"Replacing 20,000 Leagues...Is a Major Priority"

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
More WDWMagic archive tidbits, this one from December 5th 1998:

At the Magic Kingdom, replacing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea -- which closed three years ago is a major priority. "It's a very valuable piece of property," says Paul Osterhout, senior show producer and design director for the Magic Kingdom. But nothing will materialize immediately, Osterhout adds. That's because Disney plans a "major attraction" on that portion of the Magic Kingdom, and such attractions typically take five years to complete from design through buildout. Both Osterhout and Greg Emmer, vice president of the Magic Kingdom, are close mouthed about widespread speculation that a roller coaster dubbed Fire Mountain would be built on the location, only that there are lots of ideas floating around for new changes at the Magic Kingdom.

New Fantasyland would not open (even partially) until 14 years after this was reported.

It's interesting to look back and realize how much WDI did want to do something with the space, but various roadblocks stalled any progress for a good decade.

Interesting that even in 1998 there was serious discussion about a full replacement, and not just an update, of 20K.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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@lazyboy97o Greg Emmer sounds like a familiar name, but not Paul Osterhout.

Any info on their backgrounds? I doubt either are still with Disney.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
Greg Emmer would become Matt Ouimet’s head of operations at the Disneyland Resort. He was key to actually getting the work of cleaning things up done.

Paul Osterhout ‘s best known project as creative lead is Tomorrowland 94 at the Magic Kingdom. He was at Walt Disney Imagineering from 1987 - 2005 and Universal Creative from 2013 - 2019.
 

the.dreamfinder

Well-Known Member
Greg Emmer would become Matt Ouimet’s head of operations at the Disneyland Resort. He was key to actually getting the work of cleaning things up done.

Paul Osterhout ‘s best known project as creative lead is Tomorrowland 94 at the Magic Kingdom. He was at Walt Disney Imagineering from 1987 - 2005 and Universal Creative from 2013 - 2019.
What did he work on at UNI?
 

SeaCastle

Well-Known Member
More WDWMagic archive tidbits, this one from December 5th 1998:

At the Magic Kingdom, replacing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea -- which closed three years ago is a major priority. "It's a very valuable piece of property," says Paul Osterhout, senior show producer and design director for the Magic Kingdom. But nothing will materialize immediately, Osterhout adds. That's because Disney plans a "major attraction" on that portion of the Magic Kingdom, and such attractions typically take five years to complete from design through buildout. Both Osterhout and Greg Emmer, vice president of the Magic Kingdom, are close mouthed about widespread speculation that a roller coaster dubbed Fire Mountain would be built on the location, only that there are lots of ideas floating around for new changes at the Magic Kingdom.

New Fantasyland would not open (even partially) until 14 years after this was reported.

It's interesting to look back and realize how much WDI did want to do something with the space, but various roadblocks stalled any progress for a good decade.

Interesting that even in 1998 there was serious discussion about a full replacement, and not just an update, of 20K.
Putting in the perspective of the time: Animal Kingdom opens that year, 9/11 happens a couple of years later and tanks tourism. Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, WDI is embroiled in expensive boondoggles like Test Track and Mission Space that sap investment from other projects. In 2005 there is the Happiest Celebration on Earth and the major capex goes to the non-MK parks. MK goes without a major new addition since Splash in 1992 but retains its place at the top of the most visited parks list.

In 2009 - 10 years after 20K closure - advanced blueprints for a Fantasyland expansion are leaked and plans are announced that year. The expansion is the largest in MK history and shocking all the more because of how long the park had gone without a major addition. And it does get the addition- reportedly due to crushing capacity issues resulting from all of those years without a major addition.

Shuttering 20K (an expensive ride to operate and maintain), leveling it, and keeping it as an expansion pad without immediately redeveloping it does make sense in the context of other fires needing dousing when the ride was closed. Which is not to say that closing it was a good idea - but rather that what happens at MK doesn't happen in a vacuum.
 
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