DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

DC’s International Amusement Park Newsletter, Vol. 12: Aborted rides and attractions

 

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‘Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Disney’s Imagineers worked on many concepts to ease guests’ disappointment about the shuttering of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage at the Magic Kingdom. One of these was Fire Mountain, which was to headline a new sub-land in Adventureland to be known as Volcania. It was to be a roller coaster based around a mock mountain – hardly an original concept for Disney. However, the actual ride system was to be truly revolutionary. Riders would start in a traditional steel coaster, sitting in a car with the track beneath them. Suddenly, halfway through, the ride would transform into a “flying” coaster, with the track above the rider’s headers and “lava” burning beneath their feet. By the time they reached the end of the attraction, the track would have switched once again, so that waiting riders would have no idea what to expect. Ultimately, the costs of achieving this trick were deemed to be too high, and Fire Mountain was reimagined as a simple flying coaster. But it never got the green light.’ — Theme Park Tourist

 

 

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The Eiffel Tower Bullet was a fun ride proposed in 1891 in which people would sit inside a giant bullet and freefall from the top of the Eiffel Tower into a pool of water. M.Carron’s bullet capsule would be released from the top of the interior of the Tower, about 1000 feet high, and released to fall into an excavated pool 150’ across and 200’ deep. The idea was that in addition to the springs inside the capsule, the water would act as a “shock absorber”, and so “the shock felt by the occupants on landing will be in no way unpleasant”. The thing would have hit at 178mph or so, and, assuming that the whole thing didn’t get completely crushed on impact, I’m not so sure that 200’ of depth is very much wiggle room for the thing to come to a halt (if it didn’t deform). Also it would have to not have any wind deflection so as to not veer off its perfect entry into the water. And so on. Calculating the force of impact is difficult without knowing how far down the bullet would go, but hitting the water at 80 m/s and stopping at 30 meters would yield something like 28,600,000 KE and 1,274,000 N. There are lots of problems. The thing that made this so appealing is that for the 20-francs that got a person a seat in the bullet, they would each have gotten to go twice as fast as any human had ever traveled before ( 65 miles per hour was about the speed of the fastest train constructed).’ — collaged

 

 

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‘The greatest tiki theme-park ride of all time was nearly built in the last place you’d expect: The Old West-themed Knott’s Berry Farm, in Buena Park, California. It was all to be built on land Knott owned on the opposite side of Highway 39 (Beach Boulevard) from the rest of “the farm.” In early 1961, Bud went to work creating the new ride’s waterways, building up its islands, and planting the banks with tropical-looking foliage. “…I got a couple of bulldozers, you can see all the passageways in there,” Bud told Chris Merritt in a 1998 interview. “One was the South Seas with the big volcano and lava running down. I was kinda concerned on how I was gonna make lava red hot running down. I don’t know if I ever really got that all worked out or not…” Bud said the ride “would have been pretty much like the Jungle Cruise.” But the addition of tunnels and a huge erupting volcano hint at the way Bud’s ideas tended to grow and become more elaborate over time. The boats would actually pass through caves UNDER the volcano, and one can only guess what the inventor of the beautiful stalactite/blacklight cavern in the Calico Mine Ride would have cooked up for the volcano’s interior. But something happened, and suddenly the whole South Seas project was on hold. The” islands” just sat, with no water around them. In another interview, for “E” Ticket Magazine #35, Hurlbut told Merritt, “We got as far as digging the troughs… and then we abandoned the idea because we had some other more important things to do.”‘ — Trader Chris’s Tiki Lagoon

 

 

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‘During the early 1980’s, Bally was developing an interactive Ghostbusters-themed ride called The Hauntington Hotel, for Six Flags theme parks. The modern movie-branded take on Disney’s classic Haunted Mansion attraction would have been the first interactive video game/theme park ride. Six Flags guests would climb into a “Ghostmobile”, a track-set ride vehicle with a drop down lap bar with ghost-busting guns mounted on it. Recruited by the Ghostbusters Agency, park guests would be sent on their first job, to take care of the ghosts in a creepy hotel called The Hauntington Hotel. The ride was expected to last two and a half minutes and would feature a variety of high-tech and low-tech gags for the scenes. Every target would react to being hit, and guests would get to find out their score when exiting the attraction. The whole thing was created, designed, engineered, and prototyped at Sente, and the ride system was in the hands of a prominent roller coaster engineering company, Intamin. But before it could be rolled out in the Six Flags parks (1st one was slated for Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California), Bally sold the Six Flags division in 1987, and the project fell into a corporate black hole, never to be seen again, which is too bad, as it was really pretty cool, even by today’s standards.’ — Slash Film

 

 

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‘The Orlando, Florida project Hurricane World was supposed to be both a serious hurricane research center, and a tourist attraction featuring giant simulated storms complete with 100 mph winds. The developers wanted to build this $5 million tourist attraction on U.S. Highway 192 in Osceola County next door to Walt Disney World.’ — collaged

 

 

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Geyser Mountain was an attraction developed for Disneyland Paris to be on the Tower of Terror ride system, but it was run in reverse … descending deep into the ground, then exploded upward, riding atop a powerful thermal geyser. After entering the mine building guests would queue through exhibits and displays that set up our elevator journey deep into the tunnels and caverns below. ( Such an elevator exists at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico ). The elevators would first descend into the mine tunnels where various mining operations would be observed as the elevator doors open onto different levels. Then the car descends deeper into the fabled “Rainbow Caverns” where the doors reveal a breathtaking sight. The elevator operator is then given “safety clearance” to continue down to the deepest caverns where “thermal activity” sometimes makes visits impossible … but today of course we are “lucky” … we get to go!” As we descend, ominous rumblings increase and guests are able to briefly see the glowing heat-fed fissures before massive thermal eruptions force the cabin back upward and all the way to the top of the mine shaft tower. The elevator cab thrusts upward and slips back downward…the ever increasing thermal geyser belching out steam beneath the cab (like the 1959 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth). We break free of the earth and bob precariously at the top of the tower…steam escaping from all around below the cabin. Then like a cartoon … the geyser stops with the cab motionless for an instant. Then we fall back downward landing deep in the earth on a pillowy cushion of receding steam. The operator is able to regain control of the cab, and brings the elevator back up to the entry level on the side of the mountain. The reason it was never built was largely technical: much of the attraction was housed underground as it would be impossible to disguise a 13 story tower in the existing Paris Disneyland Frontierland. Thus all the mine scenes and caverns were created in basement structure, leaving the ultimate height only about 70 feet (20 feet lower than the nearby Big Thunder Roller Coaster). The problem ended up being that of capacity. Tower of Terror has 4 to 6 elevator entries and it would have been very difficult to create a scene that looked believable and made room for all those mine elements.’ — Disneyandmore

 

 

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Kong: Skull Island, the close to billion dollar upcoming ride at Universal Studios’s Islands of Adventure Park, is scheduled to open late in 2015. However, one of the most innovative and anticipated aspects of this ride has recently been cancelled after testing proved the idea was too dangerous as well far too technically complex and expensive. Until the cancellation, the ride’s vehicle, an off-road safari truck (originally a topless truck for the best viewing), would have featured a female driver who, like the old Jaws and Kongfrontation attractions, would also have served as the narrator for your journey. The tech involved here would have had to be flawless to make this work, but the finale Kong figure would have been able to reach out and GRAB your driver from the truck and off with her. Your truck would then have rolled slowly to a stop in the next room, where crew members would have met up and evacuated you out of the temple, and then sent the empty truck on to the loading room for the next group of guests. I’m just not quite sure how this would have worked, but it certainly would have been an amazing finale unlike any other if Universal had been able to pull this off.’ — Screamscape

 

 

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‘Despite being only 23 years old, Disneyland Paris has a very rich history of forgotten and cancelled ‘future’ attractions which never saw the light of day. Last week, Disneyland Paris celebrated the reopening of Space Mountain: Mission 2 (after its 7 month refurb) with a shareholder event giving members an early peak at all the hard work before the attraction reopened its doors on 25th July. As part of this event several pieces of old Space Mountain concept art were on display, providing some interesting insight on the Imagineers’ ideas and inspirations over 20 years ago. Judging by the concept art, Spark Gap would have been a kiddie coaster of some description, similar to that perhaps of Casey Jr over at Fantasyland. Depending on the accuracy of this artwork, the coaster’s structure would have been two large golden pillars in a steampunk fashion (very fitting with the rest of Discoveryland) with guests going on an electrical adventure in a 2 car train seating 8 in total. This would have given Disneyland Paris a new coaster while it waited out for the resort saving Space Mountain, I wonder if this idea was scrapped in preference for the thrill coaster Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril? It’s no secret Indy was brought in as a quick fix while guests waited for Space’s completion and it’s certainly a more similar attraction than a kiddie coaster would have been. It appears however that plans to build Spark Gap were pretty serious, as an attraction poster even made its way to the concept art stage! As shown below, the poster would depict the two golden pillars attracting lightening (somehow I can’t see health and safety letting that one slide) and we also get the full title of the attraction: Spark Gap Coaster.’ — The DLP Geek

 

 

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Disneyland has, at various times in its history, focused strongly on unique gifts. In the 1950s and 1960s, doing your Christmas shopping at Disneyland was quite the thing in LA (in those days, there was a separate, low charge for admission, and ride tickets were extra, so it was very cheap to pass through the gates in order to shop). But Walt’s vision for what the company at one point called “merchantainment” was more ambitious than anything yet realized inside the berm. Page one boasts of a “mail order catalogue” that will offer everything for sale at Disneyland. This catalogue was to feature actual livestock, including “a real pony or a miniature donkey thirty inches high.” Once we get to True-Life Adventureland, we learn of even cooler living merchandise: “magnificently plumed birds and fantastic fish from all over the world…which may be purchased and shipped anywhere in the U.S. if you so desire.” The park’s original prospectus promised “slidewalks,” robotic open kitchens, and kids were promised that they would return home with “scientific toys, chemical sets and model kits, and space-helmets.” Tomorrowland promised the Kaiser Aluminum Hall of Fame (a giant tin telescope, a tin pig, and exhibits about the role of aluminum in American industry); a Dairy of the Future that featured models of cows with IVs in their hocks gazing at videos of pastures; the Dutch Boy Color Gallery (exploring the future through paint mixing), and a big-top tent housing the special-effects kraken from the film of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; it was to be staffed by a little person who hid inside it all day, making the tentacles wave. Finally, the prospectus makes a big deal out of a fifth Land that was never realized. It would have been a miniature walk-through land, Lilliputian Land, where “mechanical people nine inches high sing and dance and talk to you.”‘ — BoingBoing

 

 

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The Harry Potter Quidditch Match Coaster was conceived and seriously considered in the early stages of development for Universal Orlando’s Harry Potter park. It was to be a part coaster part shoot-em up thrill ride. As you rode what seemed like a coaster, you entered a quidditch match only to end up in a interactive ride play through of a quidditch match.’ — Season Pass

 

 

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‘Here, this project imagine vertically stacked theme park in the middle of the city. With the minimum footprint on the ground, this Vertical Theme Park will itself become skyscraper. Theme park is the place where somebody can experience extraordinary altitude, speed and unexpected events. When people are tired of conventional suburban setting of the theme park, we may have to place our theme park in the urban setting.-for example, in the middle of Manhattan. “Density” of the existing urban conditions will make theme park more exciting place. At the same time, “Height” of the vertically stacked theme park will also help to enhance theme park experiences to the visitors. The classic rides, such as the Ferris Wheel, rollercoaster, and carousel are all re-imagined for a vertical experience. The park is distinguished into five major areas that comprises Vertigo World (carousel and observation deck), Fast Land (flume ride, rollercoaster), 360 World (Ferris Wheel, sky promenade), Abyss City (deep city diver), and the Elsewhere Universe (space exploration, science center). As the Vertical Theme Park will be open 24 hours, many businessmen can come join, after office hours, the Urban Bungee Jumping with their suits and ties to relieve the stressful workdays. Deep in the night, the scattered lights from the other tall buildings will shine like the stars.’ — Ju-Hyun Kim

 

 

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‘Harper Goff concept design drawings and other material for an unrealized Disney World Thames River Attraction. (Walt Disney, 1986.) A Walt Disney ride that never was. Goff designed this unrealized, expansive ride recreating a boat trip through London along the Thames River for Disney World’s UK Pavilion. The relaxing, easy flowing, log flume styled ride would be part entertainment and part educational.’ — icollector

 

 

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Islands of Adventure was originally envisioned as a “Cartoon World” theme park that would’ve included areas for DC Superheroes, Looney Toons, and Dr. Seuss characters (the latter being the one that came to be). At one point, the DC Comics area was going to be just about Batman and Gotham City. On Batman Island, a five-story statue of Batman would tower over the entrance, with a flowing cape straggling out behind him. The headline ride would be the Batcar Interactive Dark Ride. Yes, the cars were referred to as Batcars, and not Batmobiles. These would zoom around the city and through the Axis Chemicals plant seen in 1989’s movie version of Batman – the one where Jack Napier became the evil Joker. Another major attraction was to be the Batjets, a roller coaster that would circle the entire Gotham City area. Riders would board via a station located in City Hall, which was also host some dark ride elements. Nearby, the Gotham Opera House was to host a show starring Batman and Robin. Various themed shops and restaurants were also to be included, along with one very unique feature: a Bat Signal, shining high in the sky.’ — TV Tropes

 

 

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‘In 1960, Jack Haley, the actor who played the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz and a devout Christian, teamed with Donald Duncan of Duncan Yo-Yo’s. Together they planned to build a new theme park in Cucamonga, one that would rival Disney in its ambition. They even hired two former Disneyland designers, Nat Winecoff and Bruce Bushman. Bible Storyland was their dream. “They wanted to create it in a heart shape,” says Jordan, “which supposedly represents God’s love of humanity. And the park was going to be divided into 6 different lands. You’d be in the Garden of Eden, then Rome, then Egypt, then Israel, and Babylon. And each place would have rides relating to the Bible. “Take Noah’s Ark, a double carousel. It would be a typical carousel, but built inside a large ark and filled with zebras and camels going around the carousel. That’s a very biblical theme, of course. But to the left of it is the Carousel of Mythical Beasts. You see this girl riding on a half horse, half mermaid, with dragon feet. The mythical beasts! I never found that in the bible myself.” And neither did the local clergy. Todd Pierce, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo professor who’s currently working on a book about early theme parks, says the designers didn’t really put much thought into what their audience would think. “They hired people with minimal contact with religious communities,” says Pierce, “to create a theme park for Protestants and Catholics. Nat Winecoff talked about the trip to hell, and he would get so animated and excited about seeing Satan and the sulfur baths and fire fountains. And then you could go to Circus Maximus and see a recreation of the lions and the Christians played out on stage, and then afterwards you could eat lion burgers. So there was this type of cavalier attitude, this junkiness to it, that smacked of religious profiteering.” There was the the Garden of Eden Boat Ride, which looks a lot like Disneyland’s jungle cruise, with scenes of Adam and Eve standing side by side with cavemen and dinosaurs. And there was a ride into King Tut’s Tomb, which has nothing to do with the Bible at all. “It was supposed to open on Easter 1961,” says Pierce. “In the summer of 1960, the Catholic clergy were organizing to picket the construction of Bible Storyland while earth movers were out there grading the land and getting ready to build.” The project was called off.’ — scpr.org

 

 

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‘In the early 1980s Universal Studios Hollywood developed a concept for a dark ride based on Casper the Friendly Ghost. This would have seen guests riding on four-poster beds, and able to steer their path using a candelabra located at the foot of the bed.’ — Theme Park Tourist

 

 

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‘An addition to the Casey Jr. Train Ride in Fantasyland, Candy Mountain was supposed to be a mountain, that looked like it was made out of rock candy (and other various types of candy, such as licorice, lollipops, and candy canes), with a glossy, translucent appearance. Planned for the 1957 season, Candy Mountain would have been the first mountain attraction in Disneyland, years before the Matterhorn had been dreamed up. The planned Rainbow Road To Oz attraction, was supposed to go underneath the mountain, and the ride would be inside it. It was cancelled due to Walt Disney being concerned about how they would be able to maintain and clean the mountain “because of all the smog” that came from around Anaheim, California.’– collaged

 

 

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‘Featuring scenes from several of Stephen King’s stories, including The Shining and It, this never officially titled but planned dark ride for Universal Studios theme park in Florida would have featured a false ending. Riders would approach an unload platform and hear a spiel, then the lights would flicker, and a river of blood would pour from the doors at “unload” platform (a la The Shining). Pennywise the Dancing Clown would then emerge from the control booth to attack the riders, who would narrowly escape as their vehicle lunged forward.’ — Theme Park Insider

 

 

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The Haunted Forest was to be the perfect place for Teens and Young Adults; the ultimate “thrill ride” and “scary place” for those who look for that kind of thing. Strange sounds emanate from the forest at all hours, mixing in with the screams and shouts of those brave enough to ride with the Winged Monkeys or to traverse the River of Doom. The idea was that the entire forest was always dark and scary. The continual darkness was due to the fact that were going to place an immense and very high “shade roof” (or series of roofs) over the entire land so that sunlight would not penetrate. Since you are journeying “deep into the forest” we would stage the trees in front to hide the roof top above, while having the trees get thicker and thicker, blocking any view of the roof as you journey into the Land of the Wicked Witch. Ahead, as you started the journey, was the Witches Castle built in forced perspective. You would lose sight of it once you were in the forest itself of course, so that by the time you arrived in the courtyard, the scale would match what you imagined it would when you first caught glimpse of it at the forest’s edge. Along the way there would interactive experiences as well – most of them smaller mini-events, but little show areas one could discover if you went a bit “off the beaten path.” If you followed the signs that say “THIS WAY” and “THAT WAY” all of them take you into a short circuitous route that leads you back to where you started. THE WINGED MONKEY ride departed from this upper level in the Castle, where each guest would appear inside the LARGE CRYSTAL BALL that the Wicked Witch observes as she sends her Flying Monkeys (and you) out on the mission to find Dorothy and her companions. After launching from the Chamber of the Wicked Witch, riders would shoot high into the air, following projected images of seemingly hundreds of Winged Monkeys as they are taking flight. THE WINGED MONKEY Hanging Coaster would depart from the Witches Castle at a higher level, and proceed up even higher before rushing headlong into the Haunted Forest where it would whip through trees, fly over the River of Doom, and cascade through and above the higher walls and turrets of the Castle.’ — The Goddard Group

 

 

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‘The original plan for the DinoLand U.S.A. area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom included a major thrill ride themed around a former sand and gravel pit. The site would feature an enormous piece of leftover machinery: The Excavator. This ore car circuit was to form the basis for a huge, heavily-themed, mine cart-style roller coaster that would be one of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s headline thrill rides. The storyline would be that paleontology students had once again restarted the Excavator, using it to transport dinosaur fossils. The Excavator was dropped from Animal Kingdom’s opening day line-up due to the spiralling costs of building the park’s zoo attractions.’ — Theme Park Tourist

 

 

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‘When Islands of Adventure opened twelve years ago some rides envisioned for the Jurassic Park Island were unfortunately cancelled. One of them was the Jeep Safari Ride which would have been great as you will see on the renderings below from artist and former WDI Imagineer Scott Scherman. You can see jeeps entering a Jurassic Park camp before they move inside the land where the AA dinosaurs are. Things become serious as the jeeps would have gone right under a giant Brontosaur. Before moving under the Brontosaur the jeep would have enter the land through the famous Jurassic Park gates and moving under a kind of giant net where probably others effects or animals would have await the guests. Then you can see clearly a jeep being attacked by what seems to be Velociraptors. The arrows on the drawing indicate for sure other kind of effects and i wish i could tell which one, if i only knew… What i know is that others renderings exist and that in another scene a T-Rex would have “stepped on” the guests jeep and spun it in a way similar to the scene in the movie! Apparently this ride was planned for the area behind Thunder Falls and was scrapped for its similarity to the River Adventure raft ride.’ — Disneyandmore

 

 

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‘The early concept of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction had it designed as a walk-through instead of a flume-ride.’ — Disneyandmore

 

 

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‘In the late ’90s, the theme park attraction design company Sally Corporation produced a dark ride concept based on the original Ghostbusters animated series, billing it as the “greatest dark ride never built.” The vehicles would’ve turned to allow for riders to shoot at the many ghosts that were attacking New York City. There was a themed pre-show room. There would have been huge New York sets filled with shootable targets. The ride’s story appeared to have spanned much of the affected New York City including Central Park. Riders even would have had a close encounter with multiple slimers!’ — Theme Park Review

 

 

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In the late 1960s, the Knotts Berry Farm amusement park in Southern California briefly toyed with competing with nearby Disneyland by offering even more innovative attractions. One attraction on the drawing board was a very early simulator attraction that would take guests into a swirling hurricane. A model was built for testing, during which the capsule in which riders would sit was continually destroyed, and the ride was abandoned for being technically impossible to realize.’ — Progress City

 

 

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‘What was going to be the fourth gate at Dubai Parks & Resorts, Six Flags Dubai has finally been cancelled after months of delays and no apparent construction being done on the site. It was to join Motiongate, Bollywood Parks, and Legoland. No one was surprised at this statement. The theme park scene in Dubai was constructed incredibly fast and failed to attract the desired number of guests to the parks.’ — parkineer

 

 

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‘When Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (aka Star Wars Land) opens in Walt Disney World and Disneyland in 2019, they will offer two attractions: a Millenium Falcon ride experience and a dark ride that will take you into the middle of a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. But originally, Walt Disney Imagineering had planned a third ride for Star Wars Land. According to Hill, this attraction would have been a callback to the Pack Mules Through Nature’s Wonderland that closed at Disneyland decades ago. The ride would allow you to board a transportation mount on the back of a huge Bantha, which you probably remember as the giant elephant-sized creature with a long furry tail which was native to the planet of Tatooine. To accomplish this, Imagineering was going to employ a trackless ride system inside the animatronic Bantha vehicles. Guests would have to board the Banthas from an elevated platform, boarding a cage (fitting 12-16 people at a time) that was in the back of the Bantha. The attraction would depart from the heart of this outpost city, with a local alien salesman selling the ride to tourists. The Bantha ride would take passengers from the heart of the city, out into the hills overlooking the Resistance base and back through the city back towards the First Order occupation of the east side of the world before dropping you back in the heart of the city. So basically the idea was to give guests a scenic tour of the entire themed land, introducing the various areas within and giving you a taste of all the offerings, kind of like a Disneyland Railroad but for Star Wars Land. The ride surely would have featured a few show scenes in addition to the great scenic views. You might even remember, when Star Wars Land was first announced at D23 2015, Bob Chapek showed off concept art featuring Banthas (see above). But this attraction did not make the cut for whatever reason.’ — Film

 

 

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‘Now every good Disney dweeb already knows about the Americanized version of Tokyo Disneyland’s “Meet the World” show that was originally supposed be part of this World Showcase pavilion. But how many of you know about the simulated bullet train ride that was also supposed to have been a signature attraction for Epcot’s Japan pavilion? In the center top of the concept painting below (Which shows the original layout of the interior for the Japanese pavilion), you’ll see the very tip of a train engine. More importantly, WDW guests queuing up to enter that train engine. Once these Epcot visitors got inside, they would have been treated to a unique variation of Disney’s CircleVision 360 show. These WDW guests would have found themselves standing on board a vibrating recreation of the passenger compartment of a Japanese bullet train. And — by looking out through the over-sized faux windows in this passenger car — these folks would then have been treated to a high speed travelogue. As some of Japan’s most beautiful scenery continually whizzed by all of the windows.’ — Jim Hill Media

 

 

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Mini Land 2: A massive, heavily detailed theme park. Multiple coasters, rides, attractions, and more.’ — dvn225

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Understood. I never relate personally to what’s going on in a film — story, characters, etc. — and draw associations to my own life or past or anything. I don’t know why, but I just never have. ** Bill, Hi. Well, you would have to be a jet lag jedi master or something to get over that giant time change in a flash, so yeah. I trust you’re starting to feel unfuzzed now? And the ska documentary double bill? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yep, he was on a serious roll there for quite a while. But then, boing, it was over and he has never made an amazing fiction  film since. Weird how that can happen. Wow, ‘Out of the Blue’. I haven’t seen it since its initial release way back when, but I appreciate the comparison. Yes, Linda Manz, so great, and such a small CV, and what a little line up of credits. Her voiceover narration in ‘Days of Heaven’ is one Malick’s very greatest. ** Nik, Hi, Nik! You’re almost my neighbour now, relatively speaking. Happy about the Herzog post’s timing, obviously. I think my favourite Herzog fiction film is ‘Stroszek’. I do really love ‘Heart of Glass’ too. My favorite of his documentaries is ‘The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner.’ Yes, the MUBI Straub-Huillet retrospective! Zac and I are very excited because MUBI is going to present/feature ‘Permanent Green Light’ in mid-July. I think honestly, what we’re going through with the TV series project is probably easy-peasy compared to what most TV project proposers go through. As shitty as it has been a bunch of the time, we’re very lucky that we’re working with ARTE, a channel that has respect for artistic intent. Honestly, it’s our producers who are the huge drag. ARTE has actually been pretty great to us so far. At the moment I would say, no, I never want to work in television ever again. I’ve never worked on anything artistic with these kinds of restrictions and demands in my life, and it turns out I can do it, but it’s not my thing, and, even though I would say I’ve learned things, it’s an absolute non-pleasure. Fascinating about your experiences and growing understanding so far in Sarajevo! Eager to anything more you care to share along the way. Yes, we had three in-person screenings of ‘PGL’ last week, and now I think we’ll have a break for a while. They were very good, great responses. We might do one or two more in France, I’m not sure. Then we’ll present the film in Oslo, Berlin, and maybe in Dublin this fall. Enjoy the heck out of everything going on there, man. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Mm, ‘Nocturama’ was pretty well received here, actually. I do hear that his new one, ‘Zombi Girl’, isn’t good, but it opens next week, so I’ll see. Yeah, that’s interesting about Americans at this point knowing Besson infinitely better than Rivette, etc. I would say that here, certainly among film buffs, that’s not so much the case. Not that big budget American junk isn’t huge here, it is. And they have American director favorites — Anderson, Jarmusch, Solondz, etc. — that don’t always jibe with those directors’ reputations in the US, but if I start talking American film with people here, they know their shit pretty much, and they don’t start rhapsodising about Christopher Nolan or that lot. ** Misanthrope, There are definitely going to be at least a small shit-ton of rock music biopics coming out soon since the Queen and John ones are such hits. I guess Prince and Bowie and whoever else films are already in the cards. I guess it’s nice when people find pleasure indiscriminately in almost everything. For them. I sure can’t enter their mindsets. But hey. High school reunion, huh. I kind of wish I’d gone to mine when graduation was still fresh. Now it would be like being one of those WWII vets at D-Day celebrations. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi, Corey. The auctioneer doc is terrific. I recommend ‘Stroszek’, my favourite Herzog, that also has a nice auctioneer scene amidst it. That’s cool that Herzog embraced your contentiousness. I would have hoped he would. Good, great about the application/reel process jetting along. Exciting! Yeah, sure, you can send me stuff. I’m am infinitely slower than molasses on the email front, but, yes, send it, and I will be happy. ** Right. Today I give the blog over to the niche readership of this place that shares my hunger for and fascination with all things theme park, and I can only hope the rest of you will find an inner theme park nerd of some even slight degree within yourselves and take pleasure until tomorrow. See you then.

8 Comments

  1. Hey Dennis, I actually didn’t feel well this weekend, and skipped all the events on my calendar. Sad, but I did catch up on some music and movies.

    Saw the anthology film The Field Guide to Evil, with a very fine segment by Peter Strickland that has more than a touch of early Guy Maddin in it. The rest of it was pretty blah, unfortunately. If I had been feeling better, I would be working the fast-forward.

    Also caught Knife+Heart. Friends describe it as gay slasher giallo. Saturated colors (esp. reds)! Period sinister synth soundtrack! Mysterious masked killer with fetishistic weapons! Cute boys! And that grackle! What a blast.

    Bill

    Bill

  2. Wow, that beautifully intricate drawing of Mini Land 2 is like a work of outsider art in itself.

    Since the weekend I’ve been getting quite into the Women’s World Cup. A bit more difficult to follow as I don’t know so much background on the individual players or the teams, but it’s still nice ambience nonetheless. Scotland were unlucky to lose to England yesterday and isn’t that always the way with such things haha. Have the tournament sights and sounds been leaking out into Parisian everyday life at all?

  3. I know Jarmusch has always been more popular in France than the US. Decades before #metoo ruined Allen’s career in the US, that was true for him too. French critics were singing the praises of James Gray from his debut, while American critics started coming around with TWO LOVERS.

    I wonder why there’s such a big drop-off in the quality of Herzog’s narrative work in the ’80s, when the quality of his documentaries hasn’t declined. Maybe he wanted to work on a scale that was no longer feasible after FITZCARRALDO?

    Do you think your TV experience would be more pleasant if you and Zac could find more sympathetic producers? Do they exist, in that world?

  4. Hey Dennis – So many tantalizing could’ve beens here. Loved the illustrations and mock-ups for these, too.

    Finally seem to be recovering my stride from what feels like a crash-landing after Paris. Freelance work is under control, band is releasing a new digital single next week, going to do a little work on new theater collaboration, creating a new sculptural installation in my studio. Writing too, slowly.

    Catching up on posts around here, too. That Markopoulos post kept me busy for a while by itself. Miraculously found a copy of Michel Butor’s “Mobile” at a local bookstore recently, sitting there unsold for many years. Thanks for the rec and post about that. Wonderful book.

    Where are things with the TV script? And the Walser theater thing? You and Zac been happy with the PGL roll-out so far — and not too exhausted by it, I hope?
    Love to catch up proper via Skype sometime soon.

  5. Dennis, These should never have been aborted. I’m defo Pro-Life when it comes to theme parks. 😉

    Ha! Indeed. I told the people there, “I’m coming here to look at a bunch of old people!”

    I had a good time. What’s funny is the old stories. Either I just don’t remember them or people are misremembering things and putting me in scenes I’m pretty sure I wasn’t involved in. Frankly, if they were badass scenarios, I just laughed and let ’em talk. Though a few things did come back to me, like when this one guy had tried to start a fight with me and I popped him a couple times and he sat back down. I’d forgotten about that. Thing is, I haven’t thought about any of that shit in 30 years. It’s all onward and upward for me, you know? Still had fun, though.

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