Welcome to Disney Extinct Attractions. My name is Cole, and I’ll be your guide on today’s journey into some potential mountainous additions to the Magic Kingdom.
It’s hard to believe, but 2018 is only five days away from coming to a close. In many ways, 2018 almost felt like it was Disney teeing up before going for a hole-in-one in 2019, what with all the films they are releasing as well as one of the most anticipated park additions ever, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which just happens to be adding some nice rockwork that borders on a new mountain. While looking at the future is fun, it is important to take a step back and look at some other mountains that almost made it into the Magic Kingdom.
It’s the middle of the 1990s, and then-CEO Michael Eisner was working hard to make his self-proclaimed Disney Decade a success. Disneyland Paris had already opened, and while it initially failed, one area of the park that people connected with was Discoveryland. By eschewing the typical Tomorrowland mentality and basing the area around the futuristic ideas of people like Jules Verne, the land managed to stay fresh and has not needed any major updates over the years like so many other Tomorrowlands. Eisner then tasked his Imagineers with bringing some of these Vernian ideas to life in the Magic Kingdom, although it was in a different area than one would expect.
To help revitalize Adventureland, Eisner wanted to create a mini-land called Vulcania, featured in the Verne story, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. At the time, the Submarine Voyage had just ended its run in the Magic Kingdom, so the idea was to keep the spirit alive in a different area of the park.
As always happens with ideas at Disney, the idea pivoted as time progressed and the movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire was being developed. With this film in mind, Vulcania faded away and instead the area became a camp area of Preston Whitmore, who was planning to make Atlantis open to the public. And the central focus of this camp was going to be a giant volcano, commonly referred to as Fire Mountain.
Fire Mountain was going to be a major E-Ticket attraction that would draw people further and further into Adventureland. Now this mountain was going to break boundaries in terms of what a roller coaster could do, as it was going to be a hybrid coaster that began as a standard coaster before becoming a suspended coaster. How the logistics would have worked is particularly impressive because using two completely different ride systems in one ride is unprecedented to say the least.
At the same time that they were developing Fire Mountain, there was another mountain project being planned for the Magic Kingdom, with this one being known as Villain Mountain, or Bald Mountain, named after the mountain from Fantasia. With Bald Mountain planned to take up the old spot of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this attraction would have dramatically changed the landscape of Fantasyland by creating another weenie behind the castle to draw people further into the land.
While some say Bald Mountain would have been a roller coaster, it seems a lot more likely that it would have actually been a boat attraction, where guests would sit in replicas of the Underworld boats from Hercules. The exact story is not very clear, but it definitely would have involved all of the Disney villains coming together, most likely deciding when to attack the guests. Finally, the attraction would have closed with a giant drop, escaping from Chernabog himself.
Thinking about the attraction itself, if there were Audio-Animatronic villains scheming together and guests could see them all at once, I really don’t know what could have been cooler. People already love the Disney Villains so much, so it’s actually a bit surprising that Bald Mountain never made its way into the Magic Kingdom. It was such a wholly original attraction that I’m sure it would still command long lines today.
Unfortunately, these attractions never saw the light of day, primarily because of the attacks during 9/11. Following the tragedy, there was a large decrease in tourism, so they could no longer justify building these hugely expensive E-Ticket mountains, however many people they would have brought in. Additionally, Atlantis really flopped at the box office, so any chance of that attraction still being based on the film pretty much died with it. While nothing with Bald Mountain has ever appeared, a few remnants of Fire Mountain have popped up over the years.
In Tokyo DisneySea, the Vulcania idea did manage to make its way into the park, though in a different manner than was originally planned. Rather than a coaster, Journey to the Center of the Earth takes up the space inside the volcano, which I’ve heard is a great move due to how incredible that attraction is.
After the success of Moana, the rumor mill begin to swirl about Fire Mountain being resurrected around a Moana-theme. At this point in time, we still haven’t seen any type of progress, but it can take a few years before an attraction is officially announced. I would say that if it isn’t discussed at D23 this year, the odds are not high that it’ll end up making its way into the Magic Kingdom.
All in all, Fire Mountain and Bald Mountain would have certainly made a splash with guests if they had debuted, adding to Disney’s already impressive mountain range. Unfortunately, we’ll never get the chance to experience these ground-breaking attractions, but there is a chance they could have experienced next week’s topic.
- These shows were part of a larger weekend.
- These shows primarily appeared at one Disney World park.
- These weekends were focused on a Disney IP purchased under Bob Iger.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a college Disney fan making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.