Friday, July 20, 2012

IoA West

This next park - Universal Islands of Adventure West - a Californian sister park to the Orlando original - is based on an idea by Jim Francik.   Like the last entry, I will begin with my visual interpretation of his park and update it in the coming days with Jim’s in-depth write-up, walkthrough and some original concept art by Jim’s wife Terri.

Illustrative plan: 

Welcome to The Islands of Adventure – a world of island hopping fun and discovery!   The open sea stretches before you, dotted by islands of all kinds, waiting to be explored.

Walk thru and enter a wide open area with island breezes blowing, the sound of crashing waves and sea birds calling in the distance... gentle tropical music teases…a wide open ocean mural (with an occasional distant island) encircles the area... water features add to the feeling. A blue tiled 'lagoon' walkway in front of the guests encourages them to 'walk on water' and then onto the slightly raised ‘islands’ where themed shops await.   A beached pirate ship, an iceberg, a shrimp boat (built halfway into the wall, painted to look whole!), a New England village, and a dinosaur preserve are all in this entry area.  

The classic image of a the skeleton of a castaway on a small island, (a patch of sand with a tiny hut and  one lonely palm) message-in-a-bottle still in hand, is used as a sunglasses/hat and sunscreen kiosk and photo spot. 

The view should allow for a somewhat broken look at a world of islands – guests should be able to see the water of the lagoon and skull island in the distance from certain angles and more so as they get further in. the archipelago is an attempt to really enhance the ‘island’ part of the park’s overall concept and to create something one of a kind in the theme park world. 

Some original artwork by Terri:

Adventureboat Island Tours – See the underwater cave of the Creature of the Black Lagoon; visit the subterranean headquarters of the Justice League; escape from the Dementors of Azkaban, chill with the Penguins of Madagascar in their icy cavern and chart a dark course right through the middle of Skull Island – the home of King Kong.  And Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – an appearance by Jaws might change your mind!

Thickly jungled and covered with the remains of the natives' temple, the island hosts a single attraction: King Kong 360, which uses a much smaller vehicles than the Hollywood studio tour tram (3 x 3 person).

When the sun goes down, a battle erupts to save the Islands of Adventure!  King Kong is angry and it may take all of us and the heroes of IOA to stop him (the Justice League and the Students of Hogwarts clash with the King of Monsters).  Original artwork by Terri:

Each Island has a significant building as a gateway.  Here the gateway is the Universal Theater – based on NYC's  Roxy – the theater that premiered “Dracula” – an opulent ‘30’s movie palace inside w/ mini screens showing clips as guests pass through.  Monsters Island has urban and rural segments.  The city segments begin in early 20thC New York City, and transition westward to Victorian London and northward to Belle Epoque Paris.  SFX 'Appearances’ by the invisible man happen in a couple choice spots.
 Creatures of the Deep: The University’s expedition to South America has returned with a display of the continent’s fiercest and most exotic aquatic animals. Stroll through the aquarium building, then gather around our specially installed tank for a rare look at the infamous Creature of the Black Lagoon. This is a walk thru w/ some real ‘river monsters’ and some fake, legendary creatures, a short show featuring a scientist lecturing while the Creature lurks in tank.  The show is abruptly ended when the creature gets out of the tank, grabs scientist and dives back into the water!
 Treasures of the Pyramids: You and your family can sit back and enjoy a filmed presentation by our leading Egyptian Scholar, surrounded by the Universal Museum’s amazing collection of rare artifacts, including an incredibly well preserved sarcophagus.  Let’s just hope the Professor’s reading of some ancient hieroglyphics doesn’t awaken the Mummy inside!  This is a 4D attraction where the whole room full of statues and artifacts comes alive, and eventually the Mummy himself. Luckily the film projector runs out, or breaks and the whole ‘awakening’ winds down back to normal.  
The Music of the Phantom: Enter the diabolical world of the Phantom of the Opera as the music of his organ lifts you up and then spins you down into a dark and dangerous underworld ! A spinner ride that goes down below a somewhat raised ‘ground level’ for a darkened sewer scene and some lighting effects.

The rural segments of the land features the gothic and tudor villages and the Transylvanian or English Moor landscapes associated with the genre.
Dr. VanHelsing’s Ghastly Gallery: Sharpen your monster hunting skills in Dr. VanHelsing’s shooting arcade. Train to survive the Legions of the Night by taking down Ghosts, Vampires, Wolfmen, Mummies and Monsters!
Dracula’s Castle: Do you dare to enter the home of the Most Famous Vampire of All Time? Travel through the mountains of Transylvania to face the dark horrors of this evil lair, and Count Dracula himself!  Not surprisingly, a ‘Haunted Mansion’ type ride w/ appearances of a Bela Lugosi AA. Queue winds up through grey cliffs/mountains.
The Gypsy Camp: This colorful group of traveling Gypsies has set up camp in the countryside. Enjoy their exotic music and dancing or learn your future fate from a Gypsy Fortune Teller! 

Original art:

Curse of the Wolfman: What does it feel like to turn into a Beast of the Night? Beware the Full Moon or you may find out on the wildest, most savage coaster on the English Moors!  Ride features synced soundtrack with wolf transformation timed with first tunnel show building. The moon is revealed and there’s a howl signaling the LIM blast off - trains explode across the moors, chasing hapless screaming victims.   In the end the ride slows and the sun rises returning all the riders to ‘normal’ again.  (sidenote: the art above shows a naked coaster, but in the plan I drew/imagined the coaster as a terrain-hugging, high speed (Intamin accelerator), heavily themed and mostly obscured by trees and hills (moors) - so no naked coaster superstructure)  
The Last Carousel: Come join the Spirits in the Cemetery for their last ride... you’ll spin amongst the Ghosts and Gravestones as the carousel glows with an otherworldly light.
The Universal Cemetery: Visit our graveyard to meet and take pictures with your favorite Classic Universal Monsters... Check the headstones and you might find out what happened to a few famous old characters from by gone days.
Frankenstein’s Monster Lives: Brave a wild lightning storm in the castle-top laboratory of Dr. Frankenstein!  Sparks will fly during this Live Action Show as the Doctor attempts to bring his Monster back from the Dead.   Indoor theater, live actors, Tesla and Jacob’s Ladder type effects, w/ pyro and special effect lighting. Show: serious build up to create monster, hoisted up to roof top – lightning- “He’s Alive!” –monster communicates that he wants a woman – Lucky we were ready for that! – bride is quickly brought to life – her screams drive frankenstein’s monster off stage.  Close to ‘Fork & Torch’ restaurant, of course!

This land is entered through the Hall of Justice.  Walk thru to heroic music and view statues of heroes and monuments to their achievements.  Relics of past superhero battles are on display.  Emerging into the land's interior plaza, the main view is a  rocky mount that reflects the neoclassic look of the HOJ with a classic greek temple atop (Wonderwoman) and Altlantis below (Aquaman).  The western half of the land is the shining glass & steel Metropolis and to the east is the older, grittier Gotham City.  Piped in traffic and city crowd noise soundtrack is used in both areas, but reflecting different environments.  The batsignal can be seen at night.  The two cities have rival hotdog styles. There are photo spots, like a phone booth in Metropolis or some tied up crooks in front of Com. Gordon’s office at GPD.  

Look, up in the sky! Above Metropolis, in forced perspective, miniature superhero figures circle the tops of buildings and fly by nearly invisible wire arcoss the skyline!  Meanwhile, across the way in Gotham City, Batman family members (batman, robin, batgirl, etc.) seem to chase criminals up and down buildings using mini aa’s.  Instead of a parades which tend to make castmembers in these types of superhero costumes look less than ‘super’, a large ‘ledge’ is built over the first story of city buildings in certain areas the costumed heroes then put on a mini stunt show for the crowd below and retain their larger than life stature.

Wonder Woman’s Trials of Olympus: Enter the Temple of Zeus and face the same trials Wonder Woman did to earn her right to be a hero in these interactive games of skill.  These would be like midway games that use some of the technology of ToyStory Mania in walkthrough form.  Xbox Kinect type tech maybe with sensor bracelets like the one’s WW uses to deflect bullets.

Aquaman’s World of Atlantis: Take a walk thru this sea cavern and visit Aquaman’s watery world – the Undersea Kingdom of Atlantis!  This attraction uses lighting effects, water features, and various water projection techniques to create unique visuals and to enhance the illusion of being under the sea. 

Starro: Relive the Justice League’s very first adventure as you battle the mind-controlling alien invader known as Starro .  A heavily themed spider-type spinner ride – large and state of the art on elevated platform like AstroOrbitor. 
Justice League: Invasion – Cyborg’s Challenge: Indoor live action, stunt and special effects show.  High above the Earth our mightiest heroes fight desperately against alien invaders.  Indoors to simulate space station setting and control advanced lighting effects, lasers, small pyrotechnics, interactive set pieces.
 Green Lantern : Journey to Oa: Join Earth’s Green Lantern as he travels through space  to Oa, for a special meeting of all the Lanterns. You’ll see the wonders of the galaxy and encounter a few cosmic troublemakers along the way on this amazing 4D mission (theater presentation, green lasers a few set pieces) .
Flash: The Fastest Man Alive!: See what it’s like to be the Flash as you speed through the sound barrier and beyond.  Ride uses Speed Rooms (akin to original World of Motion), air flow simulators with scent and water spray effects, etc., to simulate progressively faster travel.

DC Comics Headquarters: Watch actual DC comic book artists working on your favorite hero’s latest adventures. Animation exhibits and artwork displays fill reception area and guests are encouraged to attend an art class with a DC Comics artist as your teacher. You may even meet a heroic character or two in Superman Mini-Museum.  
“This Looks Like a Job for… Superman!”:  The only coaster in the world that really puts you in the place of the Man of Steel himself!  Hear what Superman would be thinking and saying as you rise above the Daily Planet Building and take off over the skyscrapers of Metropolis in this face-down, head-first, flying coaster. You’ll crash right through city buildings and smash down beneath the streets of Metropolis as you keep up your endless fight for Truth and Justice.

Knights Over Gotham – Take on the role of Sidekick-in-Training and try to keep up with Batman on his nightly patrol.  You’ll race through the dark streets of Gotham in Batman's latest vehicle (car that transforms into a plane), fly over roof tops and face fearsome villains along the way. This would use a Transformers-like ride system.  Extensively detailed Wayne Manor/Batcave queue.
Arkham Asylum: All of Batman's captured foes locked up in one place… and we’re here with our Gotham University psychology class for a tour.   Traditional dark ride; high level of immersion in each of the villains cells (e.g. warm w/ flower and plant  scents for Poison Ivy – maybe she shoots poison at us w/ water squirt effect; cold /fake snow for Mr. Freeze; damp dank sewer for killer croc, etc..

The Gateway to this island is modeled on London's historic Kings Cross Station.  Once inside the vaulted hall, visitors choose between boarding the Hogwarts Express at platform 9 & 3/4 (a simulated train ride to Hogsmeade Village) or returning to the streets of London via Diagon Alley (new home to Ollivanders and other shops & eateries as described in the books).  Diagon would include a Leaky Cauldron Pub, Eeylops Owl Emporium, Madame Malkins Robes for all Occasions, Flourish & Blotts, and the Weasley twins' joke shop.

Diagon spills out into the countryside where the Weasley's village is home to a restaurant and Ron's Flying Family Ford (tiered omni simulator).  Westward, the landscape becomes bleaker.  Hugging the rocky coast is the Azkaban prison complex (expanded from the single triangular tower of the film) throughout which runs a major coaster, Escape from Azkaban.  The abandoned Riddle Manor is home to a thrilling dark ride (Pandora's Box) featuring the major villain of the series.

Hogsmeade Village, reachable from the exit of Hogwarts Express, is based closely on Orlando's, but the area around Hogwarts is significantly opened up and expanded.  The entire of Hogwarts Castle (in forced perspective miniature) sits atop a much wider cliffside, completely concealing the same Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey show-building.   

Visitors can eat among Hogwarts students in the Great Hall in an adjacent restaurant.  The ship from Goblet of Fire is moored in the lake.  The Quidditich Pitch hosts an aerial spinner attraction that merges Dumbo with Junkyard Jamboree.

The lonely Shrieking Shack marks the entrance to a walkthrough attraction where guests receive an interactive Marauders Map and explore the secret passages below Hogwarts (they emerge at the Whomping Willow).  The transitional pathway to the next island (southeast) moves through the heavily wooded Forbidden Forest, with sights and sounds deep in the trees (centaurs, giant spiders, etc.).

Like the other three major islands, this one is subdivided into distinct thematic sub-regions.  The entrance gate (approaching from Skull Island hub) is modeled on the ivy-covered Dreamworks studio gate but extended in depth to include screenings of clips from their movies as you pass through.  Beyond the gate is an urban boulevard home to city-based Dreamworks films.   In the plaza is a fountain with an animated version of the DreamWorks logo - the boy's fishing line reaching down to the surrounding pool.   In Megamind’s Lab visitors experiment with the weird science of Megamind and help him reboot his once-evil gadgets for the forces of good - this would be a multistation ‘science and tech’ exhibit with interactive experiences, akin to ImageWorks and the Mission Space training lab.  At Monsters vs Aliens, a SpaceRangerSpin-style family shooter omnimover, visitors are recruited to save Earth from Alien threats alongside their Monster helpers. 

The city transitions to a tropical port on the island of Madagascar.  King Julian’s Tree Swing Party is a musical flying swing attraction themed to a giant baobob tree.  Similar to the attraction in Singapore, Madagascar –A Crate Adventure has riders queue up through the hull of a large docked container ship and then join Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they embark on a river ride adventure.
This land is cut in half by a long wall, dividing the present-day from the past.  The northern segment of the wall is imperial Chinese in style, and passing beneath the gate, visitors come upon the Valley of Peace.   Immediately to one's left is Dragon Warrior Noodles and Tofu, a table service restaurant where park guests may eat with Po, Master Shifu  and the Furious Five.  Master Shifu would be a small AA.  There would be a fake kitchen/front counter with an animated Mr. Ping running around.  Guest would also get a glimpse of Po’s room.  There is extensive outdoor seating in the restaurant's gardens, under a 5-story pagoda.

This area is dominated by Jade Mountain, home to Po's Quest, an E-ticket flume.  Near the entrance of this signature ride is the Kung Fu Panda Carousel, where younger visitors can spin through the Valley of Peace with the Furious Five, Thundering Rhino, Storming Ox, Master Croc, etc. 

The final and largest sub-area is based on the fairy-tale & fantasy Dreamworks films.  Passing through a dilapidated medieval wall, a huge amphitheater grows out of unusual rockwork.    This is home to How to Train Your Dragon – The Live Spectacular! where dragons with 40 foot wingspans fly and breathe fire.  It's a new version of  the existing arena show, taking advantage of a permanent, customized stage and theater building.  

The worlds of Shrek come to life in three attractions.  On Enchanted Airways, guests climb aboard Donkey’s beloved Dragon for a flight over and around Far Far Away.   This would be a significantly-enhanced version of the singapore kiddie coaster - larger in scale, with the track completely themed (supports as faux rockwork, trees, walls) or hugging greater topography.   Puss-in-Boot’s Donkey Ride is a spinner, highly detailed and ornamented, where guests ride behind Donkey in a swiveling cart while Puss taunts him from the center.  The major ride in Shrek's world is Tales of Far Far Away.  Queue is an interactive path through and among the giant stumps of Shrek's swamp and finally into the ogre's sod-roofed house (scaled-up to Ogre-size).  This is an elaborate family dark ride adventure and an expansion of the stories of Shrek's world (not repeating scenes from the films).  Dining facilities include The Hungry Ogre, featuring Worm Stir Fry, Swamp Rat Kebobs or Gingerbread Man Cookies.   The Poison Apple is a tavern to mingle with fairytale villains. 


ProjectTurtle said...

A lot of changes. Would six flags allow there dc comics 'land' to convert to one of the worlds greatest theme parks or a sister version. Anyway i hate criticizing :( Great idea for the dreamworks land, Archipelago which i had to look up did not no what it meant, and skull island huge fan of King Kong ('_('_('_')_')_')

kermitdefrog said...

The only things I'd change are the lands' names. Everything is pretty much "franchise name + island."

Mike said...

Too bad this couldn't be reality as this would be a serious competitor to Disney in the SoCal market.

I don't have a problem with the land names since you at least know what kind of area you are entering. My favorite is Universal Monsters Island, which I find quite brilliant. Surprised Universal never thought of it for the Florida property. I also like the idea for Dreamworks Island.

Like project turtle mentioned Six Flags owns the rights to the DC franchise and Magic Mountain already boasts several iron rides using their names. Wouldn't that somewhat be confusing being the same property in two different parks?

Looking forward to the details for this park.

Mike said...

I wanted to add that a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde themed dueling/racing coaster, maybe something along the lines of Battlestar Galactica at Universal Singapore would make an interesting ride concept.

BOb Marley said...

i dont think universal in reality would be able to pull this off! they're great, but realisticly- their not as diverse and technical as disney! I went to the wizarding world, and i went on a steel roller coaster and saw a 50 foot castle, and a warehouse! i found out i was right next door to a suburban neighbourhood, and i found out all this easily when i was just walkin around the park1 none of this off the interent

megatron_85 said...

you're late but...great park anyway

protojimbo said...

Great comments, Thx everyone! Yeah, Universal usurping control of DC is unlikely - just dreaming... Thx to SWW for the amazing interpretation - both maps look great! - & for fixing a few issues. I'll add more, hopefully before too much later!

Amaru said...

Great job as usual.

Both of you have such great imagination

SWW said...

Thanks for taking the time to leave comments/ideas. DC has some properties - Batman in particular - that I would love to see given (and deserve) Tier I theme park treatment one day.

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

Another great build-out. Any news on the Middle-Earth theme park or Thieves Dominion?

SWW said...

^Hey Pastor... I think Middle Earth park I will try to coincide with the Hobbit in December. Thieves Dominion should happen at some point - would want to do an illustrative version of it first and those take time.

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

No worries. I'm pretty sure we can expect both parks to be amazing (as is the usual standard), so I'm definitely looking forward to them. Maybe if I can come up with a suitable theme to integrate Dinotopia and The Neverending Story, I'll draw it up and send it in. They're both Warner Bros. properties, so maybe that'd tie it together (with the inclusion of other properties, obviously - almost like a Disney studio park, or Universal Studios type parks). Either way, keep up the good work!

protojimbo said...

@POM - Yes! I love the WB idea - that would be great to see.
@SWW - excellent re-write of that last segment on DreamWorks, thx again for everything. Looking fwd to the next post!

kermitdefrog said...

What's next?

ProjectTurtle said...

Just a thought we went to universal orlando and the walk from the back parking lots through city walk and to the parks is pretty tiring especially when you've walked all day so i believe universal should be given a Monorail maybe from the parking garages to some close part wear US and IOA splits apart...THEN AGAIN JUST A THOUGHT.