Disney's America In Knotts Berry Farm: Never Built Disney's America Part 17

Never Built Disney's America

Calico Mine Ride Exterior Knotts Berry Farm

As the Disneyland Resort was set to add a second theme park in the late 20th century, some fighting broke out between Disney and the town of Anaheim that almost caused the second park to be located in a neighboring city. This led to the early development of Disney Sea, a park planned to be located alongside the Queen Mary, as well as the attempted purchase of Knotts Berry Farm by Disney to transform into the second park of the Disneyland Resort.

Today we are exploring Disney's proposed retheme of Knotts Berry Farm into Disney's America. Check out all the parts of our exploration of Disney's America so far here.

The Knott family was looking to sell their park in the 1990s after decades of running the park, and Disney was in line to make their proposal to the family of how they would develop the family park into the Disney brand, while attempting to preserve what made Knotts Berry Farm special and unique. This would involve redesigning the park to keep some of the best attractions, while redoing many of the pathways and adding more Disney quality rides.

The park was popular, but its layout was often criticized as confusing, and this would need to change if Disney was to buy the park, given the inevitable increase in visitors it would receive with the Disney name.

The park would have been extended to create a new main street with the preexisting replica of Independence Hall forming a new entrance into a new land inspired by Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, including the Hall of Presidents.

Areas of the park would then slowly be redeveloped into the new theme. While proposals were not developed for the entire park, there were proposals made for the first few lands in the park to be converted one by one into the new theme.

Miner Animatronic Calico Mine Ride Ghost Town Knotts Berry Farm

Ghost Town would have been almost entirely preserved, with the back half of the land near Bigfoot Falls being turned into a Native American-themed area. It would have taken you to the western territory of America just as it always had, with the entire park now approaching different areas of American history on the same level of theming.

The Roaring 20s would stay in the same rough time period by now exploring the industrial revolution.

A recreation of Elis Island originally designed for Disney's America in Virginia would also come to the park with attractions of its own.

The park would be reimagined into this new park slowly land by land, limiting the upfront cost of the park, and allowing it to slowly transition to being a part of the Disneyland Resort as Disney tried to figure out a transportation plan between the two parks.

Livery Stable Ghost Town Knotts Berry Farm

This would not happen because the Knott family rejected Disney. Reportedly they thought Disney was going to remove too much of their park as it existed at the time, and rejected their offer to purchase the park.

Disney was only one of a list of offers and proposals for the park, meaning the family did have their pick of who they wanted to control their park for the foreseeable future.

Silver Bullet From Calico Mine Ride Knotts Berry Farm

Instead, Knotts Berry Farm would be bought by Cedar Fair, the chain behind other parks like Cedar Point, who would then proceed to change more of the lands and attractions of the park than Disney had intended to within their plans. Cedar Fair doubled down on thrill attractions and roller coasters rather than theming as Disney had proposed. This was a massive success for Cedar Fair, who quickly turned Knotts into the most visited park they owned, at least prior to the COVID19 pandemic.

This would be the final end of Disney's America. No more plans were made to revive the concept that are publicly known, and it was permanently abandoned.

But this was not to be the end of many of the attractions from Disney's America. No good idea for a ride ever really dies at Disney, and they had several parks in development at about this time, so there was no way that there would not be some level of overlap in the projects. Many rides proposed for this version of Disney's America, as well the original version would later be made a reality in other Disney Parks around the world.

Next week in the final part of Never Built Disney's America we will explore the impact of Disney's America on other Disney Parks. Be sure to check out the entire rest of the series here while you wait.

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