Friday, November 5, 2010

Worlds of Wonder


Lately, I’ve been drawing a number of plans for Disneyland-style parks (i.e. based on yesterday, fantasy, and tomorrow) that steer away – in layout & content – from the traditional, existing parks, while retaining the ‘Disney’ spirit.  This park, which I’ve called Walt Disney’s Worlds of Wonder, is big – over twice the acreage of the original Disneyland – and I imagine it would best fit in Europe (perhaps in place of EuroDisneyland or as potential second gate).  To change things up, I've gone with the Central Lagoon layout as opposed to the Hub & Spoke, and each land represents a different time period and geography.  

The entrance land is Hollywood – a 1930s recreation of art deco, golden age L.A., similar to what exists in Orlando’s MGM, but on a larger, more urban scale.   On the west is the Chinese Theatre (same size as at MGM for scale) housing an attraction akin to the Great Movie Ride but showcasing an entirely new set of classic films (e.g., Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Ghostbusters, Predator, etc.) within a similar genre-by-genre context.  A red car trolley travels the boulevards.  

There is an Autopia attraction featuring famous filmic cars (i.e., The Batmobile, Herbie, Chitty Bang Bang, Delorean, etc.).  At the other end of Sunset is the Hollywood Tower Hotel – the early, never built incarnation.  Theatres and exhibits round out the land’s attractions. 
 The next land going clockwise is Pointe d’Aventure – which covers the many great French (his)stories from the 18th & 19th centuries.   The Napoleonic era, one of my favorite periods, features in a few of the attractions.  His Majesty’s Dragon is a major coaster on the lagoon (track supports are disguised as ships’ masts over water, trees over land) based on the Temeraire stories.  The dragon trains dive among a naval battle between French & English man-o-wars.   

 The Paris Opera House is the basis for the central theatrical presentation, possibly an abbreviated version of Phantom of the Opera musical.   A building based on the original Palais Royale houses an AA dark ride themed to the “The Three Musketeers” (book, not film(s)).  A canal boat ride takes guests on a slow, yet ominous, journey through the famed sewers and catacombs of Paris.  Napoleon’s War College is a mountaintop, interactive walkthrough adventure (a la DaVinci Code) – following the clues left by the Emperor regarding his death/disappearance and the vast treasures he hid.  The biggest ride in the land is the super flume designed like the Chateau d’If and letting guests experience the adventure of “The Count of Monte Cristo” (book, not film(s)).
On the opposite side of the park axis from Pointe d’Aventure, is a land representing the other great European power (oft-feuding) that helped to shape much of western civilization over the past millennium: Britannia.  Like its French counterpart, there is an urban (London/Paris) section and more rural section.  Unlike the French side, however, this British area features some lighter, Disney-based attractions, such as Mary Poppins & 101 Dalmatians dark rides.  It also has some darker subject matter, such as League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens (all original interpretations, i.e., not based on films).  On the city square (patterned on the Union Jack), the Globe Theatre houses abbreviated, comical versions of several of The Bard’s famous plays – starring perhaps the Muppets or Disney characters in AA form. 
Growing up, my favorite Disney film, by far, was “Bedknobs & Broomsticks.”  As London gives way to the rural village of Pepperinge Eye, the ruins of the castle rising on a hillside beyond mark an elaborate dark ride (aboard beds, of course) that follows the adventures of Eglantine Pryce & Professor Emelius Brown.  The rural section is also home to a dark ride (LPS) themed to the Wind and the Willows (show building is Toad Hall).   On the point, sitting atop the White Cliffs, is a fine dining venue featuring poisoned dragon’s liver.

Bedknobs & Broomsticks is set during World War II, which is eases the transition to City of Heroes, as the first area encountered is a WWII-era military base where Steve Rogers is being transformed into Captain America (EMV ride) to battle Red Skull & HYDRA.  

Beyond is a 20th C. American cityscape where guests can experience an aerial stunt show based on Spiderman (under a paned dome modeled on the original Penn Station’s ceiling).   There is a diner that has been ripped out of its original location and deposited here (as seen in the Dubai Marvel theme park concept art).  A standing coaster is based on the Silver Surfer (not the film) and there is a spinner themed to The Incredibles.  The final attraction uses IOA’s Spiderman technology and centers on the X-Men (Xavier’s School being the show building). 

Galaxyland – based on adventures in space or future cities – sits at the top of the park.  It is here where the park’s central icon is, not a castle, but a 300ft, needle-nosed Galaxy Tower (an observation deck themed as futuristic launching pad).  There is a Tron simulator (each guests boards his/her own lightcycle), a suspended dark ride marked by the space docks from Treasure Planet, and a dueling indoor coaster, among other attractions.

The final land, Enchanted Forest, is based on medieval fairy tales (mostly Disney).  While the transition from Pionte d’Aventure features a lengthy, indoor flume based on the French/Disney tale of Sleeping Beauty, the Germans also get some representation here with a Rapunzel spinner (swings attached to her hair) and a Snow White Seven Dwarfs coaster.  The Fairy Ring amphitheatre features live productions and is marked by Stonehenge-like earthworks.

I’ve written a lot so I’ll stop there and continue discussing it in the comments section if anyone has anything to say.  Aside from Megatron85, my most loyal reader, I’m not sure if I’m “talking” to thin air in these posts, so please take a second to leave a comment.   The more comments I get, the more frequently I will put up new theme park plans and artwork.


megatron_85 said...

there's only one word that could describe this: WOW!!!

One More Thing: Thanks for calling me "your most loyal reader"

"RandySavage" said...

Hah! Thanks ^ You've earned the title.

Omegadiz said...

I check this blog every 3 days haha!

Andrew said...

This is awesome. Love that you have incorporated the Heroes theme; as well as (in my eyes) expanded Britain and France from Epcot (from being fairly dormant with little to no rides) and expanded them to include attractions from films based around them. This park is awesome. I take it that this is Disneyland Paris' 3rd gate?

On a side note, I would still love to see the expanded monorail link at WDW as well as the 5th gate you said you would create :D Oh and I do visit your site often but don't post much if at all

Andrew said...

Sorry for the double post but was on Mice Chat for the first time today and noticed a post by you illustrating ideas you have for the future. These included a 5th gate, Disney's America and Disney taking over Coney Island. Woah, I would really love to see these ideas :D

Joel said...

Keep dreaming, I like the results.

megatron_85 said...

i love to see those too, andrew as well as disneysea paris but i thought disneyland paris resort's 3rd gate was based upon middle earth

Andrew said...

@megatron_85 Oh yeah that is the third park, just with RS saying that this could be incorporated into Disneyland Paris/EuroDisney, I thought that this would be in that complex. My bad :) Randy mentioned that Europe would be the best fit for this park so I assumed that it would be here!

'RandySavage' said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Andrew, don't worry about double posting... the more the merrier.

To answer the questions:

Most of the the parks I've drawn are not location specific(although a few are: for example, I put a Chinese history-/fantasy-land in my Shanghai DL).

As I noted in the narrative, because of the two lands that are based on France & Britain, this park could fit nicely in Marne-La-Vallee. At the same time, I would like to see it in someplace warmer. For my own organizational purposes, I've labeled it Barcelona (the original alternative to Paris for EuroDisney), because, yes, I've already drawn 3 major theme parks for the Paris locale (the third being based on Tolkien).

Also, Worlds of Wonder has bits of Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and the the Studios all rolled into one, so it would could work as a stand alone park (also due to its large size (2x Magic Kingdom))in a smaller market.


Regarding requests and my pipeline... I have lots of stuff to share (the ones mentioned and many others) and look forward to doing so as time marches on.

Mouseketeer Cole said...

Hey! I'm another reader that checks your blog every few days and love the stuff you put up! I was just thinking yesterday it had been a little while since a new post, lol.

My first reaction was to the Napoleonic land: I cannot overstate how much I love this idea. When amateur Imagineering is frustratingly dominated by rehashing the same ideas again and again, this is something amazingly unique that I've never come across before, and the infusion of fantasy elements with dragons weaving through billowing sailing ships is just a wonderful combination. What an amazing idea!

On top of that, I love the touches like the Union Jack square, the Treasure Planet attraction (how magical would it be to see those starfields in person?!), and the Incredibles spinner ;).

As for criticisms, I'm not entirely convinced by the direction of the park as a whole, it kind of feels like two parks forced together, on one side being Point D'Aventure, Enchanted Forest and Rule Britannia with their Old World vibe, and then Hollywood, Galaxyland and City of Heroes on the other being much more modern. I'm not sure they gel well together, especially with 'Worlds of Wonder' being a very tenuous way of linking things together. I wonder whether you could explore the Old World elements further and save the others for a seperate park, therefore giving the whole park a shared theme. Perhaps instead of Galaxyland, you could have a sailpunk version of Tomorrowland, bringing the Treasure Planet element to the entire land.

I think some of the nomenclature you've used might need some work, although I realise you've used a lot of placeholder stuff for the time being. Specifically I'm refering to Rule Britannia, which seems odd that it uses a phrase as its title rather than an actual place name like all the others, and I'm also not too fond of Galaxyland (kinda clumsy, just like alternatives such as 'Spaceland' or 'Astroland' -I think that's the genius of 'Tomorrowland- and also the -land suffix doesn't seem to work with the rest of the land names). Pointe d'Aventure I think is fantastic as a name though.

One Hundred and One Dalmations ride, Sleeping Beauty ride, jetpack spinner, Sherlock Holmes ride, 'Wind in the Willows' as opposed to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - LOVE all of these inclusions.

Not sure about the Rapunzel waveswinger (wouldn't it be dominated by just TOO MUCH hair?? I think it might look weird..), and then there are also possible criticisms about the viability of say Bedknobs and Broomsticks beyond one attraction with it not having much wider public appreciation, but like you say its your personal favorite!

I think this is a park that would do well with some redrafting and cutting. There's a lot to do and that's not always a good thing - it's beginning to encrouch on 'heaviness' (the French catacomb boats for example; are there really that many sights and events that could be included in this that warrants its own ride rather than being part of one of the other Pointe d'Aventure attractions?). Reduce the budget by 50%, get rid of the familiar things that are still in there (as you say it has elements of Epcot, MK and DHS - you don't need them!), and have the confidence to push the new ideas even more dramatically would be my advice.

Oh! And nothing for Gulliver's Travels? It feels like a ride based around that would fit perfectly into your park!

Please don't think I'm disparaging this - I think it's awesome or I wouldn't have spent the time contributing! I just hope I can provide some constructive feedback on the things I think you could tune up - overall, I think you've hit on a really amazing and promising concept.

'RandySavage' said...

Hey, Cole!

I very much appreciate your detailed comments. Glad you noted your Incredibles spinner in there.

I agree with a couple of your criticisms. Using a phrase rather than a place name (Britannia) is an excellent point and something I will change.

Regarding Old World & New World in the same park, I feel that that is a staple of the Disneyland style and what makes the park more interesting (rather than having all pre-Industrial vs. all post-Industrial). Nothing wrong with doing all Old or all New, I just don't believe it hurts this park.

I find it interesting - and have had this discussion in a couple of commentaries - that a number of people, including Eddie Sotto, see a common, overarching theme in Disneyland. I do not. To me, DL is an arbitrary assembly of themed areas that has been around so long, been under so many permutations and been so successful that it's become its own theme (Yesterday, Tomorrow, Fantasy (an umbrella which could cover almost any land).

I think there is a place for both unified-themed parks (e.g., Animal Kingdom: animals. DisneySea: the sea. Studios: film. DCA: california) and arbitrarily themed parks (IoA, Disneyland). This one would be the latter.

Covering a couple of your other points...
-I often use basic attraction names as placeholders, as they are easily changed.
-However, the drawings themselves cannot be edited that easily - like animated films - the editing is done in pre-production and it is a process to make major changes once they are laid out.
-Bloat. Definitely a fair criticism. But then I love to walk and I like big theme parks. In my minds eye every pathway contains imagineered surprises and wonderful little details. In this bluesky world, all these parks are the kind you can visit scores of times and always notices something new - something which can't be easily translated in a conceptual site plan.
-I have a Gulliver's Travels (book, not film!) indoor flume in at least one other park I've drawn - it should go up on the site at some point.


I will certainly keep your comments in mind as I work on future parks.

stitch101 said...

Excellent job here! Had this been built instead of the Disneyland Paris Park, there probably never would have been the cultural backlash.

Anonymous said...

you did an AMAZING job on this park! great job Randy, by the way could you please post WDW magic kingdom or WDW animal kingdom because I really want to see what you done.

'RandySavage' said...

Thank you, Stitch, anon & Ryan for leaving comments.

There should be another site plan up by Friday.

Ryan said...

Hi, could you please delete my previous comment? I accidentally included my last name.

Thank you!

Mark said...

I have to say, this is your best park yet. I've been reading for a while, just never commenting, but this is honestly one of the best ideas for a new park I've ever seen.

It's got so much potential, and is like a combo of everything. I like the separate sections for France and UK (or Britain), and how they incorporate different Disney movies into them.

RandySavage said...

Mark, glad you like the park and thanks for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I am checking this blog using the phone and this appears to be kind of odd. Thought you'd wish to know. This is a great write-up nevertheless, did not mess that up.

- David

cjayy said...

how do you draw your plans for the park please send message back