Thursday, January 12, 2012

From Macro to Micro

Quest for the Black Cauldron: Based on the Disney's animated high fantasy, this attraction would be an indoor flume in the tradition of PotC, with heavy fx and full AAs (in the same animated style as the film).   Set between Pan and Mermaid, this ride would add some darkness/thrills to balance the happier/brighter elements of the land. 

I imagined the facade as a craggy hillside with an ancient portal set into its side.  Entering the queue cavern, visitors would reach the Hall of Lore, an underground vault/library (lots of dusty books, scrolls, vials, etc.) where a pre-show would take place, voiced by Dallben and animated using maybe something akin to the old dueling dragons stained glass window.  This would give the background info on things that will be useful in understanding what is about to take place (the Horned King, the Black Cauldron, Hen Wen's powers).

Emerging from the cave into the placid farm of Caer Dallben, riders would board boats and set off on their adventure.  Like the older dark rides, here the rider takes the role of Assistant Pigkeeper, rather than watch an AA Taran re-hash his own adventure (First Person vs Third Person).   The opening show scene takes place in Dallben's house and features a mist-screen special effect showing the Horned King's plans for Hen Wen and the Black Cauldron. 

Dallben orders riders to set off with the pig to keep it safe from the Horned King.  Floating down the stream through the green forest of giant trees, the adventurers have a comical encounter with Gurgi before a Gwythaint swoops down (scare effect) and steals Hen Wen.

The boats drop into the Fair Folk Kingdom, where riders are instructed to retrieve the Cauldron before the Horned King can use it to raise an invincible dead army.  The adventure continues in the Marshes of Morva with an encounter with the witch sisters.  A winch system takes the boats up a waterfall to the Horned King's castle (upper level).

Within the ruined castle the boats pass drunken henchmen, the Creeper, and enter the dungeons to free Fflewddur Flam & the Princess and find the magic sword.  The ride culminates in a large show-room where the Horned King succeeds in using the Cauldron to raise the skeletal army.  The effects here would be designed to overwhelm the senses.   Out of nowhere, Gurgi, apparently following us, causes the Cauldron to backfire and defeat the Horned King (this would be the rides big drop - a little bigger than PotC's).

The ride deviates somewhat from the film's story & order (just as the film deviated from the books' story).  I did this for re-ridability ("the Horned King is only temporarily defeated and will try again", warns Dallben as riders de-board) as well as to avoid a total "book report" ride.  This is more in the spirit of the film rather than a direct re-telling. 

Here is a digital model I built of the Toad Hall facade sketch drawn below:


This week's post shifts the focus from full-scale theme park layouts to individual attraction layouts.  Both attractions I drew were from my idealized Magic Kingdom park

The first is a 21st century Fantasyland darkride based on MK's now defunct Mr. Toad ride.  It is located where PhilharMagic currently resides. 

 This  attraction takes almost all the show scenes from the original dual track ride (a number of which do not exist in Anaheim) and re-creates them in a single track ride system with dimensional sets and full-motion AudioAnimatronics (similar to Tokyo's Hunny Hunt), rather than painted flats.  Since the sets are 360 degree, drivers have the option of spinning their car (like Car Toon Spin).  

The facade would be a version of Toad Hall unique from those in Anaheim & Paris (see above).  The queue begins in the Foyer and continues in the oak-paneled Great Hall, where boarding takes place under the watchful eyes of Toad's ancestors (via sfx portraits).  The four-seat motorcars begin their journey in the Library, disturbing a reading Badger (this time rendered as an AA).  Chaos ensues as the cars speed through the Trophy Room (with living animal heads) and the Kitchen, finally exiting the back of the Manor through the barn, with angry barnyard animals dodging the speeding motorcar.

Things seem to calm down a bit as the vehicle motors through the leafy Shireland and past a Gypsy Camp (see storyboard), but chaos resumes after a near collision with a Farmer's Wagon on the One Way Street that leads to Town Square.  As drivers recklessly steer their vehicles through Winky's Pub, the law finally catches up with them and they are sentenced to a prison term.  In Jail, the villainous weasel gang is staging a Jail Break, and the driver's use the opportunity to escape, pursued by bobbies.  Karma eventually collects on the wild drivers as they maneuver down an in-use Train Tunnel and end up in Hell.  But was it all a day-dream as the cars return to the Toad Hall garage and riders exist through Mole's Wares shop.

If you're familiar with MK's old Toad, you'll see that this ride is a close facsimile of the original but in a new medium (3-D, AAs)


 The next attraction, from the same imagined version of MK, is Western River Expedition.  While the exterior and ride layout are not the same as the Marc Davis piece de resistance (don't think an official layout has ever been seen by the public), my version's show scenes are in the same order and tell the same story:

It may be a little more challenging to visualize this layout because the attraction takes place on multiple overlapping levels (like Pirates or Indiana Jones Adventure).  The darker purple shades represent the upper level.  

The images that follow tell the story, but if you'd like to see & hear Tony Baxter's virtual ride-through at D23, it can be found on youtube.

It's interesting to see from the model that the attraction is much more stylized color-wise (almost psychedelic) than pirates, although the AA's would have been in a similar vein. 


Let me know how you feel about my creating renderings on the attraction-level rather than on the wider land- or park-level.     I may expand this posting later this week with a drawing of the same park's "Black Cauldron" attraction.


kermitdefrog said...

For your first attempt at doing individual attractions, this seems pretty good.

Anonymous said...

You could do Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.

Tim said...

wow those are great, i would love to see more. have you worked on these while designing the plans or have you gone back and fit these into what you already drew?

kermitdefrog said...

BTW, what happened to your Dubai Disneyland and Animal Kingdom?

SWW said...

Thanks, Tim. There will be more in the future (for some original rides). In this case, these ride layouts were drawn well after the park site plan, but whenever I draw a showbuilding in the process of putting together a park, I already know the approximate scale, ride-system & duration of the attraction I want it to hold, and I size it accordingly.

kermit, I took those two down to do quite a bit of altering & expanding.

Walter John said...

I was wondering, what program do you use to make these park maps? They're so detailed and exact.

The ride looks great!

comics101 said...

I would love to see Black Cauldron! That sounds fantastic!
Was WRE always planned to have a big splash for the finale? I never realized's certainly an interesting ride, but honestly it doesn't seem as amazing to me as Disney fans like to think it was. There's something that's just always felt off about it for me. Your plan did a good job of putting me in the ride though, and I look foward to seeing some more original ideas in the future!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was just wondering what program you use to make these maps. Since i can't really draw so it is difficult to draw on paper.

kermitdefrog said...

@Anonymous He uses AutoCAD.

protojimbo said...

Thanx for the interesting change of pace! It's great to see your creative process on a more intimate scale - it definitely helps me get immersed. I like seeing the creativity used in solving the problems of bringing a ride concept to the real world. Great job!
PS - any links you could suggest for a list of current ride systems? And/or a list of what an "A Ticket" thru an "E Ticket" ride compares to today? Thanx

SWW said...

Walter & Anon, kermit has it right.

Comics, I think there is something dreary about what's been shown of the Mary Blair backgrounds (dull brown & yellow) for the WRE. I've seen others argue that Davis's characters/scenes are best presented in the context of an art-director's (like Claude Coats') staging (as in Pirates). I think a less stylized, richer & earthier tone for the WRE sets would have been welcome.

Jimbo, off the top of my head, I don't know of any links to such a list for ride systems - wikipedia probably has something like this under "Amusement Rides".

I have my own hierarchical classifications system for ride types/systems. For example, I have about 8 or 9 broad categories of theme park attractions, 5 of which cover rides, with each category having many sub-categories.

As far as A-E ticket, it's very subjective from what I can tell. I have my own system that works for my own categorizing (and creating parks concepts with a balanced mix of attractions). I removes popularity from the equation and go only on scale, complexity, length, queue, pre-show, etc.:

A-Ticket: Exhibits (e.g. Penny Arcade, Discovery Arcade, Shootin Gallery, Snow White's Grotto)

B-Ticket: Most spinners (AstroOrbitor, Teacups, Dumbo) and medium walkthroughs (Dragon's Lair in Paris).

C-Ticket: Basic dark/water rides (Peter Pan, Storybook Canals); extensive walkthroughs (Adventure Isle, Tom Sawyer Island) and medium-scale theatricals (Country Bears, CircleVision).

D-Ticket: More extensive rides with significant FX (Mermaid, IASW, Jungle Cruise) but lacking pre-shows or highly immersive queues; Heavy duty theatrical experiences (Alien Encounter, Posiedon's Fury, American Adventure(D+), MuppetVision(D-)). In my system E-ticket is exclusively for rides.

E-Ticket: Highly-themed, extensive technologically-advanced experience, themed queue, pre-show, elaborate show-building/mountain. Usually high thrills or lengthy experience with lots of SFX/show scenes (Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones, PotC, HM, Harry Potter, Horizons, etc.)

protojimbo said...

That's great info. Thx again.

Ron Vance said...

I'm liking the Toad Hall facade in 3D. I also like the idea of fully animated figures that you mentioned. I personally think that all the Fantasyland attractions should have at least the "key" figures animated at the level of the Little Mermaid attraction. They've been minimally-animated "shop window" figures long enough now! Overall great work on both attraction layouts. Keep up the good work!

megatron_85 said...

hello...are you planning more stuff?

SWW said...

Nice to have you back in the comments section, Megatron.

Yes. I have lots of stuff planned. There will be an update on or around Feb 1.

Eric Scales said...

I'm glad you've included a Toad attraction. I began designing one myself, for the old 20K plot of land at Magic Kingdom, before I knew that they were using that plot of land for the Fantasyland expansion. Mine was going to be a combination of indoor and outdoor scenes. You can check it out here:

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful and well written (like all of your ideas!) You need to be hired as an imagineer soon.