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Sega World At Disney's Innoventions [Badnik Mechanic vid]

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by MrMechanic, Feb 15, 2020.

  1. MrMechanic


    Back in December I made the thread about the Sega F1 Championship Event and as I hoped it jogged a lot of memories and some more information was found and posted.

    Well here I am again with the latest large research project.

    Disney's Sega World.

    First of all/Full disclosure, that's my video, please give it a watch since this was quite a lot of work and a big labour of love. But anyway on with the history.

    So, this technically isn't a Sega World, in fact from what I can see the only title it was ever given was "Sega at Innoventions". But I honestly can't think of a better name to give it other than Disney's Sega World, it's pretty much a prototype or concept Sega World, I've not got any doubts that Sega used what they learnt from this attraction to guide them when it came to the larger Sega parks/worlds which followed a few years later...

    But anyway... How did this all come about?

    The origins of this don't actually start at Disney, but rather Universal Studios, and this is one of those examples of why I started to do documentary history videos like this, sometimes events which seem contained actually set the seeds or link to other events, and this is one of those cases.


    In 1992 Sega worked with Universal Studios to make the Sega Star Kids Challenge, a bit of a charity TV show to promote their consoles and basically be on telly (Video on this event here), following the end of that event, talks were held between the two companies to open a Sega themed attraction at Universal. So we do have some details on this over at Sega Retro, but nothing too exciting.

    Universal attraction details:
    30,000-50,000 sq ft
    Estimated cost: $20 million USD (1990's money)

    And that's it!

    Enter Disney

    Meanwhile, over at Walt Disney World, the company was planing to open a huge technology and future exhibit at their Epcot theme park named innoventions, the attraction would showcase cutting edge technology from concept cars, medical treatments, robotics and entertainment.

    Disney wanted 'the best' in each field to represent a particular booth or attraction, so they approached Sega and asked if they would like to be the face of the entertainment section. Basically, if Sega said no, Disney would have almost certainly gone to Nintendo.

    Sega basically saw this as an insane advertisement opportunity millions of visitors per year getting hands on with their games and systems, so of course they said yes.


    Amazingly, quite a lot of the planning has survived over the years. A behind the scenes feature on innoventions shows some floor plans and even some concept art showing the initial concept for the Sega attraction, amazingly it looks very accurate to the final build.


    Fortunately we do get a closeup of that artwork in the back

    But one of the more impressive pieces of planning that was the model that was made. Disney often make models of their new lands and this attraction was no exception.


    So there's a bunch of hidden things on the model which I elaborate more in the video, but at the bottom right you can made out an advert for Bubsy and at the back, that yellow square... That's actually captain America! You can see this clearer in the video since video zooming for some reason is clearer than image zooming (I don't know why).

    On the top right, you can just make out some Sonic images next to Toe-Jam and Earl? Those are... quite cool, you'll see later.

    The model was made by Van Sickle and it's still up on their website!


    So the attraction opened in 1994 and.. well... look at it!

    This was the main central area, if you compare it to the model you can see only minor changes were made, but the smallest details were kept, such as the Ecco sign and the monitors held up by golden rings.

    So you may have already seen this statue, but I actually made a slight new discovery which is shown in the video (around 8:00 mark), basically, there was video of this statue before, but the base didn't move, even accounts from people who went and saw it say that the statue (well the base) didn't move.

    Well... It turns out it did! The barrel actually did rotate! It wasn't quite right to the game, half rotated left, the other right, but it did indeed rotated to give it the same effect as the one from Sonic 3. If I had to guess why the rotation didn't last long, most likely it was cost, or maintenance.

    Other fun things about the attraction, which is why it's pretty much a Sega World in all but name,

    So the boys ended up together at last in statue form. This was one of the few places on earth that you could see the three statues together like this. Though in my video you can see evidence the statues were moved around, Tails is on a plinth in one portion for instance.

    Sega's entire console line was available to play, with Master Systems, Game Gear, Megadrive/Genesis, Mega CD and 32X, eventually Saturns would be added and then Dreamcasts.

    There was also a strong arcade presence, with 7 player Virtua Formula that even had the motion cars which you sat in to play.
    Other cabinets which made it included every version of Virtua Fighter that was available at the time.

    Much like other areas of every Disney park, there was a character meet and greet.

    Unfortunately, nobody has pics of the characters, but according to comments on the video, there was a Sonic mascot that did appear and even gave autographs to park guests, so someone out there has Sonic's autograph.

    But there might be an explanation as to why nobody has a pic of the mascots, looking at this picture it seems that the Mascot may have been retired and the space was replaced with the Sonic & Knuckles statues, note the new base they're standing on.


    There's a lot more which I cover in the video, such as cardbord displays, but other big developments were the NiGHTS display and even the prototype SatAM Display.


    So in 1995, anyone staying at a Disney hotel could watch a 20min "What to do in Disney video" and a brief clip shows a TV Studio with it's pseudo Sega World, The statue appears slightly different and the ring being the most obvious change.


    You can tell from the still that this statue isn't even on a barrel by how the people make it to sonic's shoulder height.


    By 1997 the attraction was updated with a small NiGHTS cardboard cutout and also... a very very interesting display...


    Oh hi Sonic X-Treme.

    So this is the cover artwork, but in a much higher definition, it also includes a few graphical and shading enhancements. Apparently this also appeared at E3 1997 as well, and since this attraction showed unfinished games and demos.... I think it might be possible that Sonic X-Treme was actually playable at Disney for a time, given how quite often when people go to places like this, they film family members playing games, if it was there, there's likely footage of it (granted not amazing) out there on some home VHS tapes.

    1999: The Revamp

    Despite the popularity of the park, Innoventions as a whole received a lot of complaints, mainly by guests becoming confused when trying to navigate. So the entire park was re-designed.

    And unfortunately... for the worst.

    The attraction was named "Video Games of Tomorrow: Presented by Sega" and whilst it was a lot easier to navigate it was done very much on the cheap, their E3 booth for that year was pretty much just shipped to Florida and used as the attraction. Every console was replaced with a Dreamcast, all the arcades were removed, and most painfully... all the unique scenery was also pulled.

    The Size of the attraction was also much smaller.

    So what was good? Well... Aside from the fact it was completely up to date, just full of Dreamcasts, they also brought this...


    The giant E3 Sonic statue was brought and installed above the Sonic Adventure area. They also had pin badges that you could buy which were also really cool.

    Now unfortunately, despite this being Disney World... there is a shocking lack of good quality photography from this attraction... and for the last 10 years... All video of it was lost...

    How fortunate that I was able to find some (15:40)

    The brief video that exists is a very brief walk-through unfortunately the camera man doesn't get a shot of the statue, but you can make out the Shenmue section which I don't think was known previously. As amazing as the clip is, it really does illustrate just how small and barren the revamp was, especially when compared to the old one.

    The revamp lasted for 2 years with Sega eventually pulling support by around 2001.


    Unfortunately, the old innoventions building was destroyed late last year, but some artefacts from the original Sega World are still at Disney, though you have to be very lucky to see them. One of them... Unless you're a Disney cast member with the right authorisation you will just never see.

    Epcot has a huge mural depicting very early concept art for the attraction, it's very rare for guests to ever see this. Thanks to Treasure hunting Sonic we have an image of it. He was also able to provide some graffiti of Sonic from the tunnels under Epcot itself and even a Sega Sports sign that's in a storage room at the park.

    Well anyway...

    So I think that's the bulk of the cooler portions of information, there's a lot more in my vid so please give it a look, such as the lab coat clothing worn by the staff in the venue.

    But as before, made this vid and this research thread because aside from the fact it's a cool story, typically this ends up jogging peoples memories and new footage/pics end up being posted. Annnnnd also anything I forgot about.

    Any questions fire away I'll see if I can answer them.

    Additional References:

    Sega Retro

    Martins Videos (This is where the revamp footage came from and some of the 1994 park footage).

    Pixel Game Squad (Majority of the original park footage)
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
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  2. Powpuck


    Have to wonder if the use of the Carnival Night Zone barrel was a knowing wink or a giant middle finger.

    Also, I noticed a Ren & Stimpy game displayed at there as well, which is another competitor's IP (Nickelodeon).

    This whole thing reminds me in a sideways fashion of the giant fiberglass(?) Mario & Sonic display that the Best Buy in Grand Rapids, MI, had up for 10-15 years-ish. Not sure exactly when it was erected, or when it was taken down, or if it was even official. I've yet to find any photographic evidence of it online however. It's irrelevant to this topic, but I doubt I'll ever have the chance to mention it otherwise.
  3. ICEknight


    Researcher Researcher
    Stimpy's invention is technically a SEGA game.
  4. Ravenfreak


    2 Edgy 4 U Tech Member
    O'Fallon Mo
    Hacking Sonic Drift, Writer at Sonic Cage Dome
    Ah so you're Badnik Mechanic? I've been subscribed to you for a while now. My wife and I watched this video, and I can tell how much research went into it! I've even learned a thing or two, and my wife had no clue that Sega World even existed. xD I wish I could have gone to Sega World, it looks like it would have been awesome!