World That Never Was: Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood

rogerThe 1990s. It’s Infamous as being Michael Eisner’s Disney Decade. A time when animation made a triumphant return to the Disney Studios and Disney Parks expanded in the grandest of ways. There are several pieces to the puzzle and many speculate what could have brought upon this big boom and a vast interest by the general public in the Disney product. Some may say it dates back to Mickey’s Christmas Carol, while others will point out the success of The Little Mermaid. I like to point out a spot somewhere in between. It’s in a film called Who Framed Roger Rabbit. A film noir style showing of both live action and animation. Through the glory of god, or Steven Spielberg, all of the classic cartoon studios were tied to the project. This has been the only time we’ve ever seen Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and Droopy Dog in the same film and it will most likely be the only time. That being said, the success and critical acclaim for Roger Rabbit led Disney towards several ideas and uses for the character including his own land at Walt Disney World.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released in 1988, one year before Disney was to open it’s newest theme park venture, the Disney-MGM Studios. After the opening of the park, plans were put into place to develop and open a new land which would most famously be on Sunset Boulevard, possibly in the space where the current Rock and Roller Coaster sits. The land was to be known as Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood (or possibly Maroon Studios) and it would be a recreation of the studio lot from the film. Several cartoon gags would be added including holes in buildings shaped like Roger or cases of TNT stacked against the walls. This was also a time period in which Mickey’s Toontown was being developed for Disneyland so many similar ideas would crossover to this section of Disney-MGM Studios.

Currently, you may notice the red car trolley line going down Sunset and stemming off of Hollywood Boulevard, the main thorough street for the park. The cables in fact were meant to be used as an actual trolley line that would take passengers from Hollywood Boulevard down towards the Tower of Terror and Roger Rabbit’s Hollywood. The trolley would have fit in perfect with the storyline from the film and an extension of that would have also been the Terminal Bar. The spot in which Eddie likes to grab a drink after jumping off the trolley.

roger 2

The land would also have included several attractions. The E-Ticket attraction for this forgotten land would have been Toontown Trolley, a simulator ride taking guests on a wild journey through Toontown. Two other dark ride style attractions would be built. A copy of what is now known as Roger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin over at Disneyland and an original dark ride called Baby Herman’s Runaway Baby Buggy in which guests would hop into oversized buggys and travel through the hospital just as in the Roger short “Tummy Trouble”.

Unfortunately lovers of Roger Rabbit never saw any of this get past the drawing board. Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg’s company that co-financed the production of the film, and Disney couldn’t come to terms on ownership of the character or rights to using the character. After a period of time, Disney found itself knees deep in success with other films and productions so they moved on from the Roger project.

Terms were met for the character to appear in an attraction, not a land, at Disneyland. Roger Rabbit’s CarToon Spin was added to Disneyland’s new Mickey’s Toontown in the early 1990s and it stands as the only attraction featuring Roger Rabbit to date at any Disney park. Today, we can find ourselves travelling under the trolley line toward the Rock and Roller Coaster where the former land would have been. We missed out on what could have been a great simulator attraction and some wonderful and classic dark rides, but we gained the only roller coaster to go upside down at Walt Disney World, however it is unfortunate that the Roger Rabbit character has really lost his appeal when he could have been a much bigger star than he ever became if Disney would have acquired ownership or the rights to the character. Unfortulately for us, we will never know how big his star could have been.

A billboard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios saw Roger Rabbit make an appearance in a fake ad for Maroon Studios and at the Hollywood and Vine restaurant you can see his silhouette on the wall, but that is all that can be see of Roger at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Josh Taylor
Twitter: @ModernMouseJosh


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Posted on December 19, 2012, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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