Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lost Imagineering: Crossroads U.S.A.

Like other Disney Parks, Disney's America also had its version of a Main Street hub that served to transition guests to the other areas of the park. Here's the description of Crossroads U.S.A. that appeared in press materials from 1993:

CROSSROADS USA 1800 - 1850
A spirited portrait of mid-19th century commerce, Crossroads USA is the hub of DISNEY'S AMERICA, launching guests on an unforgettable journey through the vivid tapestry of American history. An 1840 train trestle bridge marks the entrance to this territory and supports two antique steam trains that visitors may board for a trip around the Park's nine territories.


Anonymous said...

That park needs to be built. I wish Disney hadn't caved to the morons who still think the wrong side won the Civil War. Perhaps there's a nice plot of land in the midwest just waiting to be bought.....

Anonymous said...

Oh Jeff. I don't get upset about much, but whenever someone mentions DIsney's America I want to cry in my beer! Man, how I was ready for that park!! The two things I love, Disney and American History. And the rug was pulled out from under me!!!

Jeff, how about an irreverant piece about whar really happened to scuttle this project? Either for 2719 or even WDW Radio? I would love to hear a show about that potential park.

Lou Mongello - WDWRadio.com said...

Oh Look!!! There's "Stitch's Great Tea Party" and the "Stitch Intergalactic Train Adventure." I won't even TOUCH the "Incredibles Liberty Tavern" or the "Monsters, Inc. Blacksmith's Exhibit" LOL

Seriously, it's a park that should have been built, and still can be. Maybe not where and exactly how it may have been originally conceived, but in some form or fashion. I think it would be a welcome addition to the domestic theme parks, as well as a place of historical importance and education. Combining Disney with American history is a perfect formula to educate children about our past (and how it affects our future).

Not to mention Turkey Legs at the Plymouth Rock Inn!!!! Woo Hoo!! :)

Jeffrey Pepper said...

It's funny. I asked Charles Ridgway about it and he said they wanted him to help out with Disney's America and he wouldn't go near it.

He told them that Katherine Graham and the Washington Post would eat them alive and that's exactly what happened.

The sad part is that they could have located it in any number of other areas around DC with no resistance whatsoever. By putting it in the backyard of Graham and her upper class cronies, they invited the problems they met. The historians and scholars who ultimately came out against the park were in fact mobilized by Graham and her neighbors.

David Recchione said...

I agree. I think a DSI segment would be great. I would love to know why Disney did not build this park.

Unknown said...

Or would it make us all cry (collectively, that is) to hear a segment on the WDW Radio show podcast about what could have been?

I can hear Lou tearing up right now and Jeff having to console him with a Horizons story--or would that make it worse? heh

Thanks for another snapshot at what could have been another tremendous park.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't make me cry, but it would make me angry. However, there are some terrific ideas that almost went into this park. Jeff and Lou do such a great job painting these pictures on the show, that it would really go well with this topic.

Have I hinted this enough???

Anonymous said...

It didn't happen because the Washington, D.C. elite--most of whom happen to be both rich and racist (Liberal and Conservative), knew how to play the 'southern pride' card with the poor and racist locals--the same people who fight "The War of Northern Aggression" re-enactments every weekend hoping to maybe win it this time around. To this ignorant group, Disney meant bringing truth and traffic to their 'sacred land," and neither are welcome. If you ever find yourself in the area, take a guided tour of one of the sites, such as New Market Battlefield. You'll swear the South won and you'll hear nary a mention of slaves...except when they proudly point out that some actually served to defend the Southern cause. Really. Go listen, it's funnay and pathetic at the same time.
Disney's America will rise again! But this time somewhere not quite so spectacularly racist.

Jon said...

I have a feeling they'd have a hard time keeping it accurate historically. Lately Disney has been striving really hard to tie together its film and theme park efforts. To build something like this, with that formula, Disney would have to have many history entertainment franchises they could use to market the park, and they don't.

I don't think Disney is good as showcasing reality anyway. All of their parks are about magic and dreams...those things that are not physical. In order to have this one, they'd have to create a Hollywood version of history. No offense to the fans, but I've heard too many people talk about how boring Hall of Presidents can be...and that's actually pretty accurate.

I don't know if showcasing America in America is a good idea. Much like California Adventure, a park within the area its suppose to represents, fictionalizes the truth that lies behind its gates. It really confuses the idea of escaping into a new world.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about such a park. I am a big fan of Disney no question. But I can envision some people visiting the Plymouth Rock or the Declaration of Independence at Disney and not visiting the real exhibits and experiencing them where they belong. Okay, the whole Plymouth Rock thing is a farce, but you know what I mean.

I took my kids to Williamsburg recently and they experienced some true history and still had fun. Okay we did go to Busch Gardens to break up the "history excitement," but they did enjoy their time in Jamestown and Williamsburg.

If Disney does go thru with this idea ever, I hope they put it in New England, so I can be close to it! BOSTON!!!

Paul B.

pbousquet at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling they'd have a hard time keeping it accurate historically.

See, this was a problem already. We (Virginia residents) knew they already had a reputation for glossing history and white-washing certain things for patriotic reasons, though with the Cold War over one might have reasonably thought we'd be able to look at ourselves more realistically.

But the fear that they'd change history in order to make better story was always there, and the later release of Pocahontas just proved the naysayers right with its extreme distortion of both history and landscape for the sake of "art" and story.

They might have managed to get it later on after the attention died down, particularly with VA already working on improving the I-66 corridor that was such a traffic problem even before Disney proposed the site, but Pocahontas has quite literally made Virginia an impossible place for Disney to say they know "history".