Thames River Cruise: Epcot Center's Cancelled Attractions Part 32

Thames River Cruise Never Built Disney Epcot Ride

Epcot had many attractions planned for countries in the park that did not get built, and most of these countries would never see an attraction. From the Rhine River Cruise in Germany to Meet the World in Japan. The UK is finally getting an attraction with the upcoming Mary Poppins ride, but it was far from the first attraction planned for this section.

Welcome to Epcot Center's Canceled Attractions, where we explore never built rides of Epcot Center. Be sure to check out the rest of the series here. Today we are taking you through the planned but never built Thames River Cruise attraction that was intended to be built in the World Showcase as part of the UK pavilion.

The UK has had multiple attractions planned for it over the years, from the Thames River Cruise, to Alice In Wonderland themed rides, to the current plans for a Mary Poppins ride in the land. So far though, none, including the current Mary Poppins attractions, have ever even started construction at the park.

The Thames River Cruise was the initial attraction planned for the UK pavilion and it is often compared to another never built Epcot ride, the Rhine River Cruise, which would have been a boat ride in the Germany pavilion. It would have been a much different attraction than that however if it had been actually built.

The Rhine River Cruise was intended to be a very lightly detailed dark ride taking place on only one level.

It would have actually been more similar to Storybook Canal Boats at Disneyland, just replacing the European fantasy city with the real-life locations of London.

Thames River Cruise was an elaborate multilevel dark ride featuring intricate sets on both sides of your boat showcasing recreations of some of London's most iconic locations.

Locations that we know would have been included should the ride have been built were Big Ben, London Bridge, and the iconic double-decker buses littered throughout the streets of London.

This would have been a massive attraction that would have taken up a large area of the drastically altered UK pavilion had it actually been built. The entire pavilion would have been different to fit this ride, looking nothing like the version we have enjoyed for the past few decades.

This was never built for a variety of reasons. It was a very elaborate attraction without much reason for existing. No story, few moving elements, it would have been a strange attraction. The cost of this attraction was just too much to warrant it getting built, and the UK pavilion was redesigned without it, ensuring it would never get built.

This ride never entered later design stages so it is difficult to know how it would have turned out. The initial plans seem interesting but out of place for World Showcase.

World Showcase is at its best when it evokes the architecture of a country without recreating the exact locations. This would have served as a recreation of a fictionalized version of London, which was different than anything else in the land.

This ride is a rarity in never built Disney rides. One that never really inspired anything else. There was nothing like this before, nor has there been anything like this in the parks since.

Would you have liked to experience the Thames River Cruise? Let us know in the comments below and check out the rest of this series here. Also, come back next week as we explore the never built American Adventure dark ride to help celebrate the 4th of July.