Disney's America

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Disney's America
Disney's America logo
LocationHaymarket, Virginia, USA
Coordinates38°49′55″N 77°38′39″W / 38.83194°N 77.64417°W / 38.83194; -77.64417Coordinates: 38°49′55″N 77°38′39″W / 38.83194°N 77.64417°W / 38.83194; -77.64417
ThemeAmerican History
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company
Operated byWalt Disney Parks and Resorts
OpenedCanceled
 
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Disney's America
Disney's America logo
LocationHaymarket, Virginia, USA
Coordinates38°49′55″N 77°38′39″W / 38.83194°N 77.64417°W / 38.83194; -77.64417Coordinates: 38°49′55″N 77°38′39″W / 38.83194°N 77.64417°W / 38.83194; -77.64417
ThemeAmerican History
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company
Operated byWalt Disney Parks and Resorts
OpenedCanceled

Disney's America was a planned theme park that was to have been built by The Walt Disney Company in Haymarket, Virginia in the early 1990s.[1] The park was to have been dedicated to the history of the United States; however, amid opposition from citizen's groups, the project was canceled in 1994.

The concept was revived in 1997 as a potential re-theming of Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, when the Knott family offered its amusement park for sale. However, the Knott family refused to sell its park to Disney, largely due to concerns over what Disney would do to the property, and the project was canceled again. Several of the proposed elements of Disney's America were incorporated into Disney's California Adventure, which opened in 2001.

History[edit]

After concept plans for Disney's America were drawn up for the history-based attraction in 1993, it became Michael Eisner's pet project,[2] obtaining the support of outgoing Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (D) and incoming Gov. George Allen (R), as well as the Virginia Commission on Population Growth and Development.[3] However, some citizens were angered at the prospect of the theme park. As a result, Disney's America was scrapped, as well as other early 1990s Disney projects WestCOT and Port Disney.

Themed areas[edit]

The plans for Disney's America called for nine distinctly themed areas:

Some of these concepts were slightly re-themed, becoming part of Disney California Adventure Park, including the Bountiful Valley Farm (Family Farm), Grizzly River Run (Lewis and Clark Expedition raft ride), California Screamin' (State Fair roller coaster ride) as well as Condor Flats (Victory Field).

Proposed conversion of Knott’s Berry Farm[edit]

A conversion of Knott's Berry Farm (in Buena Park, near Disneyland) into Disney’s America was drafted shortly after the Knott family announced that they would take bids for its property. The idea for the conversion reportedly came from the exact replica of Independence Hall, which sits in the parking lot of Knott’s Berry Farm.

The plan called for stretching out the park’s entrance across the street to the Independence Hall replica. The new entrance to the park would then be built to resemble Walt Disney World's Liberty Square, although the name of the entrance would have been changed to Presidents' Square. The major attraction for this area would have included the Hall of Presidents.

Another section of the proposed park would have included the “Native American” territories as it would have paid tribute to America’s native people. The area would have included where the Mystery Lodge, Indian Trail, and Bigfoot Rapids are currently located. Also, Bigfoot Rapids would have had its name changed to The Lewis & Clark River Expedition, which was a similar attraction proposed for Virginia. This idea was eventually scrapped because the Imagineers felt it was an "inconsistent hybrid of thrills and education."

Other proposed ideas would have been the conversion of the former Roaring '20s section into the “Enterprise” territory. Reflection Lake would have been converted to Freedom Bay, and would have showcased a recreation of the Ellis Island immigration center. Finally, the Old Ghost Town section of Knott's Berry Farm would have been mostly unchanged. Camp Snoopy and Fiesta Village probably also would have been converted into different “territories”.

The California Disney's America project was canceled due to several reasons. One was a lack of a practical means to transport guests from the Disneyland Resort to Disney’s America, ruling that a monorail system would be too expensive; also noting that bus transportation would not have been practical. The main factor was that the Knott family had rejected Disney's bid since they were afraid that the Imagineers would replace much of what their parents had originally built. Ironically, Cedar Fair (the company that bought Knott's Berry Farm in 1997) removed more original features from the park than Disney's plans would have done, although keeping the Knott's name and layout intact.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ By Michael - November 22nd, 2007 (2007-11-22). "Progress City, U.S.A". Progress City, U.S.A. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  2. ^ "Michael Eisner's passion - Disney's America". Chotank.com. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 
  3. ^ http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/VA-news/VA-Pilot/issues/1994/vp940727/07270008.htm
  4. ^ "You're KNOTT going to believe where "Disney's America" almost got built". Jimhillmedia.com. 2005-02-02. Retrieved 2012-09-08. 

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