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.
It’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.
In 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.
Now we move on to the final part and my personal favorate part of the whole concept.
If 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