Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dark Kingdom

While the timing for this conceptual site plan should have been nearer to Halloween rather than Christmas, here it goes…

As long as there have been rumors for a Fifth Gate for Walt Disney Word, there has been this idea of the Villains Park, aka Shadowlands, Dark Kingdom, etc.  Having never come across a scrap of concept art (or word from an insider) for such a park, I have to wonder if this concept has ever been anything more than an internet myth.  I know (with jealous wonder) that there are thousands upon thousands of pieces of artwork, models and park/attraction/land concepts locked away in WDI’s Morgue that have never been part of public knowledge or discourse, so perhaps it is a real concept. 

My approach to this idea was to look at typical Disneyland-style park and take the flip (or dark) side of each land, i.e., Toontown Fair becomes an evil circus, Tomorrowland becomes a dark techno-metropolis, the iconic princess castle is replaced with a wicked witch's castle, etc.

The opening land and in-park resort hotel are inspired by the Haunted Mansion, Addams Family, Munsters and other 19th & early 20th century tropes of the haunted house/horror-genre.   Imagine staying in a super-sized version of the Haunted Mansion as your Disney resort.

Rather than a narrow main boulevard as the opening land's design, I've opted for a rolling cemetery, dotted with ancient dead oak trees and overgrown mausoleums: a morbid version of DAK’s Oasis.  At night, a light show allows spirits to rise skyward from the grave.

A “ghost train” encircles the park, with plenty of surprises.
Artwork by

Ravenhearst Manor (placeholder name) is a new “haunted mansion” designed to terrify more than amuse. 

Whenever playing the game, I’ve always imagined exploring the all the rooms of the Clue mansion: the billiard room, the conservatory, etc.  Here there is a guided, interactive walking mystery adventure, where small groups try discover whodunit.  Colonel Mustard with the Wrench in the Kitchen?

The eastern section of this first land land pays homage to Frontierland.  Thunderhawk Hills is a coaster with next-gen fx giving life to wrathful Native American spirits.

The centerpiece of the park is very large, craggy mountain.  Set into the front of this mountain, guarded by a labyrinth of spiny thickets, is Maleficent’s castle, which is fully explorable (Disney heroes & heroines locked in the dungeons).   It marks the land of Disney villains, with a signature & lengthy flume ride featuring an alliance of baddies. 

The fantastic “Twisted Princesses” artwork by Jeffrey Thomas is the inspiration for a dark ride based on such a concept.
Art by

There is an exploration trail and an Ursula spinner (intense).  A dark ride based on Epic Mickey (in which the setting, Wasteland, has some similarities with this Dark Kingdom) is the final attraction in land.

Tomorrowland has become Dystopia - a towering, grimy, neon, nature-less city based on those of Bladerunner, Aliens, Fifth Element, etc..   Skybridges, metros, blinking holographic billboards make this an overwhelming and chaotic place.

There is a next-generation Laser Tag-like experience that emulates the battles of James Cameron’s ‘Aliens’: as a Colonial Marine, you are equipped a gun, flak jacket, helmet, etc., and then go hunting… or get hunted.  

The land features a number of big, original E-ticket attractions (coaster, scoop, EMV shooter) that explore various dark sci-fi adventures: out of control cyborgs, pan-galactic warfare, and a ride alongside the future’s version of Hell’s Angels: 

For me, clowns, carnivals & circuses have always been a source of terror.   Here, the evil traveling, tented circus takes everything that scared me as a child and amplifies it.  There is an elaborate AA freakshow, a large rickety Ferris wheel and other spinners.  

Psycho Circus is a dark ride featuring crazed clowns.  Tunnel of Terror is a twisted version of the classic fairground Tunnel of Love. 

Adventureland is represented by Cutthroat Cove, a dark pirate port.  There is a Captain Hook dark ride to transition from the animated Fantasyland and another elaborate dark ride inspired by the nicely-designed-but-canceled Armada of the Damned game set in the PotC universe.  

There would also be a walkthrough of Blackbeard's Queen Anne’s Revenge from the forthcoming film.

The final land is based on the DragonDale (non-animated, high fantasy land) mythos that I’ve proposed for many of my parks across the globe.  It incorporates the darker elements of that world, including an AA prison for evil creatures, a Dragon coaster, goblin mine coaster and flume ride:


Your thoughts - please leave a comment, start a discussion, ask a question, and have a Merry Christmas!


stitch101 said...

Really, REALLY, outstanding job. Sounds like a park that would even scare me a little, lol. So what resort would you want this park to be in?

Also, in a way, your park suddenly struck me with some inspiration. Have you ever thought about doing a dark version of Universal Studios? Because I have a massive load of ideas for that if you would like to hear them.

Douglas said...

this is awsome. though if it were real parents would complain left and right about it 'traumitizing' their children. i'd think for real life they could put a restrition by having an age limit to protect the children from their parents idiocy.

surprised that they canceled that Pirates game. was looking forward to it. guess i'll just be happy with the lego game.

love how you included the twisted princesses. for the Maleficent Castle they could market it as a year-round haunted house like the House of Horrors.

Stitch101, that'd be cool having a studio park overrun with the horrors and killers of various films. one section could be the universal monsters while another could have haddonfield, elm street, crystal lake, the ship from Alien, and every other monster made availible in films.

Andrew said...

Truly fantastic job. This park sounds like an epic in the making. I loved the Laser Tag version of Cameron's "Aliens" and the PotC section of the park. I always thought that it could be expanded from more than just a ride.

An idea I have been toying around with was a Heroes vs Villains Park making it less spooky for the younger audience (that circus area would really spook me out :D) But in any case this park is fantastic.

Have a fantastic Christmas everyone!!!

Stitch101 said...

I just noticed the map says Mumbai, so never mind my first question.

Jeff said...

This is an amazing concept. I love the idea of a villains version of the Disneyland we know and love. It's as if the villains had taken control of the park and made it a dark place. I especially like the idea of Dystopia because it is the opposite of Tomorrowland's philosophy of showcasing a bright future. Maleficent's castle would look outstanding and it's a good idea to have the good guys locked up in the dungeon. A possible photo opportunity? Ravenhearst Manor is a brilliant idea since the Haunted Mansion is, like you said, more to amuse than scare. I can imagine what the Ghost Train would be like with a bunch of scary surprises around every corner. I can imagine a dark Fantasyland taking a hint from dark fantasy books like Lord of the Rings and Eragon. I'm kinda edgy on the Twisted Princess ride because it kinda defames those Disney characters, so I'm not sure people would buy it. The evil circus is neat and I'm particularly fond of the Rickety Ferris Wheel, probably cause the ferris wheels at carnivals tend to freak me out. I almost always like the idea of having resorts in the parks. The haunted hotel could be loaded with interactive features to make the place come to life, or better yet, afterlife. Ha ha! The pirate land is a good interpretation of Adventureland. I am a fan of the Native American ghost ride in the dark Frontierland. It helps that there are so many ghost stories about the ghosts of Native Americans and such. Overall the park sounds like a scary place. This is an outstanding concept and I would definitely visit this place, but I don't see how anything like this would work in real life. Parents who are stupid enough to take their kids would probably get mad, the target audience is too specific, and your concept is too scary to be something Disney would do. Despite those problems, you've got something pretty special here. Disney could pull some neat ideas from your concept.

"RandySavage" said...

Appreciate the comments.

Stitch, I added a horror/monster section to my Universal Studios Orlando park, but I haven't thought about an entire park dedicated to such material. Feel free to expound on your ideas.

And I placed this park in Mumbai b/c neither of my other parks there had a Haunted Mansion attraction.


As a couple people pointed out, there are a number of real world viability issues with a "dark" Disney park. Maybe kids that would be ill-effected could be kept out with a MPAA-like rating system.

Another thing is that such a park would look best at night and in drizzle/fog (like all the posted art), rather than bright, welcoming sunlight - but top quality design and execution on the micro(building/detail)-level could alleviate that to a degree.

stitch101 said...

Well, the ideas I had in mind for a horror Universal park would not be just a park for Universal's horror movie legacy, but rather both horror movies and other types of horror.

The park would mainly feature elements from Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, as I feel that the event gives really good theme, story, and scares to be a theme park of its own.

The park would have attractions based on many of the haunted houses and scarezones featured in Horror Nights. Some attractions I thought of include:

Project Evilution: Twisted version of Jurassic Park. Genetic experiments gone horribly wrong, creating gruesome dinosaur-human hybrids.
Psychoscareapy: Inmates who have taken over the Shady Brook asylum.
Frightanic: Evil ship.
War of the Living Dead: Zombie nazis and zombie American soldiers in a literally never-ending battle.
Dungeon of Terror: Typical roadside haunt gone wrong.
The Skoolhouse: Insane children taking over their school.
Body Collectors: Self-explanatory, I guess.
Leave it to Cleaver: Fast food place that uses human meat for their ingredients
The Spawning: Mysterious creatures hiding in the sewers.
Legendary Truth: Paranormal Investigators that are checking out a supposedly haunted location.
Hotel Hell: Evil hotel.

and several others that I guess I will elaborate on later.

I would also have the park include the icons and "almost-icons" from Halloween Horror Nights in the park: The Director, The Caretaker, The Storyteller, Jack the Clown, Cindy/SINdy, Eddie Sawyer, and the Usher. Each of them would get their own attraction.

Another thing I would include in the park would be, of course horror villains from movies, like Dracula, Frankenstein, Mummy, Wolfman, Norman Bates, Stephen King creations, Chucky, Freddy, Leatherface, Jason, Cryptkeeper, and Michael Myers, among others.

Finally, another idea I had was a kuka arm ride featuring evil/zombified/or whatever clones of Nicktoon characters (from past and present Nicktoons). At the same time, the real good versions of these characters are trying to help you escape while they attempt to stop these mysterious and horrific creations from taking over their worlds (this thus sends the riders throughout the ride into the worlds of different Nicktoons, as they are being terrorized). Although the source material is weird to use for a kuka arm ride, I believe it could work since a ton of extra thrill is added by the story I described. Plus, I think the Nicktoon characters are something that would be very interesting to see in a macabre fashion, sort of like what you did with the Princesses at your park.

That covers it for right now. I'll post more later and also will describe and organize my ideas better.

Omegadiz said...

While this park seems interesting...something just doesnt fit. A lot of the fantasy elements that are dark could actually go into an Shadowland expansion in the Magic Kingdom rather than its own park...Also, i believe the park would be deemed too scary by guest that arent in the teen demogaphic and that would result in..Alien Encounter... another thing that slighly bugs me is : Durring the halloween season, what new content would be added and how will MK compete with that.

Epic Mickey has a good story and id love to see that in the parks, however im sure soething along those lines would be a better replacement for WDW Fantasmic as its a good story and will introduce guest to more Dinsey characters. As for the wasteland, that idea could be added to One Man's Dream.

Tours of the Haunted Mantion is an interesting idea for MK to add.

An the distopian tomorrow land would actually do well in TL as like "the other side of town" or "the wrong side of the tracks"

Dont get me wrong, i do like the Idea

megatron_85 said...

great idea

sorry i was a little too late

megatron_85 said...

randy, did you taken your holiday break?

sam said...

Twisted Princesses seems a bit too much. But you did a fantastic job!

I'm working on my own park right now. The layout and atmosphere of the lands will be completely different from the other parks.
When it's finished I will send it to you.

"RandySavage" said...

^ Cool, Sam. Look forward to seeing it!

sam said...

Unfortunately, i am not good at making maps. What do you need in order to make a map?