The happiest place on Earth is strictly known far and a wide as the legendary theme parks created by Walt Disney. The parks provide lighthearted, exuberant fun for families as they tour the the homes of our favorite childhood icons: Mickey Mouse, Belle, Cinderella, and now Elsa.
But what if the Magic Kingdom turned sinister? What if there was a theme park devoted to our favorite villains?
Believe it or not, it almost happened. The speculation insisted that Disney World in Orlando, Florida were in talks of creating “The Dark Kingdom” where Maleficent’s castle would tower over the homeland of Scar, Captain Hook, and the Evil Queen. This doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, especially with the increased phenomenon of supporting “the bad guys” (i.e. Suicide Squad).
“There’s a side to every story.” Isn’t that how the saying goes? Who wouldn’t crave to explore the street of what could have been The Shadowlands, which was a land that was highly considered by Disney. WDW reported that an Ursula the Sea Witch ride (similar to Dumbo), and log flume or rollercoaster ride by the name “Villain Mountain” was also an idea brought forth to add to the existing theme park.
When the idea first came out sometime before 2010, fans were quick to embrace this vision and came up with some designs of their own. On WDW Magic, one enthusiastic Disney admirer, DisneyGuyNYC, proposed a show design similar to Mickey’s Philharmagic, but under the pseudonym “Magic Mirror.” The 3D show would be a mix of comedy and horror, starring the best of the best Disney villains. He also suggested a ship tour with Captain Hook and Villain meet and greets.
However, there were some who were opposed to the idea:
“I think it would be a fantastic addition to a park — like Beastly Kingdom in AK and this idea of ‘Shadowland’ or ‘Dark Kingdom’ in MK. I don’t think a whole other park could be created from that idea, but I’ve always thought the Villains got short shrift and deserved more.” — WDW Magic user”
Some other rumored scraps for Disney theme parks included:
Beastly Kingdom: The “myths and legends”-themed land planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Camp Minnie-Mickey was built in its replacement due to budget cuts. The rest of the land designated to the idea is said to be used for an Avatar area.
Dragon Tower: The ride was set to appear in Beastly Kingdom to promote Animal Kingdom. After the idea was tossed, the supposed laid-off Imagineers took the idea to Universal, where it became Dueling Dragons.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: A dark ride based on Tim Burton’s 1993 film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. They certainly would have enough music to accompany it.
Villain Ride: “A 3D adventure where visitors would have been menaced by three-dimensional recreations of Disney’s most famous fiends before the forces of good finally came to their rescue. A possible replacement for The Great Movie Ride.”