Decades before Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland were even a glimmer in the eye of forward thinking or greedy corporate executives, the Disney Backlot project in Burbank was quickly moving from concept to reality. The beautiful piece of concept art shows what could have been: shops, restaurants, etc. Think of Anaheim's Downtown Disney with a few small scale attractions through in for good measure.
The style would have been a combination of the current Grove shopping center found by the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles with hints of classic American nostalgia and a bit of riverboat flair like the old Empress Lilly at Walt Disney World. Right in the middle of Burbank. It would be a "lifestyle center" long before the concept was ever coined. Throw in the Disney craft of marketing and showmanship, and Disney's Burbank Backlot had the potential to be a smash.
Cold feet, city politics, and too many other projects on the boards ended up being the kiss of death for the idea, much to the disappointment of Disney fandom. It would have been a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon, adding a little class to the area as well as being a great incentive to remind folks to visit a full fledged Disney resort.
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)