I’ve got something great for you to start the week! Back in 1986, the great Harper Goff – designer of legendary 20000 Leagues Under the Sea Nautilus, Disneyland Jungle Cruise, and more, designed this unrealized, expansive ride recreating a boat trip through London along the Thames River for WDW Epcot World Showcase UK Pavilion.
The first artwork above shows a bird’s eye view of the full ride, and below five others artworks are showing different scenes of the ride. We can see guests inside the boats passing by different landmarks of London including Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and London Bridge. Basically, the ride most of London historical landmarks buildings would have been recreated , so a ride with a huge cost, and this might be the reason why it was never built, along with the fact that the ride concept was may be not original enough. But these artworks were never seen before, so it’s cool to discover them anyway.
Harper Goff ride concept for Epcot UK pavilion was never built and so far the UK pavilion still don’t have any attraction but this might change soon as a strong rumor is saying that a Mary Poppins mini land may come after the release of the Mary Poppins sequel currently in production.
According to Orlando Weekly quoting Jim Hill: “Disney is looking at the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns movie to serve as inspiration for a new mini-land. Cherry Tree Lane, the residential street used in both the original film and the 2018 sequel starring Emily Blunt, will be recreated with the same hyperreality as the London waterfront found at Universal Orlando. The street will mostly act as a glorified meet-and-greet from the Poppins characters with a small carousel, inspired by the films, located nearby. The carousel won’t be the same four-horse carousel found in the original movie. The horse that Julie Andrews rode on the carousel in the original film may be displayed in this new Mary Poppins-inspired mini-land.
This new Mary Poppins expansion looks to be rather small, according to Jim Hill, only using the undeveloped half of the expansion plot. That would allow for the World Showplace event pavilion to remain. This new area could easily be closed off and used as an outdoor area for events taking place at the events pavilion. It could also include a small gate to the World Gateway area near where the new Disney Skyliner gondola system station will be, which would eliminate the rather labor-intensive check-in process now required for events at the World Showplace.
The rumored dark ride may come on at a later date, possibly replacing the World Showplace pavilion altogether. For now, it looks like we might be getting a simple Cherry Tree Lane themed mini-land with a second larger addition possibly coming to the United Kingdom as part of the rumored 10-year-long, $2 billion redo of Epcot coming in the mid-2020s.”
But, wait, didn’t Tony Baxter designed a Mary Poppins ride a long time ago? Right, it was called “Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday” and Tony designed it at the very start of his career. Tony’s ride was a traditional dark ride, but with guests riding upon carousel horses. No one could better introduce the ride than Tony Baxter himself so here is a video with Tony presenting “Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday”, and right after the video you have screen captures of the artworks presented by Tony in the video.
The first artwork below shows the ride facade.
The next renderings shows the different scenes of the ride, including some with the penguins, the gorse race, and a Chim Chim Cherie scene.
The next rendering shows the ride interior layout…
And this last one the ride facade at night.
If a Mary Poppins ride comes soon to Epcot it will be probably very different than Tony’s concept but, actually, there IS a ride currently existing which would have been perfect for the UK pavilion …but this one is not in a Disney park but at London’s Madame Tussauds wax museum. Called “Spirit of London”, it’s a great ride with guests sitting in an Omnimover designed like London taxis. And the irony of it is that “Spirit of London” is greatly inspired by the concept of …Epcot Spaceship Earth attraction, with guests travelling back in time until present day through history, here of London. All this with great scenes and Audio-Animatronics. If you’ve never seen it, watch the video below and next time you go to London, don’t miss it. After watching it i’m sure you’ll agree it would have found its place naturally in World Showcasee UK pavilion.
Pictures: copyright Disney, Harper Goff