these attractions that have disappeared… or that never saw the light of day

This April 12 marks the 30th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, a park that has changed a lot over the years. If many attractions have appeared since its opening, many have also disappeared, some even before they had time to open.

Space Mountain is one of the iconic attractions… but the original concept was very different © AFP / JEAN-PIERRE MULLER

It is a place that arouses as many daydreams as opposition and reluctance. : Disneyland Paris, temple of entertainment and the world of the American giant Disney, celebrates its 30th anniversary this Tuesday. Opened on April 12, 1992, it has since expanded significantly, with a new park, Walt Disney Studios, opening in 2002 and periodic expansions.

Some of the attractions that came after the opening have become park staples, such as Space Mountain (1995). But beyond these star projects and these novelties, there are also closures of attractions, and launched projects that in the end have not had time to materialize. The very active sphere of Disneyland Park enthusiasts (with chains like hello maureen Where wonderhook on YouTube, or podcasts like “Just Thinking About It”) echoes this regularly. Here are some of the park’s most remarkable transformations by a big-eared mouse.

The colossal initial project of Space Mountain

Around the world, Disney’s “main” parks (officially called “Magic Kingdoms”) follow a similar breakdown into “lands,” themed fantasy countries : Frontierland (the Wild West), Fantasyland (the land of fairy tales), Adventureland (a tropical jungle) and Tomorrowland (the futuristic country). Some parks have a local adaptation of these lands, and one of the main ones is in Paris with Discoveryland taking the place of Tomorrowland: the world of the future is replaced by a vision of the future as we imagine it at the time. of the 19th century, with a very clear influence of the stories of Jules Verne.

But originally, where the huge dome that houses the Space Mountain roller coaster stands today, there was supposed to be… a mountain. Discovery Mountain was the original project The “imaginators” of Disney, the designers of the attractions: a huge mountain 100 meters in diameter (more than one and a half times larger than the current Space Mountain), which houses both a roller coaster, a drop tower free, a tribute to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, a restaurant and a course dedicated to visions of the future. But EuroDisney’s financial difficulties at its launch led the park to revise its ambitions downwards, and to replace this mountain with a launch base for a lunar voyage, the famous “Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon”.

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The rest of the concepts that were going to be taken up in Discovery Mountain found their place in Disneyland, but later: the Nautilus took place at the foot of Space Mountain, underwater, and the free fall tower, more than fifteen years later, was became the “Tower of Terror”. Anecdotally, the name “Discovery Mountain” was only changed at the last minute, so the wrought iron initials “DM” can still be seen on Space Mountain today.

Discovery Mountain is far from the only abandoned attraction project at Disneyland, and in particular during the park’s design: in the early plans for the park before it opened in 1992, there were notably attractions dedicated to Beauty and the Beast and in The little Mermaid.

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Disappearing attractions and renovations

Among the attractions officially considered defunct at Disneyland are many facilities that have been upgraded, such as “Indiana Jones and the Time of Peril Upside Down”, which has been turned right, or “Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon” became “Mission 2” and then “Hyperspace Mountain”. The same with “Star Tours”, the attraction inspired by the Star Wars saga, closed and then reopened under the name “Star Tours: the adventure continues”.

Many of the attractions that have disappeared are little known, such as the Pirouettes du Vieux Moulin, a Ferris wheel hidden behind a windmill located in the Fantasyland area, and closed in 2002, the windmill is still visible. Boat or canoe trips have also stopped operating. And there is the Visionarium, a 360° cinema that offered a journey through time escorted by two crazy robots, Timekeeper and 9-Eyes. a spectacular movie in which we saw in particular Michel Piccoli in the role of Jules Verne, Jean Rochefort in Louis XV or Nathalie Baye in the role of Pompadour. The attraction closed in 2004 to make way for a ride based on the Buzz Lightyear character, and so it was throughout the world, with all Visionarium counterparts gone.

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Le Casa Walt Disney Studios

While in the main park (simply called “Disneyland Park”), there are relatively few major attractions that have disappeared, the situation is a bit different in the park next door, Walt Disney Studios: between its initial version opened in 2002 and today , there is not a common attraction at all, with the exception of the large studio that welcomes visitors in a Hollywood atmosphere.

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From the “Studio Tram Tour” mini-train route to the shows”animagique” Y “filmgoing through the backstage of the Disney Channel, the appearances of the movie Armaggedon (“Armaggedon: the special effects”) or the Aerosmith group (on the roller coaster “Rock n’roller coaster”), all these attractions have closed the park itself has changed its morphology, highlighting the Tower of Terror inaugurated in 2007 and, on the one hand, the appearance of a space dedicated to cartoons starring Pixar films, in particular Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Ratatouille, and on the other, the total closure of an area, which will become the “Avengers Campus” this summer. A series of editorial repositionings for a park that struggled to find its audience in its early years.

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It is this park that will be further expanded, with areas dedicated to the Snow Queen and, later, to Star Wars. On the side of the main park, there is no new attraction on the agenda.

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