No, this isn’t a big article about Western River Expedition. I’m not yet ready to make that rite of passage that every Disney blog eventually must face. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do since day one, but I just haven’t had that breakthrough of research yet to make it any more than a rewrite of articles posted elsewhere.
Instead, I was going through some documents and cleaning up some artwork and just came across this rendering – an image very familiar to most retro Disney fans. Thunder Mesa and the Western River Expedition has become, over the years, something both legendary and symbolic for fans. It’s the one that got away – the magnum opus of several legendary imagineers that would pick up where Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion left off. And, as of about 1973, there was little to no chance that we’d ever see it become a reality.
But looking at this image filling my monitor, I forgot about the attraction as a bit of history or a mystery to be researched, and just thought of what it would really be like if it were real. Go ahead – click and open up the large image, let it fill your screen, and think… that could be real. Like, really real. Let it fill your field of view. It’s a vista just as if you were standing on the Rivers of America. It could be real, regardless of what later naysayers and revisionists (coughMartySklarcough) would tell you. Sure, it’s huge – but so is Mount Prometheus in Tokyo.
So forget all the baggage, and just look at that picture. Wouldn’t that be cool?