December 23, 2015

Long Beach Disney Sea?

Unbuilt Disney Imagineering Attractions. There are few things like this topic to bring about a variety of reactions from any hard core Disney theme park fans. Just mention, say Discovery Bay, Western River Expedition or Westcot, and see what happens. Try discussing with them California Adventure 1.0 or Tokyo Disney Sea for two very opposing and different reactions.

All this leads me to Port Disney, the unbuilt theme park once designed by the Imagineers for Long Beach, California, just a few miles down the 405 Freeway from Disneyland. Depending on who you talk to, the park was either a very expensive ruse set up by the Disney suits to get the city of Anaheim to cough up big bucks for a second theme park on the existing property or it was the real thing that remained one of the inspirations for creating a water themed park in Tokyo, the beloved and much admired Tokyo Disney Sea

The concept above shows the beautiful and unrealized Oceana at Port Disney. (You just have to click on this one to see it in a very large size.) Inside the sparkling glass domes, lucky guests would have experienced a variety of edutainment experiences that only Disney could do. Think of the park as a combination of the original Living Seas pavilion at EPCOT Center, throw in a few modern day scientific exhibits, sprinkled with a dash or two of good old Disney magic... and even a section that sounded and looked a lot like Paradise Pier at California Adventure.  All the while, this new park would have also taken a hefty stab at Sea World's fan base, a savvy and cutthroat business strategy that had proven quite successful for Disney in Florida. 

A battle ensued between the cities, with Anaheim ponying up the massive funds and new infrastructure for an additional park, with  Disney promising a dazzling Westcot. Of course, with some local protests and a lot of help from those internal to the Walt Disney Company, the suits pulled a fast one- spending far less cash- and instead delivered a second rate California Adventure instead. The rest, as they say, is history.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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