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Why For aren't more Disney World attractions cloned for Disneyland?

Jim Hill

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Why For aren't more Disney World attractions cloned for Disneyland?

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Maddy Mouse wrote in to say:

I have kind of a weird question for you to answer. I notice that Walt Disney World has lots of rides, shows and attractions that the Imagineers originally designed for Disneyland. But when it comes to rides, shows and attractions that the Imagineers originally designed for Disney World, most of those don't seem to make the trip back out west. Why is that?

Well, it's not for lack of trying on the Imagineers' part. By that I mean, as recently as 1975, WDI was still trying to get a version of the Hall of Presidents built at Disneyland ...

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... in that backstage area between Main Street, U.S.A. and Tomorrowland.

It was also about this same time that the Imagineers were attempting to take advantage of all the development work that they've already done on EPCOT's World Showcase area and create an all-new "land" for that Anaheim theme park, World Holiday Land.

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According to the site plan that the Wizards of WED whipped up, Guests were to have entered this previously-backstage-area by walking through an effects-filled tunnel that began towards the back of New Orleans Square. Which would have then taken them down under the train tracks for the Disneyland Railroad.

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Once these Guests came up on the other side ... Well, if they'd gone left, these Disneyland visitors would have found themselves wandering through a postage-stamp-sized version of Paris. Where these Guests would have had the option of dining at a Buffetria-style sidewalk café or by grabbing a snack at a counter service stand. They could also have caught a show in a huge internationally-themed venue that was to have seated 3600 Disneyland visitors per show.

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Mind you, just around the corner from the Parisian part of this new "land" was to have been the London section of World Holiday Land. Where 2400 Guests-per-hour were supposed to have been able to travel through a Medieval-themed attraction. Or if you were more of a travelogue fan, you could have checked out the internationally-themed Circlevision 360 movie that the Imagineers were going to screen in the "World Holiday Travel" theater every 20 minutes. Or grab some fish, chips and warm beer at an authentic recreation of an Old English Pub.

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Moving northward through World Holiday Land's Netherland section, Disneyland visitors would have encountered this new "land" 's Scandinavian Folklore Adventure Ride / Show. Which was to have featured many of the same mythical creatures & show elements that - some 13 years later - were to have entertained Guests as they experienced "Maelstrom" at Epcot's Norway pavilion.

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Continuing on a northward trek, World Holiday Land visitors would have had the option of experiencing a ski thrill show (which was to have entertained 2200 Disneyland Guests per hour) or enjoying some bratwurst & beer by grabbing a table at this section's Bavarian-themed sit-down restaurant.

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And if these Disneyland visitors had continued moving to the north, they would have eventually exited World Holiday Land and found themselves entering Bear Country through a brand-new tree-lined portal. Which was to have been built between the Mile Long Bar / arcade complex and Bear Country's infamously-large restroom structure.

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And speaking of Bear Country ... Back in the mid-1970s, the Imagineers had plans to expand & enhance this part of Disneyland as well.

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To be specific, they were looking to expand the Bear Country mythology by building yet another attraction that starred Bears out in the woods behind Country Bear Playhouse. This "Splash Mountain" precursor - tentatively entitled the "Moonshine Express" - was a family-friendly flume ride that was to have featured 3 drops. A 10-foot drop, an 8-foot drop and - for this attraction's finale - a 14-foot drop.

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If all had gone according to plan, the "Moonshine Express" was to have been a real people-eater. With 3600-people-per-hour traveling through the backwoods of Bear Country and avoiding an overly-damp encounter with those moonshine-making bruins.

And after Disneyland Guests finished splashing down this new Bear Country flume, they could then dry off by wandering through a new mountain-themed transitional area at this theme park. Where visitors could stop off at a juice bar and/or admire some of the crafts that were for sale in several artisans shops.

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"So why weren't all of these nifty rides, shows and attractions added to Disneyland in the late 1970s / early 1980s?," you ask. Well, in regards to World Holiday Land ... The Imagineers had so much trouble lining up sponsors for all of the international pavilions that were initially proposed for Epcot's World Showcase section (WED had originally wanted to build pavilions for 31 different countries around World Showcase Lagoon. By the time EPCOT Center opened in October of 1982, that number had dwindled to 9) that the-then-management-team at Walt Disney Productions kind of lost their enthusiasm for the idea of adding a new internationally-themed "land" to Disneyland.

Which is kind of a shame. Since Walt himself tried to make this happen back in 1957. You see, back for the Old Mousetro thought about building Liberty Street and Edison Square out behind Main Street, U.S.A. , Walt wanted to turn this backstage area into International Street ...

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... which features many of the very same concepts (i.e. the twisty, turny little streets. How you could travel from Paris to London just by turning a corner, etc.) that the Imagineers explored while they were developing World Holiday Land.

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As for why WED never built that "Moonshine Express" flume ride ... To be honest, by the mid-1970s, the Imagineers were already aware that the Country Bear Jamboree show wasn't as popular with Disneyland visitors as it was with Walt Disney World Guests. Which is why - rather than throw good money after bad and develop yet another attraction around Bear characters that Southern Californians didn't know & didn't care about - the Imagineers decided that Disneyland's first flume ride should showcase well-established Disney characters. Which is when Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear entered this equation.

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By the way ... If you enjoy these sorts of seldom-told tales of the Disney theme parks ... Back in May, Len Testa of The Unofficial Guide and yours truly walked around the Magic Kingdom with a digital recorder. Which resulted in an audio podcast that's chock full of behind-the-scenes stories about the rides, shows and attractions that were built and/or are in the works for that theme park.

If you'd like to check out "The Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill," head on over to iTunes right now and then download this brand-new recording. All Len and I ask is that you please review this free audio podcast. And if you like what you hear, please let us know. And maybe then Len & I will eventually get around to walking through Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom with a digital recording as well.

Copyright 2011 Apple, Inc. All rights reserved

UPDATE: Okay. That's a little scary. Len just sent me a note saying that "The Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill" is the #1 new travel podcast on iTunes.Which I found a little hard to believe until Mr. Testa sent me this image capture off of hisiPhone.

Really? More people are interested in hearing Len & I burble about what's possibly in the works for the Magic Kingdom then listening to TLC's Toddlers and Tiaras podcast? Again, that's just kind of a scary concept.

Let me go now and try & wrap my head around this. In the meantime, please remember - if you have a Disney-related question that you'd like to see answered in a future Why For column - you can send those queries along to whyfor@jimhillmedia.com.

Have a great weekend, okay?

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  • Cool article.  It's always interesting to see things that Disney thought about bringing to the table.

    As a Disneyland local who makes a yearly trip to Walt Disney World, I like the fact that many items are unique to each Disney resort area.  But I can certainly understand why Disney makes certain attractions available at both places.

  • The podcast sounds interesting.  However, I don't use (nor want) ITunes.  Will the podcast be mad available in MP3 Format through another location?

  • I'm another one that  won't sully my computer with iTunes, is there another way to download it?

  • It was in the New & Noteworthy section... it was new, correct?  But that does not make it #1.  Shouldn't reporters check their facts?

  • Dear " ... but don't trust Jim,"

    At 4:04 p.m. ET when Len Testa contacted Nancy and I with this info, "The Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill" was in fact the No. 1 new travel podcast on iTunes. If you really don't trust me, you can always contact iTunes and have them independently corroborate this information for you.

  • Dude, "Love", is that really necessary? You couldn't just point it out (both a minor and understandable mistake), you had to put a personal jab in there too?

  • ...Netherland section, Disneyland visitors would have encountered this new "land" 's Scandinavian Folklore ...

    That must be wrong. Netherlands and Norway (or Scandinavian as a whole) have no comparising folklore. Netherlands has no trolls or any mytical creatures what so ever. I can´t imagine that the imagineers are so far of.

    I´m from the Netherlands so I should know.

  • Seriously?  WED was proposing WARM BEER at Disneyland?  Audacious!

  • God we almost had a hall of presidents?!  Dodged a bullet there!

  • Now, that was a great, "OLD SCHOOL" Jim Hill article.  Keep 'em coming!

  • Jim - now that you are doing audio podcasts for walking tours, can you please give us a definitive answer as to the status of the Disneyland CD that many of your loyal listeners paid for years ago?

  • I wish they had built the additions to Disneyland, they would have been nice.

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