Sunday, January 8, 2012

Contest Winner

Time to announce the winner of the inaugural Ideal Buildout Design Contest.

First, thanks to all of you who entered the contest.   There were a number of very cool concepts, and I hope you enjoyed the experience of drawing your park.   

The following entries contained some great & original concepts for theme parks. 
    MYTHICA, by Daniel B.

Over the coming months, I will try to convert a number of these entries into my style of conceptual site plan and then share all the details here. 

The winner of the contest is Timothy F., who created a greatly-expanded version of WDW’s Studios park.  Not only did Timothy create an accurately-scaled site plan, but he built a model of his entire park in SketchUp.  While some of the original ideas/concepts among the Honorable Mentions were on par with those of the winner, Timothy’s presentation efforts (full 3-D model, scaled site plan) put him in First Place.  

What follows is his presentation (which is quite long, so you may want to grab a cup of tea and get comfortable):

And here is the link to the full, 59-pic album of his model:


"The Studios has lost its basic theme over the years. What started as a cohesive if small park is now just a jumble of themes. There are really two paths the studios could take, completely drop the studios and just feature movie worlds like the plan posted on here recently, or fully embrace the studio and restore the original idea, of a working studio park that displays and celebrates the idea of Hollywood. My plan goes in the latter direction. This will become a park that puts the guest right in the idea of Hollywood, showing the lifestyle, the products, and most importantly, the process of making the Hollywood that is so idolized and romanticized in culture.

Before describing each area, I have some notes about the above site plan. Its created with an 8 color system, with a color for buildings (blue), on stage area (light grey), backstage area (medium grey), areas with trees or dense vegetation (dark green), areas of grass and light vegetation (light green), water (light blue), and expansion areas (dark grey). The plan is as accurate as possible, with google earth being used as reference whenever possible. New attractions were based on existing buildings and are of approximately the same size as similar rides. Backstage areas are also approximately accurate. I probably took too much in some areas, but overall, similar backstage space exists, so this park could ideally function.

Getting to the Park
    This park will receive a Monorail station, and will be connected to Animal Kingdom on a new line. This line will run through a new central transportation hub to the west of EPCOT, so guests can transfer to the other line with MK and EPCOT. 
  The Main entrance road will be rebuilt. It will now be elevated with a backstage road running underneath it. A new ticketing gate will also be built that will serve the main entrance traffic as well as the traffic from the smaller side entrance. The exit will remain the same.

Hollywood Boulevard
    The biggest change is that the hat is removed, and placed outside the park at the edge of the water. The concrete pedestal of the hat is converted into a stage where daily performances take place. In the approximate area where One Man’s Dream is now, a Studio information center is built where guests can learn about the shoots taking place in the studio. Trolley tracks will be inset into Hollywood Boulevard, connecting to the new tracks on Sunset Boulevard. Also a trolley stop will be built at the corner of the two streets.

The Great Movie Ride will be renovated to add new scenes, representing movies like Star Wars, James Bond, Gone with the Wind, and Vertigo, giving a more comprehensive overview of movie genres.

The building with Hollywood and Vine and 50s Prime Time Café will be grouped into this land, as with the street in front of these that will be formed by the changes in Echo Lake. Across from 50s Prime Time Café, the American Academy of Film Museum will be built which will have exhibits of movie history.

New York (Echo Lake) 
This area will see a lot of change. In the land strapped Studios, having a water feature that takes up that much space just isn’t possible. This area will be replaced by a romanticized New York area, based in the early black and white film days, heavy in film noir references. The current American Idol Experience will have a New York façade built in front of it to hide the studio theming. The area of the former entrance building will become an underground jazz club filled with references to “The Jazz Singer,” the first movie with talking sequences. The actual American Idol theater will home to a Broadway style theater, presenting a musical production in the style of the classic musicals like Singing in the Rain. 
Overview of the New York area. The former American Idol theater is on the right, and Hollywood and Vine is to the Left. This also shows the new parade path.

Across the street from this area, the gritty underground New York of classic film noir will be represented by a dark and narrow side street that is under a dark elevated train track. On this street, there will be a small Irish Pub that could easily be under the control of the mob, and a private detectives agency, serving as the entrance to a film noir attraction. This will be a dark ride based attraction, with heavy use of physical sets and projections to create the film noir mood. The queue through the office will set up the idea that you are shadowing a private detective while a new case comes in. You follow him through the dark streets as he searches for the answers, ending in a dark and abandoned warehouse, which will be recreated as the exit area and gift shop. These streets will be lined with small shops and interactive areas supporting the romanticized New York setting.

This change will also reroute the parade. It will now start at the gate next to 50s Prime Time Café and travel up the main New York Street past the Film Museum and the new ice cream stand to the Chinese Theater courtyard and then back down Hollywood Boulevard.
Both Indiana Jones stunt show and the new attraction put in the current Sounds Dangerous theater will now be part of the new Lucas Studios, and their entrances will be relocated to this area.

Lucas Studios 
A new entrance to Indiana Jones will be built on its right side, featuring many more props and vehicles from the film as well as a new store. The Backlot Express will be re-themed as the Lucas Archives Café, featuring props and costumes from his films. The former Sounds dangerous theater will become an indoor Jedi Training Academy, where a more interactive and higher tech show can be presented. Outside the theater will be a X Wing Fighter spinner along with an actual X wing recreation. On the new path leading to the new backlot, there will be a recreation of the Mos Eisly Cantina as well as a large new Star Wars store. Also on this path will be a THX studios soundstage where guests see how important sound is to the movies they love, even getting a chance to record sound tracks to famous scenes.  This area will have more walk-around characters from the Lucas world. 
The new Jedi Training Academy building, with the X wing and new spinner attraction to the left.

Sunset Boulevard  
Major changes happen here. New side streets are created and this area becomes much more open with two grassed park like areas. These parks will be able to feature musicians, such as a jazz quartet, or other street performers, like the Citizens of Hollywood. Also working trolley tracks will be installed throughout this area. The Beauty and the Beast Theater will be enclosed and a new façade built, now be themed as an old movie house. I was tempted to just put Aladdin in this theater, but then I thought about the other great musical that could go here. I couldn’t decide on just one, so this plan has 3 musicals, Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules, running concurrently with a different one being presented each day. This is possible, as it is done on the Disney cruise line, where 5 or more musicals run in the same theater with the same casts. All three of these musicals would be done at as high a quality as Aladdin, with similar lengths and production scales. 

A new indoor quick service is built on the north side of the boulevard along with a few new shops. On the second floor of this new building will be the premier club for Hollywood Studios, called the Hollywood Club. Accessed through a side door in the alley, the club will be accessed by elevator like the original club 33 and will have windows looking out onto Sunset Boulevard and the Tower of Terror. My plans have a premier club in all 4 parks, with members having access to all 4.
The new counter service and park square. The Hollywood Club  will be on the second floor of the new building on the left.Add caption

The Rockin’ Roller Coaster courtyard will be reduced in size due to the new streets and the gate with the guitar neck track will be moved backwards. The lot next to the show building will be used to build a new music themed square. The biggest addition will be a large Hard Rock Café restaurant. This restaurant will also include an auditorium that can hold large separate ticket concerts. Next door, there will be a new store built that will only sell music. Inside the store, there will be an interactive multimedia show about music hosted by the owner of the music shop. This area will also be home to live musicians, including the relocated Mulch, Sweat, and Shears. The trolley tracks will pass through a tunnel by the Hard Rock Café, leading to the new trolley barn built next to Rockin’ Roller Coaster.
The new music subland.

One of the new streets jutting off of Sunset Boulevard will be themed to an urban Toontown, based in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In this land, there will be a trolley station, a meet and greet with Mickey and friends in his Toontown apartment, and an interactive show similar to the former Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, where guests can talk to their favorite toons and some new characters too.  There will also be a small café on the toon square. The main attraction here will be Benny’s Runaway Cabs, a fast paced dark ride traveling through and above the streets of Toontown.

Toontown and the Animation building will be connected by an enclosed bridge over the backstage road.
The Toontown circle with the showbuilding for Benny's Runaway Cabs to the back left. The track will go across the three bridges over the street as it goes through the showscenes. The bottom center building has the Toontalk attraction.

Animation Courtyard 
The building holding the Little Mermaid show will be removed. Playhouse Disney will be removed and replaced by Mickey’s Philharmagic. The Animation building will again be home to actual animators, although not a full production team’s worth. A semicircular statuary courtyard featuring groundbreaking characters surrounds the new sorcerer’s hat entrance, modeled off the Disney Animation Building in Anaheim. The new building is home to a dark ride based on classic animation, a carousel of Disney characters surrounded by a continually changing projected landscape, and the restaurant, Animators Palate.
Mickey's Philharmagic on the right, the Animation building featuring the tour on the right, the carousel at the center behind the hat, and the dark ride to the left in the raised section.

Pixar Place 
In the former stage where Prince Caspian was, a new Pizza Planet will be placed, completing the Toy Story themed area. Between that and Toy Story Midway Mania, a new street will lead to the back of the land.

On the immediate left, the UP house will be built, serving as the queue for a new suspended dark ride telling the story of the movie. On the right, a side path will lead to the superhero museum, housing an Incredibles dark ride using the Pooh’s Honey Hunt technology. This ride will be projection and special effects heavy, similar to the Spiderman ride in Universal. Next will be a Cars dark ride featuring the world and events of Cars 2. Maters Garage next door will serve as a meet and greet with the cars. On the right, as the street curves back to Pixar Place, there will be a space for expansion, and then Remy’s Restaurant, a sit down that is home to a LCI Remy.

Continuing on the street, we hit Monstropolis. The Monsters Inc building will serve as the queue for the doors coaster, using the Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster system with a custom track. Across the street, the Pixar Studio will be a space for guests to see the inner workings of Pixar and its future projects as well as shop for all things Pixar.
There will be 2 expansion pads in Pixar Place to feature future Pixar properties. In my plans, every Pixar property is represented in one of the four parks, with WALL-E in Magic Kingdom, and A Bugs Life in Animal Kingdom, so these plots would be used to represent future films.
The Up darkride, with the house serving as the queue.

Production Central 
This area contains the former streets of America section and some surrounding areas. The area where Studio Catering Co and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground are now will become multiple smaller attractions. A new entrance to the Backlot Tour will be built that does not include the water tank, which was removed for the Pixar Studio. The Honey I Shrunk the Kids area will become a special effects stage attraction. After an introduction, guests will enter the first stage where a small scale demonstration is performed. After seeing how that happened, they enter the main stage for the feature demonstration. This will be something similar to the Earthquake attractions at Universal parks, featuring water, fire, and large scale moving set pieces to demonstrate a special effects shot. Opposite the special effects stages and next to Pixar Studio, a Blue Sky Studio will be built, just like the Blue Sky Cellar in California Adventure. This will be home to exhibits on all the changes happening in the 4 parks.
Lights, Motors, Action will be relatively unchanged, with the only addition being a real wall on the left side of the queue instead of a chain link fence. The streets of America will likewise be unchanged. The area between the backlot theater and the Phineas and Ferb meet and greet will be home to a new building featuring an exhibit about production. Think Innoventions for making movies. The Backlot theater will be accessed through this area and will feature a live production show. Shows can be easily swapped out to reflect what is popular, and all will feature audience participation to complete the shots. This would also be a place for actual TV shows to film when needed.

Muppet Studios
    All of this area will be themed to the Muppet Studio shown in The Muppets. Muppet Vision 3D will get a new film and Pizza Planet will be re-themed to the Swedish Chef restaurant. All of the shops and Mama Melrose will be removed and replaced with Muppet themed shops. Behind those shops and next to the production exhibit, a Muppets dark ride will be built, giving a tour of the more interesting areas of the studio. This area will also feature the Muppet Mobile Lab and other LCI Muppets, like the Electric Mayhem band.

Backlot East
    This will be the biggest new addition to DHS. It will be accessed by a path in Lucas Studios that passes underneath the main entrance road. The first attraction after passing under the road will be an amphitheater on the right that will feature Wipeout Live, in the vein of the live fear factor shows that Universal had. Straight ahead, guests will see Walt’s plane that is currently on the backlot tour parked. Behind that will be the Boneyard coaster. This will be a Vekoma Jr Coaster, the same model as Flight of the Hippogriff, that will be themed to a coaster made up of all the old vehicles sitting in the boneyard.

Behind that, guests will pass through a gate leading them to the production lot where they will see a large set, themed to the Stark Expo seen in Iron Man. This set will be the entrance to a dueling suspended coaster called Iron Man Silver and Iron Man Red. Disney has always needed another real coaster to compete with Universal, and this seems the most appropriate place to do it since much of the track and support structure can be themed to film production. I am aware that the current Marvel contract does not allow Marvel characters in Disney world, but that is minor issue in an expansion this size.

Back out from the fenced in area, guests will see a set of soundstages on their right. First, a relatively small stage will be used as rotational space for current project exhibits. Jan-April will have one exhibit, May- Aug will have another exhibit, and Sept-Dec will have a seasonal Nightmare Before Christmas exhibit and ride. This ride would have to be extremely modular for easy setup, so a simulator type attraction would be a good choice. The next stage would start empty and be saved for future expansion. The next stage on this first block would be the answer to potter. This stage would lead to a massive show building for a kuka based headliner ride for a yet to be determined property.

The last building would be home to the Prop House Raft Adventure. The queue through the undamaged section of the building would set up the idea that the Prop House recently flooded and you the guests are being sent in to assess the damage and maybe recover a few prized items.  This queue would also be a place to relocate all the Disney props that were stored in the stage behind the backlot tour water tank, which no longer exists. If you have never seen this room, it’s really amazing, it has props such as the original legend of the lion king puppets to tapestry of nations puppets to set pieces from early shows at MGM studios. Guests would be sent into the flooded section in various prop boats that were found in the collection. While exploring, they will find the source of the rapidly rising water, pass through movie history, and even encounter some malfunctioning props, leading them to the final drop down the emergency exit stairs. The boat circles around the new DHS water tower and then reenters the building to the unloading station. This building will also hold a counter service location themed called Studio Catering Co. Above the main entrance to the amphitheater, there will be a sit down restaurant called the Directors Table with views over the studio and backlot.
Backlot East.

The Disney Studio Orlando
    In this plan, the return of a working studio is crucial to the theme. I feel like Disney’s first attempt at a studio was not good enough and that led to the failure of the studio. I mean they had 3 small stages and a mediocre backlot street. The studio only ever got small scale productions because of this so it never really could survive. This plan includes a real Hollywood style studio. The studio is built on the south side of the new entrance road. The road will be built on a raised level above a backstage service road.  All traffic to the studio will go through the main entrance road and will branch off to the studio gate before regular traffic hits the park gate. In front of the studio gate, there will be a water feature with a series of statues all in view of the park traffic and parking lot.
The gate lets visitors onto the main studio road. This has the safety and security building, the food service building, and studio offices on each side, and has the main studio center at the end. A parking garage connects to this building. A road leads to the other half of the studio, the production side. This area will have a large residential area, a city street backlot, large empty lots for filming, a large outdoor water tank, and 13 soundstages including 3 built for an audience, 1 built with a water tank, and 1 that would be one of the largest in the world. Overall, this studio backlot would be able to serve many productions at any one time, making a studio that is viable and successful.
Some other things to point out about the studio. A practice lot for Lights, Motors, Action will be built next to Backlot East. All studio traffic will come into the main entrance off the entrance road, while all production trucks will enter through a gate off Osceola Parkway. Traffic will exit through the main gate and a side gate by the parking garage, leading to Osceola Parkway.
This new studio will lead to a greatly expanded backlot tour. After boarding the tram, the tour will go around the maintenance building then head to Catastrophe Canyon. After that, they will head to the security gate and go under the entrance road into the backlot. The tour will take them through part of the New York Street set, then to the soundstages area where the tram will drive through a tunnel with windows looking into the stages, and then through the residential area. The tour will drive by the open filming lots and then by the water tank before going to a stage near where they entered the backlot. Once the tram is completely in the stage, they will see a fast paced movie montage on a 250’x60’ imax screen, wrapping up the tour. The tram will then return to the park area and return to the unloading station. Each of the areas of the backlot can be left out of the tour at the request of the productions filming in the studio.
The Studio offices to the bottom left, the open filming lots at the center with the truck entrance, the residential lot to the right, the water tank to the front right, the sound stages to the back right, and the Iron Man coaster to the extreme front right.

Wrap Up
    At my count, this version of Disney Hollywood Studios now has 48 attractions and 23 food locations. It breaks down to 9 E tickets, 11 D tickets, 14 C tickets, 10 B tickets, and 4 A tickets; and 14 counter service locations, 8 table service locations, and 1 premium club. That is over twice as many attractions as the current park, making this park a definite full day experience that everyone can enjoy while they discover for themselves what the idea of Hollywood really means."


Outstanding work, Timothy!  Remember to click on the picasa link above for many more pics and descriptions of the 3-D model.


Anonymous said...

Whoa, I've seen this working studio ever seen. You could make another park like Disney Studios Tokyo.

Erock said...

Great job Tim :) You definitely deserved to win.

Anonymous said...

amazing, congrats

Sam said...

a deserved winner. A very nice job you did! Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

But who is the runner-up then?

SWW said...

^ Among all the Honorable Mentions, I'd say the first runner up for general concept/idea is "Epic Kingdom", and the runner up for quality of drawn plan is a tie between "Indiana Adventure" & "Thieves-Kings"

These parks will be visited in future posts.

mike said...

wow is really the only way to respond to this...

protojimbo said...

Amazing work! This park really does need some attention (with the additional of the Avatar area to AK, Studios could be seen as the weakest of the 4 parks)and you gave it a dream treatment! Likely far better than any expansion it will actually get. You didn't just add more and more stuff - this is a very thoughtful and artful design. The attention to detail and flow of the areas is really as good as the real imagineering work I see - amazing when you acknowledge that this type of work is usually done by a whole team of imagineers. The main map was still a bit hard for me to read as I tried to visualize this new park over the old, but it's obviously accurate. The 3D views help a lot, but the write up was really the highlight for me . You set the scene, included technical as well as creative details and included a good bit of ride-writing to boot. I always thought 'why bother' w/ the operating studio, but your design - the layout, the ride, and the ongoing shoots - finally switched the light bulb on for me!

protojimbo said...

I'm curious about the different kinds of things you got as entries... I really like the concept art pieces that try to give an impression on the look and feel of the attraction or area. Didja get anything like that?

Sam V. said...

I'm very curious about the other parks. Too bad, mine didn't do so well! Better luck next time

SWW said...

Jimbo, a couple entries included the type of illustration you're talking about. They will be the subject of future posts.

Sam, I thought your concept was excellent. However, you didn't label your map, so I couldn't tell what attractions went where. Maybe you could email me a more detailed, labeled version, and it can be featured in a future post.

Tim said...

Thanks everyone for your nice words and thanks to sww again for having this contest! i look forward to seeing the rest of the entries here on the blog soon.

Thiruppathy Raja said...

I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.