Six Disneyland Attractions that failed to Make the Cut
Words by Aron Simkins Art by Kelsey Crnich
Since its opening on July 17, 1955, Disneyland has long been regarded as “the happiest place on earth.” And who could argue? The park attracts more visitors than any other theme park in the world. But that distinction hasn’t come without an enormous amount of planning and consideration for what rides get the green light. Here are six of the biggest Disneyland attractions to miss the cut for park inclusion.
Mr. Toad’s Unexempt Ride
While in the theme park’s initial planning stages, Walt Disney himself brought this ride concept to the table, only to have his lawyers shut it down almost immediately. The original version called for passengers to be magically whisked into Mr. Toad’s living room where an animatronic version of the character would be sitting at a cluttered dining room table, combing through stacks of unorganized receipts in an attempt to prepare his taxes before the looming April 15 deadline. Ultimately the ride would have clocked-in at just over 90 minutes and ended with an exasperated Mr. Toad claiming three dependents and over twice his annual salary in deductions.
The Well-Groomed Garys
To add a little more unscripted excitement, as well as a bit of healthy competition to the park, Walt proposed the formation of the “Well-Groomed Garys,” which he hyped as the “street version of the Dapper Dans you wouldn’t bring home to mom.” While the idea of having a “Jets vs. Sharks” rivalry between theme park barbershop groups had a certain appeal to both the Board of Advisors and test audiences alike, it was Walt’s insistence that every member of the Garys have an overtly-stereotyped Italian look and equally colorful vocabulary that ultimately put the brakes this idea.
After saving Disney from near bankruptcy, Disney CEO Michael Eisner confidently turned his attention to the proposed creation of “Eisnerland,” an expansion within the Disneyland theme park that would feature a mix of experiential and inspirational attractions, including: the Hall of Michael Eisners – a multi-media presentation featuring 100 audio-animatronic figures of Eisner explaining how he came up with every single feature in the park; the Michael Eisner Country-Boy Jamboree – another audio-animatronic stage show featuring “countrified” versions of the CEO performing catchy songs with lyrics that teach kids to wash their hands, eat their vegetables and say no to vaccines; and the Michael Eisner’s most-certainly-not-haunted Mansion – which was really just a virtual tour of his $8.2M Bel Air estate.
Surprising as it may seem, this unfortunate spin on the classic Splash Mountain log flume made it all the way to architectural renderings before finally getting the axe. The ride featured a twist-and-turn style journey through several democratic presidential debates, where riders would be unwitting spectators of heated arguments that often resulted in a light dousing of uncontrolled spittle being broadcast at them from each squawking candidate. But the real soaking came at ride’s end when each passenger-filled log would plunge head-first into the frenzied closing remarks of an arm-flailing and sputum-filled Bernie Sanders.
The Garbage Compactor 3263827 Experience
The announcement of a brand-new Star Wars installment at Disneyland promised to transport eager fans to a faraway galaxy full of large-scale rides and immersive attractions unlike any they had ever seen before. However, one particular ride that failed to find its place in the plans initially came at the extreme insistence of George Lucas himself, which he called the “fundamental Star Wars experience on which the entire intergalactic saga hinges.” You can imagine the crestfallen faces of eager board members when they realized this grand idea turned out to be the mad ramblings of an unhinged old man with a plan to extort loyal fans through a “ride” centered around the death star garbage compactor from Episode 4. The ride would essentially involve loading a dozen park patrons into one of the park’s filthy garbage compactors, and then, in George’s own words, “squeezing those unpleasable nerds until they admit the first three episodes are masterpieces—and Jar Jar Binks is just as important as Vader, Han, Luke or girl Luke.”
Pirates of the Corporation
Although it was originally pitched as a ride, this highly controversial experience was actually the brainchild of Disney CEO Robert Iger and was intended to be his recruitment tool for seeking out soulless business executives with non-existent moral compasses. The ride would essentially take applicants on a journey through the hostile waters of corporate takeover while introducing them to the cut-throat politics that exist within the business sector. While park investors were initially intrigued by the life-like depictions of war room negotiations, big-business buyouts and cowering middle-management figures kissing the proverbial bottoms of C-level executives, they ultimately felt that ending the ride by executing all those who showed any hesitation in laying-off nonessential personnel was “slightly off brand” and not necessarily the image they wanted to project.