Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hong Kong - Part I

This is the first part of a study of Hong Kong Disney Resort, in which I will present conceptual site plans for the built-out Disneyland park, an expanded resort hotel offering, a dining-shopping-entertainment district and a second theme park.

I had previously drawn a build-out for HKDL, but that plan was not very grounded.  In that take, I had added a Frontierland (Grizzly Trail + Thunder Mesa south of it) and then expanded all the other lands so, like most DL-style parks, these areas were fairly large containing numerous attractions (e.g. I replaced Toy Story Land with an Indiana Jones area to form one contiguous Adventureland from TheaterintheWild to Mystic Manor).

The plan presented here is a little more realistic in that it takes the current expansion plan and continues the pattern to form a necklace of distinct mini-lands, each relatively unique from its neighbor.  I decided to do this because with Mystic Point isolated between Toy Story & Grizzly Trail,  there’s no point in trying to make it part of a Greater Adventureland. 

In thinking of a concept that could fit between Small World and Toy Story Land without being too jarring to either, I decided on L. Frank Baum’s World of Oz (lots of solid source material, couple of new films coming soon, including one from Disney).   I felt like this mini-land would fit comfortably between Toy Story (bright colors of Munchkin Village) and Fantasyland.  I think Oz would appeal to the HKDL market.  The approach from Small World plaza would take visitors through the Haunted Forest (animated trees) to the foot of the Witch’s cliff-top castle.  This would house a very large, scenic ride with lots of AAs and detailed sets (a type of attraction conspicuous by its absence in HK) depicting the stories and places from the world of Oz.   The yellow brick road would lead past the Tin Woodman’s Theater (AA show) and to Munchkin village with retail & dining facilities.

For a transition from African-set Adventureland to American West-set Grizzly Gulch, I wanted a land that was geographically set in the Americas and still connected to the notion of Old World Adventure.  The obvious choice was a Pirates mini-land (sort of like the one pitched by WDI and then shot down by HKDL management).  Like both Mystic Point and Grizzly Gulch, this land would have one big E-ticket, one small A/B-ticket and a dining facility.  Since Shanghai is apparently not going with the Splash Mountain version of PotC (SDL seems to be getting an indoor-EMV boat hybrid) I decided to resurrect the flume attraction here.   

As seen in my birdseye above, visitors taking the righthand path would pass the fire beacon and arrive in the Caribbean colonial port, housing a Tortuga-themed entertainment & dining venue.  In the town square is a  well where it looks like the mayor could get dunked, if pirates ever ransacked the town.  Nearing the fortress, one of the colonial buildings would house a pirate-themed shooting gallery.   The down dissolves into the fortress, which in turn dissolves into the mountain.  This complex houses the all new “splash mountain” version of PotC.  I tried to work some motifs into the rockwork like the conch shell and the pirate skull out of which riders would drop, passing through the shipwreck to the lagoon below.    On the lagoon shore are a couple of areas where adventurers could fire water muskets & canons at the the people on the flume. 
The final addition to this park is the sometimes-rumored Star Tours II, in the last remaining Tomorrowland pad.   TL in HK is a space port - the vast majority of the facilities are dedicated to fantasy space travel in one way or another (everything except Autopia?) from varying source materials - so adding Star Tours is like adding another vegetable to the salad.  Also, a simulator attraction would be unique in this park. 


One thing that struck me about  is that even a completely built-out (this plan reasonably uses up all the readily available expansion pads that HK will use over the next 10-20 years) HKDL will still be a relatively small and attraction-lite park (about 30 real attractions in this drawing).  This must reflect the market analyses that were done for HK in its planning stages.  I believe that the original attendance goal for the park was 5.5-6 million in year one.  I think  the original attendance goal for Disneyland Paris was around 10million in year one.  DLP is much bigger than HKDL - both at opening and at its eventual build-out potential, so the theme park going audience of HK & the region may have been estimated (by Disney in 2002) to be significantly smaller than that of Europe (which is odd considering South Asia's massive population).


Sam V. said...

Are you gonna put up the "blue sky" version of HKDL too?

Felipe Zahtariam said...
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Felipe Zahtariam said...

What a great build-out plan! Congrats, Sam!

Douglas said...

I wouldn't be that strange if out of a 100 only 2 were able to pay for a trip to a theme park.
After all look at Universal Singapore. it's about the same size as HKDL but only enough room to add one ride. But it's still sad when a park like this is built with fast and quick on the brain.

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

Another great build-out, and the more I visit the site, the more I'm inspired to draw up a park of my own and submit it. Unfortunately I'm a terrible artist, so we'll see how that goes. Personally, I'd love to see (or do, to an extent) a park based entirely on the James Gurney series of books called "Dinotopia". The theming would be incredible, and who doesn't love dinosaurs?

On an (even more) unrelated note, still anxiously awaiting Thieves Dominion, as King's Empire has been my absolute favorite original build-out yet.

SWW said...

Sam, not yet as that would require another write up.

Felipe, Thanks!

Douglas, point taken about the number in Asia vs. the number that can afford it... although I believe the middle class in the region is growing (and will be huge in future decades). Like you, I think a major part of the size factor had to do with cost.

Pastor of Muppets,
Gurney is one of my favorite illustrators and I'm well aware of Dinotopia (I actually did a Dinotopia land for a park not yet posted here). Gurney himself has produced some theme park concepts (for a Dinotopia). You can get a glimpse of them by googling "Dinotopia Theme Park" and going to the googlebooks link. Glad you liked the King's Empire, I'm sure I'll one day get to posting its companion park (also imagined by Bryan K). You should definitely draw your ideas out.

ProjectTurtle said...

Sww, great park illustrations!! have you ever thought of maybe incorporating elements from EPCOT or its original Epcot City from walt disney into the 60s into parks who have tomorrowland but not Epcot. Thanks you inspire me to keep drawing concept art and theme parks i like how you do the birds eye views i would like to again know how you do it

Anonymous said...

Love the Pirates mini-land!

Instead of the Oz-land I would love to Beastlie Kingdomme in that spot, with a Dragon Tower E-ticket.

- Tasman

The_Mad_Hatter said...

One of your best so far! I loved the realism. Everything you designed I could easily see implimented into the park. That Pirates Land overview is especially well done. It fits the scale nicely and does not overwhelm.

I'd love to see Hong Kong Disney Sea too. ;)

Anonymous said...

Just to add a little to my comments above...

When HKDL does fill up the remaining pads, and given the limited options, they should consider replacing some of the existing attractions with higher value ones. The Lion King is a great show but sits on a sizeable chunk of real estate that could house something akin to Indiana Jones. They could upgrade their current (half-baked) Pooh ride and build one with an LPS system where the Golden Mickeys currently sit. Then the space currently occupied by Pooh could house something better.

Then there is all the space adjacent / inbetween Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, behind the Golden Mickeys, which currently houses support structures. These buildings could be reconstructed further out and a miniland built on site.

- Tasman

Anonymous said...

Hey SWW, can you do something not Disney for me. I am constantly troubled by Universal Studios Hollywood's failure to find a consistent theme. It feels like it wants to be both a studio park like DHS or it's Orlando sister and a theme park with lands like Islands of Adventure. When those two are attempted to be done at once, it doesn't work, just like at Disney Hollywood Studios. I know that the land is difficult to work with because of the hill that seperates the upper and lower lot, but there is still plenty of room to work with if they were to get rid of a few of their production studios. My task for you is to create a park that goes in the direction of themed lands, like Universal Studios Singapore or Islands of Adventure, and still contains the classics (Simpsons, Revenge, Jurassic Park) [with changes to get rid of the plain structures that don't fall into Tier I category. Thanks and good luck!

SWW said...

Appreciate the comments.

Project Turtle, yes I've conceptualized some parks where Tomorrowland attempts to portray a more realistic future (like the original TL or EPCOT Future World) rather than sci-fi or retro fantasy. Both (realism & retro) can work nicely if well-executed and done consistently... the problems arise when these two get mixed as they often are at Disney parks - water and oil.

I'll try to tackle the "how" question in a future tutorial post.

Mad Hatter, if you like DisneySea, you'll like the 2nd Gate I've put together for the next post.

Tasman, there will be elements of Beastly Kingdomme in the 2nd Gate. I agree with all your excellent upgrade suggestions (e.g. New Pooh to Golden Mickeys), especially since the land already has a Disney highlight theatrical attraction in Philharmagic. As you mention, if they can consolidate the backstage buildings (or build a bridge/cover over the MTR Resort Spur, they could probably get another mini-land in that area.

Anon, it's a very interesting idea. I'll have to take a look at Universal Hollywood, as I don't have much familiarity with that park. I've got a pretty long pipeline of requests/park ideas, so don't expect anything soon, but one day...

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I'll be looking forward to that!

kermitdefrog said...

In the late 1980s/early 1990s, sci-fi mixed very well with the realism of Tomorrowland at Disneyland. The fantasy of Star Tous and Captain EO never really intruded upon the realism of the Submarine Voyage and Circle-Vision 360. This is the kind of execution I aim for in most of the Tomorrowlands/Discoverylands I design for Disney parks on The Gemini Series.

Joel Lee said...
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blahblahblah said...

I feel like the imagineers kinda made a dead-end to this theme park expansion-wise. It's just awkward to design new lands to build. The thing I would do is re build parts of the train, and have it going around the newer areas, rather then in front.

Joel Lee said...
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