Proposal for Tokyo DisneySea: The Mysterious Disappearance of Disney’s Glacier Bay Part 3

Tokyo Disney Sea Concept Art Map Including Glacier Bay

Tokyo DisneySea went through a lot of stages in development and all of them deserve their own extensive articles. For today we are just looking at one lost concept from the park. 

This is the final part of a three-part miniseries exploring Glacier Bay, a never-built land designed by Disney for multiple theme parks. If you missed the first two parts be sure to go here and check them out.

The idea of a sea-based Disney theme park was first explored for a park in California before being brought to Tokyo. Once at Tokyo many ideas were already partially developed, and given a relatively unlimited budget, Imagineers went wild.

We rarely get to see blue sky concept art from Imagineering. When we get concept art it is usually pretty close to the final product (with some exceptions like the 2017 Epcot concept art). But Tokyo has decided to display a piece of blue sky concept art for Tokyo DisneySea in their resort giving us insight into the design process for the park. 

In this map on display in the resort and released in official Disney Parks themed books, we can clearly see an early layout for the park. It has most of the final lands, with the only notable omission being Arabian Coast. Some have different names but it is clear what they ended up becoming. There is just one outlier.

Glacier Bay.

This land was clearly on Imagineer's minds much earlier than we thought, as it appears on this concept art for a park that was built in 2001, four years before Hong Kong Disneyland and about a decade before Glacier Bay was proposed for Hong Kong Disneyland.

Tokyo DisneySea Port Discovery Concept Art

This also connects with who developed the concept art. Concept art for this land was developed by Favilli Studio. The same group did concept art for Port Discovery, a land that Glacier Bay would have bordered in Tokyo DisneySea. It seems clear how these two lands could have transitioned into each other had they been built in the same park.

But what happened? Was the land canceled in the design phase?

Concept Art Map Tokyo DisneySea Glacier Bay

It may have still been an intended phase two, as a map released close to opening day has a polar section. If you look at the ice section in the top right corner you can make out the outline of the words Glacier Bay. This map features all of the opening day lands as well as this hint at what may have been intended for future expansion of the park.

The area proposed for this park's version of Glacier Bay sat vacant until very recently when first a Frozen land and then a wider fairy tale themed land called Fantasy Springs was announced for its expansion pad.

Tokyo is getting its polar land, just this time with a Frozen twist instead of a more grounded scientific one. Hong Kong is too, albeit not in the proposed location of Glacier Bay. While I doubt many ideas were taken from this project you never know. Sometimes ideas sit in Imagineering for decades before finally being made into a reality. Maybe we will see Glacier Bay or at least a part of it someday, somewhere in the future.

Thank you for coming with us on this three-part journey into Glacier Bay. If you missed the first two parts be sure to go here to check them out. Also, visit Attractions From Neverland for more explorations of canceled Disney rides and lands.