In 1991, Disney announced plans to open a west coast version of Epcot called WestCOT. The theme of the new park was to be a Utopian version of the future complete with a 200-foot gold sphere icon to match the iconic white Epcot ball. The proposed new park was to be built on the current site of Disney’s California Adventure. Disney executives’ aim for WestCOT was to “celebrate our cultural diversity and the elements that truly connect us: our humanity, our history, our planet, and our universe”.
Although the park’s plan ultimately did not come to fruition, they were developed pretty extensively. Much like our Epcot, WestCOT was to be divided into two sections: Future World and the World Showcase.
Future world was designated as an area where guests could get hands-on with science. Here, the gold version of Spaceship Earth was to be called “SpaceStation Earth”. It would have been much larger than Epcot’s, which is only 180 feet tall. Other attractions planned for Future World included VenturePort, Horizons, Journey Into Imagination, The Living Seas, Wonders of Life, The Land, and Cosmic Journeys (the WestCOT version of Adventure Through Inner Space).
WestCOT’s World Showcase would have been the most different area of the park in comparison to Epcot. Here, guests could experience different culture and architecture from the four corners of the world. Unlike the Epcot version, these pavilions would have been grouped by regions rather than individual countries. The centerpiece of the showcase was going to be a boat cruise called “The River of Time”, which would have been the longest Disney ride ever, at 45 minutes long. The plans included five ports of call around 9 minutes apart from each other. Each journey would have been accompanied by a show of audio-animatronic scenes reenacting famous historic events of that region like Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, the burning of Rome, and Da Vinci at work on the Mona Lisa.
The American Corner of the World (The New World)
The first pavilion upon entry into the World Showcase was to be the Americas Pavilion, representing early 20th century America. Mexico, Canada, and The United States were to be the focus of this area starting with the Main Street U.S.A. style entrance. Other planned attractions were a WestCOT version of The American Adventure from Epcot, a Native American Spirit Lodge show from Canada, and an indoor Mexico area with an Inca and Aztec Spirit Show.
The European Corner of the World (The Old World)
Representing the Old World, the Europe pavilion would have had attractions based on Russia, Greece, Italy, and Denmark. Attractions included a West Coast version of The Timekeeper from Magic Kingdom, a recreation of Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens, and a Trans-European Express train ride.
The Asian Corner of the World
In Asia, there would have been architecture reflecting styles from China, Japan, and India including a white marble Indian palace, The Great Wall of China and the Temple of Heaven. The centerpiece attraction of this area was a carousel with mythical animals from all three countries tying the pavilion together. Asia’s primary attraction was to be a steel rollercoaster called “Ride the Dragon”. The cars were designed to look like Chinese lion dragons, often seen in festival dances. The coaster would fly through the dragon’s teeth and once it reached peak height, riders would have been surrounded by red and yellow silks in order to hide the view of the outside of the park.
The African Corner of the World
Plans for the African Corner of the World didn’t have as many specified countries. The original idea included an exhibit dedicated to basic farming culture, a white water raft ride down the made-up Congobezi river, a Three Religions of the World show, and a Story Teller Tree show. There also would have been African drummers performing outside around the pavilion. Designs for the park’s first expansion later down the road included an Egyptian palace.
An In-Park Hotel
Perhaps the largest difference between WestCOT and Epcot was the proposed in-park hotel rooms, part of a program called “Live the Dream”. The idea was that each of the buildings of the World Showcase would have three floors with hotel rooms.
The plans for WestCOT were eventually scrapped for a variety of reasons in 1995. The park would have required a lot of land, and many residents would have needed to relocate. There was also a concern among residents that there would be too much light pollution at night coming from the large SpaceStation Earth building. Rough estimates for the park’s cost were around $3 million.