The Walt Disney Company and Disney Parks have been well known for always having extremely well kept secrets and they still continue to puzzle people today. Sometimes these secrets aren’t really secrets – they are actually things that park guests and Disney fans have forgotten over time such as, for example, abandoned Disney Parks concepts.
What many Disney fans don’t know today is that there were several Disney Park projects in the past that were meant to take place, but due to various reasons never even began construction, leaving the project plans abandoned and forgotten by the rest of the world. Three of these big projects that are still barely talked about today are Disney’s Mineral King Ski Resort, WestCOT, and Port Disney.
The Mineral King Ski Resort
The Mineral King Ski Resort actually began as an idea of Walt Disney’s. In the 1960s, during the first Winter Olympic World Games, Walt suddenly took up an interest in skiing, which had then led him to come up with the idea to build a $35million ski resort in the Mineral King Valley. Word of Walt’s plans had caught on among skiers and it was believed that his ski resort would have been the “largest potential resort in all of California”.
Walt even had the idea to open a major musical audio-animatronic attraction at the resort for entertainment, which would then later become an attraction at Walt Disney World and Disneyland known as Country Bear Jamboree (an attraction that now no longer exists at Disneyland, CA). Unfortunately, before the planning of this attraction was complete Walt had passed away, leaving behind his $35million idea.
Shortly after his passing, the Sierra Club quickly stepped in to fight to conserve the local sequoia trees and prevent the construction of Disney’s Mineral King Ski Resort. This caused the Walt Disney Company to abandon its plans in the 1970s. It has been said that, “if Walt had lived just a few more years, Mineral King would have happened and it would have changed the skiing industry forever”.
WestCOT was a project announced by The Walt Disney Company in 1991, which was to be built in the original Disneyland parking lot. The concept of WestCOT was very similar to Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park, which was based off of the WestCOT idea, but it would have been much bigger, in more of a Utopia futuristic-like vision that would have consisted of a mix of space themed attractions, monorails, water attractions, continental themed lands with themed restaurants, and sky lights that could be seen for miles. WestCOT would have also been the first of any Disney theme parks to include hotels built within the inside of the park.
Though the idea was spectacular, The Walt Disney Company faced a few issues with this project. They needed a significant amount of land in order for the theme park to work and residents were surrounding the nearby area, which meant they would have to be relocated. Residents also began complaining that all of the lights from the park at night would be too much to handle while living nearby. Another problem was that the theme park would almost be a $3billion project and due to financial issues with Disneyland Paris just recently opening, the company was in no position to spend the money.
With very few options left, the plans were trashed and the extraordinary project was forgotten. Ten years later, Michael Eisner (chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company at the time) would then open another theme park in that lot instead, with a lower cost of $650million and a brand new theme of “California” in 2001. This park would then come to be known as Disney California Adventure.
Lastly, Port Disney was planned by The Walt Disney Company to be a theme park located in Long Beach, California. This marine-themed Disney Park was publicized to residents at the time and would have begun construction at the same time as the WestCOT project in 1991. The project was planned to include a marina, a cruise line port, an aquarium, special entertainment and attractions, the Spruce Goose aircraft, and hotels that also included a hotel located aboard the RMS Queen Mary, which Disney had owned at the time.
The Port Disney project faced one of the same issues that prevented WestCOT from happening. The issue was money. First, the city of Long Beach disagreed to make any improvements to the Long Beach Freeway for this Disney Park due to the great expense. Port Disney would also be a $1 billion project and due to Disneyland Paris recently opening at the time, Disney had no choice but to cancel their plans and forget the concept. Another park very similar to this opened in Tokyo ten years later and would come to be known as Tokyo DisneySea.
Although Disney has had many other projects that never happened, these three abandoned concepts were a few of the biggest ideas The Walt Disney Company had at the time and they would have changed the world today, had they actually opened.
Star Wars and Marvel Land
Jumping ahead to today, there has been talk of Disneyland making a $1 billion expansion: a separate Star Wars and Marvel theme park, which would include Star Wars and Marvel attractions as well as all Star Wars and Marvel characters and would be located down the street from the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. It has also been announced that The Walt Disney Company has recently purchased three areas of land near the parks.
What many people don’t know is that Disney has been fighting the city for years to keep some surrounding areas in Anaheim from becoming permanent residences over time, in case of future projects. Will Star Wars and Marvel Land happen? Or will it just be another abandoned Disney Park concept? What do you think?
So tell us, which of these parks would you want to visit?