Imagineering recycled most of the park’s concepts for Disney’s California Adventure. The original attraction designs were far more interesting as they were first conceived.

While the protest against Disney’s America wore the noble mantle of being against the commercialization of history, at its roots is was just the local and very wealthy property owners who simply didn’t want Disney in their backyard. The Washington Post lead the charge, and Michael Eisner ultimately pulled the plug.


Anonymous said...

Cool idea & artwork!

Anonymous said...

Of all the abandoned Disney park ideas, I mourn the loss of this idea in particular the most. Yes, it was comercialization of history, and yes many people thought why should Disney be so high and mighty and have their own spin on American history, but when it comes right down to it, the park could have sparked at least some interest in history.

I imagine the park to be Epcot-ish, as in applying much edutainment with a good balance of thrill. It's sad that it never saw the light of day because so many things could have taken shape there (including Edison Square, another concept I like).

Anonymous said...

A "friend of mine" worked at Disney Development Company (managed all non-theme park projects, was later taken over by Imagineering) in 1990-1991 and got to see many concepts-in-the-making.

The plan at the time for the land east of I-4 and south of 192 was an American industries theme park with factory of various manufacturers: Hershey, Louivsille Slugger, etc. My friend's memory is fuzzy on details.

Phil Donaldson said...

The problem with a Disney-centric American history theme park is that it would have had blinders on. For instance, the issue of African Americans. The issue of slavery would have been totally neglected. Any Blacks working in the park would have simply been "dark skinned white people".

To ignore the foundation for the invention of Jazz, the traffic signal, peanut butter (and other contributions by George Washington Carver) and potato chips would cause all kinds of public relations problems. Not to mention offending a significant portion of the American population.

It would seem that Disney's America would be set in a time when Blacks were excluded from "American culture". The various lands at Disneyland can get away with existing because they could be considered fantasy.