Port Disney: The Theme Park That Never Was

Original designs for Port Disney proposed by the Walt Disney Company
Original designs for Port Disney proposed by the Walt Disney Company
An artist conception rendering of Port Disney and DisneySea
An artist conception rendering of Port Disney and DisneySea

Have you ever been to Port Disney? Only in your imagination. Port Disney is often cited as the foundational building block of what would become the world-renowned Tokyo DisneySea.  But instead of being built halfway across the world, it might have been located in Long Beach, CA as a sister park to Disneyland. I came across this publication I received while working as a cast member at the Happiest Place on Earth and it fired up my imagination. Different stories are told about why this “park that never was” failed to be constructed (difficulties in construction, difficulty with the city, competition with Anaheim), but no matter the reason it appears Disney was serious about considering Long Beach for a second theme park experience in the Southern California area.

When I was a cast member, Disney released this publication about its proposed plans for the Long Beach area near the Queen Mary.  It involved multiple hotels, a shopping/dining complex, a cruise ship port, a new berth for the Queen Mary, and the centerpiece, a new theme park called DisneySea.  According to the publication, DisneySea would be “an innovative theme park combining a variety of Disney-style rides, shows, and attractions with activities directed toward developing a better understanding of the sea.” The new entertainment center would bring in an estimated 57,800 jobs and $55 million in additional revenue for the city.  It would also go a long way to revitalizing the Long Beach downtown area.

This might look like the Queen Mary, but it's the USS Colombia at Tokyo DisneySea
This might look like the Queen Mary, but it’s the USS Colombia at Tokyo DisneySea
Mysterious Island, a proposed land in DisneySea became a real land in Tokyo
Mysterious Island, a proposed land in DisneySea became a real land in Tokyo
The iconic Mickey sculpture adoring the entrance to Tokyo DisneySea
The iconic Mickey sculpture adoring the entrance to Tokyo DisneySea

Although this park was never built, Disney never lets a good idea die. Many of the ideas for DisneySea ended up in Tokyo’s version of the park including Mysterious Island and the proposed Nemo ride (which sounds like the precursor to the current Journey to the Center of the Earth – one of the most popular rides at the park). According to a KCRW broadcast, the current Long Beach Aquarium – one of the most popular in the country – has its roots from these early development plans by Disney as well.  However, those of us blessed to have visited DisneySea in Tokyo can only bemoan the loss of what might have been.  If the DisneySea theme park proposed for Long Beach was half as good as the actual one built in Tokyo, it still would have been amazing!  Hope you enjoy this look into Disney history and “what if?”  Personally, I love stuff like this and thought you would enjoy it, too.

  • If you’d like to read about my adventures at Tokyo Disneyland Resort including Tokyo DisneySea, please read my series of blogs starting with this one.
  • If you’d like to read about another Disney park that never was, read about WESTCOT!
  • For a really nice in-depth article on the proposed DisneySea in Long Beach, visit our friends at Progress City.

TwitterInstagram Facebook EmailPinterest

 

6 thoughts on “Port Disney: The Theme Park That Never Was

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s