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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Disneyland: One Man's Dream Disney's America

After the demise of WestCOT, a new theme park idea emerged. The design was for a America themed park celebrating American history and culture. It was proposed to be built in Virginia, but the deal fell through.

The following were the ideas for the different lands:
Crossroads USA - A civil war era village that would serve as the hub of Disney's America. Guests would enter under an 1840s era train trestle, which featured antique steam trains that circled the park.
Native America - A recreation of a Native American village that would have reflected the tribes that were known in that part of the country. Guests would have also enjoyed interactive experiences, exhibits and arts and crafts, as well as a white water river raft ride that travelled throughout the area, based on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Civil War Fort - A Civil War fort would have plunged guests into a more turbulent time of American history, and adjacent to it, a replica battlefield where Civil War re-enactments and water battles between the Monitor and the Merrimac would have once again been fought.
We The People - Moving into the 20th century, a replica of the Ellis Island building, which acted as the gateway to America for many immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Guests would have lived the "immigrant experience" through music, ethnic foods and a live show presentation.
State Fair - An area that was going to show how even during the Great Depression in the 1930s, Americans knew how to entertain themselves. With folk art exhibits and a live show on baseball, guests could also have enjoyed classic wooden thrill rides reminiscent of Coney Island.
Family Farm - A recreation of an authentic farm where guests could have had the opportunity to see different types of farm industries related to food production in addition to some hands-on experiences like milking cows and learning what homemade ice cream tasted like.
President's Square - A celebration of the birth of democracy and those who fought to preserve it. The Hall of Presidents from Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World would have been moved to this section of Disney's America.
Enterprise - A mock factory town, it would have highlighted American ingenuity where guests could have ridden a major roller coaster attraction called the "Industrial Revolution", traveling through a 19th century landscape with heavy industry and blast furnaces. And, on either side of the coaster would have been exhibits of famous American technology that defined the American industry in the past, and new developments that would have defined industries in the future.
Victory Field - Guests would have experienced what America's soldiers faced in the defense of freedom during the world wars. It would have been themed to resemble an air field with a series of hangars containing attractions based on America's military fight using virtual reality technology. The air field would have also served as an exhibit area of planes from different periods, as well as a place for major flying exhibitions. Soarin' from Epcot and Disney's California Adventure was originally proposed for this area.

In 1997, Disney was given the oppurtunity to build the park when the Knotts family announced that Knotts Berry Farm was for sale. Disney was planning to convert this park into Disney's America. Many areas were designed to stay. All of Ghost Town was going to be utilized and saved. The area near the Mystery Lodge was going to be turned into the Native American area in the designs. Reflection lake would be turned into Freedom Lake and be modeled after Ellis Island and celebrated the Immigration area.

This idea wasn't very practical, unfortuantely. It would be to expensive to run a monorail line all the way down to Knotts. Buss transportation would be a nightmare. Unlike WDW, Disney had to take into consideration the thriving city surrounding the parks. Once again, the way city of Anahiem was built around the park caused thse problems.

But also Knotts did not want to sell to Disney. They felt that Disney would ruin much of what the famiy had built all these years. Ironically, when Cedar Fair ended up winning Knott's with the highest bid, it ruined much of what the Knotts family had built. Disney would have actually kept more of the original park.

Now, final plans were being made on a park in Disneyland's parking lot. And it wasn't WestCOT.

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