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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Best Kid Stuff shows us what never-realized Disney and Universal ride concepts would've looked like in real life

Posted By on Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 12:11 PM

click image The Batman vs. the Penguin ride proposed for Universal - IMAGE BEST KID STUFF
  • Image Best Kid Stuff
  • The Batman vs. the Penguin ride proposed for Universal
As part of the development process, designers at Disney and Universal are frequently tasked with designing attraction concepts that are never realized. This leaves behind a trail littered with thousands of unique concepts, including some that are extremely detailed and nearly shovel-ready. Now a website, Best Kid Stuff, has imagined what five of those never-realized attractions would look like in real life.

The realistic-looking 3D renderings are our best look yet at these long-shelved attractions. The group gathered public documents and information from the designers involved with the attractions, then synthesized this information into a single hyper-real image of what each attraction may have looked like.



Two of the five come from Disney World.

Space Jetpack Ride was meant to replace Horizons at Epcot. The attraction was planned for the cavernous building that housed the former attraction. It was to be a suspended coaster-style ride where guests donned ‘jet packs’ to explore a space station via a simulated spacewalk.

By the end of the 1990s, Disney was beginning conversations with Compaq to sponsor the pavilion. The talks eventually led to the space-themed simulator ride, Mission: Space, that remains in the park today. Disney did ultimately build a ride based on jetpacks. The aptly named Jet Packs spinner attraction is located in the Tomorrowland section of Shanghai Disneyland.
click image The Space Jetpack Ride concept that was to replace Horizons at Epcot - IMAGE BEST KID STUFF
  • Image Best Kid Stuff
  • The Space Jetpack Ride concept that was to replace Horizons at Epcot
The second entry from Disney World is the Fantasia Gardens boat ride, meant to be part of the Beastly Kingdom land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The land was envisioned as the home of the imaginary creatures. As costs rose, the land was cut.

Some of the Imagineers working on the project moved over to Universal, where many of the Beastly Kingdom concepts were later realized as part of Islands of Adventure’s Lost Continent. This included that land’s dragon-themed roller coaster. While the dragons were never brought to life in Animal Kingdom, references to them can still be seen throughout the parking lot and entrance area.
click image The Fantasia Gardens boat ride in the never built Beastly Kingdom at Disney's Animal Kingdom - IMAGE BEST KID STUFF
  • Image Best Kid Stuff
  • The Fantasia Gardens boat ride in the never built Beastly Kingdom at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Unfortunately, Beastly Kingdom’s family attraction, the Fantasia Gardens boat ride, didn’t make the move to Universal. The area where Beastly Kingdom was to be located is now home to other imaginary creatures as part of Pandora: The World of Avatar. The land does have a family boat ride that includes multiple fantasy creatures. Many of the show scene concepts for Fantasia Gardens were later realized by Disney, though with more new intellectual properties, on the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto boat ride at Shanghai Disneyland.

The other three concepts that Best Kids Stuff imagined all come from Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Prior to their extremely beneficial contract with Marvel, Universal looked at using DC Comics for Super Hero Island. The two main franchises for the island were Batman and Superman.
click image The Joker's Madhouse attraction proposed by Universal - IMAGE BEST KID STUFF
  • Image Best Kid Stuff
  • The Joker's Madhouse attraction proposed by Universal
Batman was to be featured in two rides, the first being a dueling suspended coaster themed to Batman versus the Penguin. Another Batman-themed attraction, this one an indoor coaster, was to be themed to the Joker. The coaster would include multiple visual effects as riders tried to escape from the Joker's warehouse.
click image The Project X Superman attraction that was the precursor to the current Spiderman attraction at Islands of Adventure. - IMAGE BEST KID STUFF
  • Image Best Kid Stuff
  • The Project X Superman attraction that was the precursor to the current Spiderman attraction at Islands of Adventure.
The final unrealized attraction is a Superman 3D simulator similar in both design and storyline to the Spiderman attraction that eventually replaced it.

While Universal never built any of their DC Comics-based attractions, both Superman and Batman-based lands can be found at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. A walk-through attraction based on the Joker's Funhouse shares many of the same visual gags planned for the Orlando coaster. A Superman-based 3D attraction and a Batman attraction that uses technology similar to the ride systems used on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey are also found in the Warner Bros. park.

With little chance of these long-shelved projects will ever see the light of day, these renderings by Best Kid Stuff are likely the closest we’ll ever get to experiencing these attractions.



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