After 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea closed, Disney executives wanted to revitalize Adventureland with a new attraction concept. The original idea was Vulcania, a Jules Verne-inspired mini-land.
“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” hit theaters not long after the wheels started turning on the Vulcania project. This shifted the focus on the new attraction towards a more Atlantis-focused concept. Instead of Vulcania, the new land was going to be “Whitmore Enterprises Base Camp.”
The theme of this new area revolved around Preston Whitmore, who was working to make Atlantis open to the public and offer tours of the land’s central landmark: Fire Mountain.
To get to Fire Mountain, a new path between Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise would lead to Whitmore Enterprises base camp on the edge of the Walt Disney World Railroad.
According to the ride’s story, it took place in 1916, two years after the film ended. Riders would have hopped into Whitmore’s newly developed vehicles for an exciting expedition. The journey would have had a few mishaps along the way and the ride was going to take a detour through the lava-filled caverns of Fire Mountain.
At the time, this ride’s design was pretty cutting edge for Disney’s Imagineers. The hybrid coaster would have had two different ride systems, a standard coaster track and a suspended track. The unique feature would have had the cars hooked up to a suspended track in order to fly through the caverns filled with lava from the volcano.
Unfortunately, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” didn’t end up being the success Disney hoped for. After the movie’s debut, executives had second thoughts about building a whole new attraction around it. The entire tourism industry also took a hit after September 11, which was not long after the film’s release. Between an underwhelming box office performance and lack of funds, executives scrapped the Fire Mountain project.
Want more Unbuilt Disney? Check out five attractions that almost made it to Epcot’s World Showcase. Although Fire Mountain never quite came to life, there is still so much movie-inspired awesomeness to explore at Magic Kingdom!