Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers – The Theme Park that Never Was

DickTracyShootOutImagine if you will a theme park set in the 1930’s Chicago, with all the warehouses, streets, cars and trappings of the gang land we’ve come to expect from the era.  You race through the streets in your vehicle, using your tommy gun to battle villainous gangsters like Flattop and Itchy who are working for Big Boy Caprice.  Bullets fly an errant burst sends the lids of nearby trash cans flying through the air.  This was the vision of Disney’s Dick Tracy Theme Park, the park that never was.

In the latter half the 1980’s the Walt Disney Company was moving into a new golden age with popular movie hits like the Little Mermaid and Honey, I shrunk the Kids.  Under the new leadership of Michael Eisner, executives were looking for the next big franchise and motion picture and animation head Jeffrey Katzenberg thought Warren Beatty’s long in the making Dick Tracy movie could be that franchise.

DickTracyCrimestoppersHandDrawningIn 1989, the same year the Dick Tracy movie was in production, Disney opened their new Disney-MGM park (now called Hollywood Studios) and were looking for films to incorporate into the attraction. With a planned location of the Sunset Boulevard section of the amusement park, Dick Tracy’s Crime-Stoppers would have become one of the park’s first interactive rides utilizing enhanced motion vehicle technology that is now used on many of the park rides.  All the artwork seen here came the concept work done for the attraction and include these notes on the ride route.

Details from a 1989 Disney Press Release :

“Guests will join America’s favorite comic-strip detective in a high-speed chase with his gangster adversaries.”

“Dick Tracy will recruit guests to shoot it out with gangster bad guys.”

Surrounding the Crime Stopper ride would be a 1920 and 30’s style Chicago “land” where guests could wander the streets and shops that all no doubt promoted the Dick Tracy movie and its hoped for sequels, much like the many other “lands” Disney has introduced.

dicktracyscrimestoppers2

Sadly the entire project was never given the green light.  The Dick Tracy movie, while profitable, was not the blockbuster success executives were hoping for. Grossing $162 million, Disney had hoped to earn closer to the $411 million of the Michael Keaton Batman movie.  With any sequel plans cancelled, the desire for a Dick Tracy theme park waned and unfortunately for us, the project was closed and the technology planned for the Dick Tracy attraction was repurposed for the Indiana Jones, Dinosaur and Toy Story Mania attractions at their various theme parks.  If only we could have seen Dick Tracy!

Concept Art and Disney trademarks are ¬©Disney.

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