A Villain-Themed Land Didn’t Make It Into Disney World
Disney World is known as "The Happiest Place on Earth" for a reason. The characters, scenery, and rides exude the squeaky-clean cheeriness the brand is famous for, but something much darker was once planned for the Orlando, Florida destination. According to Movie Pilot, a land celebrating the villains of Disney never made it past the proposal stage.
The area, dubbed “The Dark Kingdom,” would have looked like a very different version of the Disney World that fans are familiar with. Filling the role of Cinderella’s castle would have been Maleficent’s castle from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty, which was set to loom over the skyline as the park’s primary landmark. The concept was also floated as an addition to an existing land rather than a standalone park. In the smaller proposed version, a sea witch ride inspired by The Little Mermaid (1989) would have channeled the famous Dumbo attraction. “Villain Mountain,” either a log flume or roller coaster, would have been the section's main thrill ride.
The Dark Kingdom, or “Shadowlands” as it was also known, joins a long list of Disney park projects that failed to launch. A tiny Gulliver’s Travelers land, a Mel Brooks-inspired Tower of Terror, and a Soviet Union pavilion at Epcot were all scrapped for one reason or another.
[h/t Movie Pilot]