(WHTM) — Back in the 1990s, The Walt Disney Company was throwing around the idea of building a new theme park. But, they wanted to build one outside of their Resorts in California and Florida.
Disney wanted to build one close to Washington D.C., in Haymarket, Virginia with a theme you wouldn’t really expect from a company based on magic and fantasy.
According to Only in Your State, Disney’s America was a proposed theme park that was planned to be built a few miles from the Manassas National Battlefield Park. The park was to be themed to different chapters of America’s history.
Plans for the park were announced on Veterans Day 1993. In a press release, then-CEO Michael Eisner said that the park would be a totally new concept and “to celebrate those unique American qualities that have been our country’s strengths and that have made this nation the beacon of hope to people everywhere,.”
The press release stated that the park would feature several unique experiences such as a Civil War Era village which would have been the hub of the park.
The release said there also would have been a Presidents’ Square, a Civil War fort, and a Native American area which would have “explored the life of America’s first inhabitants.” This section would have included a whitewater raft expedition through the western United States.
There also would have been a factory town area called Enterprise, which would feature a high-speed thrill ride called the Industrial Revolution. Popularmechanics.com says this ride would have been a steel-inverted roller coaster, with the ride’s climax being an escape from a “fiery vat of molten metal.” The park would also have “Victory Field” which would have let guests “experience what soldiers faced in the defense of freedom.”
The 1993 press release stated that the whole Disney’s America complex would have sat on 1,200 acres and would have created nearly 3,000 jobs. The release also said that the park could have opened as early as 1998.
However, the plan was met with intense national and local backlash, which is according to popularmechanics.com. The website says that fears ranged from unbearable traffic to the company’s growing power and even Disney’s ability to sensitively attempt to portray the complex nature of US History, especially when it comes to the representation of Native American historians, as well as those of enslaved people.
Because of this, Disney pulled the plug on Disney’s America in Sept 1994, less than a year after the major announcement.
But, parts of the park live on in Disney’s California Adventure Park, The whitewater raft ride was resurrected and became Grizzly River Run, as well as a few other concepts being retooled and created for the California park which opened in 2001.