The Quick 10: 10 Abandoned Disney Projects


We leave for our annual Halloween Disney World trip in a little more than two weeks and I am getting ridiculously excited. I can't wait to ride the Haunted Mansion 13 times (a lofty goal that we never reach), get creeped out at the Tower of Terror and glimpse a sighting of the elusive Yeti on Expedition Everest. But what I won't be doing is visiting the Spain section of EPCOT, eating at David Copperfield's Magic Underground, or staying at the Persian-themed resort. Why? Because they're not there, obviously. But they could have been! Check out these 10 projects that were planned but never realized for one reason or another.

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3. German River Ride. Speaking of EPCOT, the Germany pavilion was supposed to be more than shops selling cuckoo clocks and restaurants with sausage and sauerkraut "“ it was also going to have a boat ride that took guests on a trip down the Rhine, Isar, Tauber and Ruhr Rivers, with fabulous views of German landmarks like the Cologne Cathedral. They even went so far as to construct the building that would hold the ride before axing the boats "“ next time you go there, check out the Biergarten area and you'll see how it could have once been a ride queue. The part of the building that would have held the actual ride now houses floats and is also a rehearsal area.

4. The Muppet Movie Ride. This would have been great. After Disney-MGM Studios opened and Muppet*Vision 3-D proved to be an enormous success, Disney started working with Jim Henson to incorporate more Muppet stuff into the park, including a restaurant and a ride similar to The Great Movie Ride (which isn't so Great these days) but, of course, starring the Muppets. Unfortunately, Jim Henson died shortly thereafter, and all ideas of any Muppet expansions were shelved.

5. David Copperfield's Magic Underground. In the late "˜90s, David Copperfield was going to open his own chain of magic restaurants kind of like Planet Hollywood or the Hard Rock Café. His Magic Underground was slated to have locations in Hollywood, Times Square, and Disney-MGM Studios. Signs around the park and at Pleasure Island advertised the magician's venue and told guests it was coming soon, but then Copperfield made the whole project disappear. OK, to be fair, it wasn't exactly him "“ it sounds like it was a perfect storm of financial reasons and creative disputes. All of the restaurants went poof, even the one that was nearly complete in Times Square.

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8. Fire Mountain was a rollercoaster being considered for the Adventureland area of the Magic Kingdom in the late "˜90s. It would have taken guests on a thrilling trip through an active volcano. Michael Eisner loved the idea and was making plans to locate the ride between Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain, or possibly to the south of Pirates. But then the plans were axed. We don't know why (money; it's always money), but we do know that some of the ride's characteristics have been picked up in a rollercoaster at Tokyo DisneySea.

9. Dick Tracy's Crimestoppers. Oh, my husband will lament the fact that this one never came to fruition. I don't think it's a secret that Disney was banking on the 1990 movie Dick Tracy to be a huge smash hit. It wasn't. But back when they still had high hopes for a new franchise, Imagineers were working on Crimestoppers, an interactive high-speed chase through Chicago, complete with Tommy Guns. A press release announcing the revolutionary new ride was put out"¦ and then the film tanked at the box office and the ride was given cement shoes. But not all was lost "“ the Tommy Gun technology ended up paving the way for the interactive shooting adventure Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin.


There are plenty of unrealized Disney rides and resorts to discuss "“ do you remember one I left off of the list? Let us know! And have a good weekend.