Sunday, August 29, 2010

Paris - Resort

Ah, Paris.

A watershed moment for Disney Parks & Resorts - a brilliantly designed park and a financial disaster that would make the the Company trigger shy for every new park endeavor thereafter (excepting OLC-owned DisneySea).

In my idealized, built-out version of the resort (I will address the parks individually in later posts), there are three mega-theme parks: a plus-sized version of the existing Disneyland Paris, a completely unique version of DisneySea, and a park entirely dedicated to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.  There is also the canceled Lava Lagoon indoor-outdoor waterpark, a larger Disney Village and a different catalog of hotels that would have grown organically with the resort rather than over-abundance at opening.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Anaheim Disneyland

The front of the park sees the addition of the canceled Liberty Street (with a relocated Lincoln show) and Edison Square.  Edison Square has a smaller version (the show doesn’t need the capacity it had when it debuted)  of Carousel of Progress and an AA show of Hal Holbrook’s famous Mark Twain Tonight.  Holbrook would do his Twain impersonation for hours (he actually looked/sounded like the Twain AA from EPCOT’s American Adventure – check youtube), so this show cuts the performance up and randomizes it to enhance repeatability.  There is also an arcade to Liberty Street that allows guests to bypass the traffic on Main St during parades.

Adventureland hosts ‘Indiana Jones & the Lost Expedition’ – which has an indoor/outdoor EMV portion as well as a D-ticket mine car coaster.  The Jungle Cruise and Railroad convene with these attractions in a giant cavern, as seen in the famous Bryan Jowers artwork:

 In Frontierland, I moved the canoe and Tom Sawyer raft docks towards the old Nature's Wonderland area, away from NOSQ.  I moved the Haunted Mansion south to achieve better separation from Critter Country.  Critter Country gets the 'Country Bear 500' – a rickety go-cart version of Autopia.

 Discovery Bay is built mostly as planned – but without the Nautilus, which is across the promenade at Anaheim DisneySea.  

 Circusland also follows the model closely.  Toontown sees a 2nd dark ride themed to DuckTales - the showbuilding & queue are Scrooge Manor.  With Dumbo moved to Circusland, I’ve put Home Tree from Tinkerbell’s Pixie Hollow in its old location in Fantasyland.

Now things get controversial.  Matterhorn is a beloved ride and I appreciate that.  But with all these plans, my aim is attraction diversity among parks (particularly if they are in the same country).  My EPCOT’s World Showcase has a version of Matterhorn, so here the Matterhorn is transformed into the Lonely Mountain from The Hobbit.  The ride takes you through the dwarf caverns and past Smaug. 
artwork by David T. Wenzel
The monorail, submarines and Autopia are all removed to make way for a new land based on high fantasy – leaving fairy-tale, Disney-animated fantasy to Fantasyland.   This new land, marked by the Lonely Mountain, features a forest exploration zone (akin to Pirates Lair with many high-tech, interactive features), a mostly-indoor flume E-ticket (AA-heavy) and a kid-friendly dark ride.  I have added these types of high-fantasy lands to many of my magic-kingdom style parks, and what I envision is that they each form a piece of a grand mosaic – a world created for Disney theme parks but as broad and detailed as any of the major literary fantasy worlds.  And each of these high-fantasy lands and attractions inter-reference each other around the globe.   In essence, each of these lands would represent a book in a larger anthology.  The same would apply to my various Pirates of the Caribbean and other repeated attractions – rather than replicating each other from park to park, they build upon one another, creating ever-larger and more complex worlds. 

But I digress.

Tomorrowland features a shortened version of PeopleMover, the AstroOrbitor goes back on its pedestal (and loses the Discoveryland brass and widgets, but does not revert to the 1970 USA rockets – something closer to MK’s version).  

 The area in front of Space Mountain is broken up with landscaping and water to give it more life - the optimistic future presented in Tomorrowland combines high technology with preservation of nature (utopia vs. dystopia).  Tomorrowland's main new attraction is housed in a giant futuristic pyramid.  Called VenturePort it is Spaceship Earth meets Horizons (omnimover/simulator finale) built with the latest WDI technologies.  This is the Anaheim resort’s nod to WestCOT.
Art by John McCall

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Orlando - Universal Islands of Adventure

The first and biggest thing is that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not here.  While Potter is an incredible achievement in themed design, it came at the expense of two other great works (the Enchanted Oak Tavern & Dueling Dragons queue).  Without its 'Merlinwood' section, the Lost Continent is not really up to being its own island.  So,  I’m giving Potter bigger & better treatment at a new, third Universal franchise theme park, where the boy wizard will have several new rides & themed areas dedicated to him.

One thing I’ve tried to address at IOA is ride diversity.  So in islands with only family rides, I’ve added something for teens & adults and vice versa.  Seuss Landing gets How the Grinch Stole Christmas – a coaster similar to Big Thunder in size & intensity, entered through Who-ville and moving in and around Mt Crumpit.  There is a kid-friendly dark ride in Marvel Island based on the Super Hero Squad.

Closed attractions such as Island Skipper Tours & Triceratops Encounter are back.  The Lost Continent features the opening-day Poseidon show.  Dueling Dragons gets much more landscaping around the coaster tracks.  The coaster support beams are extensively themed to look like trees or castle ruins.  This is no longer a naked steel coaster.  Its classic queue is preserved.  I’ve added a rather larger & extensive, yet gentle, family dark ride based on the animated film Quest for Camelot (not sure who owns the rights).  It is a Disney-style fairy-tale that fits the Merlinwood theme.

Jurassic Park sees the addition the Helicop-Tours (above Isla Sorna, the back-up island from the 2nd book) attraction that was once planned.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Orlando - EPCOT Center World Showcase

World Showcase. In this ideal vision I went with the crazy notion that each World Showcase country should have at least one significant attraction. I positioned Mt Fuji and Matterhorn so as to balance out the view across the Lagoon – bookending the American showcase.

Canada has a river rapids ride, UK has a Thames boat ride and revolving Dickens AA show. France gets a French version of Soarin’ (still called ‘Impressions de France’) (Soarin’ is no longer at The Land). Morocco has a boat ride through the cool desert nights showcasing northern African/Berber folklore.

The journey to Mt Fuji begins in the existing but empty White Heron Castle. The queue/pre-show cover the history of Japan, then a high-speed transit system (Testtrack sled, which no longer exists in Future World) takes guests on a visceral tour of Japan (from samurai battles, fishing villages, ryokan to the modern economic and technological power of megalopolises like Tokyo).
Italy gets a dark ride (chariot vehicles) that retraces the Roman Empire, Switzerland brings an updated version of the Matterhorn (which no longer exists in my idealized Disneyland) and Germany has the canceled Rhine River Cruise.

Russia is based off the concept art featuring a show and a ride. China gets a traditional dragon coaster that travels atop the Great Wall, past various landmarks like the Dragon Teeth mountains and the Giant Buddha.

For the final Showcase lot, I first thought of equatorial Africa (represented in Animal Kingdom), India (heavily represented in AK’s Asia) and Brazil (represented in my AK’s Amazonia). With those off the table, I then considered Spain, with its rich pre-20th century history, but the lot is adjacent to Mexico and half of Mexico is dedicated to Spanish culture. Costa Rica overlaps with Mexico/Amazonia and UAE with the Arab-influenced Morocco.

I then thought about Greece as the final WS county and it seemed like the most logical choice. Greece was the foundational Western civilization and birthplace of democracy. Its classical period served to inspire Rome, which in turn influenced Europe, then Britain and finally the U.S.A. Classical Greece has been hugely influential for centuries, so here atop the Acropolis hill, sits the Parthenon. The lower areas feature the fanciful architecture of the Greek Islands. The ride is a stylized AA review of famous Greek myths.

Mumbai Disneyland

I code all my plans/projects by a different city name.  So this park is not tailored specifically for the Indian marketplace, although Mumbai (aka Bombay) is potentially a place Disney could set down after Shanghai, c. 2020.

This park was a lot of fun to draw.  I took some of my favorite themed areas from around the world and put them together in one park: 
1. Port of Entry from Islands of Adventure
2. Central Plaza from Magic Kingdom
3. Frontierland & Critter Country from Tokyo Disneyland
4. Adventureland & Fantasyland (including the castle) from Disneyland Paris
5. Fantasyland expansion from Magic Kingdom
6. Canceled New Tomorrowland (Sci-Fi City) from Tokyo Disneyland

I made various changes throughout (such as putting the fort at the entrance to Frontierland rather on Tom Sawyer Island).  Space Mountain is much larger thank Tokyo's - even bigger than Magic Kingdom's.   I also created my own land in the Northeast - a steampunkish place of mystery and menace.  The park's haunted mansion is here in the form of an abandoned, automated toy factory (thank you, Syberia).  

Adventureland is nicely expanded with a unique Indiana Jones Adventure and an E-ticket coaster themed to the Irian-Jaya tree villages (both were actually developed for Disneyland Paris by WDI).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Five Seas

In the real world, there is only one DisneySea.  In the size comparison below, the actual one in Tokyo is second from the left.  

As you can see, I had fun making the park ever bigger and badder for versions I did for Anaheim, Paris, Tokyo (plussed) and Mumbai.  I will get into these designs individually in later posts.

Orlando - Disney Studios

I've decided to use The Park Formerly Known As The Disney-MGM Studios as my inaugural piece.

This park was my favorite at one time (I was young; it was new), but as new areas were opened, it became a bit confusing to navigate - and many of the newer attractions didn't connect very well to each other or their wider environment.

Below, I've addressed these issues by applying the Disneyland formula to the park: distinctly-themed lands set in a hub-spoke-rim layout (click to enlarge).

There is the existing classic Hollywood area(Rock n Rollercoaster's G-Force Records is moved to the backlot) that blends easily into the classic 1930s New York area(with its Broadway Theater and Gangster shootout ride), which architecturally melds to the brickwork of Henson Studios.  The Hollywood area also transitions easily into the toonified Roger Rabbit Studios, which connects to the newer animated area, based on Pixar.  Each of these areas has a much needed mix of d-ticket family attractions (emphasis on rides) and E-ticket thrills.  

The Lucasfilm area features the Indy EMV ride system but in a new environment & story - the ruins of a cursed Scottish castle.  

A boulevard flanked by topiaries from the classic films,leads through an area dedicated to Walt Disney animation to the Fantasmic amphitheater.

In this re-imagined version, the Production Backlot is still a real, working studio (with A-list productions) - adding electricity and variation to the backlot tours.


I want to avoid getting too wordy in these Designer Notes, so I'll stop there.  If you have any comments about this Conceptual Site Plan, please post them.

Nine Kingdoms

Hi.  I've put this Blog together to share the conceptual site plans that I've created.   Below is a sample of my work (I know it's small -  I will be showcasing each of my 20+ parks in later posts).

If this kind of thing interests you, please leave a comment (I will respond) and come back often.

In the coming days/weeks I will be posting more theme park plans that I've created and I would love to hear your comments, input, suggestions for new parks or requests. Thanks for stopping by.

And please don't link or use these copyrighted drawings without permission.