Illustration of the never-built property
|Location||Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, California, U.S.|
|Theme||Technological innovation and international culture|
|Owner||The Walt Disney Company|
|Operated by||Walt Disney Parks and Resorts|
WestCOT was a planned second theme park for the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. It was essentially a replica of EPCOT Center at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and would have been dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely technological innovation and international culture. The park would have been represented by SpaceStation Earth, a larger version of the geodesic sphere Spaceship Earth featured at EPCOT Center.
In the 1990s, The Walt Disney Company expanded the original Disneyland Park into a multi-park, multi-resort business model. Intended to be the centerpiece of the revamping, WestCOT was officially announced in 1991, though financial restraints contributed to its cancellation in 1995. Its planned site would later house the complex's second theme park Disney's California Adventure Park, opened in 2001.
In 1991, Disney announced plans to build WestCOT on the site of Disneyland's parking lot. It was to be themed around a Utopian vision of the future, similar to EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World, and would have been the first Disney theme park to contain hotels within the park.
Several issues arose that would ultimately lead to the project's cancellation. It required a significant land acquisition, though residential areas built around Disneyland caused land prices to skyrocket, and thousands of residents would have needed to be relocated. Residents claimed that the park's light pollution would be too much to bear at night, and that the replica of Spaceship Earth would have become an eyesore. With estimates hovering close to $3 billion and the company's significant financial problems with the recently-opened Disneyland Resort Paris, the project was scrapped in 1995. CEO Michael Eisner held a three-day executive retreat in Aspen, Colorado to come up with a new idea, and from that meeting of about thirty executives came the idea for a California-themed park. That project became Disney's California Adventure, which opened in 2001 on the property that WestCOT was to occupy. While Disney's California Adventure initially cost $650 million to build, problems with attendance and interest led Disney to spend an additional $1.1 billion to overhaul the park from 2007–2012, in addition to $100 million already spent on changes since its initial opening.
The idea of building a resort hotel within a theme park was later implemented with the Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta, which opened in 2001.
A shuttle system was planned to transport guests from the parking lot to the center of WestCOT, which would have been dubbed the "Center Court." In Future World, a 300-foot replica of the 180-foot Spaceship Earth from EPCOT Center, named SpaceStation Earth, would have been built, though plans were made for a giant white spire to be at the center of Future World when residents complained of the proposed size of the structure. An attraction similar to Adventure Thru Inner Space would have been cloned to WestCOT as Cosmic Journeys. Improved clones of EPCOT Center attractions were also planned for Future World, including Horizons, Journey Into Imagination, The Living Seas, Wonders of Life, and The Land.
World Showcase would have been cloned, though countries would have been grouped by regions rather than individual nations. The first pavilion that guests would see upon entering WestCOT’S World Showcase would have been the Americas Pavilion, with an area representing early 20th century United States at the park's entrance. The theme of Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland would be continued, as the parks’ gateways would have been facing each other across a central plaza. The American Adventure in EPCOT Center would have been cloned and updated. A First Nations Spirit Lodge show would have been shown in the Canadian section and an indoor Mexican area would have included a fiesta show and restaurant. There would have been another spirit show, featuring the Inca and Aztec cultures.
One of the centerpiece attractions would have been the World Cruise, which was intended to be a boat cruise around the World Showcase. Audio animatronics scenes would depict many of the events shown, including Leonardo da Vinci working on the Mona Lisa, the burning of Rome, and Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. After the show's conclusion, guests would have been able to board the next boat to continue the cruise or explore the rest of the area on foot. A clone of the attraction The Timekeeper was planned to be built in the European section.
In Asia, Ride the Dragon, a steel roller coaster running through the Dragon’s Teeth Mountains would have had cars designed like Chinese lion-dragons seen in festival dances. At the point where the coaster would be at its peak height, enabling riders to see out of the park, the moving cars would be engulfed in billowing red and gold silks to hide the outside world. For smaller children there would be a carousel in this area of mythical Asian animals. Architecturally, the Asian Corner would have been composed of Japanese and Chinese elements and a white marble Indian palace which was to house the dining and entertainment sections of this particular Corner of the World.
The Africa Corner would feature a white water river raft ride down the fictional Congobezi River, as well as an exhibit on basic farming culture. There would have been outdoor entertainment in the form of African drummers. There were also designs to build a grand Egyptian Palace; the latter was planned for the park’s first expansion.
Based on the concept image, there would have been a hotel inspired by the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Walt Disney World.
- Merissa Marr, Disney's $1 Billion Adventure (Page B1), The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2007.
- A copy of Tony Baxter's discussion of Westcot
- Column from MickeyNews.com that details what WestCOT's World Showcase would have had to offer