Quite possibly the most-desired unbuilt concept in the Disney portfolio is Tony Baxter & Harper Goff’s iconic Discovery Bay expansion planned for Disneyland. This steampunk-infused land, to be located just beyond Big Thunder Mountain, would celebrate “an age of discovery and expansion” and feature attractions based on the works of H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, as well as the 1977 film, The Island at the Top of the World. The project floundered when that film, seen as a jumping-off point, bombed at the box office. However, remnants of this one-of-a-kind land exist at other Disney Parks worldwide. Elements of can be found in the Verne-esque idealized future stylings of Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland, while Tokyo DisneySea’s stunning Mysterious Island is a love letter to what Discovery Bay could have achieved. Figment, EPCOT’s signature purple dragon, and his cohort The Dreamfinder, also found their start as part of Discovery Bay.
I painted this for my Dad for his birthday. Spirit was probably the first movie that inspired me to pursue animation. Before that I always loved to draw, and always loved animated movies, but for some reason it never occurred to me that there were real jobs behind these movies until this one. I got the DVD as a Christmas present, and remember watching James Baxter talk about making the movie over and over and over again. And now here I am today, working as a storyboard artist in the animation industry. Thank you James Baxter! And thank you Dad, for being willing to watch this movie with me over and over and over again, because you knew I loved it <3