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5 Cancelled Disney Projects Brought Back From the Dead

Disney's Animal Kingdom’s unbuilt Beastly Kingdom becomes Dueling Dragons

 lorchaos, Flickr (license)

Image: lorchaos, Flickr (license)

For this last one, we need to take a trip off Disney property.

From its opening in 1998 until Pandora: The World of Avatar opened in 2017, Disney’s Animal Kingdom was often overshadowed by a land that didn’t exist.

The dawn of the internet allowed Disney fans to gather and ask each other why the heck the Disney’s Animal Kingdom logo has only real animals on it ... except for a dragon. The answer to that question was an unbuilt land within the park called Beastly Kingdom, which became the subject of endless speculation for nearly a decade.

Intended to be a celebration of animals from fictional stories and myth, Beastly Kingdom was designed to be full of thrill-seeking E-ticket attractions. Late budget cuts on the Animal Kingdom project meant that it was relegated to the back burner for Imagineering, and eventually, it was thrown away entirely when plans for Pandora solidified.

But, just down the road from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Universal Orlando sought to open its second theme park, Islands of Adventure, in 1999. Along the way, the company hired many Imagineers that were either let go by Disney or lured away by the promise of something quite ambitious. When Islands of Adventure finally opened, curiously, one land seemed awfully familiar to savvy guests: The Lost Continent.

Themed to ancient myths and legends, The Lost Continent was host to numerous architectural touches that were reminiscent of the Beastly Kingdom, as well as a major roller coaster themed around two dragons fighting it out around an ancient castle — something that was a major element of the Beastly Kingdom’s concept art.

Now, in 2018, most of the Lost Continent has been returned to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Dueling Dragons (later Dragon Challenge) has been removed. And so, just as Beastly Kingdom never saw the light of day, its legacy is slowly fading away too.

That is, until Disney dusts off some aspect of it, gives it a new coat of paint, and wows us all with a bit of recycled magic that can take your breath away.

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