these attractions that have disappeared… or that never saw the light of day

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This April 12 marks the 30th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, a park that has changed a lot over the years. While many attractions have appeared since its opening, many have also disappeared, some even before they had time to open.

Space Mountain is one of the flagship attractions… but the original concept was very different © AFP / JEAN-PIERRE MULLER

It is a place that arouses as many daydreams as it does opposition and reluctance. : Disneyland Paris, temple of entertainment and the world of the American juggernaut Disney, celebrates its 30th anniversary this Tuesday. Opened on April 12, 1992, it has since expanded significantly, with the opening of a new park, Walt Disney Studios, in 2002 and regular expansions.

Some of the attractions that arrived after opening have become park staples, such as Space Mountain (1995). But beyond these flagship projects and these novelties, there are also closures of attractions, and projects launched that ultimately did not have time to come to fruition. The very active sphere of Disneyland Park enthusiasts (with channels like Hello Maureen or WonderHook on YouTube, or podcasts like “Just thinking about it”) regularly echoes this. Here are some of the most notable transformations of the park carried by a big-eared mouse.

The colossal initial project of Space Mountain

Worldwide, Disney’s “core” parks (officially named “Magic Kingdoms”) all follow a similar breakdown into “lands”, themed fantasy countries : Frontierland (the far west), Fantasyland (the land of fairy tales), Adventureland (a tropical jungle) and Tomorrowland (the futuristic country). Some parks have a local adaptation of these lands, and one of the main ones is in Paris with Discoveryland which takes the place of Tomorrowland: the world of the future is replaced by a vision of the future as we imagined it at the time. end of the 19th century, with a very clear influence of the stories of Jules Verne.

But originally, where the immense dome that houses the Space Mountain roller coaster stands today, was supposed to rise… a mountain. Discovery Mountain was the original project Disney “imagineers”, the designers of attractions: a huge mountain 100 meters in diameter (more than one and a half times larger than the current Space Mountain), housing both a roller coaster, a drop tower free, a tribute to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, a restaurant and a course dedicated to visions of the future. But the financial difficulties of EuroDisney at its launch led the park to revise its ambitions downwards, and to replace this mountain with a launch base for a lunar trip, the famous “Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon”. .

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The other concepts that were to be taken up in Discovery Mountain all found their place in Disneyland, but later: the Nautilus took place at the foot of Space Mountain, underwater, and the free fall tower, more than fifteen years later. later became the “Tower of Terror”. Anecdotally, the name “Discovery Mountain” was only changed at the last minute, so even today you can see wrought iron initials “DM” in Space Mountain.

Discovery Mountain is far from being the only attraction project abandoned at Disneyland, and in particular during the design of the park: on the first plans of the park before its opening in 1992, there were in particular attractions dedicated to Beauty and the Beast and in The Little Mermaid.

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Disappearing attractions and renovations

Among the attractions officially considered defunct at Disneyland are many of the facilities that have been updated, such as “Indiana Jones and the Time of Peril Upside Down” which has been turned right side up, or “Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon” became “Mission 2” then “Hyperspace Mountain”. Same thing with “Star Tours”, the attraction inspired by the Star Wars saga, closed and then reopened under the name “Star Tours: the adventure continues”.

Many of the attractions that have disappeared are little known, such as the Pirouettes du Vieux Moulin, a Ferris wheel hidden behind a mill located in the Fantasyland area, and closed in 2002 – the mill is still visible. Boat or canoe trips have also ceased to operate. And there is the Visionarium, a 360° cinema that offered a time travel escorted by two wacky robots, Timekeeper and 9-Eyes. A spectacular film in which we saw in particular Michel Piccoli in the skin of Jules Verne, Jean Rochefort in Louis XV or Nathalie Baye in the role of Pompadour. The attraction closed in 2004 to make way for a game based on the Buzz Lightyear character – and so it was around the world, with all of the Visionarium’s counterparts gone.

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The Walt Disney Studios case

While in the main park (simply called “Disneyland Park”), there are relatively few major attractions that have disappeared, the situation is slightly different in the park next door, Walt Disney Studios: between its initial version opened in 2002 and today, there is absolutely no common attraction, with the exception of the large studio which welcomes visitors in a Hollywood setting.

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From the “Studio Tram Tour” mini-train route to the shows “Animagic” and “Cinemagic“, passing by the backstage of the Disney Channel, the appearances of the film Armaggedon (“Armaggedon: the special effects”) or the Aerosmith group (in the roller coaster “Rock n’roller coaster”), all these attractions have closed The park itself has changed its morphology with, as a highlight, the Tower of Terror opened in 2007, then, on one side, the appearance of an area devoted to cartoons featuring Pixar films in the spotlight, in particular Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Ratatouille, and on the other, the total closure of an area, which will become the “Avengers Campus” this summer.A series of editorial repositionings for a park which struggled to find its audience in its early years.

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It is this park that is set to expand further, with areas devoted to the Snow Queen and – later – to Star Wars. On the side of the main park, no new attraction is on the agenda.

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