Thursday, October 21, 2010

Orlando - Universal Studios Florida

A good portion of the ideas for this re-assembly & expansion of USF came from IdealBuildout reader MagicLamp. 

As with my idealized MGM, this park is still a working film & television studio - with production taking place daily.

In Production Central, I've brought back some of the old exhibits, like the legendary star/filmmaker tribute and Stage 54 preview center.  There is no HRRR coaster, but I did replace the Bone Yard with the Amphitheater.  Shrek moves to old Xena theater and a dark ride version of Hanna-Barbera sits across from animated simulator Jimmy Neutron:

In New York, the iconic Kongfrontation still stands and Ghostbusters, one of my favorite movies, gets an updated treatment:

Since Beetlejuice has moved (more on that later), its theater is now used for some other live show.

In Expo Center we begin to see some major re-arranging.  Hidden by trees from Amity village, the HQ of Cyberdyne Systems is a bland, ordinary office park building (like in the film) - harboring an apocalyptic secret:

E.T. Adventure is transplanted to a more appropriate location between Men in Black and Back to the Future (still there).  Next to E.T. is another Spielberg sci-fi monument: a restaurant in the form of the mothership from Close Encounters of the Third Kind:

Next is Horrowood - an area for monsters, ghosts, etc.   It hosts a transplanted Beetlejuice show and a restaurant modeled on the old Bates Motel:

There is a dark ride based on The Simpsons Halloween specials, Treehouse of Horror (another idea of MagicLamp's).

 Before Potter, Universal was going to build a kuka ride based on the Van Helsing franchise.  Despite the film tanking, the concept (of a vampire slayer fighting all the classic Universal monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, etc.) is great for a Universal park.  The exterior queue is a Transylvanian village and the show building is Dracula's castle:

Revenge of the Mummy is themed to a 1930s dig (not a film set) and dressed as it is in Singapore:

The final land, Hollywood, sees a relocated SFX show featuring Twister... Ride it Out (or possibly Backdraft).  I've also place now extinct Alfred Hitchcock show here - a master deserves representation.  As I'm writing this I realize I forgot to relocate the Horror Make-Up Show to the Horror area... and there isn't room for it at the moment.  I will try to get to amending the site plan in the future.


So there it is.  I understand that rides like Back to the Future, Kongfrontation, etc. were showing their age.  Still, I believe some rides achieve classic status and ought to be tenured - having their technology regularly updated while keeping the essence of the ride intact - particularly when (i) the successor is inferior or (ii) there is room for expansion without removing a favorite.  After all, part of the fun of theme parks is nostalgia.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Mumbai DisneySea

Portofino Harbor – Similar to its real-world TDS counterpart, Portofino Harbor contains elements of Venice, the Italian Riviera & Tuscany, with heavier influence of hill towns. 

DaVinci’s Workshop is a Mystic Manor-like experience involving the inventions and secrets of Leonardo:

artwork by Chris Ocampo

The Grand Circle line has boats themed to each harbor, as originally imagined by Hani El-Masri (
Mermaid Lagoon, is based on two Disney films, The Little Mermaid & Peter Pan.   The spinners are unique from TDS.  One is a carousel and the other is this WDI-concept of a Dumbo-like Sealife Spinner that would create the illusion of riders being under water (I imagine dry-for-wet bubbles would go up in the panes of glass):

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I like to take an established attraction and give it a new twist.  Here there is Mermaid Mountain, which is a flume version (Splash Mtn scale) of TLM story:

The island at the center of the land is based on Peter Pan’s Neverland (with an emphasis on mermaids).

Like TDS, the central hub port is Jules Verne-based and located within a rocky caldera (with adjacent volcano), a thrill EMV with coaster-like dips & curves, and an exploratory lab. 

 Outside the Caldera is a Barbary Coast-like area that is home to the Park’s iconic centerpiece.  In the first stages of its development the central icon of TDS was a somewhat forbidding-looking lighthouse, with a twisting shoot coming out of it – perhaps some kind of gyroball coaster.  Here the Lighthouse rises above the park:

The Lost Delta region is home to a family boat ride, a Mayan dinosaur adventure loosely based on this Alain Litaye concept (, and a rainforest rollercoaster themed on the winged snake of Meso-American mythology (Raging Spirits on steroids):

Glacier Bay features an indoor ice-caverns section similar to TDS’s Mermaid Lagoon with an assortment of rides for kids. 

 There is a version of Expedition Everest, as well as Marc Davis’ never built Snow Palace.

The Pacifica Discovery Center has an aquarium, simulator and spinner.

There is a next-gen circlevision presentation similar to that in Niagara Falls (with water effects and seamless screens:

 The final port, Big City Waterfront, is based on 1928 New York & Chicago - very distinct from 1915 New York (the setting for TDS’s port).  The buildings are taller, the cars are faster, Art Deco is everywhere and America is in the heady days of its arĂȘte. 

There is a tower freefall, an EMV gangster shootout, a broadway theatre, Muppets dark ride, and in place of transatlantic passenger ship there is an explorable battleship. 

Dining venues include an adventurers club and waterfront power plant.


I often imagine a spectacular birds-eye concept rendering (maybe one day I’ll be able to create them) of my re-designed or newly-birthed theme parks.  Well, in this case, one exists, and it was in the recently-published WDI book.  Working backwards from this painting (and using a lot of artistic license) is how I created the site plan for this park:

Friday, October 1, 2010

Your Park Featured Here

As armchair imagineers, we often have dream parks (or attractions or lands or resorts) in our heads, but, frustratingly, time, artistic or technology restraints keep us from creating visual representations of those dreams. 

Drawing, drafting & illustrating are at the heart of imagineering.  Words, written descriptions can only take the idea so far (remember the old truism of a picture equaling 1,000 words).

Maybe I can help.

For instance, this rough sketch was by posted on MiceChat by Mr.HatboxGhost.  It shows his ideas (layout and attractions) for a Disneyland-style park in Texas. 

I was able to convert his sketch into an actual-scale conceptual site plan:

The grounds in front of the Georgian-style Independence Hotel are based on the manicured landscape of Colonial Williamsburg:

The site plan shows the Star Tour facade to be based on the Endor Landing platform, complete with AT-AT:


So, if any readers out there have attraction/park site plans or layouts that they would like to see converted to my style and featured on this site, shoot me an email.