Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A Whole Mini-land based off of Indiana Jones?

Go back to before Captain EO, before Star Tours, before the Indiana Jones Adventure. Disneyland was without any Lucasfilm property attractions were barely even being planned or thought of. The early 1980’s. This was when we saw a lot of plans for attractions changing in Disneyland. One of the biggest ones is known as the Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition. I mean look at that concept art!! 

Original Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition Concept Art
Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition can be best described as a whole Indiana Jones pavilion. It was a large area of land that would be themed completely around the Indiana Jones IP. I know there is a lot here so we will break it down as we don’t have much for this area except this one picture and an aerial map.

Jungle Cruise in IJLE

Starting on the left side of this image you can see a boat ride. Not sure what that is? It’s the Jungle Cruise! At the time, they were planning to expand the Jungle Cruise into this new, large show building. It would go through or around the river temple, some boobie traps set by the temple people, and then a rocky gorge before ending back on their original track.

Mine Train Track in ILJE
Near the bottom of the image, you can see a mine train-like track. This would be the first main attraction for this building. In other pieces of art talking about this attraction, it is only described as an “Ore car attraction”. Based off of this concept art and descriptions however it seems like it’d be a runaway mine train coaster similar to the one you can see in the second Indiana Jones movie, the Temple of Doom.

Indiana Jones Adventure in ILJE

On the right side of this concept art, you can see what appears to a jeep. And that is exactly the case. The other main attraction that can only be accessed through this building was a jeep expedition ride. This ride was going to be very similar to The Indiana Jones Adventure that you see now in Disneyland just much longer as it features an outdoor part. Think Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal Orlando.

Disneyland Railroad through ILJE
The fourth attraction that could be found within this building can be slightly seen at the top of the image. Yes, that is the Disneyland Railroad! Much like Splash Mountain does currently, it was planned that you could see into this building from the Disneyland Railroad.

Now I know what you are thinking. How was all of this supposed to fit together and in that area between the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean? Well luckily, that is the only other piece of evidence we have for this experience.

Full Aerial Map of the Expansion

    I actually find this elevation map a lot more helpful for describing what is going on than the one piece of concept art. We will start with how you get back to the attraction. Because of the size of it, the entrance area would be a bit different than how it is now.

Entrance to the Area

 To get to the area, you’d have to go down and around the Swiss Family Treehouse, now Tarzan’s Treehouse. It’s still similar to how it is currently, just because there are two attractions down there with this design you have to go deeper into the jungle.

Jeep Car Attraction

The Jeep Car attraction started at the bronze building and is elevated as the jeeps go over the walking path to get there as well as a waterfall that can be seen from the Jungle Cruise. After weaving through more trees the jeeps hit the river temple. That is where the transition is to lead to go indoors. Once inside, however, we have no real idea what it would have looked like. Based off of the concept art I would say it would be fairly similar to the Indiana Jones Adventure that we have now. As you can see, there was even a plan to have the classic rolling ball still!

Ore Car Attraction

    Moving on to the Ore Car attraction, it seems like a fairly short attraction. After walking up the hill to the attraction building you go almost straight inside of the building to what appears to do a few figure 8’s around a volcano before heading out again. Again, we don’t have a lot on what this attraction would have looked like but I’m guessing it would have been fairly fast and would have been an E-ticket attraction as well.

Jungle Cruise Path Through IJLE

Now on to the two attractions that go into the building but are outside attractions. First up is the Jungle Cruise. As you can see it appears that there is a plane in the river leading the boats towards the River Temple where the Jungle Cruise then goes into the show building and then exits into a Rocky Gorge and a trestle bridge holding the Disneyland Railroad. After going under this bridge, the Jungle Cruise goes back on its regular path. I wonder if the skippers would still tell jokes while trying to avoid the dangers of the traps.

Railroad Path Through ILJE

    Lastly, the railroad. As mentioned with the Jungle Cruise the railroad will go over the river on a trestle bridge before entering the building. Based off of the art, the railroad would be near the top of the building looking down into the attraction. After exiting the building, the railroad would most likely enter a tunnel behind Pirates of the Caribbean like you see currently.

    So why didn’t this happen? There are believed to be two main reasons for it not being built. The first reason is the price of it. The Indiana Jones Adventure was believed to have cost about $100 million at opening due to the demolition of the Eeyore Parking lot, R&D, and construction. And that is just for one attraction, you can see how that entire pavilion would have easily cost over $150 million in the blink of an eye. The other main reason it wasn’t built was competition. It was being designed at the same time as Splash Mountain. Splash Mountain’s lead Imagineer was Tony Baxter. And to summarise Disney parks over the decades where Tony Baxter was an Imagineer, don’t compete with Tony. You will lose every time. Splash Mountain had many advantages over the Indiana Jones pavilion such as the price was estimated to be about a third of the cost compared to Indiana Jones, Bear Country needed a new thrill ride, it gave Disneyland the water ride they were missing, and it meant they were able to re-use Audio-Animatronics from the recently closed America Sings. Because of these four reasons, Splash Mountain ended up winning this battle and opened in 1989. 6 years later, the Indiana Jones Adventure opened in 1995. With lead Imagineer, Tony Baxter. Classic Tony.

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The Indiana Jones Attraction Disneyland Got

    Just because we lost this pavilion though doesn’t mean it is gone forever. In Disneyland Paris, they have Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril which is an Indiana Jones roller-coaster ride. Eerily similar to the Ore Cart attraction planned. They also have enough space left around this ride to add in more attractions… Potentially the rest of the Lost Expedition? The closest we have to the full Lost Expedition can be found at Tokyo DisneySea in the Lost River Delta area. There, they have the exact replica of the Indiana Jones Adventure and the exact replica of the Disneyland roller coaster side-by-side! Sure, they aren’t under the same roof, but they are a lot closer than any other park we have.

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Lost River Delta in Tokyo DisneySea

I think this whole pavilion would have been so cool to see in real life but I can see why it didn’t happen as I am also a big fan of Splash Mountain. 

The History of Snow White's Scary Adventures

                Before I start this post, I want to talk about the book I read that inspired the post. The book is called 3500: An Autistic Boy's Ten-Year Romance with Snow White. It is a book about a nine-year-old autistic boy that took a trip to Walt Disney World and after taking a ride on Snow White’s Scary Adventure, it really changed his life. While reading this book, it really reminded me how interesting the history of Snow White Attractions in Disney World is.

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Facade for Snow White's Scary Adventures

                Like most history posts, you have to start at the beginning. And this one is no different. Magic Kingdom opened on October 1st, 1971 with a Snow White attraction known as Snow White’s Adventure. This attraction was designed a bit different than most movie attractions are. This attraction was designed that you were to take the role as Snow White. It confused a lot of guests as not only did you not see Snow White anywhere but you also see the witch seven times in the attraction.  It was a much scarier and darker version of the Disneyland version that already seemed scary enough. Also, unlike the Disneyland version, this attraction had no music, just the witch’s loud laugh. It featured scary vultures, a dark forest, and a mine where the witch tries to kill you multiple times. This version lasted relatively long as it stayed open until October 1994, 23 years.

Around Christmas of the same year, the new version of the ride opened as Snow White’s Scary Adventure. This version saw a few changes including the removal of a witch, the addition of Snow White and increase of ride capacity. It also was a bit less frightening but Disney still added the Scary part to the title as another warning. Music was also added in at this renovation. But it was added in a bit of an unconventional way. The audio that was added was straight from the movie. Usually, when a new ride is added the audio comes from it being re-created but due to trying to keep the renovation short they decided to use the movie audio instead.

                Now let’s fast forward 15 years. We hit 2009 and there are a lot of rumours going around about Fantasyland getting a new updated as Disney needs a way to compete with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening in 2010. Some say that the Snow White attraction is safe, others say that the Snow White attraction will be gone. Although there was nothing official announced from Disney, the rumours were getting stronger and stronger and a lot of them were pretty believable. Then we hit the D23 Expo where there was a pretty big announcement done by Jay Rasulo of Disney Parks and Resorts.
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Original New Fantasyland Concept Art
                This was pretty exciting at the time as this was going to be a huge expansion. And at this time, Snow White was safe! The expansion was going Northeast of where Snow White’s Scary Adventures is. But I know what you are thinking. This is not the Fantasyland that we got. There is no Country Chateau to meet Cinderella, or interact with her; there is no Sleeping Beauty Cottage to celebrate her Sweet 16, and there is definitely no Pixie Hollow area. So what happened? When announced, people were worried that the new Fantasyland was too princess orientated.  Due to this, Disney announced an updated look to new Fantasyland in early 2011. There are two notable changes here. The first being that the Pixie Hollow area in the back of the concept art was replaced by what we now know as Storybook Circus. The other change was the addition of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the removal of all the princess cottages in favour of one central location. This is where we saw the end of Snow White’s Scary Adventure. The central location that Disney decided was where Snow White currently was.

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New Fantasyland Concept Art in 2012

                Just because we lost Snow White’s Scary Adventure doesn’t mean we lost Snow White entirely, however. when Princess Fairytale Hall opened in September of 2013, Snow White could be occasionally found in there. Then there is the Seven Dwarfs mine train ride. The technological advances with this attraction were unreal. It was designed that the train cars would sway with the turns of the ride. It also saw the revival of some of the Audio-animatronics with the Vultures as well as some of the dwarfs in the final cottage scene. I went on fairly soon to when it opened in late 2014 and I absolutely loved it. Because of how soon it was after opening the line was quite long always so we only went on it a couple of times when we had fastpasses or right when the park opened. I absolutely love the mine scene of the attraction as I think the projection is incredible and I love the sounds in there.
                I loved Snow White’s Scary Adventure as I still even go on it in Disneyland. I think it is a bit rough that it was lost for just a meet and greet. While the Meet and Greet is incredible, I just think that space could have been used for something better. And of course, I absolutely love the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!