Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Anaheim - California Adventure


  For me, one of the key problems with DCA - that I've tried to address here - is that it was built with little regard to sight-lines & visual intrusions.  I believe theme parks can be considered "great" when they successfully transport the visitor to an extraordinary place.   In order to do this, the first and most important task is to block from sight & mind the real world of cheap hotels, power lines, commercial buildings, etc. 

The biggest issue regarding DCA for me was how to handle Paradise Pier.  I don’t care much for the lightly-themed carny rides and hip-modern puns, signage & architecture of the original Pier, and I really don't like the lack of a berm which allows for many outside visual intrusions, particularly the Paradise Pier Hotel and Grand Californian DVC addition, in the Pier's wide vistas.  However, after studying many close-ups of the fully Victorian-ized Pier model (in the Bluesky Cellar), as well as the fine execution of the revamped sections (e.g., Midway Mania), I've come to believe that if given the full-budget treatment, the Idealized Turn-of-the-Century Boardwalk could work within a Tier I theme park.  It could - and should - be the equivalent of Main Street, U.S.A., but a waterfront midway.


You will note in my drawing that all the Victorian components are here: the new wooden buildings housing the queues for the carousel, ferris wheel and coaster, the new parachute drop, the new facades for the Pavilion area – all based on the model below (I understand that most of this much-needed placemaking has, unfortunately, been cut from the budget):
Photo from David Wallace's stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/david-wallace/sets/72157610368139836/with/3066890584/
Now, what to do about the outside intrusions.  One way to address is to build a berm.  Another is to build a thematically-appropriate hotel (e.g. MiraCosta in Tokyo DisneySea).  Here, in place of the razed Paradise Pier Hotel, I've added an expansive turn-of-the-century beach resort (based on those like the Del Coronado), with turrets and parapets that complement that which is within the park:

I did a quick photoshopping of the before & after view:

Unfortunately, at the Grand Californian, Disney built a very pedestrian (IMO) extension to the beautifully-designed original  building right up to the border of (and now looming over) the Paradise Garden area.  In my idealized vision, this DVC expansion never came to pass.  That area is given over to a major E-ticket dark ride, inspired by attractions like Mystic Manor & Haunted Mansion, which explores Gustav Tinkerschmidt’s mysterious, frightening & humorous funhouse & sideshow:

The next big issue was what to do about Carsland.  Part of me wanted to do something different with that land, because (i) Radiator Springs and the types of rock formations being built right now are not part of the California landscape (more AZ/UT), and (ii) it is limiting to theme an entire land to a single film franchise that has only indirect connections to CA (Pixar, Rt 66, etc.).  However, after seeing the extraordinary rockwork that has been done so far in that area, and realizing it can be fun to draw some areas that will actually be built, I decided to keep it (although I renamed it).  The only change is that I added the Drive-In Theatre restaurant that was cut from the plan:

Buena Vista Street is drawn as planned:

I drew the Grizzly Peak section of Golden State as depicted in the Disney Mountains book (i.e., Condor Flats has been incorporated and given a 1950s National Park/Forest overlay.  I would hope some AA bears could be added to Grizzly River, similar to the HKDL peak:

Hollywood sees some major changes.  The land is fully themed to the Golden Age Tinseltown of the 1940s, rather than revealing the set-like backsides of facades.  Monsters Inc and the adjacent unused show building are combined into a lengthy omnimover that takes riders past AA scenes of various genre classics (not repeating those films that are featured in the Great Movie Ride).  The Hyperion Theatre gets an indoor queue/lobby and a Pueblo Deco facade to complement the Tower of Terror:

The final themed zone replaces Bugsland and takes up the remaining sliver of unused land.  I was inspired by the La Brea Tar Pits to do a land on prehistoric California.  I’m a big fan of natural history museums, and that’s basically what this land is.  The Discovery Center is exactly that, with Deco architecture inspired by L.A.’s Griffith Observatory:

The major E-ticket in this area is an ice-age themed flume, with AA dire wolves, imperial mammoths and Shasta ground sloths that once inhabited California’s central valley:


***

So there you have it.   I think the above would be a worthy second gate to Disneyland.  Please take a minute to leave a comment.  Cheers!

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great map! You''ve stuck with a lot of the plans, which is a little less exciting, but i enjoy this vision nonetheless!

megatron_85 said...

great job!

hope you do tokyo disneyland next

stitch101 said...

Nice job with improving DCA, but there are still some things I still think should be changed around.

I would like it if all the characters are removed from Paradise Pier (Toy Story, Silly Symphonies, and Mermaid) as I feel that they conflict with the classic turn of the century boardwalk theme.

Another thing I would like is if that everything beyond the California Screamin' tracks were wiped out, with the exception of Golden Zephyr and the Swings. Zephyr would be moved and squeezed in right next to the Ferris Wheel, while the entrance for the swings is rerouted to be inside the Screamin' tracks.

I would also suggest to have the guest roadway behind Paradise Pier to be wiped out and replaced with a relocated backstage road. It would require moving around backstage space, but I think the Gustav Tinkerschmidt attraction could be placed in that backstage area.

The area where Mermaid, Paradise Garden, etc. once stood should be turned into a San Francisco area, featuring a Chinatown area, a Spanish area, and possibly a few other areas. Pacific Wharf and the Vinery would be a part of this new area. World of Color can remain, although I'd prefer if the show focused on the theme of California, but still including Disney/Pixar characters in certain parts.

For the Grizzly area, instead of using the turn of the century National Park theme, I would prefer this area be rethemed to reflect the Gold Rush era, with a new E-ticket in place of Redwood Creek.

I think everything else is pretty great, although a blue-skyish idea would be to buy out the land next to the Route 66 area and use it to expand the Route 66 area to focus on other parts of the route, just so Cars doesn't take up the land's whole theme.

Armchair Ashley said...

If you, check my blog (geminiseries.blogspot.com), you will see my ideas for Disney's California Adventure. Your ideas are great!

Anonymous said...

I like to suggest new Disney park named Disneyland New Jersey Resort.
Here's my list:
Disneyland New Jersey:
Main Street USA
Adventureland
Frontierland
Fantasyland
Tomorrowland
New Orleans Square
Mickeyland
Toy Story Playland

Walt Disney Studios:
Hollywood Blvd
Buena Vista Street
Maroon Studios
Muppet Studios
Echo Lake
Mickey's Movieland
Carsland
Pixar Place
Toontown
Hollywood Backlot Pictures
Toon Studios
Streets of America
World of Color area

Disney's New Jersey Adventure:
Boardwalk
New York City
McGuire AFB
Garden State
Atlantic City
Sandy Hook
Mickey's Beach Town
Point Pleasant Beach
Jersey Shore

How's my new plans, Randy?

Anonymous said...

Walt Disney Studios (fixed):
Hollywood Blvd
Buena Vista Street
Maroon Studios
Muppet Studios
Echo Lake
Mickey's Movieland
Carsland
Pixar Place
Toontown
Hollywood Backlot Pictures
Toon Studios
Streets of America
World of Color area
Sunset Blvd

Armchair Ashley said...

I'm afraid your Ice Age flume ride may be too similar to the Jurassic Park ride as Universal Studios Hollywood just an hour away.

RandySavage said...

Some interesting ideas on what to add/change. Thanks for the comments!

megatron_85 said...

besides tokyo disneyland, what other theme parks are you planning to put up soon?

Anonymous said...

Randy, will you do Disneyland New Jersey Resort soon?

stitch101 said...

Another thing I forgot to mention was that I also think that the park should have a show that focuses on California, sort of like Golden Dreams or the unbuilt Circle of Hands attraction.

Although this is also another blue sky idea, (since it has been said that Grizzly Peak can't support an attraction built inside of it) I would like to see a railroad built around the Grizzly area like what was originally considered.

'RandySavage' said...

Disney's New Jersey Adventure... that could be a fun one to try down the road. Will give it some thought.

***

Early April will probably see an original park.

Alwax said...

Looking forward to the original park, hope its Middle Earth! I'm always fascinated to see your original ideas. I especially like the Dark Kingdom.

RandySavage said...

^Alwax, I'm afraid your Middle Earth Park expectations are so high it may end up disappointing. Either way, don't think that I'm ignoring your requests, but there are still some refinements/adjustments to make to the plan.

There's also a bit of not wanting to 'play all my aces' early (many of the original park drawings which I think are my best have not been seen or discussed yet). It's a matter of building up to a crescendo.

If you liked the Dark Kingdom, I think you'll appreciate the upcoming park.

Alwax said...

As a musician, I do enjoy a good build up. I eagerly look forward to seeing your personally top-rated parks.

I don't think I'll be disappointed; most of all I'm just interested to see what aspects you include and how you imagine them coming to life. I think the big difference between any Tolkien style park or themed area and The Wizarding World of HP is that Hogsmeade, while superbly executed, was easily achievable as a theme park land because its essentially a small village filled with shops and eateries. Almost anything from Middle Earth would be a greater challenge to realise, without compromising some of the integrity. As a big Terry Pratchett fan I've always felt a Discworld park or land would interesting. I did have my hopes up for a while when it looked like Musker and Clements were going to make Mort, but alas, 'tis no more.

But yes, excited for the next park. Also, forgot to say how much I like the prehistoric California idea. It'd bring a nice bit of variety to the park and compliment the Dino-Valley section of the Railroad next door.

RandySavage said...

Alwax,

You're right in that Tolkien's Middle Earth - particularly LOTR - is not as readily transferable to a what is expected in a Disney theme park (unlike other big franchises such as Potter, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc). There are couple reasons for this - one being that it is a more somber world with death/loss/passing being a (the) major theme of the trilogy.

The park I drew is not like a standard park with a mix of spinners, C-,D- dark rides, shows, etc. It has a few lengthy e-ticket rides but is mainly an experiential place, with the living landscape (particularly big old trees) playing a major role in order transport visitors to ME and let them - literally - follow in the footsteps of the adventurers featured in The Hobbit & LotR...

Much more when I one day get to posting it... (waiting for The Hobbit teaser trailer)

stitch101 said...

Randy, as long as we're talking about California, have you ever considered doing an ideal version of Universal Studios Hollywood? I think that the park has huge potential to be better.

Pablo Munoz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pablo Munoz said...

Are you going to make a Disneyland Dubai?

There was a forum post I read back in 2005.

http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6271&page=1

May give you some ideas.

RandySavage said...

Stitch, I would definitely consider it. I know almost nothing about USH. What would you do with the park?

Pablo, not sure Disney was ever very close to joining the Dubai party (that ended in 2008), but I've already drawn a Dubai Disneyland, a Dubai DisneySea and a Dubai Animal Kingdom, two of which were once posted here but I took down because I did some major reworking of the drawings. One day they will probably re-appear...

stitch101 said...

Well, one thing I would do would be to completely reorganize the park, as the park right now has an obvious "randomly thrown together" feel. My ideas would be to upgrade the park and make it on par with USF.

The entrance to the park would remain the same. This area would simply be called "Hollywood". Not sure what to do with the House of Horrors walk-through.

I would also remove and relocate the Gibson Amphitheater (I believe that this has been in the plans for a long time). In the space Gibson used to occupy, I would have a sci-fi area, with E.T., relocated T2:3D, relocated BTTF, and the upcoming Transformers attraction. Waterworld would also be a part of this area.

The area around the Studio Tour entrance would become a "Universal Plaza" area. In the former location of BTTF, I would place a thrill ride that focuses on Universal's history of film, from the beginning to now. The Special Effects Stages attraction would be located where Curious George and Shrek 4-D are. Backdraft would share the same building as Special Effects Stages like before. Animal Actors would remain in its current spot. "The Universal Experience" walk-through that's located in the Lower Lot would be relocated into this Universal Plaza. A new show would take the place of Fear Factor, possibly the Beetlejuice/Monsters Rock and Roll show. The Studio Tour entrance would remain in place.

The Lower Lot would become a "Adventure Zone". Jurassic Park would remain, Revenge of the Mummy would also remain, but get rethemed to reflect an Egyptian temple. Some new attraction would go where Backdraft used to be.

The area where Terminator 2 used to be would be wiped out and turned into a "Cartooniversal" area (Mel's Diner would be relocated to the "Hollywood" area, however) The Nickelodeon Blast Zone would go where the "Coke Soak" area is right now. A show that used to be at the park, (It was located where Shrek 4-D is now) called "Totally Nickelodeon!" would take up a portion of T2:3D's former spot. To differentiate from Florida, there would be a Shrek dark ride rather than Shrek 4-D. The dark ride would take up the remaining former T2:3D space. To also be different from Florida, the unbuilt Simpsons simulator themed as a bus ride would be here as well, in place of the entire Wild West area, as well as the Flintstones Midway Area. Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster would be squeezed into this "Cartooniversal" area as well. Although it depends on if there is any room left, I would like it if the Casper attraction planned for IoA could find a home here.

That's all I have for right now.

Mouse Wizard said...

I have to say, it may well be possible to fit a decent ride currently where Mullholand Madness is. If the parade route is move to the other side of jumping jellyfish, and the kitchen for the restaurants i moved underground and have more than one seating level, than there may well be enough space to fit a good ride even with the expansion of the Grand Californian, though, they could have made it more architecturally appropriate for being on that side of DCA. Just my two cents.