What Was Discovery Bay: Never Built Disneyland

Never Built Disneyland

Discovery Bay Never Built Disneyland Concept Art

In the early 1980s Disneyland was looking for new ways to expand, leading to many exciting new attractions and developments. The film business at Disney had been largely stagnant since the death of Walt Disney, but the parks had continued to be a success. This led to an explosion of original Disney Parks content to fill the gap.

Big Thunder Mountain proved to be one of the biggest hits in the Disney Parks in years, and Imagineer Tony Baxter developed an idea to extend its theme into an entirely new land at the park, in what would have been the first entirely new land added to the park since New Orleans Square.

Discovery Bay was intended to expand on the theme of Big Thunder Mountain in its own land based around a Jules Verne inspired environment.

The story of the land was that one of the characters from the backstory of Big Thunder Mountain, Jason Chandler, used his money from the gold mine to fund an 18th-century high tech town infused with San Fransisco inspired design elements and technology that seemed out of the works of Jules Verne.

The land was partially tied to a Disney live-action film, Island at the Top of the World, which would have had an attraction in the land as well as influencing its visual style. The land also would have featured a sizable number of other original attractions. 

Sailing Ship Columbia Docked On Rivers of America Disneyland

The land was to be located on the northern edge of Rivers of America, bridging the gap between Frontierland and Bear Country in the same location as today's Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. Because of this, it would be incorporated into the surrounding area, affecting both the Disneyland Railroad and the Sailing Ship Columbia, which would have been relocated to the land.

This land was set to have many attractions which we here at TPE will go more in-depth into in the coming weeks, but for now, here is a brief description of some of the land's highlight attractions.

An attraction would have recreated the Hyperion airship from the Island at the Top of the World and recreated the storyline of the film inside.

Another ride would have featured relocated dinosaurs from the Disneyland Railroad dioramas on a boat ride.

Yet another attraction would have featured a stage show with characters Professor Marvel and his dragon sidekick.

The land would also notably feature a new Skyway like attraction featuring balloon ride vehicles that would take riders between this new land and a new location set to be built in Disneyland.

The land would end up being killed by the financial failure of the Island at the Top of the World at the box office, but it would go on to inspire over a decade of other new rides at Disney Parks around the world.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Offride Disneyland

In the coming weeks, we will be doing deep dives into the proposed attractions and elements of this land, beginning with exploring the proposed connections to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. Be sure to check out the rest of Never Built Disneyland here.