Sunday, November 29, 2020

Memorial Tribute to Alain Littaye

     Among the disproportionate woes of this year was the sudden and unexpected passing of Alain Littaye last March.   Co-author of the quintessential theme park design coffee table book (Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality), Alain selflessly and passionately ran the multiple Disney & More sites for many years, curating collections of rare artwork, shining a light on designers who would have otherwise gone unrecognized and generally helping educate the world on the art of theme parks.  The discovery of his site helped stoke & maintain my interest in the art and design of parks and, thus, this blog.  I maintained an ongoing correspondence with Alain over the years, and he was always enthusiastic & gracious.  I miss him and his work.  I know he appreciated the Concept Plans I share here, often promoting them on his pages, so I've decided to dust off the tablet and post a new Illustrative Map in his honor.  This one's for you, Alain!


IMPORTANT NOTE: Migration to Twitter.  I'm going to try to move my content & engagement over to Twitter.  If I can get a following there, then I'll be posting a lot more content, including bringing back some long-lost park drawings.  So go to the Ideal Buildout twitter account, here, to see a wider resort plan image of this project.  If you don't have twitter, sign up (it's easy) then Follow, Like, Comment or Retweet the posts you find on my account.  Once this drawing gets some traction on twitter, I'll present the next part of this Park Map.


    This plan is one of a number of Second Gates for Hong Kong that I drew several years ago.  The recent news that HKDL lost its exclusive option to develop the full 2-park resort was very disappointing for me.   Though many years away, the resort's beautiful location, excellent master-plan and Goldilocks size meant that the once-inevitable build-out of a 2nd theme park, a Dining & Entertainment district and additional resorts, gave the promise of a very bright future.   For me, it was/is the one of the few major themed resorts whose best days are ahead of it rather than behind.   Unfortunately, that long-term hope & promise for a full resort appears to be lost.  Fingers crossed that HKDL can re-acquire the development rights and the powers that be at that time decide to build a spectacular 2nd theme park.


From the beginning, the beautifully-landscaped promenade that runs from the Ferry Docks to the Train Station was earmarked for a Retail, Dining & Entertainment District.  To be honest, it looks so good now as a natural walkway, that I think it would be better to leave it as a manicured gardenwalk.   In my plan, however, you can see it filled out as the planned entertianment area.  Realistically, the style would be typical "entertainment/modern/eclectic" similar to DTD, CityWalk or Disney Springs, though my personal preference is always for a more history-based, detailed RDE district.


As in most the DisneySea variants I've drawn, an Aquasphere modeled on Toyko marks the entrance/ticketing area of the park.



I think it is fitting that opposite the west side's American Main Street and European castle, the eastern park entrance and spine is themed to China's romanticized past.  This provides a layered duality reflecting the nature of Hong Kong city itself (China and the Western world).  The area would ostensibly be an old Chinese port town, and across its bay would be the park's iconic centerpiece: Mountains and temple/pagoda complex - an Asian cousin to Tokyo DisneySea's Mt Prometheus and Fortress Explorations.  There is a large junk to mirror the galleon in TDS.


The vast mountain complex would contain two major E-tickets.  The first would be a "speed sled" experience (i.e., TestTrack, JttCotE) with show scenes and animatronic creatures.  The second I based on a concept I've seen for a Monkey Kingdom park by Luc Steadman: it is a Kuka ride (like Forbidden Journey) with an entrance/exterior marked by a large tree sprouting out of unusual rock formations.

Flat rides in pagodas, a major Mulan darkride and large theater venue, as well as numerous unique retail & dining experiences, round out the Port.


To Be Continued... (once a Twitter following is established here).



Saturday, June 29, 2019

Islands of Adventure 2019

With the opening of the acclaimed new Hagrid coaster, I took another look at Islands of Adventure and drew a plan of a personal, idealized vision for the park:


PORT OF ENTRY: I'd like to see the return of the Island Skipper Tours to the central lagoon.

SEUSS LANDING: Here I added a Jungle of Nool family boat attraction that follows the story of Horton Hears a Who.  Maybe it could incorporate some songs from the musical.

ATLANTIS: This reshaped version of Lost Continent is the most radical change for the park.  It takes the current aesthetic of Mythos/Poseidon's Fury/Shop and makes that the style of the area.  All traces of the Sinbad area are gone).   

Poseidon's Fury is no more.   While elements of the exterior, queue and pre-show could be kept & re-purposed, the new attraction is a major E-ticket darkride with thrill elements.  The top of the show-building is fully-themed to temple ruins.  Inside, 1930s pulp adventurers (Kong's Eighth Wonder Expedition Co.) are here to guide guests in jeeps to the ancient Gateway of Atlantis.  

 A heavily-themed topsin ride is added to give the land a 2nd attraction.

WIZARDING WORLD: The major changes seen on this plan are all about completely disguising attraction & backstage buildings.  As seen below, Hogwarts School's northern half is added to complete the recreation and disguise the showbuilding.  Rockwork is used on the top of the western building that is visible from Port of Entry/Jurasssic Park.

For the new Hagrid Coaster, the drop building treatment in my drawing is changed from painted trees to rockwork and moss-covered abbey ruins.     

JURASSIC PARK: I've not included the upcoming coaster because rumors are making it out to be naked gigacoaster, which may undermine the idea of visiting the actual Isla Nublar versus an amusement park.  I like the Visitor Center ensconced in a lot of trees.  Velociraptor Encounter gets a new location.  The clutter of boardwalk-style games booths is gone.

TOON LAGOON: The theater is removed for a Scobby-Doo themed haunted house interactive darkride.

MARVEL SUPERHERO ISLAND: The Fearfall is replaced by an Ironman shooter omnimover as imagined by concept artist Phil Saunders for a Marvel park in the Middle East:


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Star Wars Era Begins

I've drawn a lot of variations on the DL plan over the years, but this one marks the first incorporating the monumental Galaxy's Edge and the truncated Rivers of America.  I jumped the gun a little and will likely have to make some alterations once it opens, but this plan - based on the model and latest aerial photos - provides an illustration of how the northwest section of the park will look going forward.  

With Star Wars in the bag, one can look at the rest of the park and imagine what changes one would like to see take place next.  For me, these typically always come down to five key areas:

1. Replace the English Pooh in the Western-set Critter Country
2. Create a 2nd Main Street to ease the bottleneck.
3. Re-do Tomorrowland, stem-to-stern.
4. Replace the tented Fantasyland theater.
5. Re-imagine or Re-develop the Northeast Corner (Subs & Autopia)

MAIN STREET & LIBERTY SQUARE: I added a small indoor arcade and Liberty Square, inspired by Colonial America, to serve as a secondary egress route that this higher capacity park could use.  All the Americana-based exibits at the Opera House would become part of new attraction.  The Opera House would then become home to more expansive museum on the history of the park & Imagineering, featuring ongoing displays of models & artwork.

NEW TOMORROWLAND: Now that space fantasy has its own land, I've imagined a Tomorrowland that revives the real world, techno-optimistic futurism that it was its original theme.   A new version of Horizons would take up the CoP building.  Star Tours gets re-themed.   Buzz goes away, replaced by a Plus Ultra Society Headquarters.   New Peoplemover.  New restaurant extending out toward the Hub.


FANTASYLAND: A version of Maurice's Cottage goes on the footprint of the old Skyway building and houses a meet & greet.   The Theater is removed for a LPS darkride based on Tangled.  Its queue winds through a forest to the hidden valley of the tower.   Train Station gets relocated to Toontown.


SHADOWLAND: An evil version of Fantasyland.  Ramshackle medieval facades front an E-ticket, similar to Shanghai Pirates in scope, that features all the Villains coming together - a ride concept rumored for years.   Other features include an Ursula-themed spider flat-ride, castle ruins to explore and a pub where all the villains hang out, similar to that of 'Shrek'.  A new covered theater for live stage shows is added.
CRITTER COUNTRY & FRONTIERLAND: I included another take on a Country Bears Coaster (there was one in my last DL plan) - similar in scale to SDMT.  It features several indoor and outdoor musical scenes and many AA bears and critters.  A western Vaudeville show returns to the Diamond Horseshoe, and TSI loses its Pirates overlay.

GALAXY'S EDGE: Not a lot to add that hasn't been analyzed in detail as we approach opening day.  There have been some very impressive lands added to existing theme parks in the current era (e.g., Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, Pandora, New Fantasyland, Carsland), but this one looks to top them all.  The model alone is an intricate work of art, and I appreciate how the land's central visual motif was inspired by Frontierland's petrified tree.  Here's hoping it can deliver on the huge expectations.  I left the expansion section as is, for now.  Connecting it to a modified or replaced Toontown could be part of a drawing at some point. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The New Shape of TDS

At the beginning stages of theme park mega-projects such as the forthcoming expansion of TDS - when years lie ahead before we see what it will actually look like - I try to visualize based on the early hints released to the public.

What I've drawn is likely quite different from what is actually planned, but I had fun imagining the possibilities for this unexpected 8th port.  I didn't pay too close attention to the info that's on the net about facility square footage, expansion acreage or number of buildings.  Instead, I took the basic ingredients (the announced attractions and other features), the artwork, and the land available and I sketched a layout.

You'll note the current TDS expansion pads are filled in, and I dedicated them to original, non-IP attractions to counterbalance the huge injection of animation IP that's coming.  Lost River Delta gets a Central American jungle jaguar rapids ride.  Med Harbor gets Soarin' as it will soon open in 2019.  Finally, if the Central Energy Plant is relocated and opens up a plot in Arabian Coast, I added a less-kid-friendly '40 Thieves' darkride (C- or D- ticket spook house) to diversify the land's content.  The new area would reflect the more flat-topped kasbah's of North Africa than the Persian influence onion-domes and minarets of the current port. 

Fantasy Springs
I used the key artwork above as a major influence in my plan.  I imagine this view coming from a hotel room, looking down into the land towards TDS proper.

 Above  is a view you'd have with your back toward the Neverland Area and look southward (in the plan) towards the Tangled area.  

Neverland area, looking across Lagoon:

I imagined an extensive garden-like Springs area with lots of rocks and water feature on the parkside approach to the Hotel, not unlike the gardens in front of the DLP hotel (see artwork below).

Some design notes:

-Since access from the park to the expansive new area is a bottleneck, I created dual paths around a flowing stream, underwhich passes the backstage access road.  This came at the expense of the Jasmin carpets, but will help ease congestion.

-The showbuildings and their mountain fronts form a visual berm to insulate the land from outside intrusions.  Paths wind to maxmize visual impact/reveal of major landmarks.

-The hotel gets a footbridge to access the existing Resort Line station.

- Possibility of connecting the land to TDL (if Toontown is replaced with more Fantasyland) in the space northeast of the Arendelle castle (south of Frozen Mountain).  

- Snuggly Duckling and Arendelle restaurants could share some kitchen facilities.

It will be interesting to see what actually comes to be in the end and just how far off this is.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Yesterlands II

 ** Final UPDATE up **

Back in the beginning of this blog I created a Yesterlands concept plan as a repository for extinct attractions, restaurants, shops, entertainment and other features from all the worldwide Dis parks.   In the subsequent years, some of my favorite attractions have unfortunately been sent off to Yesterland, as a have a number of things I won't miss as much.  So I decided to try a new Yesterland park from scratch.  

In this imagining, as in the first version, the pieces aren't always exact facsimiles copied & pasted into a new master plan: I gave myself the freedom to make some alterations to allow for an idealized theme park.   

This will be a slow reveal, so check back regularly.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS: This entry land is an amalgam of the extinct Bear Country (DL) and Camp Minnie-Mickey (AK).  It is a National Parks-Adirondack-North Woods version of AK's The Oasis.   This provided a nice change-up from my first Yesterlands park which had a typical Main Street but with lost features.  

Like The Oasis, this land is dominated by nature, such as the stream from Camp Minnie Mickey and a pine forest environment, with only a few built structures in the craftsman-Adirondack style seen below.  There are four CMM gazebos for meeting the characters off on side paths.  

Reaching the inner ring, the Country Bears (extinct at DL) host the major off-hub restaurant - this park's equivalent of Plaza Inn or Crystal Palace.  The AA bears would perform numbers intermittently on several stages around the large dining hall.


THE HUB: This area is a version of the original Central Plaza of the MK.  It is a rolling, manicured Old World park.  The notable features are the extinct Swan Boats, park benches, Rose Garden path and large shade trees.


HOLLYWOOD: The approach to this land is marked by the full elephant gateway once found at DCA (below).   On the other side is a fountain plaza and at both ends of boulevards are marquee theaters.  At the southern point is the Chinese Theater marking The Great Movie Ride - in its original, magnificent incarnation (1989 script, costumes, finale montage).  

At the eastern point is WDSP's extinct Cinemagique.  While that attraction had a great film, it had a lackluster physical build.  Here at Ideal Buildout budget is never an issue, so the attraction is given a lavish period facade, queue and theater.  Its neighbor, Muppet-Vision 3D, is now gone from DCA, and I included the Kermit hot air balloon which was removed from the DHS version.  

Superstar Limo, one of the most vilified attractions, is here but with a new exterior which maintains the Classic Hollywood look of the entire land.   The streets are lined with palm trees and Art Deco/Art Moderne building fronts.

Little needs to be said about DCA's former Tower of Terror, but one inclusion I had forgotten ever existed is DCA's short-lived Soap Opera Bistro & Bar...  it's a fun dining idea where the staff of servers/actors re-create the cheesy drama of soap operas and include you.  Finally, the Sid Cahuenga One-of-a-Kind bungalow, once a unique shopping experience at DHS and now an info kiosk, finds a home in this land.

A BUG'S LAND: This area is on the cusp of extinction at DCA and so here it is, re-arranged and expanded.   I included the extinct Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playzone on the Hollywood border, as I think it's a decent enough fit.  

FANTASYLAND: In what, to me, is the most fascinating and unique project currently underway in the world of theme parks, Hong Kong's castle is being transmogrified into a grand new towering centerpiece.  Although it appears the existing castle will remain mostly intact as it is assimilated, the change is enough to qualify for Yesterland-status, meaning HK's Sleeping Beauty Castle is featured here.

Two extinct features that once existed inside castles also make the park: Tokyo's Castle Mystery Tour, featuring the Horned King, a dragon's lair, etc., and King Stefan's Banquet Hall.   Since Sleeping Beauty Castle's is far too small to house these, each is given its own dedicated building.

A central lagoon is inspired by Anaheim's original land, with the Jolly Roger (aka Chicken of the Sea) and Skull Rock.   Centrally located are King Triton's Carousel of the Sea which is integrated with Triton's Gardens, extinct from DCA and DL, respectively.  The two traditional dark rides - MK's original Scary Adventures of Snow White and its souped-up version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - both get a New Fantasyland-style storybook exterior and queues in place of their original 'fiberglass tournament' facades and switchbacks.

A new, dedicated theater is created for MGM's Hunchback of Notre Dame musical show

At first, Maelstrom from World Showcase may seem like a stretch, but considering most of its on-ride scenes (and its exterior) qualify for Fantasyland status (even featuring a glimpse of a fairy castle during the backward portion), I think it works.   It would require a little reworking, such as the boarding mural and finale scene (no more North Sea oil rig), removing the post-ride film for additional ride or queue space.  

FRONTIERLAND: Whereas the entry land is populated with fanciful characters in a National Park setting, this area sticks closely to the original "live-action" spirit of Frontierland, featuring historical edutainment, cowboys & Indians, prospectors, outlaws, gunslingers and a lot of untamed wilderness.  The town part of the land is anchored by the lively Diamond Horseshoe Saloon, featuring an Old West Vaudeville revue - something universally extinct at the actual parks, where if any shows still exist, they are character-based.  Authentic or interesting retail returns here in the form of the Old World Antiques and Pendleton Mills, and dining options include Aunt Jemima's Pancake House and Mile Long Bar.  I don't know if the miniature train museum ever actually existed in early Frontierland or was an unbuilt concept, but if the former, there is space here for it.

The western approach to the land is through the extinct Fort Wilderness of Anaheim.  Keelboats ply the rivers.  Tom Sawyer Island - extinct in its original form in Anaheim - is here, with a treehouse that can still be accessed.  Paris' lost Critter Corral is present.  So is Anaheim's Indian Village featuring War Canoes (extinct in Paris and MK), teepees and a Native American show.  The canoes travel the circuit of the river beyond the bridges, where the taller keelboats cannot venture.

 Nature's Wonderland, with its mountains, valleys and deserts, comprises a lot of the land and three separate attractions - Pack Mules, Mine Train and Stagecoach - wind through it.  The Stagecoach gets its own dedicated path and unique scenes.  One of those scenes is a Mexican-Californian Mission and village where the extinct Zorro street stunt show could be brought back.  I also added a flooded canyon where banditos could threaten to hold up stagecoaches.   The burning settlers cabin is back, replete with the arrow-riddled corpse.    

FUTURE WORLD: As you might expect - considering the drastic changes it has experienced - Future World is the final land.  It incorporates the real-world, optimistic, techno-futurism of the original Tomorrowlands as well.   DisneySea's lone contribution to this park appears here, also.  

 Approaching from the Hub, the entry is marked by MK's lost waterfall pylons.   The Inner Area contains most of the Tomorrowland content, with a Circlevision theater, 2nd level Peoplemover, Adventures Thru Inner Space and some dining & retail options.  Along the main axis is the 70ft tall TWA Moonliner and beyond, in the land's center, the Rocket Jets platform.

Because the Outer Area is ringed by very large & iconic pavilions, I wanted its center to be
uncluttered with buildings.  It is a lush park, filled with trees, flowerbeds and lagoons.   This allows all the pavilions to be visible from the Peoplemover and Rocket Jets and emphasizes the importance of Nature in any worthwhile future.
The Living Seas adds TDS's StormRider simulator, accessible from Sea Base Alpha - an easy fit.  Energy, Wonders of Life, Horizons and Imagination are all in their original forms.  World of Motion sees two adjunct attractions added to it, with access on its wings: Hong Kong's Autopia and MK's If You Had Wings/Delta Dreamflight - take your pick.


As some have requested, I did concurrently draft a Neverlands II park map around the same time I did this one. If individuals are interested in co-sponsoring that map, feel free to email me (under About Me at left) if you would like participate crowd-funding campaign that could result in Neverlands II being posted expediently. 

The idea is like Kickstarter, but cutting out the middle-man (actual Kickstarter).  Email me what you think a Neverlands Map post is worth to you (e.g., you can pledge ($5 (minimum), $10, $100, etc.).  Your pledge is never called in until & unless the Pledge Goal (fair value for the hours required to make the map) is met (at which point I will return everyone's email with my Paypal link).  Again, if the Pledge Goal isn't met, no payment by you - but no Map gets posted:(.  If the goal is met, slow-reveal here and somewhat higher-res versions emailed to the patrons as a reward.  

You could get more maps, faster, with zero risk.  I get a little recompense for my efforts.  Win-win. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Paris 2nd Gate: Go Big or Go Home

As noted in my recent EPCOT post, there are a handful brilliant park templates that have been built in the world, and the majority are one-offs.  Being one-of-a-kind can be an attractive quality.  But, just as it is great to visit and imagine variants of the Castle Park template, it is also fun to consider variants of these other park types, in this case DisneySea.

I realize DisneySea is tailor-made for its waterfront location, taking advantage of open vistas onto Tokyo Bay, and a cousin park in Marne la Vallee wouldn't have as much impact.  I also understand that having Southern Europe-based land(s) in a country that contains and neighbors the real thing also isn't necessarily ideal.  In this case, however, I had an itch to draw another park in the TDS mold, including a sprawling Renaissance-themed hotel that builds on what was created at MiraCosta and equals (at the least) the adjacent in-park Disneyland Hotel in splendor.

But before getting to this park concept, take a look at an earlier official Master Plan of the Paris Resort.  

As can be seen, the dinky WDSP (red outline) only uses a small fraction of the land once available for the 2nd Gate.  Even when WDSP is one day fully redeveloped or built out, it will not use nearly as much land as this plan does.  In the interim, the undeveloped land has been used for farming, and I believe Val d'Europe residential units have recently usurped part of it.  In my plan (purple), I will utilize all the original land out to the circular perimeter road, making for a vastly larger 2nd Gate... a theme park that surpasses DLP in scale, just as EPCOT did to MK.   Why should the 2nd Gate be a lesser experience when it can instead be the grander.

MEDITERRANEAN HARBOR: This Main Street port is similar to Tokyo's, though here it is re-arranged, expanded and altered in a number of ways.   The hotel has four thematic zones and the park follows them: Rome, Tuscany, Riviera (Portofino) and Venice.

In the upper Tuscan section (largest) there is a theater for live musicals, as was featured on a pre-opening model of TDS (see below).  There is also the major family darkride featuring Leonardo DaVinci's workshop and inventions.  Unlike Tokyo, in this Sea park every Port of Call will contain at least one anchor darkride.  A vineyard and old Villa fine dining establishment are also featured.

There is no longer a Fortress Explorations across the lagoon in front of a Mt. Prometheus, as this park has a different central Icon (to be revealed later).  Instead, there are two new fortress exploratory areas: a coastal 16th Century fort with adjacent Carrack to explore and, on the lower side of Med Harbor, a tribute to Venice's famous Arsenal.   The port abounds with dining, street entertainment and retail opportunities, with the PortoVenere Hotel guest rooms situated above, and terraces overlooking the park and Lagoon shows.

LOST RIVER DELTA: The next Port is the park's Adventureland proxy, adopted from Tokyo's and greatly expanded.  The land features proven ride systems from other major parks, redressed with new themes, stories and show scenes.  It is a large land that snakes across the top of the park and has three sub-areas - all based in mysterious South/Central American jungle - distinguishing it from DLP's Adventureland.

The first area reached from Med Harbor is based on a lost Mayan city's ruins.  A terrain-following E-ticket coaster here is a cousin to Hong Kong's Grizzly Peak, but featuring a unique layout, AA Jaguars and other dangers and denizens of the Jungle.  The other E-ticket in this section is unique take on the Indiana Jones Adventure.  While from afar it would feel similar to TDS's Meso-American version, this one has a unique story, exterior and interior.  There is a topspin ride inspired by Phantasialand's Talocan, which could be even more integrated into the ancient Mayan time period (using "stone" versus steel arms).  Centrally located is an explore/play/treasure hunt zone  themed as an Archeological Dig.

Crossing one of the arms of the river delta, guests enter the second sub-area, this one taking a cue from Shanghai Disneyland.  Plaudits to WDI for inventing a park-originated theme and place for Shanghai's Adventure Isle.   Not only does this area have similar attractions (a rapids ride with indoor AA show-scenes and a ropes course adventure trail), but the area theme would also reflect a newly-discovered primeval people in the Amazon and the wild and dangerous beasts that still survive in its caverns.  Just as the "League of Adventurers" set up tours and rafting to visit the Arbori culture & wildlife, the same organization has set up camp in this remote part of South America to study a new culture. 

MERMAID LAGOON: Another larger sibling to a Tokyo port (there will be 2-3 original ports forthcoming), expanded somewhat, but also the most compact area in the park.  Replacing Tokyo's theater-in-the-round is a new Mermaid darkride (maybe an updated version of the suspended attraction originally planned for DLP).  

The upper bank of the river features an aerial carousel inspired by the rare WDI artwork above.  


NEW YORK WATERFRONT: When approaching from Med Harbor the first landmark and distinction from TDS is that Ponte Vecchio is replaced by a Tower & Cable Suspension Bridge, inspired by - but not replicating - landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge.   And while Tokyo's port is modeled on a Late Victorian Gilded Age New York of 1890s-1914, my thought is this version is moved forward a decade into the Roaring Twenties.

On the waterfront is a semi-circular fort based on Castle Clinton, which could be used as a cafe.  Fifth Avenue has the ritzier shopping and nearby Broadway Theater, featuring a tribute to classic American musicals such as those of Cole Porter.  Next is a Rainbow Room-inspired big band club with dinner and dancing.  Adjacent to that is a Police Precinct where a Cops vs. Gangsters major shooter ride is housed.   

The Endicott Tower Hotel features a totally unique Tower of Terror that uses the two-shaft, rear show-scene template of Orlando's tower, allowing for a more graceful, tapering, spire-like skyscraper.  Cornelius Endicott is Harrison Hightower's arch-rival, according to TDS lore.  Here Endicott owns the Hotel, and perhaps the Trans-Atlantic steamship is owned by Hightower.  Inside the ship is  Storm at Sea, a revolving-house ride in place of Turtle Talk.

Also note the New York City facades attached to the visible sides of the massive parking structure to give a berm and depth to the area. 

S.E.A. BASE: Creating this concept plan for a 2nd DisneySea afforded the opportunity to bring back The Great Lighthouse - Tokyo's original, abandoned icon - as the main weenie and symbol for this park.  Behind it, the port - home to a secret society of great adventures - is built into the rockwork of collapsed calderas.

For the Lighthouse attraction,  I imagine a "gyroball drop" thrill ride, where, after queuing through the Lighthouse plinth's lower levels, 8-12 riders board a gyro-spherical ride vehicle (think "Jurassic World" but cast-iron).  The spheres pass some show-scenes before being lifted to the top of the Lighthouse through the central shaft and then spilling down a spiral slide and rolling at high-velocity through caverns that wind around the land.

With Jules Verne and Captain Nemo at home in DLP's Discoveryland, this Hub Port for the park takes on a different theme than Tokyo's Mysterious Island.  If Fortress Explorations is the 16th Century HQ for S.E.A. in Tokyo, here we fast-forward a few centuries to its late-19th C. headquarters.   

Since my favorite attraction genre - the long, spieled, edutainment vignette ride - is nearly extinct in the real world, I always feel obliged to include such rides in these dream plans.  Here, a "History of S.E.A." ride would show the origins, key figure & moments, treasures and secrets of this Order.   If you're familiar with "The Librarian" tv movie and its Collection Vault -- S.E.A. could be something along those lines - not just exploring the real world but protecting thought-to-be-mythical artifacts from evil-doers.   An under- and oversea-simulator mission to places such as the mysterious Bermuda Triangle would also be featured, with the tech and atmosphere retaining a unique Steampunkish style.

CAPE COD: This reveal of the Concept Plan shows the remaining part of Lost River Delta (featuring Hangar Stage and the multi-level dining, retail, steamer dock complex).   It also shows space reserved for a future ninth port, which will NOT be a part of this drawing.  I often like to keep space reserved for future expansions in case I decide to return to this drawing at some point down the road or just to let the imagination wander.  But I also remember how the parks would sometimes tease great things to come by building small previews (e.g. Adventure Outpost in EPCOT Center heralding the planned Africa pavilion or Dragon Rocks in DAK signaling Beastly Kingdom).  So here, there could be a glimpse of the Falcon, just out of reach.  If a Star Wars port does ever go in this drawing, it should follow the very smart WDI template of creating an original, non-film (here, an ocean-based planet) locale for the land.

Cape Cod (assigned its own port status here) adds a major attraction in Kragsyde... an old sea captain's shingle-style 'cottage' where vehicles (LPS) would take riders through tales, shanties and legends of the seas as recounted by the Captain.

You will note the park's layout allows the Transit Steamers variable courses: either around Cape Cod or through the caldera.  Next are the park's two ports that do not have a precedent at TDS.

HEROES' HARBOR: The seventh port replaces Arabian Coast (as Arabia features in DLP's Adventureland) and adds a genre that  seems well-suited to theme parks but that WDI has yet to build: Greek Mythology.    One of the port's major landmarks is the Colossus, under which Transit Steamers pass.  

Enrichment features of this port include a temple dedicated to Poseidon and replica trireme to explore.  The Odyssey is retold in a long, family-friendly boat ride, similar to TDS' Sinbad.   Another family ride is based on the Twelve Labors of Hercules.   There is a major SFX theatrical attraction under the dome of the Oracle.   A lively Agora marketplace takes place near the water, with retail, qsr and entertainers among its many stalls.   A more tranquil Garden of Muses is the locale for impromptu appearances by a Greek Theatre troupe, storyteller or philosopher. 

GLACIER BAY:  The final port is a northern, icy realm, heavily influenced by Scandinavia.  It is the last outpost of civilization before the great boreal forest, tundra and ice sheets of the Arctic.   The technology level spans late Machine Age to Early Atomic Age (1950s era sub docked in harbor), with the Norse darkride looking back at the history of exploring the polar regions.  

The dominant feature of the port (and one of the tallest points in the park) is the great Glacier Peak coaster - an original E-ticket for the park.   The town portion of the port has many winding streets, like a Scandinavian NOSq.  The port's attractions run the gambit from a central ice-berg version of Aquatopia to exploratory Observatory to a history-based darkride to two of the park's biggest E-tickets. 


The title of this post is "Go Big..." and the following side-by-side should speak to that (DLP is among the larger castle parks):

While anything near this scale is now an impossibility for a variety of reasons, it was enjoyable to take the complete opposite tack as the Company did with its 2nd Gate Plan and imagine a very expensive, massive, immersive, timeless, multi-day draw that overwhelms the visitor in scale & content.

*The version of DLP I've used for the image above would need some changes as it has a Mermaid ride, Indiana Jones and Hyperion Cafe that would become redundant with this new 2nd Gate.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Design-a-Park Workshop: EPCOT-style

An appealing aspect of the Castle Park Template is the variation among the six built and the countless imagined versions.  Much rarer is the conceptualization of variants on the other successful Tier I park templates, such as IOA, Animal Kingdom, TDS and, in this case, EPCOT Center.  The only official replication of the EPCOT idea that we've seen in detail is WestCOT, which was a more distinct and distant cousin of the Original than what I am proposing here:

 As the Castle Parks do, I wanted this EPCOT Concept drawing to feel like a sibling of the original EPCOT Center, with both overlapping and unique features.  This version is a little more walkable than the original park, as the visitor is able to quickly access either of the two facets of the park at entry, as opposed to WDW, where one needs to travel some distance through one area to get to the other.  The north, upper part is Future World and the lower part is World Showcase.  The central hourglass lagoon would be used for park-wide programs such as IllumNations and boat transport.

The park build-out calls for seven Future World pavilions and eleven World Showcase countries.  I've gotten the ball rolling by creating the entry, hub and first three pavilions for each side.  Just as a distinct castle is the icon of each Castle Park, a variant of SPACESHIP EARTH will be the centerpiece of EPCOT II.  This time, the familiar geosphere sits atop a large, multi-level pavilion that houses exhibits, services, retail and waterfront restaurants.  The ominmover ride itself is a similar experience (on Communication or Civilization) with some unique elements, scenes and script.  I wouldn't draw a version of EPCOT Center without its own versions of WORLD OF MOTION and HORIZONS as they are the equivalent of Pirates and Haunted Mansion for this type of theme park: Experience-Defining Masterpieces.  For forthcoming pavilions, one thought is Land and Sea might be combined into an original Ecology/Natural Resources attraction. 

On the World Showcase side, I began by including one extinct favorite of mine (NORWAY, in its original form) and two never-built countries: SWITZERLAND with its Matterhorn-on-steroids indoor coaster and GABON (or GHANA) (the "Equatorial Africa" as proposed for EPCOT), featuring a Congo River Expedition-type main attraction.

Moving forward, with only 8 pads remaining, I think the countries should tend to be variants or not-yet-used concepts.  Europe would get only two more spots, with Northern and Central represented, maybe one more country from Southern (Spain?) and one from the West (Ireland or UK?).  North and South America should each get some representation, as well as South Asia, East Asia and Middle East.


 The additions in this update include a JOURNEY INTO IMAGINATION pavilion for Future World.  I've added a third "great" glass pyramid to the iconic building and created a new approach featuring the Leapfrog Fountains and reverse waterfall.   A larger ImageWorks could housed under the expanded pyramid.  The Captain Eo Theater has been left behind.   I imagine the ride as a return to the original classic, though one can also imagine a high-tech LPS version.

In World Showcase, a viewing and special event island leads to a new UNITED STATES OF AMERICA pavilion, which rather than be the host country at the head of this park (which would likely be outside the US) is mixed among the other countries.  The architectural landmark of this Liberty Square-style land is a replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia with the ringing Liberty Bell.  The attraction inside remains an American Adventure AA Mixed Media show.


 World Showcase gets a JAPAN pavilion, for which I tried to incorporate some of Mark's suggestions from the Comments.   The feudal castle is replaced by a shrine "inspired by Izumo-taisha temple, one of most ancient shrines in the country.  A not-to-scale replica of Mount Fuji sits at the back of the pavilion, containing an indoor coaster, "Oni Mountain", basically a Japanese Expedition Everest, encountering demons and ghosts of Japanese mythology. "   Due to size restraints, Fuji here would be closer to the D-ticket scale of Crush's Coaster in WDSP, than E-ticket Everest.

In Future World, a new pavilion: LIVING PLANET.  It's theme would be Environmental Sciences, such as Biodiversity, Sustainability and Ecosystem Restoration.  As noted in comments, while the long, AA/mixed-media, educational, past-present-future darkride is an EPCOT Center staple as well as a personal favorite attraction-type, this pavilion would change things up by using more fast-paced simulator attractions.  The diversity and breadth of the planet's biomes make simulators an apt choice, as they can be world-spanning and travel under the seas, through jungles and above savannas, using the slot-machine techniques of the new Star Tours.  There would also be a restaurant and numerous smaller exhibits and habitats under the multiple glass domes of the pavilion.

Well done in the comments section.  As demonstrated there, the possibilities for the EPCOT park template seem limitless.  In this update, three countries are added to world showcase.  

Moving clockwise from the first addition in the lower right (adjacent to the African pavilion): UNITED KINGDOM.   The pavilion sets out to create that most bucolic and romantic of British settings... the quaint old village of Edwardian and Tudor buildings with the backdrop of big, somewhat ruinous Castle - perhaps now a museum or maybe still occupied by the fading nobility.  I like the suggestion of using Wales as the setting, so the castle could be inspired by an amalgam of the great Welsh castles.  Following that idea, the castle would house a ride that focuses on the Arthurian Legends. 

The Village would house not one lively Pub, but two: playful rivals - with their own football affiliations and backstories.

The adjacent pavilion is TURKEY, dominated by the Hagia Sophia.  I wanted this pavilion to mirror WDW's Mexico: a monumental structure out front and most of the features inside it.   Passing into the Hagia, visitors would find themselves in the Grand Bazaar and eventually reach an "outdoor" restaurant overlooking the Bosporus and a moonlit bigature of Istanbul and all its landmarks.   A boat ride and exhibit space would fill out the interior.   

On the waterfront, there is the landmark Galata Tower and some residential structures which house Boat Transport on the lower level and light dining/cafe and lagoon show viewing on the upper and roof levels.

Moving over to the park entry side of World Showcase there is the grand INDIA pavilion.  The pavilion is approached by passing either through a Gate inspired by the Mughal Red Fort of Delhi or along the lagoon by ancient temples inspired by the Shore Complex of Bengal.  The center of the pavilion is dominated by a 5-story Hindu gopuram (monumental gateway tower), such as those at Virupaksha.  At the center of inner pavilion is a Step Well descending deep into the earth.  The flanking dining and retail buildings are based on the Havelis (ornate mansions) of the wealthy 17th Century merchants.  

The pavilion is dominated by the huge and hulking Rajput fort - a backdrop inspired by Gwalior and Amber Forts - built of yellow sandstone atop a rocky outcropping.  Inside, an elaborate ride (musical) or show could explore India's ancient epics. 


Completing World Showcase.   GABON is changed to KENYA and the animatronic River Safari reflects the more iconic East African savanna landscapes and animals (as opposed the to the West African Rainforest of the earlier incarnation).

This is because BRAZIL is the South American representative, between Switzerland and Turkey, and its attraction is a Rainforest Canopy Glider ride through the Amazonian jungle.   The ride's load and queue building is leaf-thatched, stilt structure.   The town square is a colorful Portuguese Colonial-style settlement, with Brazilian dining and shops.  

West of Switzerland, and contrasting the collection of quaint Alpine 'buildings', is the imperial grandeur of SPAIN, reflecting its pinnacle during the Age of Discovery.  The pavilion is an amalgam of a number of Spanish landmarks of different cities, but, collectively, would feel like one large palace complex.    The dodecagonal tower at the entry point, also included in the original WED plans for Spain, is the Seville's Torre del Oro.   

Opposite it is the clocktower from the Santiago Cathedral.  Cordoba's Mezquita tower is also represented.  Climbing stairs and passing through the first wing of the palace, visitors emerge in El Escorial, the imposing royal palace near Madrid.  Beyond the courtyard and under the dome, there could be an attraction based on Don Quixote or on Spain's exploration (and conquest) of the New World.    Because I had a desire to include Spain in place of Italy, that meant that South America's Argentina lost out to Brazil, so to add another language to the Showcase.

A galleon from the Age of Sail is anchored on the lagoon.

The final country added to this showcase is EGYPT.  It is represented by both monumental Ancient Egyptian landmarks and the narrow, bustling streets of Cairo.  Passing from the bridge through an ancient Pylon gateway, in the distance one would see the Great Pyramids rising over the city's flat roofs, minarets and domes.  The main attraction would have to be based on Egyptology and be a fun and exciting ride exploring the secrets of the Pharaohs' lost tombs and treasures.

 I like the idea of these ancient and crumbling Pyramids contrasting with the sleek glass pyramids of the Imagination pavilion.  Standing on the upper level of the Spaceship Earth plinth, one could look both north and south to see pyramids in the distance.


 Future World, and the park, is complete.  I thought about the various areas of science and technology and what would complement the existing pavilions.  OUTER COSMOS is a Space Pavilion, which both exists and has been conceptualized in various ways.   This is a different take: looking much further ahead into a future when viable long-distance space travel and colonization has been invented.   This version takes place in a domed staging base on another planet or unknown moon, set in otherworldly rock.  The pavilion serves as a Science Station and Starport for further exploration.  It would contain unique dining and small shows, exhibits and experiences, in addition to an E-ticket headliner ride.

The opposite of Outer Cosmos is INNER WORLDS, which would be based on sciences that are invisible due to their extreme small size: nanotechnology, genetic engineering, particle physics, fusion.  One ride could involve shrinking to the sub-atomic level - recalling a long lost DL attraction...

Drawing Evolution:


Hope you enjoyed this experiment in looking at the original EPCOT Center as replicable theme park model in the same way we look at the Castle park model.