There’s a neat Fan Board update today. In particular, I wanted to focus on Becky’s childhood United World Kingdom.
If you’ve been watching the Fan Board, then you should be aware of Becky’s large holiday layouts. Today, I learned of her source of inspiration and how it started. The email was a little large for the Fan Board, and there was an awesome hand-drawn park layout that could only be appreciated if you saw some of the details (again, too large for the Fan Board). So, I thought I’d post the story here, along with a larger park map image. Take it away, Becky . . .
(far away from Anaheim or Orlando anyways)
The UNITED WORLD KINGDOM was born.
Sometime after my first visit to WDW in 1979, I was bitten by the theme park bug. More than just as a tourist, I wanted to become an imagineer. So, I set about designing a theme park to both rival Disney World, and bring together some of the best Disney ideas with what I thought would be better uses for their architecture.
Hey, I was 9, nothing was impossible.
The model pictured here was built and evolved on the top of a ping-pong table between 1979 and 1988, when the model was dissassembled forever. Remnants exist, but it can never be restored. The ping-pong table itself is long gone.
Some highlights of what this cramped model contained:
1: A shorter Main Street.
2: World architecture and exhibits including a Japanese pavillion, Eiffel tower and the Taj Mahal.
3: A Titanic exhibit.
4: A live animal Jungle Cruise.
5: A Batman ride.
6: Anime mecha.
7: A simulator to let people explore the moon.
And my personal favorite:
8: Mount Everest. Inside was a roller coaster. That probably doesn’t sound too original, but my coaster vehicles were WWI airplanes on separate tracks to simulate a dogfight.
The model was dissassembled in 1988, but the dream did not die. New trains were designed and built, elevated track was constructed, the castle was redesigned and rebuilt and many more preparations to build a bigger and better model moved foreward. But the model’s fate was sealed in the mid 90’s when I built a new tradional train layout in the space where the UWK had stood. From then on, it was a paper theme park.
Realizing that I’d never have enough room for a true model in my small house, I started work on a map. The Jungle Cruise evolved in the “Nile Cruise” in ancient Egypt. Main Street got a massive hub and Frontierland a new “Mine Train” roller coaster built on an island. The engine would disengage and set the mine cars loose for a greater thrill. “Tomorrowland” became “Spaceport UWK” with a rocket garden and new retro-futuristic cars to race around on the track. I placed a pirate ship in Adventureland and a giant Ferris Wheel behind the castle with “Wayne Manor” right beside it.
I scanned some of the map pages and did a rudimentary reconstruction last year. I plan to finish that old map.
So July 17, 2010 will come and go and the UWK will not have it’s planned opening day celebration, 55 years after Disneyland. Yes, I had some really cool rides, an inside the park hotel inside a big silver ball and the Statue of Liberty. But the presidents won’t greet the world inside the White House, a cast of thousands won’t be moving a giant sphynx and the Titanic won’t sink regularly on the hour.