April 10, 2015

Disney's Unbuilt Burbank Backlot

Creativity at the Walt Disney Company may go in spurts. Fresh ideas arise and come to fruition in great new films and attractions at the parks. Or things may be a bit stale as the Company rehashes old ideas and markets them afresh. (Think all the remakes of animated classics into live action films.)

Years before Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland were even a thought of forward thinking (some might say greedy these days) corporate executives, the Disney Backlot project in Burbank was on the fast track to become a reality. The piece of concept art displays what would have transformed a busy street corner lot into something special: shops, restaurants, etc. Along the lines of Anaheim's Downtown Disney except with with a few small scale  film based attractions through in to draw a crowd.

The project was a cleverly designed people eater- a combination of the current Grove shopping center found by the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles and many others like itcombined with elements of classic American nostalgia and a bit of riverboat flair, not unlike the beautiful Empress Lilly at Walt Disney World. All to be discovered right in the middle of the city. This "lifestyle center" would be a creative concept new to city living, a concept developed long before the phrase was ever coined. 

With Disney's marketing and established showmanship, Disney's Burbank Backlot had the potential to be a smash. One that could be duplicated all over the country- much like the aborted Club Disney kid's concept that once debuted in Denver, Colorado.

Unfortunately, cold feet, city politics, and way too many other projects killed the idea, much to the disappointment of Disney fans. Had it been built, it would have been a very nice way to spend a few hours as well as being a great reminder to visit a full fledged Disney resort.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

No comments: