Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Virginia - Disney's American Experience

I’m excited to share this vision of an American history theme park.  A while back I drew a version of Disney’s actual planned park for northern Virginia, but I was unsatisfied with its very light attraction line-up.

Enter Cody Schlottmann, with whom I’ve collaborated previously, with an awesome vision for a much more ambitious take on the American theme park idea.  Below is his hand drawn layout of “Disney’s American Experience.” 

From his drawing, I made some alterations and additions, put things in scale and drafted a conceptual site plan of my interpretation of the park:

The American Experience park takes visitors on a chronological and inspirational journey through of 200+ years of our history.  I enjoy the idea of an American theme park so much that I put together a little video slide-show to promote it (listen/watch as you continue reading):

LIBERTYVILLE (1750-1820): This is the Colonial/Revolutionary War-themed land – an expansive take on Liberty Square with authentic shops (like a blacksmith, silversmith, printing press, etc.), a fife & drum parade and a pair of family dark rides.  There is a re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party, as well.

THE NEW WORLD (1600-1810): This area begins in the giant eastern forests with an Indian Village that has various crafts as well as canoes.  The mountainous pine forests of the western frontier mark the Lewis & Clark River Expedition.  Beyond the rapids are expansive trails that lead to various live, wild animal paddocks (a mini-zoo).  The barriers are designed to be invisible or natural, so guests feel that they are in the presence of bison, grizzlies, elk, etc.

DIXIELAND (1812-1860): This land represents Antebellum South & Midwest… the worlds of Tom Sawyer, Uncle Remus, etc.  There is the more genteel section with the Riverboat dinner show and the Haunted Plantation of the Gracie Family and the more back-woods/moonshine area of the Country Bears.

FORT HENRY (1855-1870): This area is dedicated to the Civil War, its causes & aftermath.  Land battles are re-enacted as is the Monitor vs the Merrimack.  Mr. Lincoln AA show finds a home here alongside a Circlevision presentation that puts visitors in the middle of the major battles.

ENTERPRISE (1870-1912): This land represents America’s growth into an industrial giant.  The main thrill ride is Industrial Revolution, through a spark-spewing steel-mill.  An elevated rail takes guests to New York.

THE BIG APPLE (1880-1929): Representing America’s electric metropolis in its golden age.  The main E-ticket is a Cops vs. Robbers chase.  Another family dark ride features Scrooge McDuck – a New York mogul of the period.  The forced perspective Statue of Liberty sits in the Bay and is used as a backdrop for night time spectaculars.

ELLIS ISLAND (1900-1940): Focusing on the immigrant story, the Island features a comedic Muppet presentation as well as more somber shows.

COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS (1920-1950): This midway area is themed to the nostalgic era when County Fairs were clean, wholesome fun and the big event of the Summer for many rural areas.

THE AMERICAN FARM (1940-       ): I envision this area to be a working farm, supplying food for the parks finer restaurants.  There is a dark-ride on the history of American farming, as well as a light, family musical boat ride based on Old MacDonald.

VICTORY FIELD (1940-1945): This land represents American mobilization and action during World War II.  There is a Radar Station in the rocky pass at the northern approach to the land.  The southern entrance is marked by a Guardhouse.   The airfield has B-24 Liberator bombers and P-51 fighters on the tarmac.  I added the spectacular 4-D show called “Beyond All Boundaries” currently featured at the National WWII Museum.   I also thought of an attraction where one boards his own mini-tank and drive around shooting shells (like tennis balls) at targets, other tanks, bunkers, etc.  People on the outside can man gun positions and shoot at the tanks as well.  There is GI obstacle course (playzone) and a USO stage for music & comedy.  WWII-era Captain America is the star of E+ EMV adventure.

THE NEXT FRONTIER (1960-    ): The final land, bringing the visitor full circle, represents America’s achievements in technology – particularly Aeropsace – in the last half of the 20th Century today.  The Space Pavilion was inspired by Tim Delaney’s artwork.  There is also viewing here for a Golden Dreams nightly fireworks/fountains/laser show, with the Statue of Liberty & New York as the backdrop.


Thanks, Cody, for coming up with a great vision and letting me interpret it. 


blinkereye123 said...

Simply stunning. But i must ask, where is the music from?

Thanks. Peace.

megatron_85 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
megatron_85 said...

that was better than "Disney's america"

there's hoping that you come up with an Disney NYC Park

oh, i'm sorry typed that first message that due to an typo i'm glad i fixed it

Alwax said...

What a truly amazing vision. Congrats guys, this is one of the best I've seen on here. It's almost Epcotian (that's right) in scope. Perfect balance between fantastic sounding attractions and educational exhibits. Big too. I think this would be the western park Disney needs to build to bring faith back to the disaffected.

Wonderful vision, Cody, fantastically realised, SWW.

Mr. Zahta said...

What a great project! Congrats!

SWW said...

^Thanks for the comments.

blinkereye, the music is from the opening scene of "Glory"

Alwax, you're right that the park is about equal to EPCOT in size (which equates to the original DL+DCA)... so it is a big park... comfortable footwear recommended.

Anonymous said...

Randy will do next his plans:
First: Disneyland New York
Second: Disney-Warner Bros. Studios Backlot *Tokyo Disney Resort* (my request)
Third: Disneyland UK
Fourth: DisneySEA Paris
Five: Disneyland New Jersey
Six: Warner Bros. Movie World (California)
Seven: Walt Disney Studios *Hong Kong Disneyland*
Eight: Disney's Toontown *Walt Disney World*
Nine: Disneyland Germany
Ten: Disneyland Russia

Andrew said...

Guys, amazing work. Even being a non-American I would love to visit this patriotic park and even shed a tear watching the video.

I agree with megatron to see a NYC park, but whatever you have in the pipeline I'm sure it will be awesome.

Thanks for Sharing Cody and SWW :)

comics101 said...

Thanks so much for the kind comments everyone! This park was really fun to work on and I'm glad everyone enjoyed it so much! And thank you Randy for interpreting it!

Here's a quick question for everyone: when you guys say a NYC Park, are you envisioning a boutique resort? Like with maybe two boutique parks, maybe 2 or 3 hotels, and a Downtown Disney? I know must are usually against boutique parks but I just can't imagine a whole park in New York (mostly cuz of the taxes :P hahaha)

Anonymous said...


SWW said...

I'm not sure if people are imagining a park themed to New York City itself, but what I have in mind would qualify as a boutique park... It's a multi-level, indoor-outdoor mini-Disneyland (recognizable themes, new attractions) on the 15-acre Pier 40 of Manhattan's lower west side. The City has been trying to find someone to create a public recreation & commercial space for the Pier, but developers have been coming & going for many years.

It's a challenge to draw because of the tiny footprint and multiple levels. It will take some time.

comics101 said...

Yeah that's kinda what I imagined. Either that, or something along the lines of Central Park...with hotels and shopping surounding the park areas, located in the middle. Not sure how that would work though. I also don't know that building a park about New York in New York would be all that great an idea...that's kind of the problem I have with DCA, theme parks should take you to far away, distant places...If I wanna see California, and I'm in California, I'll probably just travel California. That's just my two cents though lol not sure what it's worth.

Andrew said...

Yes a boutique styled park. I feel that the USA only needs two fully fledged resorts -WDW and DLR. Mini-escapes like the resort in Hawaii or National Harbour are great for Disney fans to still have the service and magic but spread throughout the country.

A Disney Boutique park in NYC, I feel would be very cool and be part of the tourist circuit in the city. I really don't want to see a DCA clone of NYC. That would just be idiotic.

Anonymous said...


Magic Lamp said...

@Anonymous: Please stop pestering SWW with that same old request, it's rrrrude.

I must say, I feared a patriotic park would be too much of a turn off (for me) but I must say, this one captures the right spirit. The layout, the selected "themes" and the overal feel make this worth a visit - even for a foreigner. Great work!

As for the boutique park, I would more like to see how you would handle the S.S. Disney, the floating Disneyland...

SWW said...

^The Disney-WB Backlot request is becoming something of a tradition... I'm afraid someone's head might explode if I ever get to drawing it...

Douglas said...

kinda neat. my least favorite thing is the civil war reenactment since i don't care for those things but the rest is nice for an american history park.

Sam said...

for a Dutchman like myself, it's really hard to enjoy such over-patriotic things as American Adventure. What I like about this park, that it doesn't portray America as THE most glorious country,which it isn't and has never been, but also shows it's bad sides and doesn't romanticize history.

Sam said...

In addition, this is a park that could really do well in Europe, regarding the overall fascination for the New World here in Europe. Love the Dixieland section, it has exactly the things that EuroDisney lacks!

Anonymous said...

SWW, can you draw Disney-WB Studios Backlot (Tokyo Disney Resort) and send it to Randy please?

Sam said...

^ I wonder if, if the're was no Anonymous option, You would post so much, just STOP okay!?

Andrew said...

@Anon SWW IS Randy. Look at the top left of his buildouts.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Randy. Would you do my request now?

Sam said...

^ sigh...

SWW aka "Randy" said...

To the Tokyo Disney-WB Backlot Studios Theme Park(TDWBBSTP)Dude"

Here is the final answer regarding my drawing your park request (which I've written before). I won't be drawing it anytime soon for the following reasons:

1. I've already drawn & posted at least four parks that draw on the Studios theme - and combined those parks contain about everything in your extensive wishlist (if I remember correctly) for the TDWBBSTP (e.g. Maroon Studios, Pixar Pl., Harry Potter, etc.). Drafting these plans takes a very large amount of time and effort - I can't draft one in an evening (it takes weeks). So I'd prefer to focus my efforts on things that I haven't done before.

2. If I'm drafting another person's park - it is much harder to form a picture from a detailed written descriptions without any drawing. It is impossible to do anything from a list. So you can't simply list lands and attractions and expect me to draft a park plan. That will never, ever happen. Picture = 1,000 words. Look what Cody did with the American park drawing - that is something I understand and easily work with. I encourage you to do the same.

3. To reiterate: To request a park to be drawn, you must draw it first. This will take some time at first, but you get out of something exactly what you put into it. So you have to make the effort.

I feel like I've said all this before, so this is the last time I will respond to your requests.

To everyone else who seems to be getting annoyed by these endless requests, I understand the annoyance but don't sweat it (I don't), just ignore.

- SWW aka "RandySavage"

ooooh yeeee-aaah

Alwax said...

Well handled, Mach

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

Another incredible design, however I have to note the missing Wild West area that would seem to fit in perfectly here. I seem to recall one article or another by Jim Hill where he talked about a PotC style Wild West ride that'd fit in perfectly, too. Either way, excellent design.

Colin said...

home on the range ride maybe?