Thursday, November 13, 2008

Disney's America

Any Disney buff probably knows more than I do about this project - a park near Washington, D.C., located in Virginia that almost came into being in the mid-1990's but then was killed by resistance from locals and historians and such. The resistance was framed as opposition to Disney's potential sullying of historical sites, not to mention problems with Disney's telling of national history. (But one article I saw suggests that what it really was, was a bunch of wealthy influential people not wanting Disney in their back yards.)

There is a lot of concept art in various places on the web: I found a bunch on the blog Disney and More, a discussion hosted by Alain Littaye, a frequent contributor to Mice Age, often on Disneyland Paris subjects. A Google search for Disney America concept art will bring up plenty of choices.

It looked like an exciting park, though it would have been immensely interesting to find out what the Imagineers could have come up with for the "entertainment" part of their "edu-tainment" experience. Would the entertainment experience have differed markedly from what is available at so many other parks around the country?

Also of interest to me is, how would Disney have handled the climate at this park? Could coasters and water rides be an important part of the experience when the climate is somewhat unpredictable? In my searching the internet for articles about this park, I didn't find any that focused on how Disney was going to cope with this challenge. Most of the articles focused on the art, the plans for the park, and the reasons that it didn't come to be.

It seems to me that those challenges would have been hard to meet. Snow removal can be accomplished by mechanical means, and by heated walkways. (I believe that University of Illinois in Chicago uses some form of heated sidewalks to keep them clean in the winter snows. It didn't seem that complicated of a system...) But what about when it is snowing cats and dogs? The rides that are not indoors have to be shut down. Would they have operated the park year-round but shut down some of the attractions seasonally? Do they then charge different admission prices seasonally?

This is a topic I'm somewhat interested in, so I'll probably continue to write about it in the future - hopefully in a little less general sense.

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