What’s the greatest missed alternative in Disney’s theme park historical past?
Disney followers might most likely title a couple of candidates. Many Disneyland guests would possibly surprise what the resort would appear to be as we speak if administration had chosen to go along with the proposed Westcot theme as an alternative of Disney California Journey for the resort’s second gate. Or what if Disney as an alternative had developed the land across the Queen Mary in Lengthy Seashore and created a model of what grew to become Tokyo DisneySea in Japan?
On the East Coast, many Disney followers within the mid-Atlantic area would possibly really feel wistful for the proposed Disney’s America park, which might have introduced a history-themed Disney park to Virginia.
However for me, the most important “what if?” at Disney was the corporate’s failed try and get into the ski resort enterprise, in California’s Mineral King valley. That missed alternative is the topic of a brand new e book, “Disneyland on the Mountain,” by Colorado authors Greg Glasgow and Kathryn Mayer.
Glasgow and Mayer have reported the most effective Disney historical past books I’ve learn in a very long time. It gives a well-balanced recap of what was a contentious battle over Disney’s proposal to show Mineral King into an revolutionary resort vacation spot — one that might have set a brand new customary for what a ski resort might be.
Mineral King’s story begins with Walt Disney’s involvement within the 1960 Winter Olympics at what’s now referred to as Palisades Tahoe. Whereas the Video games could have sparked Walt’s curiosity in making a European-style ski resort in California, his curiosity in nature and the surroundings preceded that by many years, as illustrated by his firm’s True-Life Adventures documentaries.
Walt’s loss of life in 1966 robbed the Mineral King undertaking of its best advocate, however it wasn’t till the Seventies that Congress lastly killed the undertaking. Glasgow and Mayer element how the Mineral King case impressed the Sierra Membership to search out new authorized strategies to guard pure areas. However was Mineral King’s demise actually a win for the surroundings?
I’ve little question that Disney would have developed a commercially profitable resort at Mineral King, one that might have helped the corporate financially within the years following Walt’s loss of life. I additionally suspect that Disney’s Mineral King would have helped broaden the ski trade, spawning a growth in recognition for winter and mountain sports activities, very similar to Disneyland did for theme parks.
However the individuals have to see the character that they’re defending at times, to remind them why it wants safety. In any other case, public assist for that safety could collapse. The title, “Disneyland on the Mountain” is a little bit of a Rorschach check. To me, Disneyland means considerate design and innovation, not a haphazard and crowded eyesore.
Mineral King was a chance for Disney’s gifted designers to create a brand new method for the general public to entry and recognize nature, with out destroying it within the course of. We nonetheless want that, as anybody who has sat in Yosemite Valley visitors can attest. Studying “Disneyland on the Mountain” left me grateful for what now we have in Mineral King as we speak, whereas nonetheless questioning what might need been.