Very interesting, and I love the idea that this is Indy's "axis trilogy". It also definitely hints more films incoming outside of those 3, so we'll have to see if it/they fair better than OTL's Crystal Skull.

I do wonder if Harrison Ford would be willing to keep coming back after a while. Money is money, I suppose.
I'm still figuring out what comes next here. If Ford can be paid enough to return twice as Han Solo (a role he hated) he could be paid enough to return as Indy (a role he liked). The biggest challenge as per OTL is finding a script that Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford all agree on. Crystal Skull came about as the results of a long compromise between Lucas and Spielberg, the former wanting aliens and the latter wanting something in South America.

Not as good as The Last Crusade.
How do you know? You haven't seen it! :winkytongue:

In all seriousness I was under no delusions I could make anything as good as TLC, which was not just arguably the best IJ movies but one of the best action/adventure movies ever (at least in my opinion; others see TLC as a playing-it-safe rehash of Raiders, but that's opinions for you). I'm a Lilliputian attempting to stand among giants here, after all. Instead I went for something that fit within both the events of TTL and the butterflies it spawns and the themes I've been exploring at this point of the TL.

Shame we lose THE LAST CRUSADE
Yes, it really is, but that's Alternate History for you. You "win" some, you "lose" some. As I said earlier, I loved TLC, but it was a product of its time and its timeline. The only reason why L&S decided to have Nazis as the enemies (something Spielberg was already trying to move away from) and a Judeo-Christian MacGuffin was as a reaction to the response to negative reactions to Temple of Doom. Since Mask of the Monkey King had different criticisms (you'll notice that there are no heroic Commies in JoA) the third movie naturally went down a completely different pathway, though it explores many of the same themes and even has many of the same scenes as TLC (It's Spielberg, so of course there are Daddy issues!).

The Judgement of Anubis: An Indiana Jones Adventure- does not seem that bad a movie. Got some decent action stuff, and Connery seems good as Sr Jones. Possibly better than the Arthurian Grail stuff we got OTL.

Young Indy, played by River Phoenix - sounds like a great series idea there.

"Soon they are walking through the jungles, slow and natural in contrast to the destructive industrial Fascists," Nice imagery there.

Fez guy needs a name.

Indy and Marion getting married - nice ending. Guess No.4 is Mr. and Mrs Jones?

Nice work. How much of this is Lisa Henson's work @Geekhis Khan ?

"Fez Guy" is, of course, the fan nickname for the character of Kemal Amon (played by Kevork Malikyan).

Lisa Henson was pretty instrumental in this, serving as the full Producer (Kennedy is instead focusing on the Back to the Future sequels) and also drafted the original film treatment after long discussions with L&S, thus sharing a "story by" credit with the two of them. You can see how her father's long-held obsessions with mortality, which are increasingly manifesting, are bleeding over into her subconscious.

I'd make a joke about Indy 6 being a story where Marion has an affair with a character played by Billy Paul called Me and Mrs. Jones, but that's take the pun-run past the breaking point.

So far it's a good follow up on the rest of the ITTL Indiana Jones franchise as part of the appropriately named "Axis Trilogy", although I preferred The Monkey Mask a lot more than The Judgment of Anubis. Who came up with this idea ITTL, I wonder?
Spielberg and Lucas wanted something set in Africa with an idea for an Agatha Christie inspired boat ride up the Nile. Lucas threw out an idea for using Egyptian mythology and Henson, influenced subtly by her father's obsessions, made it about Anubis. Like TLC it explores father-son dynamics, life and death, and mortality. Unlike the OTL film, it explores the mortality issue more overtly. It also drops the Christian allegory and knightly themes.

In general, the weird thing that I've noticed about the production on Indy flicks is that it's backwards. Rather than start with a story and develop set pieces to tell it, it starts with a bunch of crazy action set pieces and then comes up with a story to justify stringing them together. Set pieces dropped from a previous film end up recycled into another. The jumping from a plane in a rubber raft and the mine cart chase were both developed for Raiders, but dropped. They then got recycled into ToD. The motorcycle chase on the Great Wall was recycled into the chase/joust in TLC. As such, I figured that JoA would have a lot of these same set pieces, modified around the alternate themes and story.
 
Just gotta say, great job @Geekhis Khan. I am not normally one for pop culture timelines, but this had a very intriguing premise so I decided to check it out. Finally caught up on the timeline, and I love it. You do a phenomenal job capturing the voices of these figures, and I especially love your approach to butterflies. The way you approach butterflies logically (or as logically as you can) is admirable, and I love how you have played things close to the chest in terms of non-pop cultural changes (and even with some of those).

I particularly liked what you did with the 1988 presidential election. It would have been very easy to have Gary Hart win just for the sake of doing something different, but I was very pleased that you played that thing plausibly. As a public historian by trade (who focused a lot on political and social history in graduate school), I am curious about the small political changes to come. How does Gary Hart's more successful presidential campaign (relative to Michael Dukakis's equivalent campaign) change the playbook of each party in the 1990 midterms? Do the different politics at play in Hollywood (especially Disney) lead to the corporation(s) supporting different candidates, both statewide or national? How does the 1992 Democratic primary play out (since, I'm just guessing, Bill Clinton didn't get as much stage presence at the 1988 convention and since, due to Hart's candidacy, Democratic voters might have a different calculus about how conservative they want to be in 1992), and, from there, does Bush Sr.'s reelection fail or succeed?

Outside of the US, I am curious how the development of Disneyland Valencia affects Spanish politics and how the lack of Disneyland Paris affects French politics. I don't know enough about either country's politics at the time to even begin to speculate, but these are things I am thinking about.

All of the questions I have asked so far are purely rhetorical, by the way; just thinking out loud (though I am curious if Clinton did get a prominent slot at the 1988 convention).

On the pop culture front, I am curious about two things which, as far as I understand OTL, are "coming down the pipeline." I think at an equivalent point IOTL, there was an anti-drug after school special (introduced by President HW Bush) featuring a lot of Saturday morning cartoon characters, including the Muppet babies, the ninja turtles, Winnie the Pooh, and Bugs Bunny (among others). I'm kind of curious if something like that is going to be a thing here.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Disney's America theme park in development around a similar point IOTL? It, thankfully, never came to fruition, but I'm curious if the thought has entered Disney's mind ITTL. If not, it might be kind of funny for Ted Turner try to get in on the theme park game with a similar concept.

Anyway, just some quick thoughts I had! Love this timeline and am watching it eagerly.
Thanks, @Canis Lupis and glad you caught up. I will have some political changes coming up in the background, but they won't be a major focus. I'll say Clinton had his slot in '88 as i see no reasons why not, and he was an up-and-comer. Spanish politics? no ideas! French either. I'm still kicking around what happens with the UK!
 
"Fez Guy" is, of course, the fan nickname for the character of Kemal Amon (played by Kevork Malikyan).
Is this his character name ITTL because it's not his character name OTL:
 
Is this his character name ITTL because it's not his character name OTL:
Kemal was one of the early names considered for the OTL character back when he was a villain. It's also a neighbor's name and has a vague tie to Ataturk as a history joke.
 
Groundbreaking ! New
Chapter 16: Building a New, Small World (Cont’d)
Excerpt from The King is Dead: The Walt Disney Company After Walt Disney, an Unauthorized History by Sue Donym and Arman N. Said


In 1988 ground was broken near the then-small Spanish town of Pego in the Alicante region. It was a big step forward for the company, but as inevitably seems to be the case, things didn’t go according to plan.

At first, all had seemed to be going swimmingly. Spanish Minister of Transport, Trade, and Tourism Abel Caballero was reportedly desperate to bring Disney to Spain “at any cost” and offered Disney huge tracts of land for free, with major property tax exemptions for the first several years. Spain at the time was also receiving roughly $800 million per annum in “Cohesion” funding from the European Economic Community to spend on infrastructure, and was offering to essentially foot the bill on construction of all of the road and rail lines and port upgrades needed to meet the expected growth in visitors to the area. This spending soon merged into the infrastructure spending associated with the upcoming 1992 Summer Olympics in nearby Barcelona. Some of that money was able to be put directly towards the infrastructure of the park itself, particularly utilities infrastructure, including some solar and wind farms to help power it all. The Spanish Government was also willing to cover up to 33% of the construction costs on the park itself. Still, Disney would be on the hook for over $500 million of the projected $800 million cost, and Spanish banks were limited by fiscal realities on what kind of special rates that they could give[1].

Caballero offered Disney two appropriately sized pieces of flat land, a northern and a southern one. They were currently filled with orange and olive groves and their current occupants would be generously compensated for their property loss. The northern site was the closest to both the highway and the likely site of the promised express train station, but the latter offered design and building advantages, in particular for avoiding damage to the nearby Marjal Wetlands, which remained the biggest engineering challenge. Based on space, terrain, and environmental concerns, Disney chose the southern site nearer to the town of Pego.

o3fhUQ8.png
thumbnail.jpg

The Site of Disneyland Valencia at Pego, Spain; site planning images alongside topographical ones; the yellow-blue-magenta blocks are the rough size of a full Disneyland Resort, including hotels, parking, future “second gate” theme park expansions, etc. The dark green is the Marjal Wetlands (site image courtesy @Denliner and detailed elevation map of Pego-Oliva from “topographic-map.com”)

But the good times wouldn’t last for long. Even before the contract with Dragados was signed, egos were at play within the Disney company itself. Imagineering and Parks and Rec were at loggerheads over whether Imagineering should take the lead on designing and managing Disneyland Valencia, or if they should make a “design and build” contract with Dragados[2]. Parks & Rec Chairman Dick Nunis, in keeping with the way that many of the US parks were developed, wanted to push the design onto the Contractor (Dragados) as a means of reducing redundancy and therefore costs. Imagineering Chairman John Hench pushed back, lacking confidence in Dragados to do the intricate design job that he felt only Imagineering had the proper attention to detail to accomplish. Frank Wells was listening to Nunis while Jim Henson was siding with Hench. CEO Ron Miller asked Dragados for some preliminary designs as a “test” of sorts. When they came back “lacking that Disney Detail,” to quote Hench in a later interview, Miller sided with Henson and Imagineering would do the design, and Dragados effectively built to print.

This created its own issues.

“It started with the blueprints,” recalled Imagineering Chairman John Hench. “In the US, including at Imagineering, we use third angle projection for drawings, but Spain, and, well, almost everyone else in the world save us and Japan, uses first angle. Seems like a small thing, but Dragados took a look at our blueprints and stared at them blankly. And rather than say ‘we can’t use these, please redraw in first angle,’ they redrew them in house and sent us the bill for the time and materials!

“On top of that, parks management were insisting that Dragados follow US building standards, not European ones. That meant inches and feet rather than meters and centimeters, which, again, sounds like ‘so what?’ But you try finding four-inch pipes in Europe without paying custom rates. You can find cheap 100-millimeter pipes all over the place, and the 1.6-millimeter difference in diameter makes no functional difference from a hydraulic standpoint. But egos were involved.”

Frank Wells brought in Mickey Steinberg from Portman Construction to help sort out the issues, with the new title of Executive Vice President for Operations. Steinberg brought with him both years of directly applicable experience with major construction projects, and a reputation as a tough but fair arbiter. He largely browbeat the Disney team into line through sheer force of will, managing to get them willing to work with both first-view blueprints and metric, something that most Imagineers had little issue with in the first case and actually preferred in the latter since the math was far easier. However, when Steinberg applied his famous “charm” to the Dragados crew, they were not impressed. Coming from a cultural tradition that saw raised voices as a sign of weakness, “el Americano enojado” was making little headway with Dragados.

“Dragados are the masters of the passive-aggressive,” Steinberg would lament in later years. “Like an evil genie, they’d do exactly what you asked them to do, and to the letter, and then charge you overtime when they needed to go back and do what you actually wanted!”

Costs swelled and each change to the drawings that the Imagineers sent down the pike was adding up. “Change costs” is an engineering maxim that’s practically a physical and economic law. “Suddenly the $800 million effort was now projected to cost up to $1.5 billion,” said Imagineering Creative Associate Marty Sklar. “At first Frank’s motto was ‘whatever it takes to do it right,’ but then he remembered that Disney was largely footing the bill[3]. Suddenly he, via Mickey, had the new motto ‘pick a plan and stick with it’.”

Wells and Henson also had to fly directly to Spain to smooth out personality and contractual issues with Dragados. “Mickey had really riled them up,” recalled Henson. “And Frank and I had to play nice and make friends. It took hours, but we renegotiated the contracts to help prevent ongoing delays, adding in a bonus for finishing on time at an approved level of quality to incentivize cooperation, or so was the goal. It…more or less worked out in the end.”

And yet some issues were unavoidable. Protecting the wetlands, not just after construction but during, required major land movement to build levies and runoff retaining ponds in order to prevent mud or pollutants from entering the waters. This followed the methods developed at Walt Disney World, but with far less space or room for error, which resulted in much higher costs than anticipated. Disney managed to get Spain to cover a good share of it as “infrastructure”, but even so, projected costs for completion were now well over $2 billion and the service tunnels were not even completed.

Labor rates were thankfully fairly low compared to wealthier nations like France, Germany, or the UK. This made construction costs relatively affordable. But construction costs increased sharply in 1990 when the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait sent fuel prices higher, and with them transport and heavy equipment operating costs.

Issues were experienced with materials too. The computerized printers that Imagineering used to print out the patterns for the Art Deco inspired flourishes for the “California in the Jazz Age” inspired Main Street USA lacked the resolution or fluidity to make them beautiful, and the Imagineers went back to hand design. Some money was saved by going with the Spanish-influenced “California” based setting, added as a nod to the host nation, since local traditional building materials could be acquired on the cheap and there was plenty of existing local experience with using them. Similarly, the street cobbles for both Fantasyland and the New Orleans-inspired Delta City were a common item in Europe where such construction methods were still widely used for historical market places and the like.

But the biggest challenge with keeping costs down was the signature “Disney Difference”. The attention to detail, down to the “fourth level of detail” (so small you could only see it up close), took time and attention, and those cost money. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, inspired by the nearby Alcazar Castle and built with real stone, copper, and stained glass (rather than the concrete and fiberglass used in the US parks), was intended to actually amaze European cultures used to castles already. And this cost added up. The new Discoveryland, meant to be a Jules Verne and H.G. Wells inspired “timeless” replacement for Tomorrowland that it was hoped would appeal to the French and English in particular, likewise cost extra since the Verne-inspired “De la Terre à la Lune” version of Space Mountain required a simulated cannon to “shoot” the riders to the moon.

Before all was said and done, costs would reach an estimated $3.5 billion, with Disney personally absorbing $1.9 billion of it[4], much of it in long term debt. While interest rates had dropped notably since their highs in the 1980s, this was still a substantial burden, and with Disney already starting to spend billions developing the Long Beach site, which included costly land reclamation efforts, the growing debt was spooking investors, who sent stock prices lower in 1990 based on this and other factors.

And as the critical Spring 1992 opening date neared (Disney and Spain were desperate to be open in time to take full advantage of the increased tourism likely to come with the Barcelona Olympics), the lingering global economic recession, in part kicked off by those earlier high interest rates and the lingering high oil prices, hung like an albatross over the project. Disney had responded in 1990 with cancelling some of the planned hotels before materials were acquired or foundations laid, but with lower-than-originally-expected visitor numbers likely, near-term profit projections were lower than expected in 1988 when ground was first broken.

Furthermore, the Spanish Government was falling behind on its infrastructure commitments. Delays and competing interests with the Barcelona Olympics saw the port expansions at Dénia and the rail lines falling behind schedule, further threatening to reduce visitor numbers due to lack of transport options.

As 1992 and the grand opening loomed, many were predicting Disney’s first theme park failure.



[1] Compare this to our timeline’s EuroDisney where the French Government pushed its wealthy banks to give sweetheart loans to Disney and covered a substantial part of the funding themselves. Some reports say that Disney absorbed only 25% of the costs of EuroDisney, to the tune of over $1.5 billion. And Caballero helm tip to @El Pip for the assist in the financing and construction and to @Denliner for the site placement and park design.

[2] In our timeline Disney frequently used “Design and Build” contracts in their US parks and began with a Design and Build with EuroDisney and then later transitioned to an Imagineering-led “Build to Print” after ground was broken and construction started, costing money due to the changes.

[3] Ironically in our timeline with France willing to foot most of the bill there was a disincentive for the Imagineers and executives to take common-sense cost saving measures like locking down a design before you start building or changing the design plan halfway through, like what happened with Main Street USA in our timeline, going from a 1920s-themed version back to a traditional Victorian setting, with each change adding up quickly in cost. In this timeline there’s more of an incentive to pick a plan and stick with it as Mike Bagnall reminds Frank Wells that costs are skyrocketing.

[4] Compare to the $5.2 billion that EuroDisney cost, with Disney footing about $1.3 billion. The French government and the French banks and investors they pressured into sweetheart loans absorbed 75% of the costs. In this timeline the poorer Spanish government is footing only 33% plus covering much of the internal utilities infrastructure and about half of the costs in protecting the wetlands. The silver lining here is that the park itself is not carrying the debt (EuroDisney began life with over $4 billion in debt) meaning that the park will not be operating on margins as badly as in our timeline. It also means that more of the profits from the park will be going to Disney, and when the lower park debt is combined with the property tax exemptions and lower labor costs compared to Paris, this will mean that operating expenses will be lower and profits higher than EuroDisney. The price that Disney pays is in up front debt, of course!
 
Disneyland Valencia is starting out life in a much, much different position to EuroDisney - I predict that while there will be somethings not done on site and something will break, the vast majority of it will be a done for a 1992 opening and will be a hit- even if it takes a while to make the cash back or things are a little tight at ports.

Maybe they can get cruise ships in there to help out with hotel space?

Still I cannot see Disneyland Valencia being a failure.
 
I see Disneyland Valencia being closer to Disneyland's disastrous opening day than the catastrophic failure that was OTL EuroDisney/Disneyland Paris' early days.

One of the things Disneyland Valencia should take from OTL Disneyland Paris is the idea of a spookier Haunted Mansion.
 
Gotta love seeing that 1920s California Main Street after it was made canon. It's just a fitting natural evolution of the old rendition of Marceline that would have resonated with European audiences fascinated with the glitz and glamor of Hollywood and how Walt Disney started out before his success.

2014-02-21_0046.jpg

Image from Disney Photoblography

I'll give it to ITTL Eddie Sotto for this idea, since his OTL self was the one that suggested a more modern Main Street for Paris but fell through, sadly. Maybe he has similar ideas here but soon transitions to the California idea because of the influence from Spain and its architecture on top of presenting a cleaner and more sophisticated area with no gangsters or pirates, but instead smooth jazz and classic Hollywood to appeal to European sensibilities. Perhaps we'll see a speakeasy/bar open up once Disney relaxes the alcohol policy over time.


In general, Disney is not pulling any punches with Valencia compared to Paris. Even without additional lands like Muppetland, Disney has already got out of their way to make a more radical Main Street, a more realistic castle, and a Discoveryland that has Space Mountain on opening day. Fairly risky/radical decisions on Disney's part. Imagineering and the execs seems to have more confidence in being out of the box compared to OTL since they clearly didn't back down from these plans after the design phase.

We'll see if they are rewarded when the park opens, because a failed Disneyland Valencia w/ the higher upfront cost for Disney could seriously hurt the development of DisneySea and future projects down the line.
 
Last edited:
I see Disneyland Valencia being closer to Disneyland's disastrous opening day than the catastrophic failure that was OTL EuroDisney/Disneyland Paris' early days.

One of the things Disneyland Valencia should take from OTL Disneyland Paris is the idea of a spookier Haunted Mansion.
Seriously hope will Disneyland Valencia will have Phantom Manor (Disneyland Paris’s version of Haunted Mansion), as it’s my personal favorite version of Haunted Mansion, and I’d love for it to survive the transition to this timeline.
 
Nice to see other varieties instead of Neuschwanstein Ripoff #21. Wonder if Disneyland Tokyo will have a tenshukaku?
The integration of Spanish/Andalusi castles into an iconic Disney centerpiece will surely make for a very interesting product. It won't look like Paris's castle, that's for sure.

As for TDL, the OLC was very boring when they laid out their requests for Disneyland Tokyo. They wanted a near 100% copy of the Magic Kingdom at WDW and that's what they got and that's not going to change ITTL. To be fair, the Japanese were absolutely bonkers for Disney as a brand, so a radical cultural change akin to Valencia, Paris, or Hong Kong wasn't necessary.
 
I don’t like all posts, I like posts I enjoy reading or find Interesting. Reading this thread has been very enjoyable and I find myself liking the vast majority of them. Is liking posts weird on alternate history.com? Are you only supposed to like very good posts?
Thanks, Curtin99, I'm glad to have you aboard. Like whatever you, erm, like as it were. And don't be afraid to offer constructive criticism.

I see Disneyland Valencia being closer to Disneyland's disastrous opening day than the catastrophic failure that was OTL EuroDisney/Disneyland Paris' early days.

One of the things Disneyland Valencia should take from OTL Disneyland Paris is the idea of a spookier Haunted Mansion.
Still working on the details, but the park should be an interesting change from ED, but with plenty of old familiars too (e.g. De la Luna ala Terre).

I'm wondering: Will the OTL first Nicktoons exist?
Will come up for sure.

Alcazar Castle, for reference:

Nice to see other varieties instead of Neuschwanstein Ripoff #21. Wonder if Disneyland Tokyo will have a tenshukaku?
The integration of Spanish/Andalusi castles into an iconic Disney centerpiece will surely make for a very interesting product. It won't look like Paris's castle, that's for sure.

As for TDL, the OLC was very boring when they laid out their requests for Disneyland Tokyo. They wanted a near 100% copy of the Magic Kingdom at WDW and that's what they got and that's not going to change ITTL. To be fair, the Japanese were absolutely bonkers for Disney as a brand, so a radical cultural change akin to Valencia, Paris, or Hong Kong wasn't necessary.
Tokyo Disney was already under construction at the PoD and as Den mentioned was a Build to Print clone of Anaheim save that the Main Street USA became a World Bazaar. That said I'd love to see a Tensukaku-based castle, but I guess the Japan Pavilion is as close as we'll come.

Thanks again, all. Tomorrow we figure out how to pay for all of this!
 
Tokyo Disney was already under construction at the PoD and as Den mentioned was a Build to Print clone of Anaheim save that the Main Street USA became a World Bazaar. That said I'd love to see a Tensukaku-based castle, but I guess the Japan Pavilion is as close as we'll come.
Not to mention, the Paris castle is arguably the most unique out of all of the OTL castles since they played up the fantasy factor with the design of the building. Even compared to Hong Kong and Shanghai's castles, Paris stands out. It's certainly not a Neuschwanstein clone.

Will come up for sure.
That's probably a good thing that most or all of the Nicktoons are here ITTL, but I wonder what happens to Nickelodeon Studios since the company is now under Warner Bros.
Is it still going to be a thing or will they move their studios somewhere else in California, leaving Universal Studios Florida with a vacant lot (maybe they set up their own independent production there).
 
That's probably a good thing that most or all of the Nicktoons are here ITTL, but I wonder what happens to Nickelodeon Studios since the company is now under Warner Bros.
Is it still going to be a thing or will they move their studios somewhere else in California, leaving Universal Studios Florida with a vacant lot (maybe they set up their own independent production there).
Why not make a Warner Bros. Movie World somewhere in the United States, and place the Nickelodeon Studios backlot in that park?
 
Why not make a Warner Bros. Movie World somewhere in the United States, and place the Nickelodeon Studios backlot in that park?
Universal is starting the studio theme park trend, so why not? I think Warner Bros. could realistically create a theme park in the United States ITTL, perhaps even in Orlando if they want to take on Universal (Disney is still pretty much untouchable with WDW).
 
Universal is starting the studio theme park trend, so why not? I think Warner Bros. could realistically create a theme park in the United States ITTL, perhaps even in Orlando if they want to take on Universal (Disney is still pretty much untouchable with WDW).
Yeah. Then again, I know that that specific chain got mentioned recently, but I don't know if it was for a US location or not.
 
Top