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  1. #1

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    Red Face Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    Perhaps one of the most popular and frequently suggested ideas of armchair Imagineers and real-life Imagineers alike is a proper revival of Marc Davis's infamous Western River Expedition, a Pirates of the Caribbean-style attraction set in the Old West with a Splash Mountain-like drop for the finale. Although originally pitched to take up the space occupied by Splash and Thunder in Florida, it was also eventually pitched by Davis for Disneyland's dying Frontierland and may have possibly been put into consideration due to a sneaky public announcement talking about it. But alas it's horrifying budget got the best of it and took it off the ever-growing Disneyland map. In my own personal opinion Frontierland is slowly but surely aging and fading away from Walt's original vision of a land themed to cowboys, Indians, North American wildlife, and the great American expansion which is why I say it's time to look at Western River with new eyes and breathe fresh life into the wild frontier.

    Naturally Western River would take up the space once planned for Discovery Bay, held in place of Big Thunder Ranch, the Festival of Fools Arena, and a portion of land beyond the berm. As not to be too similar to nearby Pirates and Splash across the way, the new attraction would no longer be a water ride and no longer be a ride primarily centered around a wild western town. Instead guests board mine cars in an abandoned mine which run along a railroad track for a great portion of the ride, exiting the mine and entering an Indian village. Here the village elder tells several young natives about the legendary Thunderbird and its impact over the desert and nearby mountains. The golden silhouette of such a beast flutters across the distant skies, leaving behind a trail of gold dust. From the mysterious village, the cars enter a small desert area past some desert wildlife and a cowboy camp before entering the western town (still on the railroad track) on a Saturday night where wild and woolly cowboys return from a successful cattle drive, creating general havoc, mischief, and mayhem. Afterwards guests find themselves encountering a thunderstorm which revives the dead of Boot Hill, the town's rotting graveyard. The railroad tracks disappear and the mine cars launch off of the track, turning into EMV vehicles. The mine cars buck and sharply turn around the graves as their skeletal inhabitants awaken, clawing at the cars and even creating a brief bit of humor in a parody scene of "The Skeleton Dance." The cars dip down into a dark cavern where they encounter ominous rock shaped like Native American monsters and myths, pools and waterfalls of lava creating an impending doom. Suddenly a humongous screech rocks the cavern. The Thunderbird itself, realized in a massive audio animatronic emerges from the darkness, creating thunder and lightning within the cave. The great beast flaps its wings and sends the cars backwards with a mighty gust of wind, sending them backwards and DOWN THE MOUNTAIN. Basically the mine cars would launch backwards out of the mountain and down a very steep hill before flipping around and zooming in and out of dark caverns and canyons at the mountain's base. The cars reenter the mountain and back into the abandoned mines where the ride begun. The new ride would appropriately be held in Thunderbird Mesa, the ride's title being Thunderbird Mesa Expedition.

    This would be a next generation Pirates and Haunted Mansion, utilizing a brand-new combo ride system and highly elaborate sets and animatronics. The new ride system is a combination between Indy's EMV's and Radiator Springs Racers's Test Track system. The Test Track system would be the portion of the ride held on the railroad tracks while the EMV's come into play in Boot Hill and the Thunderbird's lair. The backwards drop down the mesa would be the Test Track system which utilizes a turntable to quickly turn the vehicles face-first and back on the railroad track.

    To coincide with this new addition (to rival Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey), the rest of Frontierland would undergo a big scale remodel (my plans also call for a refurbishment or remodel for every other land) to perfectly capture the spirit of the brave pioneers. Big Thunder is given a decent refurbishment, Tom Sawyer's Island loses the Pirate-theming and features the reopening of a newly-constructed Fort Wilderness, the Rivers of America is once again given a big refurbishment to include new scenes which showcase more wilderness (although the cabin is once again ablaze via new special effects and the bandito stagecoach robbery planned for the original WRE is featured complete with masked banditos and their masked horses), and a small addition to the mining town held before Thunderbird Mesa.

    What do y'all think? Do you want to see more of my ideas? Questions? Comments? Concerns?
    Theatrical Roles: Various Roles (The Laramie Project), Fred (Oklahoma!), Oberon (Shakespeare in Hollywood), Hero (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Valere (The Miser), Moonface Martin (Anything Goes), Thenardier/Laborer/Army Officer/Ensemble (Les Miserables), Franz (The Sound of Music), Tobias Ragg (Sweeney Todd), Tinman (The Wiz), Elles Dad/Winthrop/Ensemble (Legally Blonde), William Barfee/Leaf's Dad/Jesus Christ (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Fiddler on the Roof (Rabbi), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Muff Potter/Ensemble), Shrek the Musical (Lord Farquaad)

  2. #2

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    Good concepts, but havinga nother mine train ride (even though it's a totally different experience) right by Big Thunder Mountain RR seems a tiny bit redundant. Personally I think the water ride is pretty classic, as there's somethimg about floating along the water that seems to really add to the experience for these types of rides, plus they are massive people eaters.

  3. #3

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    I think it sounds really cool! What sucks is that Disney would most likely never back this super-expensive sounding project because lately they seem afraid to create new attractions that don't have the backing of a marketable franchise or opportunity for merchandise sales. I'd say that the only way this could happen is if Disney makes a killer Western movie to tie this idea too.

    Its a shame because you've got a great idea here!

    Although one suggestion--instead of making it based off two ride systems already found at the resort, do something unique with them, or even better, think of a new way to transport guests. That would be a huge game-changer for DL

  4. #4

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    Thanks guys! Maybe a better and innovative unique ride system would work very well here. Another alternative is having the ride system be horseless Conestoga Wagons. Or perhaps the boat-turned EMV from Shanghai's upcoming Pirates attraction. But there's always the similarity of the Pirates-type boats being featured in three other attractions park-wide. And there's the whole EMV thing being similar to Indy.

    Any suggestions for a unique ride system? I really want it to have a huge backwards drop down the mountain and high speed thrills to boot. Conestoga Wagons were my original intention but obviously horses couldn't pull them. Ideas?
    Theatrical Roles: Various Roles (The Laramie Project), Fred (Oklahoma!), Oberon (Shakespeare in Hollywood), Hero (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Valere (The Miser), Moonface Martin (Anything Goes), Thenardier/Laborer/Army Officer/Ensemble (Les Miserables), Franz (The Sound of Music), Tobias Ragg (Sweeney Todd), Tinman (The Wiz), Elles Dad/Winthrop/Ensemble (Legally Blonde), William Barfee/Leaf's Dad/Jesus Christ (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Fiddler on the Roof (Rabbi), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Muff Potter/Ensemble), Shrek the Musical (Lord Farquaad)

  5. #5

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    Quote Originally Posted by maneatingwreath View Post
    thanks guys! Maybe a better and innovative unique ride system would work very well here. Another alternative is having the ride system be horseless conestoga wagons. Or perhaps the boat-turned emv from shanghai's upcoming pirates attraction. But there's always the similarity of the pirates-type boats being featured in three other attractions park-wide. And there's the whole emv thing being similar to indy.

    Any suggestions for a unique ride system? I really want it to have a huge backwards drop down the mountain and high speed thrills to boot. Conestoga wagons were my original intention but obviously horses couldn't pull them. Ideas?
    robot horses.

    edit: ok, half kidding there. The wagon idea has potential, obviously it'd have to be an uncovered wagon for teh purposes of the ride, but have it on a track, with animatronic horses (which I know would jack up the cost a ton, but since we're playing around, let's assume unlimited budget) and have a part of the ride where the horses are "spooked" and can have a fast segment involving that. Maybe a simulated Indian attack on the wagon train.
    Last edited by noleafclover1980; 03-24-2012 at 08:57 AM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    Yeah the wagon idea definitely sounds good! A boat-turned EMV sounds interesting, and a boat is generic enough that I don't think you'd have to worry too much about it seeming repetitive, especially if it turned into something unique. Either way you could get good thrills and the backwards drop. I'm getting excited just thinking about it haha

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    Yeah the wagon idea definitely sounds good! A boat-turned EMV sounds interesting, and a boat is generic enough that I don't think you'd have to worry too much about it seeming repetitive, especially if it turned into something unique. Either way you could get good thrills and the backwards drop. I'm getting excited just thinking about it haha
    Boats never get old I think because the average person doesn't ride on one often. Granted I grew up around them and have been on boats as long as I can remember, and I STILL think they are cool for rides. I think it's the calming effect of floating along on the water that always odds to it. It is funny though getting on The Jungle Cruise and having CMs trying to help me, I know it's standard operating procedure, but i'm probably better at getting out of and in a boat and walking around one than they are lol

  8. #8

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    Holy crud I didn't even realize how awesome a backwards boat drop would be. The only problem with making it a thrilling flume ride is the fact that Splash Mountain is very much the same (despite the drop length and the backwards part). It's definitely going to have to be a track-based thrill ride. The wagons are probably going to be the best bet theming-wise, it's just the ride system that's the problem. It can't be an EMV the whole ride because keep in mind that it starts out pretty slow in the beginning and middle and only gets rough and thrilling when the thunderstorm begins near the end.
    Theatrical Roles: Various Roles (The Laramie Project), Fred (Oklahoma!), Oberon (Shakespeare in Hollywood), Hero (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), Valere (The Miser), Moonface Martin (Anything Goes), Thenardier/Laborer/Army Officer/Ensemble (Les Miserables), Franz (The Sound of Music), Tobias Ragg (Sweeney Todd), Tinman (The Wiz), Elles Dad/Winthrop/Ensemble (Legally Blonde), William Barfee/Leaf's Dad/Jesus Christ (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Fiddler on the Roof (Rabbi), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Muff Potter/Ensemble), Shrek the Musical (Lord Farquaad)

  9. #9

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    Re: Western River Expedition in Frontierland

    I think a backwards drop on the level of Splash Mountainm ay actually make me pee my pants, so not overly keen on that idea lol

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