November 2, 2016

The Disneyland Paris Map That Got Away

Yes, I had purchased the new book on Disney Maps- and it's quite an interesting take on Imagineering. I mean, who doesn't like to stick their nose deep into a park map and look at all that's going on! Thanks to Imagineer Sam McKin and others who followed, the maps became pieces of art themselves as well as promotional tools.

Today's map is not in the book. In fact, it's a fairly unknown piece of concept art for the train tracks / map of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland Paris- certainly the definitive version of the Tony Baxter designed classic. Sitting just across the river from the Phantom Manor, the attraction beckons guests to board the wildest ride in the wilderness starting with a quick descend under the river to the island in the middle. Quite an opening act!

The whole of Frontierland tells a fascinating story. Without a doubt, it is the most fully realized tale of the American West to ever grace a Disney theme park, and it certainly would make Imagineer Marc Davis proud. Now all it needs is a 21st Century version of Western River Expedition to be built on the vacant piece of land by the Cowboy Cookout... 

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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