Apparently hosting the Hall of Presidents wasn’t enough for the Walt Disney Company, which, in the early 1990s, began snapping up land 30 minutes outside of Washington, D.C., to lay the groundwork for Disney’s America. According to Collider, it was supposed to be a history-themed park that was both educational and, of course, fun in nature. The planning even went so far as to illustrate different areas of Disney’s America, including Crossroads USA, Presidents Square, and We the People. However, both the wealthy neighbors of Disney’s ambitious new property and preservationists strongly opposed the project and allegedly mounted a quick attack.
The main issues? Aside from the residents’ worries about increased congestion and pollution in the area, some planned attractions had the potential to be handled insensitively, including one themed around the Underground Railroad. At a press conference, Disney’s Bob Weis told a roomful of reporters, residents, and politicians: “We want to make you a Civil War soldier. We want to make you feel what it was like to be a slave or what it was like to escape through the underground railroad.” Beyond that massive misstep, the property was also due to be built too close for comfort to the Manassas National Battlefield Park, which is where two major Civil War battles took place. Of course, we’ll always have Liberty Square in Disney World and Disneyland—even though it may look different for the foreseeable future. Check out these photos that show the “new normal” of Disney parks.