March 14, 2016

Unbuilt Magic Carpet Ride for Epcot

Let me admit up front here that the recent Theme Park University  articles on Unrealized World Showcase inspired me digging into my Imagineering concept art files. 

Yes, Israel was on the books.
Signage was out at World Showcase and everything!

During Epcot's Millennium celebration, smaller exhibits were offered by a variety of countries not found in full form in World Showcase. One was The State of Israel. But did you know that at one point in time, Imagineers planned an "Arab Countries" pavilion as well? In our day and age, it would be so wrong to have one without the other if you'd even have one or the other!

Iran as well!
Seen at top is a very rare piece of concept art for the Magic Carpet ride. Much like the very popular Soarin' in Future World but on a more intimate scale, 8 guests at a time would board a carpet for a flight over that part of the Middle East. The concept took on a large part of its look from an unrealized idea for Iran.

The biggest difference would not have been just capacity but the ride vehicle itself...and the fact guests would fly over physical sets a al If You Had Wings. (Look closely at the art, and you can see one carpetful of guests in the foreground and one carpetful of guests beyond the arches.) Guests would be flying face down as opposed to sitting up, providing quite a thrill. A certain crowd pleaser.

Could these countries all co-exist peacefully? At least along the lagoon at Epcot they could! 

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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