Disney parks have some absolutely amazing rides.
We certainly have our favorites. Attractions, old and new, wow us in a ton of different ways. Well, there are some Disney parks attractions that never came to be. But what about ideas that never even got off the ground? We’re looking at 25 REJECTED Disney ride ideas that never came to fruition!
1. The Enchanted Snow Palace
Let’s start by looking at some never-known attractions in Disneyland! One dark ride that was initially planned for Fantasyland was a boat ride on a river through Arctic scenes, including the Northern Lights, and into the realm of the Snow Queen where we’d see frost fairies and snow giants.
“Snow Queen” sound familiar? It should — that was the working title for Frozen. As we all have seen, Frozen has gone on to take the parks by storm — it’s even getting its own LAND in some of the parks!
2. Geyser Mountain
You know Disney parks have some pretty great mountains, but here’s a mountain that never was. Geyser Mountain was supposed to pop up in Frontierland and take guests on a ride in a huge drilling machine. The machine would end up at the center of a geyser and rocket to the surface. The ride system would’ve been similar to Tower of Terror!
Unfortunately, the initial failure of Disney California Adventure pulled the budget away from Geyser Mountain and it ultimately never came to be.
3. Spark Gap Coaster
Sometimes, entire lands never come to be, such as Disneyland’s Discovery Bay. This land was set to be based on a technologically-advanced 1800s steampunk before there was steampunk style San Francisco. It was inspired by books and films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Island on Top of the World. A number of attractions were planned for this land including, the biggest of which was possibly the Spark Gap Coaster.
This coaster would have featured Maglev high-speed track focused around a Tesla-coil-like design. Note that many of the designs and ideas for the scrapped Discovery Bay project made their way to OTHER Disney parks. Disneyland Paris and Tokyo DisneySea, in particular, took lots of inspiration from this project. In fact, so many ideas came from Discovery Bay, let’s look at two more below!
4. Nautilus Attraction
The Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was already well-represented in Disneyland in the form of the Submarine Voyage attraction. BUT this book/film almost got its own thrill ride!
The Nautilus was planned to be a full-scale attraction as well as a restaurant themed to feel like diners were eating aboard the Nautilus under the sea. The ride was a motion simulator, not unlike Star Tours that opened a number of years after this project was announced.
5. Fireworks Factory
Another attraction planned for this land was Fireworks Factory, a shooting type attraction where guests could shoot off “fireworks” at targets. Discovery Bay was ultimately scrapped, but the foundation that the Fireworks Factory ride set up later led to rides like Toy Story Mania or Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.
6. Duck Bumps
This next one is super cute! There was a boat ride attraction planned for Fantasyland called Duck Bumps. Early concept art for all of Fantasyland shows duck-shaped boats with Donald’s head.
This was a VERY early ride idea that never made it off the ground as the park was being designed.
7. Dumbo’s Circus
How would you feel about a Dumbo dark ride? Dumbo’s Circus was planned as a wild adventure underneath the big top with Dumbo leading the way.
Some themes from this ride were used to help inspire Storybook Circus in Magic Kingdom!
8. Critter Country 500
Speaking of dark rides, we’ve got a super wild one for you. Critter Country 500 was supposed to be a Country Bear Jamboree-based dark ride that would have replaced the show in Disneyland. Instead, we got The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh!
This ride WOULD have been a kind of MarioKart-esque race in the dark featuring each of the Country Bears in their own DIY race cars.
Disney California Adventure
9. Doctor Strange Tower of Terror Retheme
Over at Disney’s California Adventure, we’ve come to know and love the Guardians of the Galaxy Tower of Terror retheme, Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! But, there were actually some other potential options for this retheme. One version could have featured Doctor Strange according to Imagineer Joe Rohde on the D23 podcast.
Could we have been getting into the mischief of the multiverse!? We’ve gotta say, that might have been cool but rocking out with Rocket on the current version is pretty fun.
10. Spider-Man Tower of Terror Retheme
Another option was adding a Spider-Man story to the ride which we would have been SO on board with. We love Spidey!
Still, it all worked out for the best because we got a Guardians of the Galaxy ride AND we’re getting a Spider-Man ride with WEB Slingers when Avengers Campus opens! Doctor Strange, Guardians, or Spidey — it’s clear Disney wanted a Marvel property to take over the Hollywood Tower Hotel!
11. Western River Expedition
Let’s pop on over to the east coast! Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland was meant to have a Pirates of the Caribbean-style boat ride through the Wild West. Now, the proposed land is used for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Hmm…a Wild West boat ride would be cool but we can’t say we’re complaining about Big Thunder.
12. Fire Mountain
We’ve got another never-was mountain! Fire Mountain would have been an add to Magic Kingdom based on Atlantis: The Lost Empire. The story would have taken guests with Preston Whitmore taking visitors to the newly-discovered Atlantis that would involve some lava-y mishaps.
Ultimately, the underperformance of the film and the timing of 9/11 meant the concept was tabled.
13. Simulated Bullet Train Ride
EPCOT has had several ride concepts that never saw the light of day! One was basically a combination of a ride and a 360-degree Circlevision film like the ones featured in the Canada Pavilion and the China Pavilion. The Japan Pavilion ride would have been a recreation of a Japanese bullet train compartment.
Guests would’ve seen scenes from Japan going by as the compartment vibrated.
14. Godzilla Bullet Train Ride
A similar concept that would have been much more thrilling was thought of as a bullet train/coaster-esque attraction centered around Godzilla. Planned for the Japan Pavilion, this ride would have featured a run-in with Godzilla — and then running FROM Godzilla.
The concepts helped to inspire Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest!
15. Mount Fuji Coaster
We’ve got yet another Japan Pavilion attraction AND another mountain that never happened. Of the nonexistent attractions on this list, this one is one of the more recognizable. This mountain coaster was supposed to be based on the real-life Mount Fiji, kind of like Expedition Everest!
Could you imagine seeing a mountain on the World Showcase horizon??
16. Time Racers
Can you believe there was once an idea for an attraction to completely replace Spaceship Earth? Time Racers was an attraction that would’ve been a high-tech thrill ride about traveling through history.
We’re not sure we could get behind a full-scale replacement of our beloved Spaceship Earth!
17. Rhine River Cruise Ride
The Germany Pavilion was supposed to get its very own boat ride with the Rhine River Cruise Ride. Guests would cruise through Germany’s famous rivers and see famous landmarks.
Interestingly, this one got off the ground but was scrapped before completion. Ever notice how the back of the Germany Pavilion has two separate arched entrances? Biergarten is on the left, but to the right WOULD have been the entrance to the ride. If you knock on the mural-covered wall in the back right of the Germany Pavilion today, you’ll hear that it’s hollow. That’s where the ride was meant to be!
18. Thames River Cruise Ride
And that’s not the only river ride we’re missing out on. At one point, the U.K. Pavilion was meant to get a full-scale water ride taking guests through key London landmarks. Want to stop by Big Ben?
This ride ultimately never made the cut from the design phase to construction of the Pavilion.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
19. Baby Herman’s Runaway Baby Buggy
Let’s pop on over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for our next few rides. Hollywood Studios could have had its own dark ride based on Who Framed Roger Rabbit with Baby Herman’s Runaway Baby Buggy. The plot would’ve taken riders through scenes of a Roger Rabbit cartoon as Baby Herman’s stunt double.
And — get this — you would’ve ridden in a giant baby carriage.
20. Benny the Cab Ride
Another Who Framed Roger Rabbit dark ride could’ve been the Benny the Cab Ride. Sound familiar?
That’s because the same concept was used for Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin in Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland.
21. Dick Tracy’s Crime Stoppers
The early days of Hollywood Studios could have featured a motion vehicle ride through the streets of Chicago which would’ve been pretty interesting — especially since it was based on Dick Tracy. That film certainly isn’t as big of a cultural influence anymore!
That said, Dick Tracy DID have a shirt-lived stage show in Hollywood Studios back in the day!
22. The Great Muppet Movie Ride
This one might just be the MOST clever attraction on this whole list. The Great Muppet Movie Ride was supposed to be a direct spoof of The Great Movie Ride (located in the same park!). Picture a misguided tour through movie history with the Muppets as your guides.
That would have been ahh-mazing! We’ll have to settle for Muppet*Vision 3D.
23. Toontown Trolley
More Roger Rabbit ideas? You bet! He was kind of a BIG deal in the early 90s. Toontown Trolley would have had a pretty interesting ride system with flight simulators surrounded by animated screens.
Guests would experience a zany trolley ride through Toontown with Roger at the helm.
24. Unnamed Villain Ride
Disney also considered a possible replacement for The Great Movie Ride with an unnamed villain ride concept. This 3D adventure would have brought guests face to face with Disney’s greatest villains until they were rescued by some heroic characters.
Well, we got Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway instead which is still a fun alternative. Hmm, we’ve got some mixed feelings on this one!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
25. Dragon Tower
We’ll wrap up our tour of never-were rides in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom had a whole land that was never built, Beastly Kingdom. That’s why there’s a dragon on some of the park signage! A potential ride here was meant to be a dragon-themed roller coaster.
The whole land would have lived where Pandora now sits but was ultimately scrapped due to budgetary concerns. It was Beastly Kingdom or DinoLand U.S.A.. DinoLand won!
26. Fantasia Gardens
Beastly Kingdom was also supposed to get a boat ride featuring Fantasia’s mythical animals! This theme idea definitely reminds us juuuust a tad of the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course.
Seeing unicorns in Animal Kingdom WOULD have been pretty cool though.
27. The Excavator
And finally, Dinoland U.S.A. might have gotten a wooden runaway mine car roller coaster that would careen through an abandoned fossil dig site. Instead, due to financial decisions, Primeval Whirl was installed (and later…closed).
Wow! There are some pretty crazy ride ideas on this list! We can’t help but think about how different the Disney parks would be if some of these weren’t rejected. Pretty wild! As always, keep an eye on DFB for all the latest Disney updates and some interesting tidbits from the past.
Which of these attractions do you wish were around today? Tell us in the comments!