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.