Wednesday, April 18, 2012


This park will be a two-parter… first a traditional Conceptual Site Plan, followed in a few days with a Birds-Eye Illustration of one of the lands.  This drawing is my (re)interpretation of Sam V.’s entry in the IdealBuildout Design Contest.  Sam’s original drawing:

My take on the concept:
The park combines elements of traditional Magic Kingdoms (i.e., lands/attractions based on fairy-tales, adventure, ghosts, etc.), along with some bits of Sea World(live Arctic animal exhibits) as well as the never-built Michael Jackson Neverland park.  A number of lands showcase the spectrum of Earth geographies: Urban, Ocean, Rainforest, Desert, Temperate Forest, Arctic & Boreal.   This isn’t a park with a clear over-arching theme (which isn’t necessary), but in the end feels to me like a new type of castle-less Magic Kingdom.

At the center of the park is a vast island based on Peter Pan’s Neverland, with the mountainous peak at the center forming the central landmark & icon of the park.   In Sam’s entry, Neverland was accessible only by raft (or by exiting the Peter Pan kuka ride), but this didn't seem feasible for something that formed a type of hub for park, so I made it accessible by numerous bridges (as well as by circum navigating steamer).  The mini-continent (Adventure Isle on steroids) includes most of the distinct zones from the Peter Pan story: Mermaid Lagoon, Cannibal Jungle, Indian Camp, etc.   The island also features a number of significant attractions… a D-ticket coaster assembled by the Lost Boys around Hangman’s Tree, a Jolly Roger pirates stunt show, and in the Pixie Hollow area, a C-ticket dark ride and aerial spinner. There would also be dining options in PirateTown and numerous caverns and other features to explore.

The park’s opening land would be based on London  during Pax Brittanica with its imperial stone buildings and an extensive Kensington Gardens at the center.   Unlike the other Main Streets, this area would have significant attractions, including one of the park’s biggest: the aforementioned ‘Journey to Neverland’ kuka darkride.  I also imagined a walkthrough adventure based on the stories of H.G.Wells (The Time Machine, Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, etc.).   There would be a family-friendly ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ attraction and a theater for live shows.

Moving clockwise, the next land is dedicated to the myths of the oceans, featuring a large-scale omnimover, perhaps similar to the original attraction planned for EPCOT (with Poseidon as your guide to various undersea environments).  The Cirque-like Little Mermaid show from DisneySea as well as a D-ticket Finding Nemo darkride are present, as well.

This is the park’s Adventureland.  I should note that each part of Neverland roughly corresponds to the land on the opposite side (e.g. Jungle Expedition = Cannibal Jungle, Mermaid Lagoon = Seas, Indian Camp = Pinewood Valley; Pixie Hollow = Bright Forest).  The front of the Jungle Expedition is dedicated to a trio of ‘spinner’-type rides aimed at younger visitors.  The land’s flagship ride is Jungle Cruise meets PotC (indoor flume dark ride) and there is a Tiki Bird restaurant.  In addition, there is a jungle pathway that could feature live animals (i.e. Animal Kingdom’s Pangani Forest).

I based this land on the North African (Timbuktu, Morocco, Egypt) and Middle Eastern (Petra) deserts and the legends & myths of those regions.  The central ride is an E-ticket rapids ride with extensive indoor show-scenes for the first third.  Sam’s original idea called for an American Desert section with the park-encircling version of ‘Mine Train thru Nature’s Wonderland’ .  I feel  this might be too much of a geographic leap from Africa Deserts, but the site plan accommodates whichever one wants to imagine (there are still the Rainbow Caverns somewhere along the track).  

This is the park’s Fantasyland, set in a mature hardwood forest.   In place of brief darkrides based on individual Disney fairytales, this land has a single lengthy ride that showcases the European folktales made famous by Disney (Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, King Arthur, Robin Hood, etc.).  There is also a Forest Adventure Path past AA animals and interactive elements (e.g. whispering trees) to Merlin’s Cottage.  SIDE NOTE: As you can tell, I am a big fan of these kinds of off-the-beaten-path trails in theme parks.  I just got back from my first visit to WDW in years and one of my favorite ‘attractions’ in all of WDW was the “Tree of Life Garden Walk”.  AK was packed with Spring Break crowds and yet these winding paths were blissfully empty with some very active lemurs, cooling waterfalls and a wild (not Disney-owned) gator in the Discovery River!

Who doesn’t love the Haunted Mansion.  This area takes the tone, style & mythology of the HM and expands it to an entire land.   The island is the overgrown estate which has been home to a prominent family for generations.  As one passes the guardhouse (snacks), something seems amiss:  The family mansion sits proudly but silently on the hillside (housing  a new 21st c. version of the Haunted Mansion).  Opposite the mansion is the ancestral family cemetery with numerous mausoleums, tombs & monuments.  The cemetery would be home to an extensive interactive mystery explore zone (similar to the MK’s new queue but on far larger scale), with plenty of secrets and puzzles to solve.   Finally, there is the town segment where numerous servants live (restaurant) and monument to the family's lost horses (carousel).  The family was so rich and powerful that they had the railroad company (maybe the Lord owned the railroad) build an extension to their estate. 

The centerpiece of this land is an indoor-outdoor ice cavern coaster on a similar scale to Big Thunder.  I also imagined several arctic animal exhibits for walruses and polar bears, designed to blend naturally with the rock & ice backdrop.  I also dropped in an LPS ride based on the big project underway at SeaWorld Orlando at the moment.  There is a sub-area based on Santa Clause and the North Pole with a family-friendly dark ride.

I believe Sam envisioned this park for Toronto, and this final land would pay homage to the host country… sort of a Frontierland for Canada.  There is a major flume ride and extensive conifer forest trail.  The backdrop to the land would be an in-park hotel which I imagined to be something like Canada’s great turn-of-century National Park Lodges (specifically Banff Springs, but not as tall).  Like WDW’s Wilderness Lodge there would be a ‘natural’ spring in the hotel lobby which would run into the themed pool area and then into the park itself.


Sam, I hope you like this interpretation of your park.  I will follow up shortly with a birds-eye illustration of one of the lands.   


Sam V. said...

All I can say is WOW!!! You've transformed my park in an even better one. Thank you so much, this is exactly what I was hoping for! I really look forward to seeing the artwork you've created!
Another thank you!

Alwax said...

Looking forward to the artwork as well. This would make a truly lovely park. I love the idea of HM getting it's own land. I hope that'll be the birds eye illustration

Anonymous said...

This is amazing, SWW.
The theme park needs more attention to the guests like other Disney parks.
Can you do next theme park like
Disney-WB Studios?

Sam V. said...

Also I wanna note that the Santa-area is based on "Letters from Father Christmas" by J.R.R. Tolkien.

comics101 said...

Really great park! I love the Haunted Mansion themed land, that was a brilliant idea. I feel like this park is huge and would take several days to get through everything, which is really cool. Great job!

Lonnie said...

Another instant classic. Personally I'd love to see the HM theme expanded to it's own land (like MP at HKDL). But you should definitely include the Museum of the Weird as well as a HM meets PotC attraction, that would be killer ;).


protojimbo said...

Great park you two! Ya know, this site continues to provide me with some of the most consistently enjoyable reading and viewing experiences Ive had. I'm always glad I checked in.
when I saw the mention of hardwood trees being used in the fantasy area, I immediately jumped ahead to the canadian area, and was pleased but not surprised to see that the focus was on pine trees. Now I could imagine the kinda scary realism of a wolf and bear filled forest of vertical pillars in contrast to a colorful glen with a cozy canopy of gnarled oaks and such. Nice.

protojimbo said...

this park does feel very classic, like it has been around for 50 years. and I mean that in the best possible way! the santa clause area is brilliant. Christmas in July! and the suits would be happy - I imagine they may be able to sell a lot of park based christmas ornaments and snow cones there, eh? we don't talk too much about shopping, but really creative merchandising and food offerings, when done right, can add to place making efforts IMHO.

SWW said...

Thanks for the nice comments, everyone.

Jimbo, those three things - landscaping, merchandise & dining - are clearly key to creating great themed environments. It can't just be about the rides. Potterland definitely got the merchandise part right and it has been a huge windfall for Universal, whereas Disney's shopping environments still heavily suffer from the Pressler Effect(uniform, ubiquitous, out-of-theme) compared to what they were like before under Dick Nunis.

One of the cool things about this park is the shift in geography from land to land. MK does that to a less dramatic degree (Adventureland's jungle, Frontierland's desert, Fantasyland's (future) forest.

Alwax said...

Tolkien Christmas land=awesome.

Sam V. said...

I'm glad everyone is enjoying this park as much as I did! Thanks for the nice comments everybody!

protijimbo said...

Yes, having the same items in each store only discourages people from wanting to explore each one. Butterbeer is ahuge success sales and theme-wise. I felt that was lacking at Disney... Each snack should be something you can only get there - like the Dole whips. Love hear some more of your impressions from your trip.

SWW said...

I'll try to compile my thoughts on the State of WDW, and share in detail at some point.

Even though LOTR is one of my favorite books, I had never heard of Tolkien's Father Christmas letters until now... will have to check that out.

Mike said...

This park sort of reminds of an IOA or Epcot in its layout, with Neverland being the area where the giant tree is in Disney Animal Kingdom. It all blends together perfectly and the idea and theming is quite original.

I know you stated that there was no over-arching theme to Enchanted Earth but as I look over the map and read the details of each section it is interesting that "air" was not represented in the park. You have a section based on the "sea" and plenty of areas focused on "land" (The Great Desert and Jungle Expedition).

I realize that theming an area to "air" would be a difficult yet an interesting challenge. The H.G. Wells idea could be more broadly expanded beyond "Victorian London".

SWW said...

^ Maybe the ethereal nature of the ghosts (Bloodmere Isle) represents air.

I've drawn a couple "DisneySky" parks plans - and it is a bit more challenging & abstract than 'land' or 'sea' but definitely doable. I also have an in-progress conceptual park plan dedicated to the elements (DisneyElements??) (air, water, fire, earth, etc.), which is along those lines.

Maybe one day I'll post them here.

Alwax said...

DisneySky sounds like a very interesting idea. I'd like to see that park.