Discovery Mountain – The Mountain that never was

17/08/2009

In this post I’m going to try and explore the long lost Discovery Mountain project that was initially planned for Disneyland Paris when the park was being built, this project was scrapped when the cost of the project became so expensive and cuts became inevitable. We finally got the current version of space mountain still with the huge cannon as originally planned which opened in 1995 and has been credited with rescuing the park from certain closure.

When the imagineers came to designing Disneyland Paris’ Tomorrowland they wanted a whole new concept and settled on a land tribute to visoinaries such as Jules Verne or Leonardo da Vinci. Here is a an early concept for the entrance to Disoveryland.

DM1It’s difficult to imagine the sheer scale of this project, it was originally planned to be 100 meters in diameter (the current Space Mountain is only 61 meters!) and once inside the mountain guests would have found a much larger version of the Nautilus, an underwater restuarant, an attractions (believed to be named Horizon’s however limited details exist on this) a cafe, the Discoveryland Railroad station and the actual Space Mountain rollercoater too.

The main reason behind this attraction being based in such a huge show building was the inclement weather in Paris, especially in Winter. The rainy season in Paris can last for large portions of the year and the imagineers wanted guests to be able to stay in the dry for large sections of Discoveryland. One of the best idea’s was that Discovery Mountain’s entire interior was supposed to be lit from lights that were under water, which would have given an incredible atmosphere.

DMrestIn this next picture you can make out a tube going down from the roof of the mountain next to the roller coaster track. This was designed to be the first ‘free fall’ ride that WDI had worked on. Guests were supposed to been blown up to the top of the building, just like in Verne’s story where they escape the center of the earth through a volcano chimney, and had a brief view of the park before they fall back down again. Budget cost cut this ride out of the planning and, as we all know, Tower of Terror went on to become the first ‘free fall’ ride created by WDI.

DM3Now we move on to the final part and my personal favorate part of the whole concept.

dmtubesIf you look very carefully at this picture you can clearly see tubes connceting the area around the Star Tours Shop and Videopolis with Discovery Mountain. This really would have been a cool idea and would have enabled you to travel over half of Discoveryland without leaving the warm in the winter and the cool in the summer. Infact this idea was so close to becoming a reality that if you look closely at the outside of the Videopolis building next time you are in Disneyland Paris you will see where the tubes would have conected.

Discovery Mountain also still has metions around Discoverland…if you look closely at Space Mountain next time you will see that some of the fixtures have the initials DM. This is because when Space Mountain finally became a reality in 1995 it was literally days away from being called Discovery Mountain as per the original plans, however at the last possible moment the name was changed to Space Mountain to breed familarality with the Space Mountains already in operation at Disneyland and at Walt Disney World.

Art-work: copyright Disney

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Never built attractions in Disneyland Paris

13/08/2009

I have had a big interest in Disneyland paris ever since my Father worked on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup’s ride back in 1992 (I always wanted my own “Opening Crew” jacket and poncho that he wears with pride in the parks)

Recently I’ve been investigating rides and attractions that we planned for Disneyland Paris but were never built. As a lot of you will know Disneyland Paris was originally called Euro Disney and suffered massive financial problems in the early 1990’s which nearly closed the park (and which are still a noose around the resorts neck). The result of these problems is that many attractions that were planned for the park were cancelled and some more were scaled back to keep costs down.

  • Main Street – An alternative Main Street, based around the early 1920’s/30’s. Imagineers had designed a main street set up at the 20’s-30’s , ruled by gangsters, jazz, cinema, with a totally different design.
  • Main Street Elevated Tramway – A Tram that would have run along Main Street, this would have been a great idea and I’d really have loved to see this one at DLRP. As proof that the best ideas never die…the imagineers actually used this design in the New York area of Tokyo’s Disney Sea park.
  • Discovery Arcade Automats Museum – A walkthrough featuring old cars and antiques…I beleive this was replaceed with the current Statue of Liberty diorama. This could be easily implemented by DLRP without costing vast sums of money.
  • Ariels Undersea Voyage – A Little Mermaid dark-ride
  • Jungle Exploration – A jeep ride designed for the park, similar to Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye. Guests would travel through a jungle covered by a glass roof and drive past giraffes, ride on a rickety bridge over hippos, and into an ancient temple where guests would encounter the “I Wanna Be Like You,” scene from the Jungle Book complete with audio animatronic monkeys, Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, and King Louie, dancing to the song. The jeeps would then be sent into a tropical storm where they would be chased by a large tiger. But luckily for the guests, the jeeps would find a safe way back to civilization.
  • Tarzan Coaster – The Tarzan “coaster” was envisioned to be build near Captain Hook’s pirate ship and using in part the Swiss Robinson Tree structure
  • Beauty and the Beast – A Tiki Room style attraction.
  • Discovery Mountain – A huge complex designed for Discoveryland that eventually did make the park very much scaled down from the original plans (Space Mountian)
  • Indiana Jones Adventure – Would have been a direct copy of Indiana Jones Adventure and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Shooting Gallery – Similar to the Frontierland shooting gallery, but with a Pirate theming.