Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Disneyland Paris that never was - Part Five : Adventureland and Fantasyland

In this new part of the "Disneyland Paris that never was" series we will have a look at Adventureland and Fantasyland projects.

Adventureland’s Indiana Jones temple du péril was built in 1994, shortly after the opening, and although it’s a very popular ride with perfect theming, the renderings below as well as the one above will show you that Imagineers had envisioned great scenes for the ride. These sketches are the original artwork for the attraction before it became a wild mouse ride with theming. Although some of these scenes would have been welcome in the final version, Chris Tietz and the Imagineers at WDI Glendale really did a great job but, in those early days, the budgets were a bit limited and could not allow to build the scenes below. For being a ride of this type, i think WDI Imagineers did a super job to squeeze a lot of magic into a normal fun park ride. For Disney, this was also the very first ride with looping which was a real risk as they had never done this type of "thrill" ride before. I think the success of this attraction made it possible for the future coasters such as Space Mountain and Rock & Roller coaster to be seriously considered.

The two first pictures below and the one above will show you some never done additional decors, with the train entering a giant Asian statue head. This would have been great, i miss this one...

These scenes with a loop around a giant gorilla statue or going through this stone eagle would have been great, too...

Remember Lao-Che Airlines in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? So this idea of theming should mean something for you. For years a real plane - a Dakota - was backstage and stayed there for at least ten years under rains and winds. The plane was originally bought when entertainment was thinking about doing a Indy Stunt Show but that never happened. After opening, Imagineers wanted to put the plane in the open space on the left side of the railroad track before the train enters the tunnel of Pirates in the Caribbean. There is a jeep and tent there but they wanted to expand it. I've been told that Entertainment division had other plans for the Dakota plane so unfortunately that idea died. One day i noticed that the plane has disappeared from backstage, i asked what happened to it and if i remember it well i think i was told that because he stayed outside all these years it was in such bad condition that it had been throw away!!

Another great theming idea never realised with this Audio-Animatronic tiger - coming right from the “Jungle Cruise” ? It would have been great and they still can add it one day if they wish.

...As well as those Audio-Animatronics baby tigers in the queue decor. The tigers in the queue line were a suggested overlay of the existing scenes found in the walkway because there were discussions with Esso as a possible sponsor. In the end, the tigers were too expensive so they ended up putting some oil cans and barrels around plus a few more things with the Esso logo.

If you're a DLP fan you may know that TWO temples for Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril were originally envisioned. The picture below of a 3D model is a rare shot showing both of the temples. This second Indy coaster was a part of a later enhancement program but when DLP Operations looked at the cost, the project died. That's when a DLP executive came up with the idea to just reverse the car. It was cheaper and they could still re market the attraction.

Another kind of Indian temple with a beautiful architecture was also envisioned. It would have been great but why not using this concept if they build someday Indiana Jones Adventure?

Close to the Indiana Jones coaster, stands the former Explorer’s Club restaurant. Have a close look to this John Horny rendering and you’ll see legendary explorers: Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Ernest Hemingway in the front, and in the background but hard to see, Indiana Jones and Crocodile Dundee, all famous explorers indeed! That great illustration from John was the original direction for the restaurant but some felt it was a little to realistic. It seems that the food division wanted a little less themeing and more space for guests and the bar was still a discussion point when the park opened as the whole alcohol in the park was not resolved. The original idea was that it is a former plantation house sitting at the edge of the jungle where explorers would use as a stop over after they found their way back to civilization. Then it became more upscale and cleaned up a bit but the props were still explorer type items.

After opening, when the park found that, unlike the survey results they took from French visitors at Epcot, people were not eating big lunches much as they thought, they changed Explorers Club from an upscale sit down restaurant to a Chinese buffet, complete with rickshaw in the rafters. That didn't prove too popular and then when pizza entered the park with the Pizza Planet, Explorers club became Colonel Hathi's Pizza Outpost, named for the elephant in the Jungle Book. Basically, it went from the true life adventure theme that the land was based on to cartoon character driven.

The original parrot idea survived with the birds hanging in the trees. It's a reminiscence of the old Tiki room restaurant concept as it was first envisioned before Walt decided that Tiki room will be a show only. At DLP they are only animated to move from time to time rather than doing a show which would be kind of cool.

Two rare concept-arts for the African part of Adventureland. They show some of the shapes you can find in the Bazar. The idea of the Bazar facility was to take different architectural styles from the entire continent and give a cultural showcase by combining them as one.

Always for the "Africa" area Imagineers also had the idea of this typical house in a baobab, but i suppose that the proximity of the Swiss Robinson Tree made it impossible.

If you're a faithful Disney and more reader you've learned recently that a Jungle Cruise was envisioned in the early days of the conception of the park. Not a lot of artwork about it but at least these two John Horny renderings...

Behind the Indy temple where the Disneyland railroad is passing by, was envisioned what seems to be a bamboo bridge for guests who eventually had to go on the other side of the track for a coaster attraction.

Probably one of the most crazy idea (in the good meaning of the word) was for the Aladdin area with this concept of a inflatable Génie rising over the Bazaar! Although it looks a fun idea it was putting the cartoon layer over the true life adventure theme. But the success of Aladdin had everyone at Disney scrambling for ways to synergize with the success of the movie. I've been told that this idea came from the Entertainment division. Imagineers had to explore it and it meant they would have to move or remove the main dome on the roof plus strengthen the roof structure as well. I think they pointed out that the wind was a very big factor of problems. In the end, the genie pepper's ghost and the empty passage way on the left side of the facility became the Aladdin walkthrough and the inflatable Genie idea was moved to a live show on the Castle Stage where it had a few problems with inflating and the weather.

Let’s have a look at Fantasyland now, beginning by the castle. On this concept-art by Frank Armitage the castle looks like it is right now.

But probably the most revolutionary castle concept was this futuristic castle from imagineer Tim Delaney...may be it was too futuristic for some, but what a great idea.

In Fantasyland, this early rendering of Alice’s Curious Labyrinth show a slightly different labyrinth than the current one.

Inside the King of Heart castle children were able to slide down from the tower and come out through the mouth of the Queen of Heart. The slide was built but had to be closed as the kids were shooting out at the bottom of the slide which was unfortunately positioned in the middle of the walkway. After several adults were knocked down by flying kids, the slide was closed. Imagineers did do a study for a way to make it work but it involved too many structural changes.

Among the never realised scenes for Story Book Land there is this one with a huge and threatening Cyclops...

There is in the current attraction a scene with Night on Bald Mountain but this first concept with Chernabog with flames coming out of the water and fluorescent ghosts under the bridge was a good idea.

Of course, you all have heard about these two next attraction concepts - the Little Mermaid dark ride and the Beauty and the Beast show. They were even announced during the Grand Opening TV special. In this version of The Little mermaid ride guests would have board inside shell designed vehicle hanging from the top like in Peter Pan’s Flight. The attraction is currently being build at DL and WDW but we have good hopes that it will come one day at DLP. Back in 1992 the attraction was supposed to be built in front of the Pizzeria Bella Notte, near It’s a Small World.

The Beauty and the Beast attraction would have been built behind Cinderella's restaurant and this first artwork shows what i think might have been the entrance of the attraction.

The attraction was in fact a show with live characters and would have also involved Audio animatronics and special effects.

It looks great but i’m afraid that we will never see this one. That’s the sad theme park reality: some concept come to life, other will stay forever in our dreams.

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

All artwork and photos: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc


Matt said...

Nice update!

Mark said...

Beautiful- and heartbraking for what we will never see.

Joel said...

The Jungle Cruise elephant illustration didn't look like much evolution from the standard Cruise at the other parks. I find it interesting the imagineers illustrate pre-existing attractions like the Jungle Cruise that are pretty self explanitory. Or are they constantly looking for ways to evolve an attraction?

Alain Littaye said...

To Joel: It depends of which attraction, some are perfect, like the Jungle Cruise, so they don't really need to evolve

Mouseketeer Cole said...

I had a similar thought, Joel. They're both great looking pieces, but why go to all the effort of creating them when they don't show anything new compared to the existing Jungle Cruise attractions. Wouldn't a photo do?

RandySavage said...

Great article. I'm really going to miss these pieces with the never-before-released concept art.