The Excavator Coaster: Disney's Animal Kingdom's Cancelled Attractions Part 2

The Excavator Concept Art Disney's Animal Kingdom Wooden Roller Coaster

Dinoland USA went through more cuts than any other land in Disney's Animal Kingdom, and many attractions wound up never getting built or being completely redesigned to fit a tighter budget. One of these cut attractions was the Excavator

Welcome back to the second entry in our new series, Disney's Animal Kingdom's Cancelled Attractions. If you missed last weeks entry be sure to go here and come back every Tuesday for a new entry in this series.

Dinoland was not always intended to be the land it is today, with the majority of the land taken up by a cheap-looking carnival. Originally it was just as elaborate as all of the other lands in the park on opening day.

The original plans called for a much more elaborate dig site to be located where Chester and Hester's fair is located today. This would have featured two things that did get built, Restaurantosaurus and The Boneyard, and a third attraction, The Excavator.

The Excavator was supposed to be a wooden roller coaster through an active dig site past dinosaur bones. It would have been Disney's first-ever wooden roller coaster in any park and been a solid D-Ticket for the new park.

The problem was, Disney wanted to cut one of the lands from the park to save some money and add it later on as a phase two addition to the park. The choice came down to either Dinoland or Beastly Kingdom.

Both lands were just as elaborate and there was only enough money to fund one of the projects. Dinoland decided, to ensure they got the funding, to greatly scale down the size of the land and the level of its theming. When the Imagineers behind Beastly Kingdom didn't do the same it was relegated to a phase two project that ended up never getting built. It also certainly didn't hurt that Disney had a dinosaur-themed movie in the pipeline and then CEO Michael Eisner loved synergy with the parks.

While the Excavator never got built, Dinoland did, and it getting cut made sure that Countdown to Extinction (Now Dinosaur) and the rest of Dinoland did. It would have been interesting to see what Disney would have done with a wooden roller coaster, and it likely would have been much more impressive than what ended up being put in that location years later. 

Thanks for coming back and thanks for reading. Also if you like learning about canceled Disney rides consider checking out our Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions series. Also, be sure to come back next week for our next article in this series, The Lion King Tree of Life.

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