Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tokyo Fantasyland

For all of the superlatives Tokyo Disneyland rightly deserves, it has maybe the least aesthetically-pleasing Fantasyland (and Tomorrowland) of all the parks.  While some parts of TDL’s Fantasyland are very nicely-designed (specifically, the area right behind the castle, the two newer areas: Hunny Hunt and Queen of Hearts/Teacups), a significant portion of the land suffers from the plastic “tournament tent” façade dressings and wide open, oddly-flat areas with few trees or visual breaks.   There is also the presence of the Hudson Valley version of Haunted Mansion, which is really-nicely themed, but ill-placed).

 If you are not familiar with Tokyo’s Fantasyland, here it is:

Images from Jack Spence Article:

 So I drew a birds-eye illustration of what I thought a reasonable re-vamp of Fantasyland could look like:

Gone are all the fiberglass tournament facades, replaced by a diverse fairytale village (the one tall tower is meant to recall Rapunzel, though not directly based on “Tangled”).    

I narrowed the pathways by expanding the landscape areas, adding lots of trees, particularly around the Carousel and Dumbo (which are desert-like in their current state), making the land feel a more forested & cozy.   Dumbo receives an updated centerpiece & queue cover and is now surrounded by a lush sunken stream, giving the land some much-needed topography (something similar is done in Paris). 

The most expensive part of this proposal would be to change not only the façade of Haunted Mansion so it becomes a medieval European manor (befitting Fantasyland), but also the ride itself (in the same way Phantom Manor is a Western take on the HM).

A best-in-class park like TDL ought to have all of its environments excellently-rendered, and Fantasyland - in its entirety - is not at that level.   I had hoped that when Philharmagic was being installed the opportunity would be used to continue moving the land's design in such a direction.  

Maybe one day.


Eric Scales said...

I like it. I remember when I first started learning about TDL in the late 90's/early 2000's, when the online world was buzzing about Pooh's Hunny Hunt and Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall, and being totally blown away. It wasn't until a few years later when I came across pictures of the rest of Fantasyland, and like you said, Tomorrowland, that I realized how inconsistent TDL is. In a way it's nice that the '83 designs are still preserved, especailly since they mirror classic 70's WDW so much. But I definately see a benefit to unifying everything. It would be a crime to modernize anything but the exteriors of Snow White and Peter Pan though- the Snow White Load area alone is a masterpiece.

SWW said...

Hey, Eric.

Thanks for the comment (I really admire the concept work you've shown on your site, btw).

Agree with you about preserving things like the original, dark & scary version of Snow White (if TDL still has it). But all the interior/loading areas can be kept while still improving the land's atmosphere.

Magic Lamp said...

This is one of the reasons many people don't really find reason in visiting TDL. In reality it's a MacDisney Park where popular and a few unique DL/MK attractions and rides are plopped next to each other with little thematic transitions.

If they didn't build DisneySea the resort would probably be avoided by most westerners.

I really like your proposal to apply the (cosmetic only) village theme and add more foliage. Judging by the design it would certainly make for a more consistent FL, and giving the HM a medieval makeover would only be beneficial in making it similar but unique like PM.

Anonymous said...

The only reason the Haunted Mansion was placed in Fantasyland was that the Japanese consider ghost stories to be fairy tales.

Anonymous said...

You could do Toontown (Tokyo Disneyland) next with new rides like:
Toontown Transit (simulator based on Roger Rabbit)
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (with cartoon characters, new sound effects, special effects, etc)
Baby Herman's Runaway Baby Buggy Ride
Goofy's Sky School
Return of Jolly Trolley
Benny the Cab Ride (tour of Toontown)
Go Gadget Coaster
Mickey's House
Minnie's House
Donald's Boat
Goofy's House
ACME Factory (renamed Gag Factory to ACME Factory based on Roger Rabbit)
Different cartoon characters costumes appear in Toontown (Warner Bros, Disney, Universal Studios, Viacom, Parmount Pictures, etc)
Donald's Boat Lessons
Epic Mickey ride
Minnie's Singing Swingers
The Adventures of Roger Rabbit (based on Who Framed Roger Rabbit)
Maroon Cartoon Studios Area
Toontown Tower Hotel (Tower of Terror clone)
and more.
How you like my new ideas, SWW?

megatron_85 said...

is that digital art or is that not digital art?

comics101 said...

I love the medieval HM, the opportunities that come with a make-over like that are endless (dungeons +evil kings+creepy court jesters= Amazing attraction).

As for the rest, It's soooo much better then what's there. I've never been to TDL, but the pictures you posted are just sad. It's like the park is stuck in the 70's. I thought OLC was supposed to be better than that, anyone know what the story is with the lack of updating areas of the park?

SWW said...

^ Good question.

My go-to response would be $$$. Why spend to spruce up FL when it is extremely popular, as is.

I believe Eddie Sotto mentioned a full-scale re-vamp of the land was planned in late 90s but DisneySea was being built at the time and Fantasyland's funds were reduced to the amt necessary to build Hunny Hunt & Queen of Heats. So the idea of a New Fantasyland was once in OLC's head. We know OLC came very close greenlighting to SciFi City, as well.

Post DisneySea, there may have been a change in leadership/strategy at OLC because funding was directed at building or changing out specific attractions (Monsters Inc, Philharmagic, Castle walkthrough and Star Tours II), and not at changing the aeshetics of Fantasyland or Tomorrowland.

Also, while we Americans see Fantasyland's open and sparse (like a Home Depot parking lot with some 1970s Disney facades thrown up), the Japanese may appreciate this feature due the extremely high urban density of the Tokyo area.

And there also may be nostalgia or fondness among Japanese patrons for their "original" land despite how it looks to those of us familiar with superior environments in Anaheim, Paris & (soon-to-be) Orlando.

comics101 said...

^Idk if I buy the nostalgia's hard to believe anyone can be more nostalgic than DL fans and they seem to really appreciate their FL upgrades :P

I do understand what you're saying about the open space, but I would think they'd at least add some lushness to the's amazing what a few flowers and trees (see what I did there ;)) and a few water features can do.

It does make sense that some funds would be redirected or priorities changed to add some new/updated attractions to the park rather than just sprucing up areas...good themeing doesn't make for a good attraction.

Ludovic the French said...

Amazing, Tokyo Disneyland is the clone of Magic Kingdom, Tokyo like the kitsch, but your concept is excellent.

But there are too many houses, specially in "Mickey's Philharmagic".

Dumbo is the same version of Paris?

I like your draws, it's wonderful.

Moniquemhgm said...

The only reason the Haunted Mansion was placed in Fantasyland was that the Japanese consider ghost stories to be fairy tales.