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An artist's concept of the park.

WestCOT was a planned theme park to be built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. It was intended to be a west coast version of Epcot, a park devoted to international science and knowledge which is located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It was to have been built over Disneyland's parking lot, the site now occupied by Disney's California Adventure.

Contents

History

WestCOT was announced to the public in 1991.[1] Planned for the former parking lot of Disneyland, resorts were intended to be built on WestCOT property, a groundbreaking move for a Disney resort, since WestCOT would be the first Disney theme park of its kind to have resorts actually on its property. This resort feature, however, was later implemented into the Hotel MiraCosta at Tokyo DisneySea, and is considered to be a remnant of the original WestCOT plans.[2]

The WestCOT project was scrapped in 1995. The primary reason was cost, with estimates hovering close to $3 billion, and the significant financial problems of the recently-opened EuroDisney Project, then-President Michael Eisner decided to look for a different option for the property.[1] Other major problems included land values and the location of the park. The primary problem was that through the years residential areas built around the Disneyland area caused skyrocketing land prices (when Disneyland first opened, the land it sat on was fairly isolated and cheap); even if The Walt Disney Company had the financial power to buy the residential areas, it would have had to relocate thousands of citizens to other parts of the Los Angeles area. Other reasons included protests by residents claiming that the light pollution from the park was too much to bear at night. Eisner held a three-day executive retreat in Aspen, Colorado to come up with a new idea, and from that meeting of about 30 executives came the idea for a California-themed park.[1] That project became Disney's California Adventure, which opened in 2001 on the property that WestCOT was to occupy. While Disney's California Adventure initially cost $650 million to build, problems with attendance and interest had led Disney invest an additional $1.1 billion to overhaul the park (in addition to $100 million spent on changes since its initial opening).[1]

Features

A shuttle system was planned to transport guests from the parking lot to the center of WestCOT, which would have been dubbed the "Center Court."

In Future World, a replica of Spaceship Earth from the Walt Disney World Resort would have been built at WestCOT, although it would have been known as SpaceStation Earth instead. However, when Anaheim residents said they'd see the giant structure from "their backyard", (with SpaceStation Earth planned to be 300 feet tall instead of Spaceship Earth's 180 feet), plans were made instead for a giant white spire to be at the center of Future World.

An attraction similar to Adventure Thru Inner Space would have been cloned to WestCOT, but it would have been known as Cosmic Journeys, and not only would it have "shrunk" guests to see what being inside an atom is like, the ride would have also "grown" guests to see the entire universe, in a way reminiscent of the landmark film Powers of Ten. Improved clones of Epcot attractions were also planned for Future World, including: Horizons, Journey Into Imagination, The Living Seas, Wonders of Life, and The Land.

World Showcase would have been cloned to WestCOT as well, but countries would have been grouped by regions, not individual nations. The first pavilion that guests would see upon entering WestCOT’S World Showcase would be the Americas Pavilion, with an area representing early 20th century USA at the park's entrance. In this way the theming of Walt’s original Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland would be continued, as the two parks’ gateways would have been facing each other across a central plaza. The American Adventure that guests to Epcot were acquainted with would be here also, albeit in an updated form. The Americas Corner would continue with a Native American Spirit Lodge show in the Canadian section, and an indoor Mexican area which would have included a fiesta show and restaurant. Another spirit show, this time featuring the Inca and Aztec cultures, would round out the Americas section.

One of the centerpiece attractions would have been called World Cruise, which was intended to be a boat cruise around WestCOT's planned version of Epcot's World Showcase. Audio animatronics scenes depicting many of the events shown at Epcot, like Leonardo da Vinci working on the Mona Lisa, the burning of Rome, Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel etc would be seen on the ride and the stories begun by them would be continued in the shows. After the show finished the idea was that guests could either get on the next boat to continue The World cruise, or leave the show area to explore the rest of the World Showcase on foot.

A clone of the attraction The Timekeeper was planned to be built in the European section.

In Asia Ride the Dragon, a steel rollercoaster running through the Dragon’s Teeth Mountains that would have had cars designed like the Chinese lion-dragons seen in festival dances. At the point where the coaster would be at its highest, therefore enabling riders to see out of the park, the moving cars would be engulfed in billowing red and gold silks to hide the outside world. For smaller children there would be a carousel in this area, but instead of the more usual horses, the riders would be seated on mythical Asian animals. Architecturally the Asian Corner of the World would be composed of Japanese and Chinese elements – of course the famous Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall of China would be here - and a white marble Indian palace which was to house the dining and entertainment sections of this particular Corner of the World.

The Africa Corner would feature a white water river raft ride down the fictional Congobezi River, as well as an exhibit on basic farming culture. And of course there would be outdoors entertainment in the form of African drummers. There were also designs to build a grand Egyptian Palace. This latter was planned for the park’s first expansion.

There would have been a new hotel inspired by the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Walt Disney World according to the concept picture.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Merissa Marr, Disney's $1 Billion Adventure (Page B1), The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2007.
  2. ^ Tony Baxter. "Tony Baxter... on WestCOT". http://members.tripod.com/~savehorizons/westcot1.htm. Retrieved August 21 2006.  

External links

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