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. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Disneyland Australia

UPDATE: I will update this post, land-by-land, with MEW's detailed written walk-through, beginning with World Bazaar.

I’ve drawn and posted a number of variants on the Disneyland model.  This latest one is based on a written description by ‘MANEATINGWREATH’:

I’ll start with these reference images for each of the lands and hopefully MEW will join in with a detailed walkthrough of my interpretation of his idealized park…

First of all I'd like to thank SW Wilson for his contribution to my dream of a Disneyland just beyond the outskirts of Sydney, Australia.  The results are incredible.

A day in Disneyland Australia begins as any other trip to Disneyland would begin: through the turnstiles and brought face-to-face with a historic train station – this time in a colonial Victorian red brick as found in Australia - and the smiling floral face of Mickey Mouse.  The counter clockwise-traveling Disneyland Australia Railroad pulls into the station, ready to take guests on various adventures (more on the train features later).  One of two tunnels on either side of the flowerbed lead beneath the railroad tracks and into a whole new world...almost literally.

This is World Bazaar, an international marketplace of many architectural origins, a worldwide take on the classic Main Street, U.S.A..  The Paris Opera House (modeled after the real thing) plays home to "Just One Dream - The Legend of Walt Disney," an American Adventure-style presentation showcasing the legend and lore of Walt Disney and his journey from a simple cartoonist to a global legend, an emotional and often tear-jerking show with highly advanced animatronics, wonderful music, and that ever-inspiring song: "Just One Dream."

The Chicago Police & Fire Stations across the way have come straight from the 1920's, a time when gangsters and mayhem in Chicago were constantly prevalent.  A police car always seems to be right outside the station, a welcoming sign for people inquiring about park security or general questions, comments, or concerns (City Hall).  A jolly band of musical policemen have some fun in the nearby garage.  World Transportation Co. has a fleet of international vintage vehicles (rickshaws to London’s red buses) and Steam-Powered Streetcars travel up and down the street.  The Co. has a small store and museum giving guests a glimpse of what role transporation has played in mankind's long history.

Along the central boulevard (International Street) beaux-arts New York City-style facades are home to a the massive two-story department store - not unlike Macy’s or Gimbel’s as they appeared at the turn-of-the-century - complete with painted advertisements for products of the day fading and chipped from age, window displays running along the first floor giving a glimpse at miniature recreations of scenes from the latest Disney film along with displays offering a taste of what one may find inside.  The store is a mega version of the traditional Emporium mixed with a World of Disney Store, selling everything Disney ranging from toys to jewelry to books to clothes.  

New York gives way to old L.A. in the eastern side street.   A 1940's Hollywood talent agency: Sid California Talent Agency.  The Agency is all about turning anyone of any age into the next big Hollywood star by offering a wide variety of celebrity clothing (meaning character costumes for kids and Mickey Mouse ears) and the option to be photographed, whether it be through actual photos or hand-cut silhouettes.  Good ole Sid can be heard arguing on the phone with several of his many clients in his second-story office.

The western side of Int. St. represents London in all its royal beauty, complete with the Jolly Holiday Bakery, street artists, and Arthur's (a small pub).  The western north-south artery (Rue du Monde) begins with the jazz and magic of New Orleans, the French Quarter in particular.  The graceful wrought-iron balconies and pastel-colored buildings create a  marketplace of food, drink, and various souvenirs unique to the New Orleans theme.  This area is none other than the French Market, a cousin to Anaheim Disneyland's French Quarter.  Then comes a little piece of Germany: the Biergarten where Oktoberfest is an every day event (not too crazy) with live polka music, beer, delicious German food, and beer. Did I mention there's beer?

The northwestern block of World Bazaar hosts a Ghirardelli Soda Fountain held within the walls of a gingerbread-trimmed San Francisco-style structure home to not only a soda fountain and chocolate shop but a brief tour through the interior of a chocolate factory.  The theme of the City by the Bay transitions across the Street to the Lucky Dragon, a restaurant held within a Chinese palace. Inside is live entertainment of the Chinese culture, an audio animatronic conversation with Confucius, and a hulking Chinese dragon parading right through the restaurant, belching smoke. But of course this being Disney, he politely asks beforehand, "ANYONE MIND IF I SMOKE?" 

The northeast corner of the land is the Zanzibar Traders complex - a perfect transition into nearby Adventureland.  Zanzibar Traders is home to a wide variety of goods imported straight from Africa, ranging from tribal totems to hand-carved statues of the continent's beautiful wildlife.  The rustic desert structure has a trail leading into the dense jungles of Adventureland, above a gurgling waterway and into the remote fishing village of Paradise Springs, the sounds of the jungle coming from all sides.

International Street leads straight into the central Hub, a park-like space with manicured topiary and mature shade trees.  In the center of it all is the classic Partners statue, a lasting tribute to Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, the two who started it all. Standing high above them is the Beast's Castle, a beautiful representation of the iconic castle of Beauty and the Beast. But we'll focus on the Castle another time, for now we will be traveling beneath the covered-bridge, past the tribal masks, bamboo torches, and human skulls and into the mysterious realm that is Adventureland...

The Railroad here features so many show scenes and special FX that it brings close to E-ticket status.

Moving counter-clockwise, the train leaves the Australian station and quickly enters a dense jungle with various wildlife poking in and out among the foliage.  The Adventureland station is old, rickety, and made of rotting wood, covered in faded paint and cobwebs. The train passes the outdoor ancient ruins of the Indy queue and into the Canyon of the Gods (similar to HKDL) where a large deity statue comes to life  bringing the water around it into flames and creating an earthquake. Luckily guests survive.  A tunnel follows which may offer a glimpse of pirate adventure beyond the stalactites of the dark cavern.

Next, the American frontier awaits. First passing through the Rainbow Caverns, America  the trains reach the Western River's banks.  Wildlife appears as usual along with an Indian village. The burning cabin sits on the island across the way and is prominently visible.

 Fantasyland is the next stop, the trains leaving the forest and passing through a beautiful garden full of animal-shaped topiaries and over the threshold of Small World.   Fantasyland Depot is themed to a rural station (similar to MK's new station) as Dumbo appears nearby. The trains leave the station and pass through a foreboding canyon surrounded by darkened waters and craggy boulders. The ferocious figure of the Maleficent dragon emerges from the waters and unleashes a plume of green fire, barely missing trains by a hair. 

The craggy rocks segue into lunar rocks and the trains begin to pass through Spaceport 55, right into a robot junkyard where Wall-E can be seen rummaging through junk and waving. Eve can also be seen waving at one point.  Tomorrowland shortly follows which appears as a Utopian city that is definitely on the move with sleek white buildings, beautiful waterfalls and plant-life, distant pine forests and snow-capped mountains, and general beauty.  The Tomorrowland Transit Center is indoors and features automatic sliding doors and air conditioning. The image of tomorrow is shattered however when the trains enter a large cavern and go back in time to the last great Ice Age which is a giant animatronic-filled set.  The scene ends with a climatic battle between man and beast and empties trains out around a corner, through a forest and back into World Bazaar Station.

Upon emerging from Adventureland's covered bridge, guests may notice a small fishing boat at bay in the murky waters below, its skeleton occupant in an endless slumber, perpetually having his line cast beneath the surface for eternity, an ominous ring growing from around the hook.  The crackling sounds of big band radio programming of the 30's and 40's flood into the air, setting an eerie mood for the adventures ahead.

Disneyland Australia's Adventureland boasts the intricate backstory and setting of Paradise Springs, a rundown fishing village resting deep within the jungles and swamps of some remote jungle island inhabited by a collection of exotic animals along with the ruins of lost civilizations and tribes of vicious but primitive cannibals.  Legend has it that Paradise Springs was founded after a luxury liner in 1922 crashed and unleashed its surviving passengers into the wild, led by the fearless Old Betty, a 90-year-old woman with fond memories of past wars.  Betty established Paradise Springs, discovered countless ancient mysteries, all the while made famous by wrestling and defeating a tiger with her bare fists. Although Betty has left this earth for the next, a statue in her memory lies in the middle of town, the monument boasting the moment when Betty stood proudly with one foot on top of the slain tiger. Naturally the swampwater beneath the earth has made its way to the surface and begun to create little spurts and geysers from within the statue.

Paradise Springs grew into somewhat of a tourist destination when notable archaeologist Dr. Indiana Jones discovered the ancient Temple of the Nightmare King while stopping at the island for supplies.  Word got out of the discovery and soon enough tourists began flooding into the place, boosting the town’s economy and turning the rundown colonial fishing village into a luxurious tropical resort.  Old Betty grew rich and created a Royal Hawaiian-style mansion to the town's south while tourists from around the world began to explore the ruins of the old temple.  Betty opened up the Jungle Navigation Co. to transport visitors on boat trips through the jungles where they'd get a chance to see the exotic wildlife and natural beauty for themselves.   All was well until in 1934 when Indy mysteriously disappeared into the depths of the temple and perhaps even worse, Betty suddenly died.  Locals believed it to be the work of ancient spirits and fearing the worse, tourists fled and Paradise Springs slowly became a desolate little fishing village as it was before. 

The Jungle River Cruise continues to operate near the entrance to Adventureland.  Located beyond the confines of an old vine-covered boathouse, the tramp steamer cruise through the swampy jungle leads past fearsome natives, lions gorging themselves on a bloodied zebra, a tour through an ancient flooded temple, and an encounter with good old Trader Sam, the head cannibal...I mean head salesman in the jungle.  During the time of the town's success, best friends Al E. and Gate R. established a short-lived whitewater rafting expedition through the jungle.  Although the business was a failure, their own boathouse continues to lie near the Jungle River Cruise, their abandoned office building now flooded, overrun with foliage, and inhabited by some hungry alligators, the perfect water playground for kids and adults alike.

To the north of Old Betty (the statue of course) are all the little shops and eateries unique to the area, most notably the Curiosity Shop which offers a bizarre realm of mystery where some of the weirdest items collected from around the world have come to find their final resting place here, ranging from weird Indian idols to terrifying Polynesian masks.  Various magic tricks and pranks are for sale here in addition to the weird artifacts.  The Adventurer's Club is Adventureland's premiere dining experience where notable archaeologists and adventurers alike come inside and provide some live entertainment (mainly humorous Q & A's) for dining guests whom have already been immersed in the restaurant which is filled to the brim with bizarre artifacts (thus connecting it to the attached Curiosity Shop) and even fossils of bizarre prehistoric animals (many in which don't even seem to have existed).  The giant tree growing in the middle of the room may also have something to do with it. 

Fargo's Palm Parlor is perhaps the most mysterious of the village locations, a fully functioning palm parlor where the futures of many a guest have been and will continue to be predicted by the quirky fortuneteller within.  Although not pictured or labeled, a few more shops lie near the Adventurer's Club and Palm Parlor, these being the Angry Rhino Tavern and Archaeologist's Outpost.  The latter is merely a gift shop where any brave archaeologist of any age can find a plastic sword, cap gun, fedora, rugged explorer uniform, or a pith hat, along with Indiana Jones memorabilia and souvenirs.  The Angry Rhino Tavern is a darkened eating establishment.  Hanging above the constantly roaring fireplace is the mounted head of a very angry rhinoceros whom...wait a minute...did that rhino just blink?  Did it just frown as well?  Maybe it's just a trick of the light...or a trick of the wonderful side-effects given by the delicious Dole Whip and fruits sold at the neighboring Paradise Springs Oasis which in turn is a neighbor to the Tropical Serenade, home of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

In the Enchanted Tiki Room (the facade continues with the rundown fishing village theme while keeping hints of Polynesian influence), the tropical birds, beautiful flowers, and lively tikis sing words and croon songs about the splendor of the islands.  An Aviary filled with a colorful population of living tropical birds, bubbling streams and tiny waterfalls lies just next door to the Serenade, an easy alternative for children to the adventures down the street at Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Nightmare King.

 Ancient ruins line the jungle-surrounded trail leading to a still-functioning archaeologist camp.  The camp lies just at the foot of the rotting temple which has been partially submerged into the muddy earth for centuries, only its large rooftop visible to the naked eye.  A man-made hole in the rooftop leads downwards into a network of ancient catacombs and caverns, right into the heart of the feared Nightmare King's temple.  Rusted mine cars used to transport artifacts through the temple carry brave guests into the heart of the temple before being ripped from the track by a fissure and sent on an off-road trip past many a booby trap and evil spirit with plenty of appearances by the dragon-like Nightmare King himself.

The Adventureland Welcome House to the southwest of the Temple serves as a railroad station while the house next door
, appropriately named the "Happy Orangutan", serves milkshakes and smoothies.  Things aren't so happy around the bend...for the abandoned mansion of Old Betty stands tall amongst the foliage, eerie, beautiful, but forgotten.  Its design makes it seem as if a pair of lovers once celebrated their honeymoon here...but never did.  The overgrown gardens and grounds leading to the mansion hint at the fact that 999 happy haunts have retired to the old house to spend their afterlife in a true paradise.  The Tribal Burial Grounds near the mansion's extensive graveyard serve not only as a neglected resting place for ancient natives but also a cemetery for some of the locals whom judging by their headstones didn't really take death seriously.

Northeast of Adventureland lie the haunted waterways and mysterious canyons of Uncharted Lagoon, land of pirates and mermaids. Craggy gray rockwork and thundering falls surround the remains of many an unfortunate watercraft.  Uncharted Lagoon is home to two icons of great notability, one a symbol of romance the other of adventure, these being Prince Eric's Castle and Dead Man's Peak.

Prince Eric's Castle stands proudly in an alcove of fanciful rockwork and crystal waters.  A statue of Ariel, the Little Mermaid herself resting on the shoreline.  If one listens close enough they can hear the echo of Ariel's voice bouncing off of the rocks.   The Voyage of the Little Mermaid takes riders right into the music and magic of The Little Mermaid.  Scuttle's Cove, an interactive scavenger hunt built into a large rock lies near  the Castle.  

The darker side of the Lagoon is dominated a jungle-covered mountain crowned with a stony skull.   From the skull's mouth pours a cascade - larger than any other waterfall in the Lagoon - into a graveyard of lost ships resting in the waters below.  This is Dead Man's Peak, the most feared mountain the Caribbean.  Every few seconds a boat comes thundering down the mountain accompanied by the screams of its passengers.  The boats plunge through a Spanish galleon split into the shipwreck-infested lagoon.  What adventure could be the cause of all this chaos? The Pirates of the Caribbean. That's what.

Set sail with the wildest crew to ever sack the Caribbean Sea by boarding a simple wooden cutter of the East India Trading Company, venturing towards a sleepy port under a starry sky.  Pass jungle lagoons inhabited by mermaids and long-dead pirates.  Witness the invasion of a port town unfold before your very eyes as pirates interrogate the Governor on the location of a legendary treasure by dunking him in and out of a well, while some jolly old drunkards hoot and holler at a bride auction across the way.  Captain Jack Sparrow gets in on the fun attempting to sneak his way out of the local jail - again.  The adventure results in a six story plunge down Dead Man's Peak and into a network of haunted caverns and shipwrecks below.  No trip to the Caribbean is complete without a visit to the Pieces of Eight gift shop and Shipwreck Cove bar located within some rotting Spanish buildings just near the base of the mountain.

The Wild West of Frontierland lies northeast of the Hub, marked by Fort Wilderness and its mighty wooden gates.  A set of Indian teepees compliment the Fort, welcoming you to a land representing the adventurous spirit of the American pioneer.

The spirit of the frontier is evident as you step foot through the gates and into the boom town of Rainbow Ridge, home to not only miners but rough and rowdy cowboys and the cautiously friendly Indians of the nearby forests, plains and rivers.  The Diamondback Saloon is the first sight upon entry, a tribute and testament to the old western saloon inhabited by dancing showgirls, honky tonk pianos, vaudeville comedians, and rowdy bar fights caused by a wrong move in a simple game of cards. Pioneer Mercantile and Will U. Bea Mine Supply lay across the street with their neighbor the Mile Long Bar.  Just next door to the Saloon is the General Store, Frontierland's main shop and a shop where you can find generally...anything!

Cowboys on live horses and Native Americans traders pop up every now and then along the streets along with the occasional gun fight between the sheriff and the latest outlaw in town, a true image of the American West.   The Frontierland Jamboree is a foot-stomping, hand-clapping celebration of American music presented through the magic of Disney Audioanimatronics.   A cast of characters seemingly straight from the artwork of Song of the South or the Country Bear Jamboree put on a humorous show celebrating the music and lore of the USA.  The Hungry Bear Restaurant next door provides a hearty after-show meal to any weary pioneer.  

The Western Rivers Sternwheeler, a riverboat of an era gone by makes its one and only stop just a few steps away from the Hungry Bear.  Aboard the Sternwheeler guests can expect to find themselves on a journey around the Rivers of the Frontier, past wildlife, natural forests and mountains, a village of friendly natives, and perhaps the most exciting portion of the journey, a burning settler's cabin. 

Geyser Mountain stands tall above the rivers and the whole of Frontierland, a massive mountain seeming to have come straight from the deserts of Arizona. Within this ancient, eroded mountain lies the abandoned mining facility of the Geyser Mountain Mining Co., a business which apparently went bust after some catastrophic incident. As for what that incident is, no one seems to know...until they board a mine car for themselves, travel deep into the mountain, disturb some sleeping bats, experience an earthquake, then get launched out of the top of the mountain on top of the "Ole Unfaithful Geyser" at high speeds, dropping up and down, up and down, until it's all over...not meaning that riders die, meaning that the eruption is over and the ride has ended.

A much tamer but still exciting adventure can be found just next door to the Railroad Museum (which is exactly what the title says it is) across the street from the General Store. This rustic train station is home to Nature's Wonderland, a train trip through a wonderland of nature's own design featuring such locations as Beaver Valley, Bear Country, the Living Desert, and the Rainbow Caverns.  The serenity of Rainbow Caverns is quickly shattered as the trains reach Dry Gulch, Rainbow Ridge's "ugly sister."  The cowboys in the area have had a successful cattle drive and have decided to celebrate by literally bringing down each and every house in Dry Gulch, resulting in the sale of faulty elixirs, horses on rooftops, dangerous shootouts, bank robberies, dancing showgirls, and a sudden increase in the price of the local mortician's business.  The masked banditos and their masked horses are no sign of assurance either.  Luckily the little train pulls through and another day in Nature's Wonderland ends peacefully.  The Last Chance Wilderness Outpost is attached to the Railroad Museum and serves as a complimentary gift shop for Nature's Wonderland.

A considerable amount of expansion space lies to the northern point of Frontierland labeled "D12." This space may one day host a new take on both Big Thunder Mountain and Big Grizzly Mountain. Its name?  You'll just have to wait and see...

The Beast's Castle towers high above the rest of the park, its architecture (with carved pillars and gargoyles) creating a sense of beauty and enchantment.  Stained-glass windows telling the story of Beauty and the Beast can be found upon the walls of the Castle's interior in a manner similar to those found within Cinderella's Castle in Florida.   On the western approach rests the Fantasy Gardens, a hedge maze.

Within the castle are two additional features: the Castle Library and the Fantasia Shop. The Shop features dioramas of various fantasy scenes from Fantasia (appropriate enough judging by the Fantasia icons represented in nearby Fantasy Gardens) and sells items related to Disney's fairytale classics.  In the Castle Library, Belle herself shows up and reads stories to children with plenty of interactive elements  (such as Cogsworth or some other character intervening).  One of the Castle's wings (containing the ballroom) is home to the restaurant spectacular Be Our Guest, featuring an animatronic Lumiere and collection of dancing silverware.

Behind the Castle lies a walled town straight from the pages of an old storybook with Bavarian, Tudor, and French influences.  To the eastern side of town is Belle's Storybook Journey, yet another representation of Beauty and the Beast, this time in the form of a classic Fantasyland dark ride.  Across from it is Robin Hood's Merry Hunt, another dark ride, where guests join Robin Hood and Little John on their quest to steal from the rich Prince John and give to the needy.  The cottage setting blends into a Tudor house complete with a clock tower, home to Flight to Neverland, an adventure aboard a flying pirate ship into the starry skies above pre-World War II London and on into Peter Pan's Neverland with encounters with Indians, pirates, Captain Hook, and the rowdy Lost Boys.  Maximus' Stable (reference to ‘Tangled’) serves as Fantasyland's resident carousel, resting dead center in the town featuring a collection of beautiful hand-carved carousel horses and the occasional chariot.  A set of shops are held within a Swiss chalet-like structure.  Pinocchio Village Haus is Fantasyland's largest restaurant with both an indoor and outdoor eating area.

Beyond the castle town walls to the eastern side of the land is the Enchanted Forest, where a gothic manor house draped in vines and adorned with ominous gargoyles stands high above the treetops, the home of Snow White's Scary Adventures.  The Snow White theme is carried on in the Seven Dwarfs' Mine Coaster.   Separating Fantasyland from Frontierland is the Hundred Acre Wood.  In Pooh's Grand Adventure, guests are taken on a trackless dark ride through the world of Winnie the Pooh (using scenes from 2011's Winnie the Pooh film) and friends.  The Hundred Acre Goods gift shop is held at the exit of the Grand Adventure.   The Mad Tea Party, Mad Hatter gift shop and March Hare Refreshments are located in a sub-area themed to Wonderland (with appearances of the grinning Cheshire Cat in nearly every corner).

Beyond the western town walls is a countryside where the circus has arrived.  The Fantasyland Station lies nearby, themed to a rural depot from the time and setting of ‘Dumbo’.  Casey Jr., a powered kids coaster, is set opposite the main path from Dumbo (the ride).  Aboard Storybook Land Canal Boats, riders experience a miniature world where locations from classic fairytales and legends are recreated.

Heading north and beneath the railroad tracks are two other sub-areas: The Land of Oz and Small World Plaza. The Land of Oz is straight from the pages of a classic L. Frank Baum books.  The E-ticket attraction is a whitewater adventure beginning with an escape from the Wicked Witch’s dungeons, and then past numerous scenes and locales of Oz, such as the Tin Man’s house and a Munchkin Village. Tik-Tok Clockwork Gifts lays closest to the land's entrance.   Small World Plaza is home to the Disney classic.  Held within the traditional Blair-styled palace is a musical voyage through the various countries of the world.  Small World Toys and Fantasy Ice Cream Parlor also take up residence in the Plaza.

The far western area of Fantasyland (by Storybook Land) leads down a trail and into neighboring Spaceport 55, the realm of science fiction, alien invaders, and both hostile and friendly robots.  There is a considerable amount of expansion space labeled "E22" to the right-hand side of Small World. This space will one day occupy one of two things: a new and improved version of  Toontown themed to Hollywood and all its glamour and glitz. T he other option is the construction of a large stadium home to the latest version of Fantasmic!  More on a Fantasyland expansion later...

The final frontier...the final destination...Spaceport 55 is a modern day incarnation of some unused concepts of Tomorrowland 2055 and Sci-fi City.  Here is a world of neon colors and bizarre architecture straight from the pages of a Buck Rogers comic book or the reels of a Star Wars film.  Entering the port from the Hub leads down a neon-lit path between two spaceship hangars: the Star Tours Spaceport and Star Command Headquarters. Star Command HQ is home to what else but Star Command, the galaxy's protectors of peace and justice: the Space Rangers, led by the heroic Buzz Lightyear. Several ships appear docked in the opened hangars running along the facade, one of them serving as the entrance to Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters.  Unlike other versions of Astro Blasters around the world, this one takes a more "realistic" approach and has nothing to do with guests being shrunken down to the size of a toy (based off of the mythology created for the Buzz Lightyear cartoon series).  Store Command appears at the attraction's exit.  

The Star Tours Spaceport is marked by an Imperial Tiebomber, its hangar serving as the attraction's entrance.  The ride exits into the Star Trader.  Max Rebo's Intergalactic Cantina sits next door, an alien-inhabited sit-down restaurant home to Jabba the Hutt's band, the Max Rebo Band, led by the elephant-like Max Rebo, with vocals by Sy Snootles and Joh Yowza.  Bizarre music such as "Jedi Rocks" and my favorite "Da Hutt Moda" are just two of their hit singles.  Max Rebo often discusses his rivalry with P.T. Quantum and his traveling show Plectu's Fantastic Intergalactic Revue, another alien musical revue.

The planet-encircled Astro Orbitor stands above the Spaceport where guests are suspended from "jetpacks" and flown in circles around the Orbitor.  The Spaceport PeopleMover, a nonstop transportation vehicle that takes a grand circle tour of Spaceport 55 and neighboring Tomorrowland has its station here.  Things get a bit intense with the arrival of the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, a terrifying (and updated) version of the extinct WDW show.  Plectu's Fantastic Intergalactic Revue lies in the building across the way in which P.T. Quantum, an alien circus leader (hence why the Revue is held close to the circus-like area of Fantasyland) showcases his musical revue hosted by a cast of alien performers, such as an opera-singing swamp monster, a choir of man-eating plants, and the famous Sonny Eclipse and his stylish crooning.  The Galactic Zoo, a walthrough filled with alien creatures held within zoo-like enclosures.

Impacted meteorites and lunar craters come into view, revealing the sub-land of Moon Rock City, the happiest little lunar mining town in the galaxy.  The three most prominent attractions here are Space Mountain: INVASION, the Lunar Autopia (drivable rovers over a moonscape), and Wall-E Encounter.  A nearby alien Biker Bar is a stop for refreshments.  Wall-E Encounter (based on HKDL’s Stitch show) provides a tamer alternative to Alien Encounter. 

 Space Mountain: INVASION is the biggest attraction in the entire park.  The Mountain’s facade is composed of rusted/blasted scrap metal seeming to have been salvaged from an old spaceship, and space rocks grow into the side of the mountain.  The ride itself is a dueling coaster in the dark which features more than just high-speed twists and turns but monstrous drops, inversions, and tons of special effects along the two intertwined tracks.   Guests are given the chance to choose which side they're on in an ongoing battle between good (Spaceport Defenders) & evil (tyrannical Alien Empire).

To the south of Spaceport 55 is the utopian Tomorrowland. Trees, gardens, water features and sleek architecture create an optimistic vision of tomorrow where peace and prosperity prevail over war and want.  The moment guests enter from the Hub they'll notice a futuristic research sub docked outside a large marine institute.  This is the home of Oceana - Undersea Voyage. The experience begins within a research base which features exhibits/tanks on oceanography & marine biology.  Riders board research DSVs (a dry-for-wet omnimover). The trip is intended to be a mission to the North Pole but an undersea storm sends riders into the Graveyard of Lost Ships, where they spot all types of rare sea creatures, experience an erupting underwater volcano, make a run beneath the Polar Ice Cap, maybe even get a glimpse of Atlantis. 

Sleek glass pyramids (juxtaposed with rockwork), mark the home of Journey into Imagination. Dreamfinder and Figment are back in this all new LPS Journey.  ImageWorks, an interactive explore zone, is on the second floor of the building, along with the leapfrog fountains plaza.  Timekeeper 360, a seamless HD revival of the classic Le Visionarium, lies across from the pyramids of Imagination.  Soarin' is an aerial expedition over some of the natural and man-made wonders of the world, with 3D glasses adding a new dimension of wonder to the sights attraction.  

The Tomorrowland Terrace is attached to the Soarin hangar, another sit-down restaurant in the park where no servers are present to take orders. Instead everything is done on a touch screen built into the table. The screens feature the menu, the form of payment (if using a card it simply has to be placed on a certain spot of the table), and tons of games to have fun with while waiting for food.  The Tomorrowland Transit Center appears in a covered area near the Terrace, a companion piece to Horizons, an elaborate journey to a promising future for mankind.  The House of the Future serves as the exit where guests can actually explore what a model home of tomorrow may be like.

- by MEW

Whew!  That was a lot to read... And another very fun/interesting take on DL model.