INTRO: My goal in this conceptual plan was to somehow transform WDSP into a world-class theme park that would equal or surpass its sister park (DLP, a masterpiece of Imagineering) in scale, imagination and ambition.
My first decision was to do away with the Studios as the underlying theme for the park. While I think the Studios theme can work in some places, in many cases (particularly WDSP) it has been used as a crutch to house attractions in lightly themed “soundstages”, create facades with visible, unfinished back-sides, and have ugly administrative buildings in plain view of on-show areas. These things do not equate to a highly compelling environment. However, for practical, real-world purposes, I decided to keep some of the major existing attractions (Tower of Terror, RocknRollercoaster, Cinemagique, Crush’s Coaster, etc.) where they are and design the park around them.
ICON: I wanted a unique Icon for this park, comparable to the Chateau, Tree of Life, Spaceship Earth, etc. However, since the 200ft tall Tower of Terror dominates the lower left of the park, I knew the central Icon should be smaller in scale. What I ended up with is The Forgotten Portal: an upright stone disc (think StarGate) of unknown origin engraved in strange markings, with a smooth curtain of water falling constantly across its opening (thus, a portal). The Portal, about 90 feet (nine-stories) in diameter, sits on a lush island, in a circular pool, atop a rocky plinth with waterfalls descending from it. It is otherworldly, with special fx projected on the falling water’s surface. It also rotates slowly at about 1 revolution per hour, and when it faces a certain land, the projections subtly could reflect that land’s theme. For the night-time lagoon show, the Portal rotates to face the center of the viewing area and is part of the show.
Thus, the working name of the park is “Disney’s Forgotten Portal”, and it is designed to include a nice mix of attractions and shows, based on original and established material, with themes that compliment Disneyland Paris (and skew a little more to the teen, adult demographic).
HOLLYWOOD: The opening land is classic (1930s/1940s) Tinseltown with all the trimmings. Studio One is transformed into Hollywood Boulevard. There is a Red Line trolley, a Great Movie Moments AA omnimover (with Chinese Theatre façade), a posh Sunset Club for drinks and dining. Cinemagique’s exterior is redressed to one of the over-the-top movie palaces of that golden era.
PIXAR PLACE: Here are a few of the last vestiges of the original WDSP. I would like to see all Pixar removed from DLP (Woody out of Frontierland, Buzz out of Discoveryland). That park will feature Disney animation and this one will feature Pixar. The Aladdin Carpet spinner is re-themed to A Bug’s Life. Animagique becomes Toy Story: The Musical. Ratatouille is put in as planned. The large, unsightly costume building is replaced with a major suspended dark ride based on Up (with the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ emerging from its hangar). Toy Story Playland is replaced with a viewing area for the nighttime spectacular.
CYFY CITY: Since DLP features a past-oriented Vernean-style Discoveryland, this park features a more future-looking take on Tomorrowland (neon billboards, androids, holograms, etc.). RocknRollercoaster is converted to a Tron attraction (I imagine this would be pretty feasible – re-theming the trains into Tron-like vehicles and creating light trails throughout the interior Grid). I put in a family dark ride featuring the Disney characters (Space Mickey) as well as a Jetpack spinner and future-themed version of the Luigin Flyin Tires attraction underway at DCA.
MARVEL UNIVERSE: This land has a web-slinging Spiderman E-ticket as well as a morphing coaster based on Dr. Doom, which, like Revenge of the Mummy, has significant dark-ride portions. There is a major X-Men stunt show and a play area for kids.
ADVENTURE BAY: This land, an outgrowth of the Adventureland concept, has a number of distinct, yet complimentary segments. There is Forgotten Isle, which is home to the Portal, a retail & dining bazaar district based on Timbuktu/Zanzibar, an area themed to the ruins of Atlantis that is home to a major walkthrough SFX presentation, Asian & African sections with a major tree-top coaster and flume themed to The Lion King (Splash Mountain). The final area is based on the Ponce de Leon/Age of Exploration Era and features the something akin to the elaborate and canceled “Journey to Paradise” boat attraction once planned for Las Vegas.
CASTLEVANIA: The name of this land and its attractions are more placeholders (copied from the Castlevania universe), but if you are familiar with Castlevania, Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Van Helsing, you get the idea. It is a gothic Transylvanian castle town (echoes of Mont St. Michel) with Dracula’s castle cresting the rocky mount. Ostensibly set in the 19th century, filled with half-terrified inhabitants, the state-of-the-art orignal attractions here feature the kind of mythology you’d expect from the aforementioned stories (vampires, wolfmen, mad scientists, giant spiders, gypsy witches, vampire-hunters, etc.).
So there it is: WDSP can be fixed. All it needs is about 4 billion euros. Calling Prince Al-Waleed…
Comments are appreciated.