Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WDW - Project Phoenix

Last week, Disney announced the re-branding of the now-defunct Pleasure Island as 'Hyperion Wharf', an outdoor dining & shopping facility.  The name Hyperion Wharf conjured in me images of one of my favorite never-built projects, Discovery Bay (Hyperion being the name of the dirigible that goes to the Top of the World).

So I set about seeing how I might convert Downtown Disney into WDW’s Fifth Gate.  The reason: while at WDW, I would prefer to do all the things one can do in a Downtown Disney (dine, stroll, shop, watch live entertainment) in a top-shelf, un-crowded theme park with plenty of great rides & attractions, unique & quality dining and diverse & rare merchandise.

I've been working on a few Fifth Gate ideas for WDW but with Downtown Disney's lake, an aquatic Port Disney theme seemed to fit this location best.

Exiting the monorail station on land that would be reclaimed from the southernmost block of Saratoga Springs Resort buildings, the first land adventurers would encounter in Port Disney is Paradise Harbor – an eclectic mix of tropical, coastal villages (Hawaii, Madagascar, West Indies).  This land is lushly landscaped, fun and friendly, with steel drum music in the air.  There are a couple of rides for kids (a spinner and small coaster) and a major flume adventure surrounding a giant volcano (Park’s landmark).  There is a tropical version of Tokyo DisneySea’s (TDS) aquatopia here, as well.

Moving clockwise, the next port is New England Coast – a version of TDS’ Cape Cod but significantly larger and with several rides.  It incorporates some of the old Disney Village Marketplace buildings (with new exteriors).  It features family dark rides based on Duffy the Bear and Pete’s Dragon,  a tall-ships-period SFX experience that simulates surviving a hurricane, an E-ticket, AA-heavy attraction that covers the kinds of vignettes often related by crusty old sea-captains (meeting a mermaid, Moby Dick, etc.).   The T-Rex CafĂ© building becomes a themed seafood dining facility.

Pleasure Island is now part of Hyperion Wharf (I like the name), a port that reflects the turn-of-the-century, Barbary Coast, steampunkish vibe that Discovery Bay would have had.   Sparks fly around ore-trains in an iron-smelting, shipworks-themed coaster that runs throughout the island.  

The old Empress Lilly becomes an old-fashioned gambling riverboat (as seen in the movie, 'Maverick').  The current balloon ascent is still there but redressed in late-19th century style.  There is a large, suspended, dirigible-based dark ride that takes riders above thought-to-be mythic locales (Bermuda Triangle, etc.).  Mystic Manor comes over from Hong Kong, and there is a hedge maze to go along with it.  

The beloved and missed Adventurers Club in enlarged and occupies the redressed Planet Hollywood building (giant, rotating, antique globe).

Ancient Babylon is the next land – a walled city of ziggurats and mythological adventures.  The Hanging Gardens (another park icon) house an exploratory adventure and fine dining, similar to TDS’s Fortress Explorations.
Artwork by

Beyond Babylon is Atlantis, the Fantasyland of the park, with several spinners and a coaster that is similar to Big Thunder in scope & intensity.  There is an extensive E-ticket dark ride adventure, as well.   The La Nouba theatre’s exterior is redressed to match the ruins of Atlantis and Cirque du Soleil produces a show that tells the history of the lost civilization.

The Secret Island is similar to the TDS equivalent, but with a shooter Sea Monster ride instead of 20,000K, an explorable Nautilus, and a play zone themed to Nemo’s lab.  A version of Journey to the Center of the Earth shares the park's volcano with the Paradise Harbor flume ride.  There is fine dining within an iron & glass domed restaurant.

The final land is almost entirely indoors (similar to TDS’ Mermaid Lagoon), providing a respite from the Florida heat.  It is themed to an enormous arctic ice cavern with a circlevision train-simulator, a family ice-luge coaster, an explorable cave system, etc.

Before & After ("Goodbye giant parking lots, hello theme park"):

So, there it is.  If you’d to discuss some of these ideas, or yours, the actual plans for Downtown Disney, etc., I’ll see you in the comments section.  And if you enjoy the work I’ve done and would like to see more, please take a second to comment.  Happy Thanksgiving!


megatron_85 said...

Perfect, I Always Knew That WDW Could Use An Version Of Disneysea

Great Job & An Happy Thanksgiving To You Too!

Alwax said...

I think this is one of your best parks; you can really see how you've thought about the layout and size and it really pays off. I can picture this park being real and working. It'd be a fantastic addition to the Florida lineup and a worthy competitor to IOA.

Makes me sad that its going to become something that the majority of WDW visitors probably won't even end up visiting. I hope to see a fifth gate soon, I think they could do a lot worse than something like this.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, sir.

Also, when are you going to show us this Middle Earth park? I'd love to see your ideas for that.

stitch101 said...

Spectacular yet again! Although, I personally don't mind Downtown Disney, as I always felt it acted as a nice transition from the "normal world" to the "Walt Disney World". But I guess everyone has their own different interpretations.

My favorite part of this park would have to be the Great White North area, as a indoor tundra area is something I always have wanted to see in a theme park.

I also love that you have a monorail going to this park and DHS, great idea. The monorail is something that should've always been expanded.

Michael said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Please show us the Middle Earth Park. Perhaps we should work together and try to bring it to Disney's attention so it, or something similar, can be built in Orlando to compete with Harry Potter.

Pablo Munoz said...

Is this true?? Is WDW really getting a Disney Sea?? If so I am going to move to Florida.

Disneyland California is getting left in the dust while Florida gets big expansions

Douglas said...

if this were real i would be pooped by the time i got to Babylon since when i went there i got as far as Planet Hollywood without seeing the stuff in west end. and just getting from the bus at Marketplace and walking to PH i was tired. and this is coming from someone who can walk all over the disneyland resort property without tiring once.

Anonymous said...

WoW nice job on the park, Turning DTD into a theme park is pretty clever idea and thanks again for posting WDW Magic Kingdom. Now could you PLEEEEAASSSSE post WDW Animal Kingdom Randy! I CANT WAIT ANYMORE!

Andrew said...

Another fantastic park. A completely different theme to a 5th gate than what I had thought of. Really like the fact that the DisneySea concept would head over to the States. I am not sure that Cirque would put on a free show to guests - or have I read into it wrong? In contrast to the above poster I don't think I would tire as the park is flowing and you don't go in and out of shops. Another thing I noticed was that you add hotels to most parks. I think this is great as it gives that land a vibe of reality ala Med harbour in DisneySea. All in all fantastic work and cannot wait to see what you produce next

Omegadiz said...

@ stitch101

there is a reason that the monorail hasnt been expanded. I belive the monorail system cost 3million/thousand/billion?(i forgot) a mile. Thats quite expensive

'RandySavage' said...

Thanks for leaving comments, everyone.


Alwax & Michael, I'll put up the Middle Earth park at some point in the future, there are few other pieces I'd like to present first.

Pablo, I draw my personal bluesky, limitless budget dreaming - Port Disney is not getting overlayed on Downtown Disney.

Douglas, there would be more walking than at the actual Disneyland, which is a wonderfully compact park (as a result of being limited by its berm and outside development). This park is about the same size as Magic Kingdom, but with more winding paths. Still, there would be less ground to cover on foot here than at EPCOT Center.

Andrew, Cirque could be a special add-on (at additional cost) with only 2-3 performances a day.

Stitch & Omegadiz, regarding the monorail: it makes sense that its expansion has been curtailed by extreme costs. I still believe it (an expanded monorail system covering the resort), is the single most important thing WDW could do to improve guest experience.

For me, taking the Monorail back to the hotel after a long, tiring day at a park is like icing on the cake - one final ride - and leaves me with a great feeling.

Squeezing onto a bus, by contrast, leaves me with not-so-great feelings.

Anonymous said...

Where would the parking lot be located? Would it be in a deck?

megatron_85 said...

when you'll be working on your PDF portollo would you put full listing of attractions, dining, shopping & entertainment locations just like Kermit's "Project Gemini" on there?

Robn said...

What about parking? Also what about several hotel buildings that can be seen from DtD and what's left of SSR? I know if one I'd like to demo but some I guess could be blocked by facades and attractions. Would SSR still operate but with less buildings? If it could be seen in the park would the theme of SSR not mesh with disneysea? Would SSR and OKW become the beach club and boardwalk of EPCOT? Nice ideas btw

RandySavage said...

Regarding parking:

In developing a resort wide Monorail Transit system, there has to be at least 1 (probably 2) addition Transportation & Ticket Center, we'll call them TTC-North (at MK), TTC-East (in the vicinity of this park) and maybe a TTC-West near Animal Kingdom. Centralized parking would be at these centers and a short monorail ride (no longer than it takes to get from the TTC to MK) would drop guests off at the gate of the park.

I would love to see the bland and ordinary "Official Hotels at Disney Village" all get razed, so that would free up some real estate.

Megatron, to me attractions (and really special restaurants) are the cake and everything else (parades, shopping, dining, streetmosphere, small live shows, etc.) is icing. Now icing is very important, essential even, but I'm a cake kind of guy, so attractions are the things I think about when drawing the plans (although I always leave room for retail, dining and facilities). As far as specifying details of the shops and restaurants, I'll leave that up to your imagination, just as long as they are in-theme, detailed, offer high-quality, unique, land-appropriate merchandise and healthy, great-tasting food.


Saratoga Springs could likely still operate, though with fewer rooms. There would also have to be some rules about ricocheting golf balls off the monorails on the 14th hole of the Buena Vista course.

The resorts that can currently access DTD via waterways would also enjoy special access to the park.

stitch101 said...

I was just wondering something, would you have the AMC Theaters be somewhere in your Walt Disney World? I just feel that having a movie theater in Walt Disney World adds something interesting to it for some reason.

Also, I forgot to mention this before, but my overall feeling of cloning DisneySea/Port Disney into multiple Disney resorts is mixed at best. Don't get me wrong, I think you did a really great job here, like with the Artic area as I said before, but cloning DisneySea just seems to hurt the Tokyo park and take away some of its special feeling. I understand that you are making each of them different and unique from eachother, but the fact that each of these DisneySea/Port Disney parks have the same theme of "sea" just hurts the Tokyo park. Having the Mysterious/Secret Island in all of them also really hurts what makes Tokyo DisneySea so special. But again, it's just how I see it.

RandySavage said...

Hey Stitch,

I would not include AMC theaters on WDW property, just as I wouldn't include many 3rd party entertainment venues like Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, etc., because, while they are fun experiences, they are not that unique anymore. I think the WDW experience should be as close to one-of-a-kind, out-of-the-ordinary as possible.

I'm also going to disagree with you on your TDS point. If I (and most of the people of Earth) were a globe-trotting, bilingual Japanese-speaking theme park enthusiast, you would have a point. But I believe it is impossible for a non-Japanese speaker to get the full TDS experience, as dialogue/narration to the rides is in Japanese. You or I (assuming you don't speak Japanese) could go there and we would marvel at the beauty and no doubt enjoy the park and attractions - probably love it, as is -, but without knowing what Nemo is saying, etc., we would be missing something essential. Therefore, we are barred from ever fully experiencing DisneySea (until we can proficiently understand Japanese). Why should that be?

Again, if DisneySea were in London, I would see your point, but I don't think that re-producing a sea-themed park for an audience that speaks a radically different language on the other side of the planet in anyway diminishes the uniqueness or 'specialness' of the original. I don't think the Japanese would mind/care one bit.

I appreciate your contrary points of view, though.

stitch101 said...

I now see your point, thanks for explaining all of that.

But still, there is one thing that bothers me: the fact that the Mysterious Island areas you have at the DisneySea/Port Disneys are different, it just makes no sense, since the area is based on just one location. With areas like Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, Tommorrowland, Arabian Coast, American Waterfront, and others, are places that make sense to have them be different from their various incarnations from around the globe, because it can be suggested that you are visiting alternate parts of these places (or alternate locations altogether that carry the same messages of these areas). But Mysterious Island is one location only, so it wouldn't make sense to have different attractions in each incarnation. Same thing with Mermaid Lagoon, it makes no sense to give Tokyo's a TLM dark ride but not give Anaheim's one, because King Triton's Castle is one place only, so it shouldn't be different. I'm not saying it's wrong to clone King Triton's Castle to Anaheim, all I'm saying is that it wouldn't make sense to clone it to Anaheim without it being an exact duplicate of Tokyo's version. However, I guess it's possible to explain Mysterious Island by saying that Captain Nemo has multiple islands that he uses.

As for AMC theaters, I think the reason why I am slightly partial to it is because it allows you to view Disney's newest releases while in Walt Disney World (or any other Disney resort), I don't know why, but there is something about that I enjoy. Perhaps Disney could build their own independent theater in their resorts (if that's possible), playing only their own new movies, and also playing some of their older movies (They could also play new and old releases from movie companies they own, such as Touchstone, Marvel Studios, and Pixar) I think this would add some kind of unique bonus feature to the resorts.

I'm sorry if I'm beginning to come off as bothersome or irritating, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts,

RandySavage said...

Not bothersome at all. I enjoy these discussions and hope the comment sections have more of them.

I see what you're saying about Mysterious Island and the "Bigger Picture".

In theme parks (as in movies), I like things to make sense. I am happy and willing to suspend disbelief - which movies and theme park require - but I enjoy it more if the subtleties and histories work.

So that part of me sort of agrees with what you are saying about multiple Mysterious Islands when there should only be one in the world. I've written about how I would like attractions/lands/parks to tie in and cover wider mythologies across the globe, that would be invisible to most, but would add to the enjoyment of those in the know.

However, to certain degree, I think if one starts to look too much into the backstories and try to make sense of it all the theme park madness in a real world context, it can hamper one's suspension of disbelief and shatter the illusion. Getting concerned about multiple Mysterious Islands at different parks around the world is moving a little bit toward that.

I think one way to solve it is to apply the same reasoning one would use in justifying that 1920s African Congo is next 1750s Pirates which is only 20 yards away from 1880s Frontier, or any of the other non-sequiturs that appear in theme parks: and that varies by individual.

RandySavage said...

And on your movie topic, I think having individual theaters (1 screen) at a few of the resorts showing Disney classics and new releases (the Contemporary used to have this, not sure if it still does) is the way to go. Also, the art nouveau Cinemagic theatre at the Studios could host large events, such as world premiers.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the need for multiple TTCs, do you have a WDW Resort layout that would show where they would be located? Love the site.

"RandySavage" said...

^ I do. But it involves moving a lot of things around (i.e. Swan & Dolphin are no longer behind World Showcase, they replace the Official Hotels at the village).

So my WDW Resort plan isn't really my "fix" of the actual place, but how I would have developed the property from 1971 to the present.

I'll post it at some point.

Anonymous said...

Disney's Hollywoodland:

15 sections of Hollywoodland.

Hollywood Blvd
Muppet Studios
Sunset Blvd
Pixar Place
Hollywood Pictures Backlot
Buena Vista Street
Disney Channel Backlot
Echo Lake
Maroon Studios
New York
Animation Courtyard
Toon Studio

Hollywood Blvd:
The Great Movie Ride
Red Car Line Trolley (Stops at Sunset Blvd, Hollywood Blvd, Buena Vista Street, Hollywood Backlot Pictures and Maroon Studios)
Hollywood Taxis Spin
Hollywood Airlines (Stops at Buena Vista Street, Hollywood Blvd, Pixar Place, New York, Marvelropolis, and Sunset Blvd)

Sunset Blvd:
The Twlight Zone: Tower of Terror
Rock N' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Hollywood Hills Amphitheater: Walt Disney's World of Color
Hollywood Autopia

Hollywood Backlot Pictures:
Superstar Limo
Behind the Special Effects
Backlot Studio Tour
Dick Tracy's Diamond Quest Show
Wild Wild West Stunt Show
NEW Superstar Television
The Adventures of Roger Rabbit

Buena Vista Street:
The History of Walt Disney
One Man's Dream
Mickey's Movieland
Oswald's Cartoon Journey Ride
Mickey's Madhouse

Muppet Studios:
Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3-D
The Muppet Movie Ride
Miss Piggy's Hollywood Ride
Pigs In Space Simulator Ride
Frozie Bear's Comedy Club
Muppet Motor Mania

Pixar Place / Carsland:
Monsters, Inc. Coaster
Toy Story Midway Mania
UP Ride
Finding Nemo submarine ride
It's Tough To Be A Bug
A Bugs Life's Playground
Radiator Springs Racers
Tow Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
Luigi's Roamin' Tires
Crush's Coaster

Disney Channel Backlot:
The Proud Family Ride
Phieras and Ferb 4D
Kim Possible: Hollywood Chase
High School Musical Show
Disney Channel Productions
Lilo and Stitch's Journey Into Space
Fish Hooks Puppet Show
Penny Proud's Hollywood
Mickey's Magic Carpet Ride
Disney Junior - Live on Stage!

Echo Lake:
Indiana Jones Stunt Show
Indiana Jones Adventure
Lucasfilm Cafe
Star Wars 4-D Show
Monster Sound Show

New York:
Dick Tracy's Crimestoppers
New York Musical: The Princess and the Frog
Subway Test
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
Police Chase Coaster
Ghostbusters Ride
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles LIVE!

Incredible Hulk Coaster
Doctor Doom's Fearfall
Storm Force Accelatron
Fantasic Four Ride
Marvel 4-D Show

Animation Courtyard / Toon Studio:
Disney's Aladdin, the Musical
The Magic of Disney Animation
Roger Rabbit's Toontown Spin Coaster
The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Voyage
Mickey's PhillarMagic 3D
Donald Duck's Boat Spin
A Goofy Movie Ride

Maroon Studios / Toontown:
Baby Herman's Runaway Baby Buggy Ride
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
The Toontown Transit
RollerCoaster Rabbit
Toontown Tower Hotel
Jolly Trolley (Downtown Toontown, tunnel to Toon Studio, and Mickey's Neighborhood)
Goofy's Sky School
Tom and Jerry Coaster
ACME Warehouse
Looney Tunes Adventure
Toon Motor Mania
Woody Woodpecker's Wacky Coaster
Popeye and Bluto's Rapid Adventure
DuckTales Ride
Dudley Do Right's Ripside Falls
Rocky and Bullwinkle Ride
Toontown Express Coaster
Mickey's House
Minnie's House
Goofy's House
Donald's Boat
Roger Rabbit's House
Daisy's House
The Ink and Paint Club

Anonymous said...

Resturants & Shops (Disney's Hollywoodland):

Hollywood Blvd:
The Brown Derby
Planet Hollywood
MGM Store
Oswald's Gas Service
Movie Time Shop
Airport Gift Shop
Hollywood Taxi Cafe
David Copperfield's Underground
Hollywood Tours Shop
Red Car Line Trolley Gift Shop

Sunset Blvd:
Terminal Bar & Grill
Hollywood Hotel Gift Shop
G-Force Records Shop
Walt Disney's World of Color Snack Bar
ACME Warehouse

Buena Vista Street:
Disney Cafe
Mickey's Magic Shop
Black and White Club
Walt Disney Land

Hollywood Backlot Pictures:
Gangster Club
Movie Backlot Store
Hollywood All Stars Cafe
Backlot Studio Tour Gift Shop
John Wayne's Gift Shop
Roger Rabbit's Hollywood
The Television Cafe

Muppet Studios:
The Muppet Shop
Kermit's Swamp Cafe
Miss Piggy's Beauty Shop
Gonzo's Pandemonium Pizza Parlor
Swedish Chef's Candy Shop

Pixar Place / Carsland:
Drive In Theater
Cozy Cone Motel
Al's Toy Barn
and more

Disney Channel Backlot:
Wizard Kelly's Basketball Cafe
Perry's Spy Lab Shop
Aquaium Stadium
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cafe & Shop
and more

Echo Lake:
Sci-Fi Drive In Theater
Lucasfilm Cafe
Universal Monsters Store
Star Wars Shop
Dino's Ice Cream

Animation Courtyard / Toon Studio:
Mickey's Popcorn Mania
The Animation Resturant
The Mermaid Lagoon
Aladdin's Ice Cream Palace
Toon Movie Store
Donald Duck's Cartoon Cafe
Roger Rabbit's Candy Factory

Maroon Studios / Toontown:
Toontown Depot
ACME Warehouse
The Toon Shop
Clarabelle Cow's Phone Company
Bugs Bunny's Carrot Place
Horace Horsecollar's Gym
Maroon Cartoon Productions
Toontown Cab Company
Toontown Natornal Bank
Bullwinkle's Corner
The Weasels's Hideout
The Ink and Paint Club
Porky's Eat & Out
Goofy's Gas Service
Maroon Studios Gift Shop
WACKY Radio Toontown
Mickey Mouse's Film Barn
Droopy's Hotel Shop
Toontown Cafe
Jessica Rabbit's Beauty Palace
Baby Herman's Rattle Shop
Roger Rabbit's Studio Store

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add House of Mouse resturant in Toontown at Disney's Hollywoodland, it will show alot of cartoons while you eat some foods. Disney characters would be on stage like: Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Minnie, Donald, Roger Rabbit or else.

Anonymous said...

Also, Mickey's Car Lesson ride will located in downtown Toontown in Disney's Hollywoodland.

Anonymous said...
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