Before Epcot was built, Walt Disney had a much different idea for what the park would be. However, it eventually opened in 1982 as the World Fair-inspired park we know and love today. Although this park is less known for its rides in comparison to other Disney Parks, there were several planned attractions that just never made it off the drawing board.
Blueprints of Nature Balloon Ride
In the early planning stages of The Land pavilion in Future World, the concept for the area was much different. The pavilion would have featured a series of different biomes all inspired by a futuristic greenhouse, which would have been the centerpiece attraction called Blueprints of Nature.
After a Carousel of Progress-style preshow, an audio-animatronic host called The Landkeeper would have led riders on a hot air balloon journey, taking an ecological look at the world around them.
When Kraft teamed up with Epcot as the official sponsor of The Land pavilion, the entire concept changed to be more food-themed, and Blueprints of Nature no longer fit into the plans. However, some of the elements of the attraction were still used to inspire other Disney concepts. The hot air balloon decorations in the lobby of The Land are a nod to the unbuilt attraction, as well as the biome scenes in Living with the Land. Elsewhere in the park, the rotating theater and audio-animatronic host (Dreamfinder) of Journey Into Imagination were pieces that Imagineers likely took from Blueprints of Nature designs.
Mt. Fuji Rollercoaster
Although the Japan pavilion currently has a giant pagoda as its centerpiece icon, that was not the original plan. Early drafts for the pavilion also included a massive Mt. Fuji as the major landmark in the area, which was meant to be home to Epcot’s first roller coaster. The Mt. Fuji Rollercoaster, designed much like The Matterhorn at Disneyland, would have been an indoor thrill ride featuring a giant Godzilla scaring riders during the trek.
The high-speed attraction would have been one of the most major attractions at Epcot, but the idea was actually scrapped pretty quickly. At this time, Kodak was the corporate sponsor of Journey Into Imagination, and the thought of a nearby ride sharing the name of their biggest competitor (Fujifilm) was a problem for the company.
The Bullet Train is another attraction concept that was developed for the Japan Pavilion at Epcot but never made it off of the drawing board. The unique Circle-Vision 360 experience would have been set in a “Shinkansen”, a traditional form of high-speed transportation in Japan. Guests would stand in the simulated train as some of Japan’s most iconic and historic sights whizzed by out the “windows.” The floor of the ride would have vibrated in order to simulate the movement of the train.
Rhine River Cruise
Although this attraction concept was not developed much further than the original idea, the Rhine River Cruise was at one point considered as an addition to the Germany pavilion in the World Showcase. Kind of like the Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico pavilion, the Rhine River Cruise was meant to be a trip through iconic places and events such as Oktoberfest, the Black Forest, Heidlberg, and Ruhr Valley. All of the seats on the boats would have been facing the same direction (similar to the Disneyland Railroad) so that riders were all focused on the same scenes at the same time. No official reason was given for this idea being scrapped, but it’s possible that cost was the primary factor.
Thames River Cruise
Very similar to the Rhine River Cruise, there was once an idea floating around for a Thames River Cruise in the United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot. It’s likely that this attraction concept was created during the early planning stages of the UK pavilion because it’s hard to imagine where it would fit in the England-themed area currently at the park. The relaxing log flume ride would have been part entertainment, part education, taking guests on a journey through Old London. Some recognizable landmarks included in the attraction would have been Big Ben, the Tower of London, and the Houses of Parliament.
Especially in the early days of the park, all Epcot attractions were sponsored by major corporations, so funding and lack of sponsorship were likely reasons for many ideas never coming to fruition.
For more Unbuilt Disney, check out these attractions that almost made it to Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland! There is tons of new entertainment coming to the park as part of Epcot’s big multi-year transformation project, which you can preview now with discount Disney tickets from Tickets2You!