Saturday, August 1, 2009

D23 magazine and cold weather parks

My 3rd issue (well, 2nd for me - I bought the first at the Disney store) of D23 came a couple of days ago and I finished a fairly thorough read of it last night. Some good articles, including a nice on on the Blue Bayou and its genesis, and one on the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco's Presidio.

I really enjoyed the cover story on the Haunted Mansion, which told bunches of interesting stories gathered from interviews from Imagineers involved in the building of it. One of the neat tales was about Wally Boag (the star of the review in Frontierland) suggesting that they put a phone booth out front, have it ring periodically, and when someone answered it, have the "caller" make a scary phone call from "inside" the Mansion, which hadn't opened yet.

Another tidbit, almost sort of buried in the article except for the fact that there was an illustration of the blueprint of a portion of the project, was that a Haunted Mansion would have been the "weenie" of the imagined indoor theme park in St. Louis. Of course, this park never got past the imagineering stages as the "Florida Project" became Walt's and the company's focus, and we all know what happened there.

I was interested in the details: the park would have been a totally enclosed, one city block structure, 4 stories high, and would have contained representations of New Orleans and St. Louis Squares. It was not detailed much further than this, and on the map that they pictured, there was an allusion to a "basement attraction" but no others besides the Haunted Mansion were discussed. It was also to have a Blue Bayou-type ceiling.

Far as I know, there is STILL nothing like this in the world. But perhaps there should be.


Future Guy said...

A totally-enclosed theme park is an intriguing idea. Of course, that idea dates from the time that the 1964 Carousel of Progress was promising climate-controlled cities under huge glass domes. Still, huge enclosed structures do exist (the Mall of America) so it definitely would have been do-able.

Scott said...

There are indoor amusement parks around the country. I know of one small-ish one in my neck of the woods, near Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. Quality is an issue. This Illinois one looks like they put virtually no thought into it, just stuck it next to a big indoor water park to capitalize on the guests of that facility and make as much money for as little investment as possible. It'll probably go under someday soon.

I wonder if someone put Disney level thought into one, if it could be a big success instead of a few years of cashing in on cheapness...