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Anthony Tomassi......On Westcot



You have already read Tony Baxter's thorough discussion of the layout of the park....and how the Disney company envisioned the parks fitting in to the layout of Disneyland.

The idea for Westcot was kicked around starting around the late eighties or early ninties. The company always knew they wanted another park there, or, at least rumors existed to that extent, and as such people became very interested when the idea of Westcot came out. It would be a newer, better, and much more visionary of Disney's Epcot Center theme park in Florida. It would be the ultimate Disney theme park.......but in retrospect, perhaps that was the parks greatest problem.

The initial announcement that the park would be built came around 1993, at a time when Disneyland visitors numbers were sagging, and the company was searching for ways to boost attendance. The purchase of the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose, and their placement in Long Beach California did little to help Disney, and the answer became seemingly increasingly clear that another theme park was needed, either in Anaheim or in Long Beach. Anaheim seemed the natural site, simply because of its location near Disneyland....and the synergy the two parks could create together.

Westcot was envisioned to be a big park placed in a little space.......470 acres to be exact. It therefore featured second level structures, indoor structures, and the like. The total cost to build Westcot Center was estimated to be around three billion dollars....but if the plans Baxter discussed ever came into being, it would seem that the project would have costed much, much more. Part of the concern, according to Business Week article dated June 21, 1993, was that the new park would put an environmental strain on the anaheim area, and raise protests much like those seen at the Paris park after it first opened. To over come this, the company made many structural changes...and constantly kept the project plans in flux, making over 225 structural changes to the original plans when the Business Week article was written in 1993. The fact that this was permitted to occur signified the grandiose design of Westcot. If you think about it for a second, the company made changes to structures on more than every two acres of land for the park. That is a lot of changes to be made simply for environmental reasons. The project was rapidly spiraling out of control....and the company, sadly, didn't even realize it.

What Disney was forgetting was that part of Epcot Center's flair was the fact that it had wide open spaces in between of the pavillions....with multiple benches, and pathways, and small little gardens. Looking at Baxter's review of the plans, one realizes that this park would never have been Epcot Center, even if it did have similar rides. Some of us might say that that would have been Westcot's greatest advantage.....but I believe that, given a few years, based on the modern day policies of Walt Disney Attractions, this park would have suffered replacement of attractions deemed less popular.......or, even worse the replacement of those attractions before they could even be built. It would have been a sad day in Disney history to see a Westcot....the park based around Disney's original vision for the future.......without that Disney touch that Epcot at least once had at one time or another.



By 1994, poor returns on the EuroDisney's first year of operation, and poor home revenues caused Disney to shelf the Westcot project. Later rumors held that Westcot would be built in the Long Beach that was later discussed for DisneySea......but again those were simply rumors. As of 1996, plans were announced that Disney's California Adventure would be built instead.....and while it may not be the grand vision for a theme park that Westcot was....it most certainly is the only park that could be built in the space provided. Westcot was much too big of an idea to ever be built without a ton of land to accompany it. Its building would have put a strain on future expansion of both that park and of Disneyland, and would have caused Disney to replace much more than they already are (ie, Peoplemover being replaced by Rocket Rods).....

Many might have different opinions. Most Californians hate the idea of Disney's California Adventure, and can not understand why Disney chose to build that park rather than Westcot. But, you must admit that regardless of which park is being built...Disneyland is going to become a very different place, and it will be an addition for the better.

So, Californians.....look on the bright side. At least you aren't getting Animal Kingdom