Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Disney That Never Was: Fire Mountain and Bald Mountain

When we hear from guests about the Magic Kingdom mountain landscape, we immediately think of the "big 3," Splash, Space, and Big Thunder. Imagine what it could have been as Disney had plans to add attractions like Fire Mountain and Bald Mountain to the mix in the mid 1990's. As 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was being closed and eventually removed, there were plans to add not one but two attractions as a way to ease guests feelings over the closing of the famous E-ticket attraction. Both of these attractions were similar and it is said that Michael Eisner loved the idea so much he wanted both to be built within the Magic Kingdom walls. Each was going to have its own land, with Fire Mountain being placed in Adventureland, and Bald Mountain dropped over where the old 20,000 leagues attraction lay dormant. Sadly, neither of these attractions ever made it construction.

Fire Mountain was to be located either between Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash, or directly on the other side of Pirates (though that would have taken some refurbishment of the Jungle Cruise to achieve) and would have been the so called "weenie" that drew guests deeper into Adventureland. This attraction was rumored by many to be a flying rollercoaster which meant the vehicles would have guests lying facedown in an attempt to mimic flying like a bird (or Superman) The mountain would be built like a gigantic Volcano, firmly placing it in Adventurelands' story. Guests would fly and soar through and around this living breathing volcano with its molten lava and dark and scary theming. There was an idea that this attraction was just the beginning of an expanded area of Adventureland themed to this mountain.

Bald Mountain from Fantasia fame was to have been built near the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction after its abrupt closing. As a draw to the rear portion of the park, the attraction would house a log flume, or rollercoaster (the design never actually decided on which) themed on Disney Villains. Known to many as Villains Mountain, this attraction would take guests through a hair raising experience of escaping some of Disney' most famous evil characters. As a log flume, guests woud have boarded longboat style rafts modeled after Hades boats in Hercules. Guests would have been taken through Chernabog's mountain where the Villains were meeting to decide who was the best (or worst) at which time guests would be attacked and the only saving grace would have been the slide deep down the plunge in the front of the mountain (the rollercoaster theme never had a major story design leading many to believe that the flume would have been the choice here)

The major question to ask is... Why do we visit Magic Kingdom and not see either of these attractions? The answer is not so simple. Disney saw these two attractions as can't misses, going as far as to toy with the idea of making an expansion to Fantasyland that was based around the villains. Sadly, as this concept became a bigger rumor of a 5th gate based on villains. This made the Bald Mountain concept too valuable to construct in Magic Kingdom, especially if it would be added to the rumored 5th gate. Alas, the Villains park has yet to go anywhere, and with the Fantasyland Expansion in full swing it is doubtful Magic Kingdom will ever see this mountain. As for Fire Mountain, plans were set for construction, with Disney even floating a balloon high to the peak of where the mountain would be to test if it would be visible from Main Street, USA (it was not, but it was clear as day to the Polynesian Resort) however it is believed that management saw the expense of building a major rollercoaster in a family oriented park and decided against it. Will we one day see one of these attractions high above Magic Kingdom or another Disney park? It is possible. Let's keep a weather eye out to the future and what may happen. You never know when old plans become new again.

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