Disney is known for its theme parks and immersive experiences that transport visitors into magical worlds of their favorite movies and stories. But did you know that there was once a plan for a mythical land called Beastly Kingdom that never came to be?
In the mid 1990s, Disney was working on Disney's Animal Kingdom, and as part of this new theme park was a section devoted to mythical creatures - think dragons, unicorns and sea monsters.
Beastly Kingdom would have been divided into two areas. One focusing on "good" creators and another on "evil" creatures. The good area would have featured an attraction called Quest of the Unicorn as well as a Fantasia themed boat ride, while the evil side would have featured an attraction called Dragon's Tower. Dragon's Tower would have been an E-ticket attraction which would have culminated with a face to face encounter with the Dragon himself.
But despite initial excitement and plans for the land, Beastly Kingdom never came to fruition. Some speculate that the high cost of the project and Disney's financial struggles at the time were to blame, while others suggest that the company's leadership changed, leading to a shift in priorities and the eventual cancellation of the project. The idea was scrapped and when the park opened in 1998, Camp Minnie Mickey was in its place. This land was mostly character meet and greets and some dioramas for photo ops. Later this area would be completely overhauled and become Pandora: The World of Avatar.
Remnants of the never-to-be land can still be found in the park today but you'll have to look hard to find some of them! For example there is a parking lot name "Unicorn," and The Animal Kingdom logo features a dragon silhouette.
While Beastly Kingdom may have never become a reality, its legacy lives on in other ways. The idea of featuring mythological creatures in Animal Kingdom eventually came in the form of Expedition Everest, which revolves around the mythical Yeti.
Overall, the story of Beastly Kingdom is a reminder of the creative risks and challenges that come with designing and building a theme park. But it's also a testament to the enduring appeal of mythical creatures and legends, which continue to capture our imaginations and inspire new stories and experiences.
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