Thursday, May 24, 2012

Paris - Star Wars Outpost II

One of the earliest plans I shared here was for an idealized Disneyland Paris, with a huge, indoor Discovery Mountain, a larger Adventureland, etc.  That reconfigured drawing had no basis in reality, but it did feature a Star Wars Land in order to avoid muddling the Early European Visionary theme of Discoveryland.  

Recently, there were reports that the president of EuroDisney SCA mentioned building a Star Wars land around the new version of simulator.   I've done a couple more build-outs of DLP, and below is an illustrative excerpt of one of those plans showing a more realistic layout for a Star Wars area:


In this plan, Discoveryland would revert to its thematic roots (change out Buzz) and the catwalk tunnels would connect Videopolis to Space Mountain, creating a separation point to the new land.

The radar shop in front of Star Tours would be altered into something that fits the Star Wars aesthetic and the back side of Space Mountain would get heavy rockwork treatment to help it sell this SW environment.  The Eo theater would be converted to a Jedi Temple-like structure housing an interactive SFX presentation.  

Crossing under the railroad, visitors enter a Mos Eisley environment where a 1:1 recreation of the Millennium Faclon sits in its hanger bay (fully explorable).  The Cantina would be an entertainment-dining venue filled with aliens, bandits, etc. (inc. Chewbacca & Han). 

North of Star Tours II, would be another subsection (reachable by passing under the tracks) with a family shooter dakride (3-D sets) based on the Clone Wars. 

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hong Kong - Part II: Discovery Bay

Continuing from last time...

My feeling is that the 2nd Gate in Hong Kong should skew to an older audience - a counterbalance to HKDL.  I also think that due to its unique location right on Penny's Bay, it ought to have some connection to the sea.  The park I designed shares more than a few similarities with Tokyo’s 2nd Gate (which can't hurt any park), but in the interest of maintaining uniqueness of both Asian 2nd Gates, it is called ‘Discovery Bay.’  The lands & contents started after I read about a rumored park idea by WDI in the 1980s, described by Jim Hill here: description near bottom of page

Then a reader named David contacted me several weeks ago about drawing his version of "Hong Kong DisneySea", and while the park presented here did not end up being an interpretation of his idea, it does utilize one key feature: the central body of water features a giant “infinity pool” effect into Penny’s Bay (requiring the park to be elevated somewhat).  I thought that was a great concept, particularly for this locale.  The backdrop of the nightly fountain spectacular would have the open harbor (not facing the city skyline, but the forested islands of HK).  Here is the park:

Also, I thought I’d share a glimpse of what one of my landscaped & 'hand-painted' conceptual plans looks like.  Here is a sample of Vulcania (and a bit of Mythia) from this park:

And a landscape plan study of the Harbor entrance area:



 And the southeast quadrant:




A brief rundown on the park’s lands & attractions:

EXPLORERS HARBOUR
The opening land is set in a romanticized late 1800s San Francisco (Barbary Coast, Gold Rush, etc.).  The land is urban with the luxury hotel built into the park (also facing Penny's Bay).  Early steam-powered street cars would move along the boulevards, and the docks would feature ships of steam & sail (and both).  The main attraction here is the famous Hyperion suspended journey to an arctic Shangri-La.  Transit Steamers encircle the park, a counter-point the Gate 1’s railroad.

VULCANIA
 Like TDS, the hub of the park is Captain Nemo’s secret base, although everything about this version is different and a little larger.  Unlike TDS, the park centerpiece is not a volcano (would look silly against the real mountains of Lantau), but the Great Lighthouse similar to what was featured in the very first TDS concept painting.  The land is set in a caldera with a new baby volcano forming (but makes no attempt to be a full volcano).  The Lighthouse would be a new ride system that combines a free-fall spiral drop with a gyroscope ride vehicle.  The park's equivalent of Fortress Exploration is a riveted and steel-domed ‘steampunk’ base that houses various interactive chambers and labs of Cpt. Nemo.  The land also features the never-built Grand Salon restaurant and a 20,000K simulator.

MYTHIA
This land is based on Classical mythology.  Entering through the ancient gates, visitors would be looking across the river at The Colossus.  There are a couple kid-accessible attractions (boat ride proposed for Beastlie Kingdomme & family coaster).  There is a new version of Soarin’ over the ancient world (with SFX), and an indoor boat ride based on Jason & the Argonauts (PotC).

SUPERHERO ISLAND
Secret Jungle Bases sometimes come into play in the superhero genre and that’s what this area is.  An E+ dark ride based on the hugely successful Avengers, a large-scale X-men stunt show and a big, family Incredibles ride are the three featured attractions.

DRAGON COAST
This land is the sword & sorcery area, with the burnt out castle ruins at the center (housing a major coaster and AA dragon).  There is an FX show, like a next gen Poseidon, featuring battling wizards.  The tavern features traveling fantasy creatures (dwarves, etc.). 

THE LOST EXPEDITION
 This final area is dedicated to Indiana Jones (or IJ-style pulp adventure) – a 1930s archaeological exploration of an ancient Mayan city in Guatemala.  The feel comes close to that of Lost River Delta, although the attraction line-up is different, with a rapids ride and Big Thunder-scale coaster through the jungle and in and around a ruined pyramid.

***

Next will be Part III, concluding with a look at the themed dining-shopping-entertainment promenade and new resort hotels.

Cheers,

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. 



MINI LAND 1
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.


MINI LAND 2
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).