Ten Incredible Theme Parks That Were Never Built
With roller coasters coming in at prices well into the eight figures and the need to buy large tracts of land both located in tourist destinations but not too close to people’s homes to warrant a complaint, building a theme park be expensive and complicated. strive. And these two factors are only a few among the hundreds of roadblocks preventing theme parks from popping up just about anywhere.
Despite this, however, plans for theme parks are regularly written down and announced. At the Disney parks, the “Imagineers”, or people who design the park, have what is referred to as a “Blue Sky” period where they plan without any budget or restraint in mind. More often than not, other parks around the world sometimes find themselves stuck in this Blue Sky stage forever. This is a list covering ten incredible sounding theme parks that never saw the light of day.
Related: 10 Ways Disney Parks Hide Things Right In Front Of You
10 Space City USA
Just like many of the entries on this list, many entrepreneurs had schemes to dethrone Disneyland as the theme park king. Near Huntsville, toward the northern tip of Alabama, Space City USA was planned to be one such usurper. Much like Disneyland, the property would comprise several themed lands, all tied to the general theme of time travel, and would begin construction in 1965.
Guests would wander between the Old South, a Mesozoic Lost World, a futuristic Moon Colony and the Land of Oz, stretching the time travel motif a bit. However, the five million dollar price tag, along with a general sense of mismanagement, would be too much of an obstacle for Space City USA. By 1967 the project would be scrapped as the land was sold at auction. 
9 Six Flags Indiana
Despite the fact that it is one of the most successful theme park companies, in terms of the number of parks currently operating in the chain, the Six Flags corporation nevertheless gets a reputation for being the company that is a little stricter than Disney World budget. Nevertheless, the story of Six Flags Indiana is poignant because they got far enough in the development phase to send six entire coasters to the destination before giving up.
In 1996, the Six Flags Corporation purchased the Old Indiana Fun N Water Park after an accident earlier in the decade pressured the park to close. Six Flags would even bring in four roller coasters they bought from the defunct Opryland USA theme park. However, the roller coasters would never be rebuilt. It is speculated that this is most likely because Six Flags had a habit of overspending throughout the nineties, and the Indiana site was ultimately deemed too poor an investment.
8 Wonderland Amusement Park
The capital of China itself, Beijing, is where this next failed venture met its weaknesses, or more specifically, the Chenzhuang village of Beijing’s suburbs. Wonderland Amusement Park began a small amount of construction in 1998 and wanted to compete with Disneyland before the corporation tried to build its own park in China. Wonderland even tried to build its own castle motif as its centerpiece, and eerie photos show that the structure was even half-built.
The project was shelved due to lack of funding, although even if more money came in, Disney would eventually sweep in and plan a park in Hong Kong in 1999, completely extinguishing any hope that Wonderland would succeed. As a result, the 120-hectare plot of land would be left to nothing but the urban explorers, filled with incomplete structures and imposing, empty faux castle lean-tos.
7 KISS World
In 1973, the NYC hair metal superstar group called KISS was conceived, and by 1977 the group had already released six different highly successful albums. Naturally, the band’s lead singer, Gene Simmons, wanted to capitalize on their success and try a different business challenge: the theme park industry. Unlike other entries on this list, the group wanted to operate a touring theme park, much like a traveling fair, instead of using a static location, and the brainstorming began around 1978.
Dubbed KISS World, the project would never get off the drawing board. This is mostly due to the fact that the group’s popularity began to seriously decline in 1979, as shown by the decline in their concert tour attendance. Management also concluded that a theme park would be too expensive a price for a single rock band to take on alone.
6 Charlie Daniels Western World and Theme Park
The famous country singer Dolly Parton was able to build a thriving amusement park in her hometown of Pigeon Forge, TN in 1961, where it still operates today. Enter Charlie Daniels, another prolific country star who competed to build his own theme park in Florida. He teamed up with stockbroker Michael Vandiver in hopes of building something big enough to rival Disney World itself. Much like KISS World, Charlie Daniels Western World and Theme Park will never break ground.
Just north of Tampa was the community of Saddlebrook where this amusement park would be located. With a “Wild, Wild West” theme, Daniels’ original plans ditched a traditional theme park ride selection in favor of attractions such as a rodeo, a 36-hole golf course and dinner theaters, although a wooden roller coaster in the work. Although the park was slated to open in 1997, the price, along with pressure from Saddlebrook residents, caused this theme park to lose its proverbial fast appeal to Disney.
5 Six Flags Florida
With Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and Busch Garden enjoying great success in the Sunshine State, the Six Flags company also wanted to try its hand at the safe market. Rumors of the underdog theme park chain opening a park in Orlando have been circulating since the 80s. Although outside of a south Florida water park and a wax museum basically in SeaWorld’s backyard, the Six Flags chain never bought any large-scale real estate.
Although official statements have never been made about plans to build a park, the company has hinted at such a project since the company built similar parks in Georgia. The company’s modus operandi of purchasing independent parks even made it look like they would buy the defunct Orlando Boardwalk and Baseball theme park in 2018, although many suspect that the company’s repeated bankruptcies, coupled with a difficult global economic theater, plans as completely theoretical.
4 Disney WestCOT
In 2001, Disneyland in Anaheim, California, opened its second theme park on the property; Disney’s California Adventure. However, before planning to design a location on the Golden State, the Disney Corporation originally drew up plans to co-opt Disney World’s EPCOT to the West Coast. Named WestCOT, the park would shy away from the original experimental prototype Community of Tomorrow’s utopian future concept and draw on the celebration of nations found in EPCOT’s World Showcase.
The geodesic dome would be replaced with a larger, golden dome encased in metal, and many more lands would be added to the park’s lineup than its Florida sibling. High prices were a huge obstacle, especially after Disney’s other lackluster projects in the ’90s drained the budget, and the enormous park would be a massive thorn in the side of Anaheim city planners. As a compromise, the smaller California Adventure would be built, although it was initially panned for looking very cheap.
3 multiple parks in Dubai
Six Flags tried to make it big in Dubai. Universal parks tried their luck. Even the Disney corporation itself came around to the idea. But unfortunately, these three parks, among others, would never be completed in the UAE’s largest city. The project that made the most progress ended up being Universal Studios Dubailand, which was finally purchased and broke ground in 2008. Unfortunately, however, the theme park would endure the construction of purgatory until it was finally given the sweet release of death in 2016.
The park will feature many of the same attractions as its predecessor in Florida. It will also reportedly add enough rides to double the size of the entire Walt Disney World resort, in addition to adding the world’s largest mall. This project, along with the others, was wiped out by the global recession that began in 2008. Six Flags Dubai didn’t even make it to 2010, although there is talk of the Six Flags chain trying its luck again on the Arabian Peninsula. in Qiddiya.
2 The Battersea
Fans of the British prog rock band Pink Floyd will probably first recognize the massive decommissioned Battersea Power Plant factory complex in West London as the building on the cover of their 1997 album Animals. But music was far from the only form of entertainment planned for the building. In 1987, John Broome, the owner of the Alton Towers amusement park, bought the building in hopes of building the most ambitious indoor amusement park project of all time.
Plans were underway for a massive mine train roller coaster, the world’s largest aquarium, and a plethora of flat rides to be built. Despite its many doubters, the Battersea theme park project would actually be fully funded. However, the indoor park will face an entirely different problem. The poor structural integrity, asbestos and other construction problems suppressed the more ambitious aspects of the problem. However, unlike other entries on this list, Battersea would eventually be turned into a more low-key entertainment complex that continues to operate to this day.
1 Disney America
Disney America is easily the biggest blemish on Disney’s theme park resume. Those familiar with Disney’s late 20th century history are already familiar with Michael Eisner, Disney’s CEO at the time, who saw projects such as EuroDisney and the aforementioned California Adventure go rather catastrophically. First announced in 1993 and located in Haymarket, Virginia, Disney’s America would be the US’s third Disney destination and perhaps Michael Eisner’s biggest overall failure.
The park’s focus was on American history, as opposed to the theme of the original Disneyland, and would feature lands based on historical periods from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and even a 1940s state fair. The park’s failure stemmed from severe backlash from Virginia residents, especially from Civil War historians who feared local battlefields would be damaged. Intense anti-Disney lobbying, along with the death of key Disney higher-up Frank Wells, sealed Disney America’s fate by 1994.