Walt Disney World Resort is home to tons of attractions, sprawling across six theme parks and water parks, so it may seem hard to believe that there were just as many that never made it past the planning stages. Read on to find out about five attractions that almost made it to the parks.
Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood
Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood was a proposed section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios that would bring Who Framed Roger Rabbit to life. The mini-land would have been a Toontown on Sunset Boulevard where Rock’n’Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror now stand. The area’s designs featured the standard cartoon oddities, like boxes of TNT, grand pianos hanging overhead, and Roger Rabbit shaped holes in the walls.
The plans for this area featured 3 attractions. A Toontown Trolley simulator ride would have allowed guests to explore Toontown with Roger Rabbit acting as a tour guide. Baby Herman’s Runaway Baby Buggy ride, based on the cartoon short “Tummy Trouble”, would have had riders speed through the halls of a hospital wearing baby bonnets while acting as Herman’s stunt double for a film sequence. The third ride was a dark ride called Benny the Cab, which eventually evolved into Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin at Disneyland. A recreation of the movie’s Terminal Bar was supposed to be the restaurant featured in Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood.
When Disney and the production company responsible for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” could not come to an agreement on the rights to the character, the idea for Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood fell apart. Additionally, no new Roger Rabbit films were made during this time and the excitement for attractions based on Roger Rabbit died down.
The Beastly Kingdom was a mystical land planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in the section of the park that is now home to Pandora – The World of Avatar. The area would have been themed based on existing animals, extinct animals, and mythical creatures like dragons, unicorns, and sea monsters.
Plans for Beastly Kingdom were split into two realms: Good and Evil. The “Good” side included a maze attraction call Quest of the Unicorn, where guests would be led to the grotto that was home to a majestic unicorn. A Fantasia Gardens ride would have taken guests on an entertaining boat ride through familiar scenes of the movie Fantasia, including the hippos and crocodiles from Dance of the Hours and fauns, centaurs, and other mythical animals from The Pastoral Symphony. Fantasia Gardens’ design was similar to the ride track used on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The “Evil” side would have featured a roller coaster under the rule of a fire breathing dragon called Dragon’s Tower, where riders were enlisted by bats to help find the treasure locked in the tower’s chamber.
Due to budget cuts, plans were canceled and the land that was designated for Beastly Kingdom was left virtually empty as Camp Minnie Mickey until Pandora opened in May 2017.
Dick Tracy’s Crime Stoppers
Dick Tracy’s Crime Stoppers was an attraction based on the 1990 film Dick Tracy, planned for the Sunset Boulevard area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Originally, the entire area was to be a “land” based on industrial Chicago in the 1920s. The ride building was designed to look like an old warehouse on the outside and would have been a recreation of the film’s set on the inside. The ride vehicles, designed to look like high-class cars from the ’20s, would have used the enhanced motion vehicle technology that you can experience in Animal Kingdom’s Dinosaur attraction. At the time, the ride’s technology had already been in development, Imagineers were just trying to find an attraction to use it on. The story of Dick Tracy’s Crime Stoppers was that riders would race through the streets of Chicago, passing docks and zooming through buildings in an effort to get away from gangsters. The ride vehicles would have been equipped with “Tommy guns,” that could interact with the scenes much like the ray guns on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
This ride never came to life because the film was not as successful as Disney executives had hoped. Any plans for a sequel were canceled and as a result, the desire for a Dick Tracy themed attraction faded.
Fire Mountain was a roller coaster designed for Magic Kingdom that was based on the animated movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire. After 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea closed, there were two major attractions considered to be built in its place. The first was a volcano attraction and the other was a Disney villains mountain flume ride.
It was later decided to plan a new attraction for Adventureland instead, and that’s when the idea to create an Atlantis attraction to open in time for the film’s release in 2001. The ride would have been accessed by a new path between Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise, leading to Whitmore Enterprises base camp on the edge of the Walt Disney World Railroad. The story behind Fire Mountain would have been set two years after the film ended, in 1916 and would have centered on Preston Whitmore’s plans to make Atlantis public and take visitors on an expedition. Designed as a roller coaster, the ride’s plans also included a unique feature where the cars would get hooked up to a suspended track in order to fly through the caverns filled with lava from the volcano.
Eventually, the idea was squashed due to a downturn in tourism and the movie’s underwhelming performance in theaters.
The Great Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor
Although not technically an attraction, The Great Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor was an interactive restaurant concept developed for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The plans were created as a restaurant run by Gonzo and Rizzo, where animatronic Muppet rats would deliver pizza to guests’ tables using a train track system. The Pizza Parlor also would have featured Gonzo crawling around in the ceiling ducts, video screens playing clips of Gonzo, Rizzo and the Swedish Chef, and the occasional explosions from the kitchen that would send a burst of smoke and chicken feathers into the dining area. Decorations would have been recreations of familiar props from the Muppet movies and other random jokes and gags.
When the merger between The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company fell apart. The location that The Great Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor would have inhabited became Mama Melrose’s Italian Ristorante. However, the concept was loosely revisited when Pizza Planet reopened at PizzeRizzo in 2016.