Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kings Empire

This week’s site plan – “Kings Empire” (not sure if that is intended to be possessive or not) - is my interpretation of Brian K.’s entry in the IdealBuildout contest. 
Brian imagined a park that combined elements based on some of those found at Disney, Universal, Paramount Kings Island, Busch Gardens, Sea World & Port Aventura (did I miss any!) into one thrill-oriented mega-park. 

Brian describes the park (italics = Brian's descriptions):

From collapsed tombs to fallen civilizations, the park is divided into eight themed continents: Atlantis, Indius, The Northern Lands (Arctica), The Mayan Lands (City of Gold), Thebes, Africus, Europa, and Isla Volcanica.  Kings Empire is literally a map of the world with the continent of Atlantis having risen from the Atlantic Ocean to form the park’s main thoroughfare.  The continents represented celebrate the greatest myths and legends of their cultures over time.

I was intrigued by the design challenge of drawing a theme park to fit a rough layout of the Atlantic continents.  This is what I came up with:

This is a very big park, with a larger footprint than EPCOT Center.  Its centerpiece is a ~200ft tall volcano with greater girth & height than TDS’s 168ft Mt Prometheus.  The volcano needs to be this big  because four attractions (three of which are E or D tickets) are embedded in its slopes and another is buried in its inner chamber.

One can’t really tell from a site plan (one day I’ll be able to draw an isometric), but as I drew this, I thought that the park’s landscapes & architecture ought to reflect the relative location on the park “map.”   For example, there is a smallish building (quick service food/restrooms/retail) where Scotland is located, and that building would be themed to the ruins of a Scottish Laird’s tower.  Another example is that Bald Cypress swamps would take up the “Gulf Coast” part of North America.  This kind of thing would follow throughout the park.

Another thought I had was that there should be elements throughout the park’s lands and attractions that connect them to a larger backstory involving the central continent of Atlantis (e.g., Atlantis may have had contact with extra-terrestrials, which in turned influenced ancient civilizations/gods from the Maya to Egyptians to Sioux).   It was along these lines that I added a “Prometheus” (placeholder name) ride to Arctica which could be an E-ticket dark ride/flume/simulator about modern scientists’ quest to discover mankind’s origins below the Arctic ice and finding some incredible or terrifying secret (linked to Atlantis?). 

Atlantis is the central continent of  Kings Empire, offering an array of shopping, dining, and out-of-this-world attractions. Guests enter Atlantis as a collapsing and decrepit city, with cracked buildings and water leaking from each roof. But, progressing further towards the northern end of the island, the lost continent seems to be reborn. When guests finally reach the tremendous palace at the farthest end of the Island, they’re greeted by a thriving, shining city with beautiful sand-colored turrets and sea-blue domes amid the sound of waterfalls pouring into the lagoons below.

Escape from the Lost City – At the mercy of less-than-seaworthy fishing ships, you must escape from the crumbling city before its watery fate is relived aboard this water coaster.
King’s Lighthouse – Don’t let the crumbling bricks frighten you away, this lighthouse has survived for centuries.
Royal Fountains – Bursting springs of illuminated water, dancing to a grand, adventurous score… At night, water, flames, light, and music come alive in the nighttime extravaganza, Luminaria.
Dome of the Fish & Hall of Sharks –  An all-encompassing aquarium room and a connected “moving walkway.”

Some quick modeling I did for the Lighthouse & centerpiece volcano/palace watercoaster:

For entering guests, the Volcano (along with the palace and lighthouse) makes for an unforgettable view.  Volcanica also participates in the nighttime show ‘Luminaria’ in the Atlantis Lagoon, with waterfalls of “lava,” billowing steam, and rumbling noises being timed into the show.  Internal pathways within Volcanica allows access to the northern half of the park.

Lava Wheel – During Volcanica’s eruption, the ancients sought to harness the power of the mountain by building a gigantic lava wheel, constantly turned by the flowing magma and able to power the continent’s advanced technologies.
Volcano – Accelerator coaster with mid course brakes built around a short dark ride scene a la DisneySea’s lava monster.
The Core – Prepare to experience the unstoppable force of an erupting volcano firsthand on this HUSS Frisbee built in a rocky chamber within the volcano.

Travel deep in the mysterious deserts of Egypt and conquer the sands! Whether you prefer traversing the town markets, spending time at the splash-filled Oasis Springs, or tempting the fates in the grand pyramid on Revenge of the Mummy, there’s something for everyone in this mysterious world. 

My model study of the Revenge of the Mummy façade:

Treasure Hunters – Aboard these 1925 Model T Fords you may come face-to-face with crocodiles, scarab beetles, and maybe even a hippopotamus or two!
The Revenge of the Mummy – Deep in the Great Pyramid, an unspeakable evil has arisen. On this high speed, forwards / backwards roller coaster, you’ll find out first-hand that the curse is real...
Oasis Springs – Tucked away in the corner of Thebes, this watery playground is great for kids of all ages to beat the heat and escape from the stresses of ancient curses. Amid the surprising watery antics of spitting camels and dripping palm trees, parents can also find a shaded canopy from which they can recharge while little ones refresh.
Kings & Thieves Waterway – This complimentary and convenient water taxi provides a leisurely, scenic way to pass between Kings Empire and neighboring Thieves Dominion theme park.

The sounds of the animals who call this continent home resound from all corners of the dark foliage.  One thing is clear: in this land of dead-ends and crumbling temples, adventure awaits.
SW: Since sub-Saharan Africa is not well known for its ancient structures (the kind of places that draw Indiana Jones or Lara Croft), there would be a fun opportunity to invent/explore a new style (maybe based on Great Zimbabwe) for the Temple of the Dancing Light or other ancient ruins in this land. 

Adventure Express – Blasting out of the jungles of Africus, Adventure Express skims along the surface of the water, narrowly avoiding sharp rocks, and twisting through the darkness of caverns at incredible speed!.  An Intamin Wing Rider Accelerator, like Furios Baco, does little elevation change throughout the course, instead focusing on turns, speed, and one single, prolonged inversion.
 Jungle Flyers – Soar above the jungle canopy aboard ancient sailing ships, zooming along the horizon and on to adventure. This torch-covered ancient device lets the whole family join in on the adventure.
Theater of the Beasts – At the very southern end Africus in a decrepit looking stone chamber, torch-lit pathways lead into an ancient atrium for viewing the delicate night sky. And as you might expect, it’s within this surreal place that nature comes alive!
Tomb Raider: The Ride – Fifty years ago, a group of young explorers was forever lost within the Temple of the Dancing Light.   Supposedly, in their quest for the Triangle of Light, they awakened the ancient goddess sworn to protect it. Now, trapped inside the tomb, your only means of escape is the excavation equipment left from decades before, still perfectly maintained as if untouched by time.  A Giant Top Spin, based on the original at Paramount’s Kings Island (now closed) featuring theater-like ride cycle with icicle interaction, hangtime over lava pits, and interaction with 80-foot goddess carving on forward wall.
Indiana Jones Adventure: Same ride with two queues – each in different parks.

Cultures collide on the continent of Europa! (Featuring three distinct sub-lands). Twisted vines and tangled roots have ensnared the Germanic forests, and darkness seems to lurk around every corner of The Woods. However, the malevolence of the plants cannot penetrate the renaissance-style Garden of Inventions, where the works of Da Vinci come to life.   And, in The Kingdom, fantastic creatures bow to the powers of the kings and sorcerers of old.

The Flying Machine – On this family-friendly machine in DaVinci’s manicured estate, hold on tight, as the machine raises up and spins, providing riders a worry-free gliding tour of the Gardens.
Da Vinci’s Cradle – Strapped into a large, forty-person gondola, you’ll swing back and forth, gaining speed and momentum before eventually traveling in a complete circle!
Journey to Pompeii – Long ago, the city of Pompeii was a peaceful, seaside village nestled into the mountain of Volcanica.  All that is about to change.  
The Curse of DarKastle – Do you dare to enter this twisted kingdom and brave one of the world’s most advanced dark rides?  [The “vines” of the woods crawling across the façade, some animatronic are seen slightly writhing at the tips from time to time].
Festhaus – Inside this German festival hall, the warm, glowing hearth is always open to weary travelers! Though the vines of The Woods have ensnared the building’s structure, they cannot penetrate enough to dampen the happy spirits that sing and dance within!
Tower of Terror – In the 15th century, a greedy and opulent baron built a tremendous manor house atop the highest hills of Europa. Generations upon generations of his descendants traveled the world, stealing priceless relics from foreign lands and stockpiling them within the home’s walls. All the while, the manor was built taller and grander, borrowing architecture from all corners of the globe. In 1935, the earl’s family disappeared. Portraits of his descendants disappeared. And the vault was sealed shut. Do you dare ascend into the hallways of the once-grand manor to discover the secrets of the cursed Tower?  
Quest for the Unicorn – Tucked into the rolling hills and valleys of the quaint Europa countryside, places guests into a one-of-a-kind outdoor interactive hedge maze adventure!

SW:   Since the labyrinth is located over Scandanavia, I thought it makes sense to give it Norse mythology theme-ing.
WAR – SW: Brian’s War coaster was based on Olympic(Ancient Greek) mythology.  However, since I was working with limited space in Southern Europe, I moved it away from the Mediterranean and towards the Northlands and gave it a sword & sorcery overlay.  WAR’s queue takes riders through a castle scarred by warfare.  My thought for the storyline is that a bellicose king has funded an ingenious invention to transport troops en masse to the enemy kingdom to do battle.  Riders are conscripted as men-at-arms and sent off to war on a wooden coaster themed in a medieval fantasy style.  Along the lengthy route, mostly surrounded by forest, there would be encounters with AA bandits, dragons, orcs, enemy troops, as well plunges through dark caverns and around a wizard’s lake-encircled tower.  The wooden coaster, which I based on PKI’s The Beast, is over a mile long and travels through acres of dense, hilly forestland. 

From the European-colonized Northeast to the swampy and enchanted bayous of the South, the cultures of America are eternally alive in here.  Entering from Altantis, guests pass through a colonial area resembling The Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, then reach a fork in the road where they can travel to either the Old West, or to the swamps of the dark and mysterious Louisiana Bayou.
Phantom Manor – Inside this colonial manor house lies a frightening mystery with traditional, timeless gags galore.
DUEL – In the bluffs and hoodoos of the Old West, the Thunder Falcon and Lightning Hawk’s eternal clash is very much alive, and you’re going along for the ride.  Dueling Dragons meets Big Thunder.
Voodoo coaster – In the deep cellar of this plantation house, the powers of voodoo have conjured the darkest and foulest of souls from the Other Side. Trains slalom through the outdoor swamp portion of the ride.

My study of the Colonial Square area...

Diverting from the historic mythology of the rest of the park, in the far Northlands, among billowing snow drifts and icy temperatures, there exists a super-secret government scientific & aerospace facility.

Operation: NorthFlight – Board this flying coaster and you’ll know what it feels like to soar around ice caverns, zoom face-first towards the snow, and dive to a spectacular splashdown in the Hudson Bay of Indius.
Drop Zone: Ice Tower – freefall drop ride.
Camp Cooper – Here in the frozen Arctic, that wily raccoon Sly Cooper and his misfit band of thieves has set up shop in a long-abandoned summer camp deep in the tundra (whose bright idea was that, anyway?). Home to a dozen family-friendly rides and attractions, you can experience the life of Sly, Bentley (the brainy turtle) and Murray (the pink hippo – brawn of the group) like never before as kids swing, slide, spin, and slip around on the icy attractions within!

Glistening gold in the light of day and illuminated by flickering torches by night, the city of El Dorado exudes the mystery and intrigue of the ancient Meso-American world. 

Some of my modeling of the Mayan temple architecture:

The Golden Altar – Set next to the entrance to the Mayan Lands stands this ancient mechanical contraption. The gold-tinted double-decker carousel is partially enclosed in a stone temple façade with revered deities and stylized South American animals providing chariots for willing riders.
The Golden Rapids – You’ll pass into caverns, beneath waterfalls, and down steep slopes amid the ruins of the Seven Cities of Gold.
Tortugas – Hop aboard the shells of these giant tortoises for a whimsical ride over the blue waters of Baja and the Pacific!  The same ride technology that powers DisneySea’s Aquatopia – boats travel across a cushion of water, avoiding obstacles and spinning around illuminated whirlpools and rockwork. 
FACE/OFF – The Tribes are at war, and the race is on! Vekoma Inverted Boomerang.


Alright.  Thanks Brian for sharing a very cool idea for a park and I hope you enjoy my interpretation.   I will try to feature another contest entry later this month. 


megatron_85 said...

great plan

Nike said...

Pretty cool (and expansive) concept there!

Ron Vance said...

Nice job integrating the continents general outline around Atlantis. This is like the "Roger Rabbit" of theme parks, where all the favorites are in one place! Nice work as usual.

SWW said...

Thanks for the comments...

Ron, to your point... I tried to integrate lesser themed rides in a way that would befit a Tier I Theme Park... where asethetics & sightlines matter.

For example, in real life Tomb Raider at PKI was housed in a very tall, ugly box that be seen pretty easily from other parts of the park. Here I moved that show box behind the Mummy showbuilding and put fake rockwork and landscaping to keep these backstage areas from view.

Similarly, for coasters, I put rockwork "mountains" to disguise lift hills, as I try to avoid fully naked coasters in the parks I draw.

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

Really excellent design here, and as it's my first time posting, I just wanted to say that I love the site. Quick question regarding this particular article, though - two parks are mentioned. Any chance we see the Thieve's Dominion park in the future?

SWW said...


Thanks for posting. I've drawn the other park, Thieves Dominion, so yes it's likely I'll post it at some point in the future.

Chase Mann said...

glad I stumbled across this blog. I've imagined my own theme parks before, but never gone to this extent with them. Excellent work.

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