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Have you ever heard of WestCOT? Every Disney fan is familiar with EPCOT, the “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”. However, most fans don’t know about WestCOT, the planned expansion for Disneyland California in the 1990s. While this park was never built, Imagineers were well into the planning process with concept art, planned attractions, and theming.
Disneyland expansion plans
Disneyland opened in 1956 with one park. Walt Disney World opened in 1972 with one park as well, Magic Kingdom. EPCOT opened in 1982, and MGM Studios opened in 1989. So, by 1990, Disneyland only had one park, while Walt Disney World had 3. It was at this point that The Disney Company felt it was time to add a second park to Disneyland.
In 1991 Disney announced its plans to built a replica of EPCOT in California, called WestCOT. It was planned to be built on the site of Disneyland’s parking lot.
Disney hoped that WestCOT to bring more visitors to the park. They intended it to be the centerpiece of a massive revamping plan, with the end goal Disneyland to become a multi-park, multi-resort area like Walt Disney World.
WestCOT was not going to be a duplicate of EPCOT, but rather based on the same idea of the World Fair. It would have had seven wonders of the world, three in Future World and four in the World Showcase (known as the Four Corners of the World). The Four Courners would have included the Americas, Africa/Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Future World would have included only three pavilions: Living, Earth, and Space.
When you walked into the park, you would enter the land “Ventureport” which served as the main entrance area. The icon of the park would have been a 300-foot replica of Spaceship Earth called SpaceStation Earth. Unlike the Epcot version, SpaceStation Earth would have been gold and surrounded with metal latticework. It also would be about 1.5 times the size. It also would have been located on a lush green island complete with waterfalls, foliage, and an iconic attraction similar to Spaceship Earth.
The three pavilions in Future World were planned to be Wonders of Living, Wonders of Earth/Nature, and Wonders of Space/Science. Similar to Epcot, each pavilion would have been indoors.
The Wonders of Earth pavilion would have allowed you to walk through exotic environments such as a jungle, the desert, underwater or the Arctic. Wonders of Living pavilion would be focused on the human mind and body and feature EPCOT Center attractions such as Body Wars, Cranium Command, the Making of Me, and a unique version of Journey into Imagination. The Wonders of Space pavilion would have taken you through a journey through the Cosmos.
All the concept art made by Disney was not released, and some say there were also plans for improved versions of Horizons, Universe of Energy, the Living Seas, Wonders of Life, The Land, and World of Motion.
World Showcase – “Four corners of the world”
The World Showcase area would have been grouped by regions and called the Four Corners of the World. The planned regions included the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Connecting the Four Corners of the World and Future World would have been a boat ride called The River of Time. The entire loop would take 45 minutes and include five stops. Between stations, you would experience scenes similar to those at Epcot’s Spaceship Earth but related to the land you are flowing under. The scenes would tell the story of the cultures of each pavilion and the evolution of world civilization.
The first pavilion would be the Americas Pavilion. This pavilion was planned to incorporate culture from all over North America and South America. The United States would have been depicted as an early 20th century town. Canada would have included a Canadian Spirit Lodge show, and Mexico an indoor Mexican area with a fiesta show and restaurant. There would also have been an Inca and Aztec culture spirit show representing South America.
In Asia, there would have been a “Ride the Dragon” steel roller coaster with cars designed like Chinese lion dragons seen in festival dances. There also would have been a carousel with mythical Asian animals. The Asian architecture would have been composed of Japanese, Chinese, and Indian elements.
The African Corner would feature a white water river raft ride down the fictional Congobezi River, an exhibit on basic farming culture, outdoor entertainment in the form of African Drummers, and a plan to build a grand Egyptian Palace at a later date.
The European design would include a London area with a “Big Ben” showing, and a Paris model. The centerpiece would be a World Cruise, which would be a boat cruise around the World Shocase showing Audio animatronic scenes depicting Leonardo da Vinci working on the Mona Lisa, the burning of Rome, and Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. A clone of the attraction The Timekeeper was also going to be built in the European section.
Plans On Hold
This park never ended up being created. Due to space issues, financial costs, and issues with the city of Anaheim, the plans were put on hold and eventually abandoned. Years later California Adventure was built in this space and plans for WestCOT were put on the shelves permanently.