Thursday, August 25, 2011

D23 Expo: Western River Expedition Virtual Ride-Through Video

Last Sunday at D23 Expo Walt Disney Imagineers Tony Baxter and Josh Shipley lead a fascinating presentation of rare footage from 1950s and 1960s-era Disneyland for D23 Expo attendees. As part of the presentation, Tony and Josh took guests aboard a complete ride-through of the legendary and never-built Western River Expedition attraction, designed for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Though never built, numerous conceptual renderings as well as a complete model of the attraction were built and have been preserved by Walt Disney Imagineering. This video shot by Andy Castro is a ride-through of the attraction as guests would have experienced it, recreated with concept art and photos of the attraction model. Live commentary is provided by Tony Baxter and Josh Shipley. You can also see plenty of WRE artwork in one of my previous articles HERE.

Video: copyright Andy Castro for Mice Chat - Don't miss Andy's photographic reports each monday on Mice Age!


DisWedWay said...

The early 70's was a great time to be at WED Enterprises. Walt Disney World was just opening. Marc Davis was busy with his Western River Ride design and a 1 inch scale walk through model was being constructed. Pirates of the Carribean and Carribean Plaza was also being designed in model form, with actual sets soon to follow. Tony Baxter was also designing his Walt Disney World Big Thunder in 1/4 scale with much of the rock work done in clay. Walt Disney World does not have the deep water table that Paris or Anaheim Disneyland's have, which would make them a more perfect location for the Western River Ride. I would love to see a combined Western River Ride and Natures Wonderland attraction designed for both parks with boat and train ride systems. Disney has done quite a few Western movies since the early WED days to draw additional scenes and characters from. Love Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This way Comes" movie from the end of the WED Days. Both parks have the land if the money is provided.

Anonymous said...

Tony Baxter would be the perfect choice for getting this attraction built today, having been a part of it all. This would be better for Paris Disneyland with it's harsh winter weather than a Splash Mountain. Michael has left the building and Skipper John is at the wheel now.

Cousin Orville said...

Great video, thanks! Was so sad I did not get a chance to see this initially at Destination D at WDW. Did not realize they showed it over the weekend at the Expo, glad someone captured it this time!

Funny to see Tony Baxter providing the overview of WRE given that he is the one Marc often blamed for killing the project (unfairly I think, but still.)

People often say that, if built, the ride would be dated now as Cowboys and Indians aren't really relevant these days, but after watching the video I think had WRE been built in the 70s as planned it would have become just as classic/timeless as Pirates is today.

Sadly, it does seem like it's too late to introduce something like this today based on modern tastes. Still, great to see what could have been! said...

Hello would you be willing to share my $5 custom Mickey Mouse animation gig to your readers:

It is really great for anyone who might be going to Disney World and needs a custom message from Mickey! Cheers!

spajadigit said...

Actually, Orville, I'm not so sure I agree with you on this one. If the ride were designed in such a way that the boats flowed the way they do at Splash Mountain (fast in some areas, slow in others) with these scenes in them (with modern animatronics to plus the performances!) I think that the Expedition is still a viable attraction. Especially if it were to incorporate a train attraction like DisWedWay suggested, as well as mood and visuals to back it up. For me, watching the video, I see so much potential. A lot of attractions that are built today don't have this kind of staging or instant story telling that you got from Marc. This could, with some updates, fix that problem.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the imagineers would have had the technology back in the seventies, to make a believable forest fire scene with trees being struck by lightning. That certain scene really stuck out to me; it would be great to have effects that convincing like those attractions in Universal studios orlando, like Earthquake, or Tornado.