Disney parks are known for bringing the magic of their movies and making it into a tangible experience for fans across the world. But as much success as Disney has had - magical or otherwise - not all of their ideas have been great enough to make it to fruition.
At one time or another the following five rides were thought to be great ideas before getting shut down. Whether it was for licensing, technical, or just logical reasons, these rides never made it to the light of day.
1. Atlantis Expedition
Longtime Disneyland attendees might remember the ride Submarine Voyage which opened alongside Matterhorn and the monorail back in 1959. In 1998, the ride closed its submarine hatches with plans of renovating it to tie in with future movies.
Initially, Disney had thoughts of refurbishing it into a ride called Atlantis Expedition, after the 2001 movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire. This would have made complete sense considering a large portion of Atlantis takes place in a submarine. When the film proved to be less successful than its animated predecessors, Disney scrapped the idea and instead modeled it after the 2003 blockbuster Finding Nemo. The Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage opened in 2007 and we haven't looked back since!
2. Mary Poppins’ Jolly Holiday
While there's no shortage of Mary Poppins' influence in Disneyland (shoutout to the delicious Jolly Holiday Bakery Café), the 1964 film has no ride of its own. Since it has always been one of Disney's most successful and popular films following its release, it is somewhat surprising that the magical nanny doesn't have a main attraction dedicated to her.
That was the thought in the 1960s when Disney planned on capitalizing on the film's success. Mary Poppins' Jolly Holiday was allegedly going to be a carousel in Fantasyland which would allow riders to take a spin in some upside-down umbrellas! Due to licensing issues with Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers, who hated the Walt Disney adaptation of her book, Disney was forbidden from making any sequels or rides based on her characters. While I respect Travers' wishes, I do think it's a shame park-goers never got to experience Mary and Bert's jolly holiday.
Do you know what Disney parks need more of? Terrifying science-fiction rides! Right? Well, that's what the people at Disney thought when they acquired the rights to make a ride based on Alien.
Rumor has it that the attraction was going to send riders in a space vehicle to look for the missing space crew of the Nostromo. They even brought in George Lucas to consult on the project before deciding that maybe basing a ride at a children's theme park based on an R-rated sci-fi horror might have been a little much. Sorry, kiddies, no Chestbursters for you.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas Ride
Much to my dismay, Disneyland visitors only get to experience the mixture of joy and fear that comes with The Nightmare Before Christmas for a limited time when it combines forces with The Haunted Mansion ride. But initially, the Tim Burton film was going to get its own attraction before they shut it down.
The Nightmare Before Christmas ride would have allowed people to ride in flying coffins through the Holiday Woods with Jack Skellington. Sure, a Christmas-Halloween themed ride might seem out of place during the summer months, but c'mon, it's Nightmare Before Christmas! Need I say more?
5. Lilliputian Land
Based on the tiny (literally) population of the country Lilliput from the novel Gulliver’s Travels, Lilliputian Land was pitched to be a portion of the park where everything was scaled way, way down to make it seem like visitors were giants.
Filled with animatronic figures standing mere inches tall, Lilliputian Land would make even the smallest of Disneyland's visitors feel humongous. Unfortunately, the engineers behind the project couldn't figure out how to get the teensy robots to function so they scrapped the entire idea. While I'm sure Disney would have done it much better, if the abandoned Japanese park that used the same theme gives any idea, it might have been for the best that they stayed away.
Could this have been the fate of a Disney attraction? Eh, probably not, but still definitely better safe than sorry. Also, better safe than have an area filled with tiny malfunctioning robots.