I Can’t Believe I Never Got to Swing Through a Tarzan-Themed Forest at Disney

A germy jungle! A water ride in a whale's mouth! An 80-foot-tall Goofy in It drag! An auction just revealed some of the (bad) ideas that Disney Imagineers never built.

I Can’t Believe I Never Got to Swing Through a Tarzan-Themed Forest at Disney

Earlier this month, an auction for the unethically wealthy was held in Beverly Hills. Now, I know what you’re thinking: at least two to three of those must happen every single day. This one, however, begs further scrutiny. Why? Because the items for auction were drawings commissioned by Disney for a number of rides and attractions that—for any number of reasons—remained in the imagination of Imagineers.

In case you didn’t know: I am a Disney adult. My immediate family and I have made the pilgrimage to Mecca (Disney World) every February since 2013. In fact, we’re pioneers of what’s now known as Epcot’s “drink around the world.” I am now 30 years old and if you do the math, you’ll glean that yes, I was using a fake I.D. at a theme park for children to order silly little drinks served in Mickey souvenir cups. Sue me!

Like any one of my kind, I have my favorite attractions: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge? When I die, spread my ashes here, then have the celebration of life at Oga’s Cantina. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant? It’s forever a Michelin-starred establishment in my heart. The Dinosaur ride that has repeatedly given me whiplash at Animal Kingdom? I don’t care if I have undiagnosed CTE because of it. Anyway! You get it. Despite my better cynicism, I have formed emotional attachments to several aspects of the entire Disney experience so of course, I had to take a look at these drawings.

Photo: Heritage Auctions/HA.com

Among the ideas that were never built are a series of aquarium exhibits that would’ve required visitors to traverse the bellies of (fake) crocodiles, and a Pinocchio-themed water flume that would have taken riders on a journey culminating in the mouth of Monstro the whale. That they both stayed sketches…frankly, I feel robbed. There was also an idea for a Tarzan-themed forest where children (and adults—me, after a few Jungle Juices, specifically) could swing on actual vines. Sure, not following through on that likely saved a lot of lives but for a moment, just consider the joy of being able to fling from vine to germ-laden vine…

Of course, a few of the sketches didn’t make that much sense to me. For one, there was a time when Sleeping Beauty’s Castle was going to be an 80-foot-tall statue of Goofy in clown cosplay. And there might’ve been an attraction called “Anything Can Happen Land” where parkgoers could’ve walked through a maze of Disney shorts. At least one of those shorts featured Mickey in blackface so, yeah, anything could’ve happened—you could’ve, for instance, sued the little red shorts off of Disney.

Alright, so all of these ideas were bad. But can you imagine the ones still in the vault??? If a current Imagineer is reading this, meet me at the Enchanted Rose in February. In exchange for your company secrets, my parents will pay for your drinks.

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