D23 to Celebrate Discovery Bay at Attraction Rewind Event


From Jim Hill and The Huffington Post

Thirty-five years ago this week, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad first began rolling through Disneyland’s Frontierland. And while millions of theme park fans have enjoyed “The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness” since then, few folks today realize that — if Disney’s Imagineers had had their way back in the 1970s — this thrill ride wouldn’t have just been a stand-alone attraction. No, Big Thunder was supposed to have served as the gateway to this entirely new “land” at “The Happiest Place on Earth.”

What am I talking about? Well, imagine if the miners who dug all of those tunnels deep down into that mysterious mountain hadn’t blown all of their hard-earned gold on wine, women and song? What if they had spent their fortunes instead building a “San Francisco of the 1850s-1880s” right at the northern-most edge of the Rivers of America?

This proposed western port city — Discovery Bay — has been the stuff of legend within the Disneyana fan community for decades now. Theme park buffs have been obsessing over this themed expansion of Disneyland ever since the project was first announced in Walt Disney Productions’ annual report for 1976.

At that time, Discovery Bay was described as a place that celebrated

… an age of discovery and expansion. Here would be located attractions based on the motion pictures “Island at the Top of the World” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” the latter featuring “undersea” dining in the Grand Salon of Captain Nemo’s famous submarine.

Sadly, almost as soon as the Imagineers produced an elaborate scale model of Discovery Bay (which was then put on display in the Disneyland Preview Center on Main Street, U.S.A.), Mouse House managers began having second thoughts about the project. Mostly because the Disney-produced action-adventure that was supposed to have served as the jumping-off point for this new “land” — 1977’s The Island at the Top of the World — bombed at the box office.

Ah, but that wasn’t the end of Discovery Bay. Even as Walt Disney Productions execs were taking the budget that had originally been set aside for this celebration of Jules Verne & H.G. Wells and then using it on a retooling of Disneyland’s Fantasyland (which opened in late 1982 / early 1983), the Imagineers were finding new ways to keep this steampunkish place alive. First by reimagining the Tomorrowland area that had been proposed for Euro Disneyland as Discoveryland and then by making Mysterious Island a centerpiece of Tokyo Disney Sea.

In short, Discovery Bay is one of those Disney-created ideas that just wouldn’t die. Its influence can be felt even today with Marvel’s new best-selling series of Figmentcomic books. Which stars the Dreamfinder character from Epcot’s “Journey into Imagination” attraction. Though — truth be told — the Dreamfinder and Figment’s origins can actually be tracked back to (you guessed it) Discovery Bay.

So given that this never-built theme park land has had such a profound impact over the past 30 years, it only makes sense that D23 — the Official Disney Fan Club — has decided to explore the convoluted history of this project at its upcoming Destination D event, Attraction Rewind.

During Attraction Rewind’s “Rediscovering Discovery Bay” panel, Disney Legend Tony Baxter will take guests on an in-depth tour of the never-built themed expansion for Disneyland, through rarely seen concept artwork and models that he worked on during his time at Walt Disney Imagineering.

“Of all the Disney Park projects that have not been realized during my years as an Imagineer, Discovery Bay stands out as the most intriguing,” Baxter stated. “This unique D23 presentation will chronicle the Discovery Bay Journey from the story’s very beginning. From when gold was discovered deep inside Big Thunder Mountain, providing financial means for its mythical founder, Jason Chandler, on through many designs for the Bay and its attractions, all the way to a full fledged theme park concept. I guarantee there will be some real surprises along the way.”

So if you’d like to discover how “The Wildest Ride in the Wilderness” was just supposed to be the initial stepping-off point for an even wilder adventure along Disneyland’s waterfront, then you should definitely check out D23’s Destination D: Attraction Rewind event. Which will be held at WDW’s Contemporary Resort Hotel November 22-23.

Destination D: Attraction Rewind Tickets Now Available


Destination D: Attraction Rewind tickets are now available.  Join us in celebrating Disney park favorites at Walt Disney World November 22-23.

For Information on Destination D: Attraction Rewind

D23 Unveils Destination D Sweepstakes


To celebrate D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind, D23 is giving away a special prize pack that includes tickets to the event, hotel accommodations, and awesome extras.

The prize includes:

  • Two general admission tickets (good to attend both days of the event) for D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind, November 22 and 23, 2014 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, located withinWalt Disney World® Resort
  • A five-night stay at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, located near Downtown Disney® Area (must book hotel stay occurring between November 19-26, 2014)
  • Roundtrip transfers provided by SuperShuttle in an ExecuCar Private Sedan, valid for up to two (2) passengers for airport or point to point service
  • A deluxe tandem parasail flight from Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre at Disney’s Contemporary Resort marina, valid through July 27, 2015
  • Two ice cream sundaes from Ghirardelli® Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, valid at any participating location

Good luck, and we hope to see you soon at Destination D!


How to Enter


Enter for the chance to win tickets, hotel accommodations, and more for D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind (airfare not included)! Click here to enter Winner will be notified via email within 48 hours after the end of the sweepstakes. Click here for complete legal rules.






NOTE: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends 4/15/14. Open to all D23 Members in the U.S. and DC, in good standing, ages 18 and older. Only one (1) entry allowed per D23 Member during the sweepstakes period. There is only one (1) prize pack available to be won. Prize elements must be redeemed by dates specified in the official rules, some restrictions apply. Winner must be available to travel to Orlando, FL, to attend the event, and prize does not include airfare. Some elements of the prize may not be suitable for all ages. D23 Members will be required to provide their D23 Membership number when accepting their prize. Click here for official rules, including full entry requirements and prize limitations. Void where prohibited. If you have any questions regarding this sweepstakes, please contact GuestRelations@D23.com.

Celebrate Theme Park Favorites of Yesteryear at D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind


Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward—opening up new doors and doing new things—because we’re curious. And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” It’s in that spirit that guests this fall will have the opportunity to visit—or revisit—some of the most beloved Disney attractions of yesteryear. D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind presented by H2O Plus will take place November 22 and 23 at Walt Disney World Resort.

View Ticketing Options for D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind presented by H2O Plus 

D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will bring Disney archivists, Imagineers, Legends, and luminaries together to celebrate fan favorites such as Adventure Thru Inner Space, If You Had Wings, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with rarely seen concept art and images; vintage video clips; and hours of revealing stories. In addition, there will be a full day of presentations dedicated to the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, which debuted beloved attractions like it’s a small world and Carousel of Progress.

There will be a full day of presentations dedicated to the Fair, including:

Disney Goes to the World’s Fair: A look at how Disney became a part of the landmark event
Lost on the Way to the Fair: Pavilion concepts for the World’s Fair that never came to be
Other Highlights of D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind presented by H2O Plus will include:

Retro Rewind References: Nods to favorites of the past in current Disney Parks attractions
That Was Entertainment: Revisiting beloved theme park parades, shows, and spectacles

See Disney Legends and Luminaries

Presenters and panelists include Disney Legends Marty Sklar, Bob Gurr, and Alice Davis; Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline; Disney and World’s Fair historians Bill Cotter, Stacia Martin, and Michael Kelley—and more to be announced.

Bob Gurr      Alice Davis

View an Destination D-Exclusive Walt Disney Archives Display

During the weekend, guests will be able to explore a special exhibit designed by the Walt Disney Archives in honor of the event.

Party the Night Away With Pleasure Island: Rewind

The weekend will end with an exciting evening event—Pleasure Island: Rewind. This celebration of the Downtown Disney nightlife district will include areas dedicated to the Adventurers Club, Comedy Warehouse, Mannequins, and 8 Trax. And of course there will be a “New Year’s Eve” celebration to cap the night.

Shop at WDI’s Mickey’s of Glendale Pop-Up Shop

Plus, for the first time, Mickey’s of Glendale, the famed Walt Disney Imagineering store, will set up a pop-up shop at the event for attendees, featuring a selection of exclusive Imagineering merchandise as well as limited-edition pins, T-shirts, and collectibles themed to the event. The shop will also carry a special line from H2O Plus, whose products are featured at Disney Resort Hotels.

The weekend event will take place in the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Tickets, available Wednesday, April 16, are $190 each and available exclusively to D23 Gold and Silver Members for a limited time. Any remaining tickets will be made available to D23 Free Members on May 28 for $250 per ticket. All guests will receive a special gift in honor of Disney’s contributions to the 50th anniversary of the 1964–65 World’s Fair in New York City. A limited number of “Top of the World” tickets will be available featuring reserved seating, early shopping on November 21, an exclusive dinner reception, special collectibles, gifts from H2O Plus and Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, and more. Additional schedule announcements will be made in the coming months.

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