The Greatest Rides NEVER Made

A look at a few cancelled Disney World rides
March 02, 2010
Hey everyone. Here's my first theme park article in a while. When think of who makes the greatest theme park rides, we instantly think of Walt Disney Imagineering. An ongoing debate is what is the greatest Disney ride ever made. This debate always seems to be exclusive with Walt Disney World. Rather than join that debate, I'm going to show you a few of...


The Great Muppet Movie Ride

Park it was to have been built: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Reason for cancellation: The death of Jim Henson and problems with the Henson family

Description: Muppet Vision 3D was to have shared the title with The Great Muppet Movie Ride as the headlining ride for an entirely new section of the park known as Muppet Studios. Construction on the theater for the 3D film started a while before Jim Henson's unfortunate death in May 1990. Though the Disney/Henson merger fell through, the 3D film was allowed to open (Don't ask me, I don't have any idea on that). This ride was to be a Muppet themed variant of The Great Movie Ride. Guests would have seen Muppet parodies of classic movies. At certain scenes, Statler and Waldorf would appear and deliver their trademark heckling.

My thoughts: Admit it, an entire Muppet themed section at Disney's Hollywood Studios would blow everything at the park out of the water, Tower of Terror included. The Great Muppet Movie Ride would have completely blown the Great Movie Ride off the planet. C'mon, I'd pick a ride that satirizes movies over a ride that immortalizes movies (don't get me wrong, I have a soft spot for the Great Movie Ride). I'm still don't know why doesn't Disney build this section and ride now that they own the Muppets. Stupid Disney Imagineers.

Thunder Mesa/Western River Expedition

Park it was to have been built: Magic Kingdom
Reason for cancellation: Budget constraints, "Where are the Pirates" guest complaints from 1971
What was eventually built on proposed site: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Description: Pirates of the Caribbean was never in the original plans for the Magic Kingdom. The reason being that tales and legends of pirates were all too common in Florida. Imagineers thought that a western variant of POTC would be more exciting for Floridians visiting the park. However, when the park opened in 1971, the complaint most recieved from the guests was "Where are the Pirates". A lot of opening day guests were outraged that POTC was not part of the park's line up of rides. The Imagineers eventually built the clone that opened in December 1973. As for Western River Expedition, pretty much a Pirates of the Caribbean type ride, only with a western theme instead of pirate theming and a larger drop than Pirates. The ride would have been held in a large mountain known as Thunder Mesa. Another ride that would have shared the mountain would be a runaway mine train roller coaster (sounds familiar?)

My thoughts: Though Pirates of the Caribbean is a classic, this ride would have been a very clever variant of the POTC. Though unlike POTC, it wouldn't be ruined just to add shameful plugs to crappy sequels in recent years. Glad the roller coaster portion of Thunder Mesa eventually came to fruition as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Beastly Kingdom

Park it was to have been built: Disney's Animal Kingdom
Reason for cancellation: Budget constraints
What was eventually built on proposed site: Camp Minnie-Mickey

Description: Ever wonder why that dragon was on the original Animal Kingdom logo. The reason was that it was representing the "fantasy animals" element of the park. "Fantasy Animals" were going to have their very own section of the park. The section was to be divided into two sub-sections:Good and Evil. The "Good side" was to have featured the following attractions: Fantasia Gardens, a boat ride that would feature replications of scenes from The Pastoral Symphony and Dance of the Hours, and Quest for the Unicorn, a hedge maze with unicorn theming. The ride that dominated the "Evil" side was Dragon Tower, a thrilling roller coaster with a really sizzling ending.

My thoughts: An entire section with fantasy animals, man would that have kicked ass. Nearly 12 years have passed since Animal Kingdom opened, now really is the time for Camp Minnie-Mickey to go and for this section to finally be built. Then again, if this section was never cancelled, Islands of Adventure's Dueling Dragons wouldn't exist (a few of the imagineers working on this project were laid off and became part of the design team for IOA. They took the Dragon Tower idea with them, and thus Dueling Dragons.

Baby Herman's Runaway Buggy/Toontown Trolley

Park it was to have been built: Disney's Hollywood Studios
Reason for cancellation: Legal issues between Disney and Steven Spielberg
What was eventually built on proposed site: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Description: These two rides, along with a clone of Disneyland's Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (would have been known simply as "Benny the Cab" in WDW's version), were to be the headlining rides of the park's Sunset Blvd. expansion. Here are the descriptions of the two cancelled rides.

Runaway Buggy: This '90s re-imagining of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was to have been themed after the 1989 theatrical short, Tummy Trouble (that cartoon that was shown before Honey I Shrunk the Kids). The story was that riders play the role of tourists who are about to see the filming of the latest Maroon Cartoon. When the tourists approched Baby Herman's trailer, they see that he's throwing a tantrum about the stunts necessary to finish the cartoon. Soon, the cartoon's director enlists the tourists to be Herman's stunt people. The rest of the ride was a looney (no pun intended) ride through a hospital while riding an over sized baby carriage.

Toontown Trolley: This simulator ride was intended to be Walt Disney Imagineering's answer to Back to the Future: the Ride. The story was that guests were taking a tour of Toontown on a bus (Gus the Bus to be exact). The special tour guide of the day, is none other than Roger Rabbit. As you've probably guessed, something goes horribly wrong and the bus soon takes part in a "hare-raising" adventure through Toontown, with Roger Rabbit at the helm.

My thoughts: Out of all the cancelled Disney World rides, these two seem to be the most interesting and possibly would have been really fun to ride. Though I enjoy the Tower of Terror, it would have been more fun to ride in an over sized baby stroller, take a spin on Benny the Cab, and go on a crazy tour of Toontown. Now all Roger Iger needs to do is patch things up with Spielberg and who knows, maybe these two rides will end up being built after all.

Hope everyone enjoys the article. Concept art courtesy of Jim Hill Media, Walt Dated World, and Widen Your World
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