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These 10 Disney "Mountains" Were All CANCELLED. Which One Would You Still Like to See Today?

8. Bald Mountain

Image: Disney

Proposed location: Magic Kingdom

Remember Fire Mountain, the adventurous thrill ride once planned for Magic Kingdom? It was one of two concepts floated for the park post-Submarine-Voyage. Another competing concept was a Bald Mountain (as in Night on Bald Mountain, the famously feared segment from Fantasia featuring the demonic Chernabog).

Insiders say that Imagineers hadn’t yet decided exactly what the ride inside would be (either a log flume or a family coaster were considered), but agreed that the ride would bring guests face-to-face with some of Disney’s most legendary villains (sometimes earning the ride the name Villain Mountain). According to most sources, the Mountain would have some cockamamie story about the Disney Villains meeting in the Underworld from Hercules to decide who was the baddest – a distinctly ‘90s concept that, admittedly, reeks of direct-to-video nonsense not really fitting the esteem that the Villains line should be treated with.

Image: Disney

WHAT HAPPENED? Insiders say that Eisner loved both Fire Mountain and Bald Mountain for Magic Kingdom and set teams to work on integrating them both. Of course, neither ended up getting built. For better or worse (depending on your opinion), Bald Mountain was shelved. Some say it’s because Disney began seriously considering a full “Villains” themed park as Disney World’s fifth gate and couldn’t waste a potential headlining E-Ticket in Magic Kingdom. More than likely, though, the cancellation was simply the same tourism downturn after 2001. And at least for this project, that might be okay.

9. North Mountain

Image: Disney

Proposed location: Tokyo DisneySea

Remember when Frozen wouldn’t quit? For at least a while, it was difficult to find a nighttime spectacular that didn’t have “Let It Go,” and when Frozen officially overtook Epcot’s Norway pavilion and its Lost Legend: Maelstrom, plus California Adventure’s Muppet*Vision 3D, Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, Mad T Party, and the Animation building, it seemed that “Frozen Fever” had indeed dominated Disney Parks to a detrimental level. In fact, you would hear "Let It Go" in no less than three of Disneyland's nighttime shows: World of Color – Celebrate!, Disneyland Forever fireworks, and the Paint the Night parade!

One kinda-sorta okay concept to come of the era, though, was a proposed port to be added to Tokyo DisneySea. DisneySea is already a park admired by most themed entertainment fans for its realism and detail, and that tends to translate even to its “cartoon” themed projects. For example, the park’s Arabian Coast is kinda-sorta themed to Aladdin, and Lost River Delta is kinda-sorta an Indiana Jones land, but each maintains a sense of realism passed through a fantasy in a retrained way.

Tokyo DisneySea. Image: Disney

So when the Oriental Land Company announced that they would use DisneySea’s most prominent expansion pad on a Scandinavian-themed port that was a little more obviously tied to Frozen (centered around a Cars-Land-style mountain range lorded over by Elsa's ice palace), it gave Disney Parks fans pause… Does Frozen deserve a whole land at what many call the best theme park on Earth? Well, yeah, probably. But in a park as adored for its commitment to story as DisneySea, Frozen seemed a better fit for Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland next door.

WHAT HAPPENED? Ultimately, the Oriental Land Company announced that they were putting their full resources behind a New Fantasyland, adding a massive area themed to Beauty and the Beast, and that the Frozen port would move to the backburner. While we suspect it’ll still go forward (sometime after 2020), for now the E-Ticket inside the film’s North Mountain seems to be frozen itself… 

Hong Kong Disneyland. Image: Disney

In the meantime, Hong Kong Disneyland is moving forward on a Frozen themed sub-section within its Fantasyland (above), which may or may not feature a clone of Epcot’s Modern Marvel: Frozen Ever After.

10. Thunder Mesa

Image: Disney

Proposed location: Magic Kingdom

Perhaps the most spectacular never-built mountain in Disney’s portfolio is Thunder Mesa, once expected to be the centerpiece of Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland. Thunder Mesa would’ve been a massive, sprawling mountain range (think Cars Land’s Cadillac Range) that would’ve contained multiple attractions and restaurants themed around legends of the Old West… For example, a log flume through dessert landscapes and past Audio Animatronic creatures, a thrilling “mine train” roller coaster across the Mesa’s plateaus and around its carved rock faces, and – most astounding of all – a spectacular, epic, oversized dark ride through the Old West on par with Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean.

Image: Disney

In fact, designers were so sure that the unimaginable dark ride (which we rode through in its own in-depth Possibilityland: Western River Expedition feature) would become the centerpiece of Magic Kingdom, they intentionally excluded Pirates of the Caribbean from the Floridian park.

WHAT HAPPENED? When guests descended upon the new park’s City Hall to ask where the Pirate ride was and when it would open, Disney rush-ordered a quick-fix version of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Click and expand for a larger and more detailed view. Image: Disney

It still seemed possible that Thunder Mesa might come around, so designers were sure to excise from Florida’s Pirates any scenes that might be duplicated in style when Western River Expedition eventually opened. But then, Tony Baxter’s Big Thunder Mountain was proposed. Inexpensive, quick-to-build, and infusing much-needed modern thrills into Disney Parks, Big Thunder was a shoe-in, and quickly became Imagineering’s go-to Western adventure. It was built in California, Florida, Tokyo, and Paris, dooming Thunder Mesa to Possibilityland forever.

And with Big Thunder Mountain, we've arrived again at our Countdown: Peaks of Imagineering, so make the jump there if you haven't already. But then, consider: how would Disney Parks be different if some of these never-built E-Ticket peaks had come to pass? Would Magic Kingdom be stronger with Fire Mountain? Does Epcot need Matterhorn? Would Candy Mountain have stood the test of time?

They say that good ideas never die at Disney Imagineering, which begs the question, which lost mountain would you most like to see brought to life today? Use the comments below to share your thoughts!

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There are 2 comments.

hands down, Thunder Mesa, no doubt

Geyser Mountain at Parc Disneyland Paris is the one I'd like to see come to fruition, even though the Hollywood Tower of Terror is just next door at Walt Disney Studios Park. The two attractions utilize the same ride system, but they tell very different stories. I'd definitely visit both attractions while park hopping in Paris. (I'd do the same in Anaheim.) Kids right both Dumbo and the Orbitron at Disneyland and even ride the Flying Carpets at the Studios. Why wouldn't adult guests appreciate both attractions for what they are? I also think Geyser Mountain would be a better fit for Paris' Frontierland than another Splash Mountain which is themed to Song of the South. Paris' Frontierland has a complete backstory based upon the mining town of Thunder Mesa and its founder, Henry Ravenswood. The addition of Disney Studios IP would just ruin it like the "Woody's Roundup" and "Frozen" overlays at the Cottonwood Creek Ranch at the back of Frontierland for those character meet-and-greet areas. I'm surprised Disney Mountain didn't make the list--the resort area planned between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios.


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