Thursday, April 26, 2007

Disneyland Paris Discovery Mountain project

When the imagineers decided to built Disneyland Paris Discoveryland , a land tribute to visionaries like Jules Verne or Leonardo da Vinci, they wanted a whole different concept than the usual tomorrowland, and above, top picture - is an early concept for Discoveryland’s entrance.

On the next one you can see a whole view of the land , including what was then Discovery mountain. It's difficult to imagine something more huge than this Discovery mountain project. Not only the building was going to be 100 meters in diameter ( instead of the 61 meters of the actual Space mountain ) , but you will have found inside a large version of the Nautilus, an underwater restaurant themed on the Nemo's "grand salon", an atttraction named “Horizons” , a café, the Disneyland railroad station, and the roller-coaster itself, of course! Not to mention aerial tubes that linked to “cine magique” ( now closed ) and videopolis.

Many different designs were produced for the exterior of this huge building as you can see on photos

But the closer to the final version would have been this one - photo 8.

One of the reasons of this all-in-one-building attraction concept was to keep the guests
as dry as possible . Because of the global warming it’s now less raining than it was before, but 18 years ago, when the imagineers worked on the concept, the rainy season in Paris could have been pretty long. So, the guests with this concept could have stay undercover. And, talking about water, one of the other great idea was that Discovery Mountain's entire interior was supposed to be lit from lights that were under water , which would have give this incredible atmosphere

Once inside, the guests would have the choice between take the line to ride the roller coaster

......or go all the way around the lagoon to enter the Nautilus. At that point , guests with reservation would have been able to dine in the fantastic “Nemo grand salon” restaurant , and through the Nautilus windows , one would have seen the ruins of Atlantis! idea that dates back to Tony Baxter’s Discovery bay concept in the 70’s

Mind you, this huge inside volcano you can see here with the track going out of it, was probably the first free-fall concept imagined by the imagineers , another tribute to Jules Verne and his “Journey to the center of the earth story . At one time , the guests were supposed to been blow 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 look to the outside of the park before they fall down. We know the rest of the story: this “journey...” was not built, another one - and better - exist now at tokyo disney sea , and tower of terror was finally the first free fall attraction really built by WDI

Of course the cost of this Discovery mountain project became so expensive, that some cuts became inevitable. We had finally this victorian version of space mountain - always with the huge cannon - and the nautilus is now outside - unfortunately without the Nemo restaurant, and this one is probably what i miss the most.....Here is a final rendering of what was finally built.

Art-work: copyright Disney