Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Neverlands

I created this Illustrative Plan as a sister park for the Yesterland park (which was comprised of extinct attractions) that I shared a few months ago.   This time the idea is to create a theme park solely out of never-built WDI concepts, resulting in a unique version of the DL-MK template.  I tried to keep the contents limited to works that had some sort of official documentation, via released concept art and/or direct quotes from imagineers.  Even with this criterion, there was a huge roster to choose from (although limited information about many), and I employed a lot of personal interpretation & embellishment.



BIG CITY, USA

This land is inspired by the never-built areas for Anaheim & Paris: marked by art deco architecture, jazz music, a speakeasy, Broadway, etc.  I imagine the land being a bit taller elevation-wise than a typical MS:USA in order to create the street-canyon feeling of 1920s New York and Chicago.  Because of this, numerous shops & restaurants could have 2nd Floor access.  I brought an E-ticket attraction – the cancelled Crimestoppers shooter EMV – to the front of the park.  The land is traversed by an El Train which has stops in several other lands.

HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD

This area, the smallest of the park’s lands, is a representation of Anaheim’s never built Hollywoodland, although the contents are mostly cancelled DHS attractions.  The exteriors are from a similar era as BiG City (pre-war), but transition to historic Los Angeles architecture.

WORLD HOLIDAYLAND

The urban transition on the western side of Big City crosses the Atlantic to Late Victorian London.  London has the Poppins darkride originally planned for the MK, a public house (planned for DL’s Holidayland) and a Charles Dickens darkride (conceived for EPCOT).  There is a large, manicured Gardens (Tivoli?) area, edged on one side by a European-themed in-park deluxe hotel (as imagined for WestCOT).  The western gardens give way to a Japanese section, where the Imperial Palace of Edo houses the cancelled bullet train simulator planned for EPCOT.  Japan & Europe transition to South America where a Caracas-themed area holds the Venezuelan tram ride (Tepuis) conceived for EPCOT.  The Approach to this land from the Hub would pass under a recreation of the Brandenburg Gate and into a pre-war Berlin subsection, home to the never-built Rhine River Cruise.

DISCOVERYLAND

This land is dominated by a monumental, riveted, man-made volcano-like structure built atop a ‘natural’ rocky caldera.  Approaching this land from the hub, Discovery Mountain would loom in the distance with a jetpack Orbitron (TL 98) and dirigible skyway ride (Paris) occupying the foreground.  The dirigibles, lagoon boats and El Train would pass through the Mountain itself before re-emerging at a different point. 
  
The Discovery Mountain I drafted here was inspired by the Paris artwork, but on a significantly larger scale.  There are three major access points onto the Main Level and one to the Upper Concourse (a second smaller access point leads from the Dirigible dock directly into the mountain's Upper Concourse).  The El Train station is on the Concourse level as well. There is also a partial level below the Main, where the Nautilus is docked and patrons of Nemo’s Grand Salon may dine on a water-level patio.  I imagined the central ‘Terravator Drill’ to be a mild B- or C-ticket (just a way to get a unique view of the interior of the Mountain), rather than a thrilling Freefall ride.  Passing out of the Mountain's southern portal, visitors would come upon a northern forest and two attractions that were part of Anaheim’s Discovery Bay project.

FANTASYLAND

A number of really great-looking, but never-built, castles were recently featured at the DL Gallery.  This one might be based on a John Horny (I’m a great admirer of his work) proposal for HKDL (or elsewhere).   In the castle's dungeon is a Living Character Initiative Dragon’s Lair (like Paris, but the Dragon interacts with passerbys), a project conceived for Anaheim.  Two of the obligatory darkrides (Sword in the Stone, Sleeping Beauty) are some of the few attractions in this exercise that I had to base solely on words rather than released artwork.  These two were designed for the MK before its 1971opening, but then dropped for new versions of the Anaheim darkrides.   

There is available artwork for the remaining FL attractions (and a model for the central Pixie Hollow-version of Junkyard Jamboree).  The two biggest rides in the land anchor opposite sides: Caer Dalben marks the exterior for the Black Cauldron potc-like boat adventure, and a frozen, icicle-spired edifice houses Davis’ Enchanted Snow Palace.  The Mermaid ride would be the overhead rail version planned for Paris in the early 90s.


BEASTLIE KINGDOMME

 Among the most famous of never-built projects, this area is a natural adjunct to Fantasyland and fits nicely into this park, despite being designed for Animal Kingdom.  I kept the land familiar (central Unicorn Maze, eastern Fantasia Gardens, western Loch Ness Landing), but embellished Dragon Tower quite a bit.  Being a marquee ride for a park full of E-tickets, I gave the Dragon (or bats) a mountain range to fly about (as to minimize the need for lots of unsightly track superstructure while allowing for a highly-thrilling ride). 

FRONTIERLAND


Entered from the Hub, visitors would pass through a frontier fort as was planned for HKDL before the press-release version of that park was canned.  While this is a somewhat familiar experience, the view on the other side would not be: in the distance Geyser Mountain (crowned by a large mining derrick carrying unfortunate passengers) would periodically spew water into the sky from its pinnacle.  The area immediately behind the entrance fort is a western town square, with a raised speaking/hanging platform or stage (mock hangings for the Halloween nights?) in the dusty center.  The Lewis & Clark raft ride (Virginia America project) would pass herds of bison (AA), elk, grizzly bears, etc.   The redrock buttes of Utah & Arizona would form the imposing fa├žade of the comical Western River Expedition.  Southwest Indians would inhabit a Mesa Verde, Pueblo style hill-town (MK). 


ADVENTURELAND

The rockwork range of Frontierland transitions into a prehistoric Badlands rollercoaster (based on two never-built Dino coasters: (i) press-release HKDL’s, which would have had ‘living’ dinosaurs (AAs); and (ii) Animal Kingdom’s, based on a 20th C. dig site).   A large subsection of Adventureland is a Pirate-era town (HKDL proposal), built around a massive PotC flume ride, Skull Mountain.  In this area are the conceptualized Pirate shooting arcade from Paris and the Rogues Gallery walkthrough from Anaheim (that evolved into the original PotC).  The third sub-area of Adventureland features a jungle explorer theme.  The centerpiece attraction is a mix of Jungle Cruise and Indiana Jones Adventure, a fast-paced indoor-outdoor jeep ride planned for Paris, with a thrilling indoor “Lost Temple” sequence.    Opposite the Jungle Jeeps queue is an ancient tree(house) which marks the watering-hole animal-blind attraction planned for EPCOT’s never built African pavilion.

***


16 comments:

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

These latest conceptual park sites (this park, Yesterland, Mansions, Disneyland Australia) have been some of your absolute best work, in my opinion. The layout here could have been very jumbled and nonsensical, but it all works together beautifully. The only thing I noticed is that the northern segment of the park doesn't seem to have any restaurants, but that's a minor observation in what is otherwise a spectacular park. There are a ton of major attractions here, and a lot of I'm not familiar with, so I'm looking forward to looking into these ride concepts.

Beyond that, glad to see a new post in all its glorious detail. Great work, as usual.

SWW said...

^Thank you, Pastor.

I try to leave ample room throughout these plans for dining and retail venues, but I mostly leave them unlabled. For example, in the Fantasyland of this plan, the building left of (but still connected to) E5 would be a large capacity rest (buffeteria). The separate building just north of E9 could also be sizable fantasy dining (in a thatched-fantasy style that would transition with Caer Dalben and Mermaid). Additionally, there is space for smaller scale facilities (e.g., a creamery) in the wing areas in the castle court. BK has a Loch Ness Landing with indoor tables and outdoor seating overlooking the Loch (where an AA monster would occasionally surface).
Frontierland would have a table service rest (Big Jim's) as well as quick service dining in the town square and opposite the WRE. Discovery Mountain has the very large Astronomers Cub and fine dining in the Grand Salon.

Speaking of dining, one non-WDI thing I snuck in is the pulp-adventure film eatery to bridge Hollywood Blvd and Adventureland (accessible from both).


Pastor_of_Muppets said...

I probably should have figured that only major and/or heavily themed eateries would be noted. One of those "duh'" moments on my part.

Off-topic, but what do you think about the news breaking that Universal is in serious negotiations with the Tolkien family to contract the theme park rights for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit? Personally, I would have hoped to see Disney do something with the property, but lately Universal has really stepped up their game when it comes to aggressive expansion and high-quality theming.

They're currently working on Transformers: The Ride, a Springfield section, and the Harry Potter 2.0 land all at US:F, with another expansion within IoA rumored in the Jurassic Park land. Personally, if they can find the room, I think they'd do an incredible job, I just can't think of anywhere a land suitable to the scale of this franchise would go (I've heard the employee parking lot, but that there isn't a feasible way to connect it with either IoA or US:F. I've also heard rumors that Universal will be upgrading Revenge of the Mummy when the series is re-booted in 2014, and that US:F will see The Star Trek franchise implemented.

That's a lot of expansion in a very short amount of time, and it makes you wonder why Disney is content to let their parks in Orlando (basically every park except for Magic Kingdom) become outdated and (quite frankly) a bit stale for those who visit annually (with DHS being the worst offender, by far). Hopefully this spurs Disney into action. Anyway, sorry for going off-topic, but with Disney acquiring both Marvel and LucasFilm properties, and Universal Harry Potter and (supposedly) Middle-Earth, it's a pretty exciting time to be a theme park fan.

ProjectTurtle said...

This is sort of a community question...Including SWW

Which of the futuristic east Disneyland realms is better in theme, design attractions and scenery? Discoveryland or Tomorrowland.

SWW said...

Turtle, I think all three types of Tomorrowland (sci-fi, real-world futurism, and steampunk) can be excellent in concept and execution, but at different points in history.

Paris' Discoveryland hit its apex around 1995... Space Mountain: de la Terre a la Lune had just opened, the land's European visionary themes were relatively undiluted (excepting Star Tours & Eo), and the park/land as a whole was still relatively new with solid upkeep.

Similarly, the real-world futurism-based Tomorrowland of the MK probably hit its peak around 1975-, with Space Mountain opening and land-wide theme coherency and freshness. (DL's New TL of 1968 was similar situation).

I also really liked the beginnings of the 1995 retro-sci-fi takeover of MK's TL, but, disappointingly, that renovation was only applied (thoroughly) to a small portion of the land.

Today, most Tomorrowlands/ Discoveryland around the world suffer from franchise shoe-horning or theme drift and have lost quite a lot of what made them holistically compelling environments at their historic peaks. But there is always hope for the future. Interestingly, HKDL's googie space port TL is now the most thematically coherent.

SWW said...

Pastor, It's exciting that Universal Studios is expanding so much. The concept of connecting the two parks (London & Hogsmeade) via a simulated train ride is genius.

I'm a big Tolkien fan, and have done a bunch Middle Earth-related design work, but tone-wise, I'm not sure the more somber & serious LotR lends itself as well to the current standard of park exploitation, as a Harry Potter or Star Wars. We shall see.

I'm watching the Transformers building to see if/how they make it work with its New York surroundings... Universal still isn't as immaculate in disguising their showbuildings/coaster tracks as I'd like them to be.


On another note, it seems all domestic TierI park development you mentioned is connected to a blockbuster film franchise, and that I find troubling. I'd like to see a lot more original attractions in the works (movie parks get a pass - just avoid converting non-movie parks (MK, DAK, IOA) into movie parks).

Anonymous said...

SWW, great stuff as usual. What an amazing "magic kingdom". Today people around the net are chatting about how Disney can respond to Uni's Potter and LOTR. Usually the answer is something along the lines of Star Wars or some other movie franchise. I just think - what if they just coughed up something like your concept here. Every ride of which they have already designed. What a mind-blowing, timeless theme park experience that would be.

Back to your work - I agree with Pastor of Muppets that these latest creations have been some of your strongest work. I am not wholly sold on the idea of World Holidayland but the rest of the park is the kind of stuff I yearn for at the parks today. I am very fortunate to live half an hour from the original Disneyland and have gotten to enjoy all the wonderful new attractions that have opened in recent years - but I would trade CarsLand for any of these ones any day in a heartbeat.

- Tasman

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

@ Turtle

My personal preference leans towards the steam punk style Tomorrowland, for the simple fact that I feel it is the least likely to appear dated too quickly. That, and I've been a fan of that art style for some time. I agree with SWW though, in that all three different styles can work about equally as well as each other, if implemented right.

@ SWW & Tasman

I agree that original creations are almost always more interesting than using an established brand, I'm willing to concede that a movie themed park works best when it's nearly 100% based upon existing properties (which isn't to say that a unique experience can't be created using those IP's).

As for The Lord of The Rings / The Hobbit / Middle-Earth, I think it's a property that suits itself incredibly well to a theme park environment, as long as it is given the space it needs to envelop the visitor. My attraction to the works of Tolkien has always been the feeling that I'm not just being transported to another world, but a world with a real history to it - something reinforced by the incredible amount of details found in both the books and (to a lesser extent) the films. I personally feel that this property could essentially warrant a park unto itself. A Mines of Moria indoor & underground coaster with show scenes; a living character initiative with Treeheard and some of the other Ents; a barrel ride through the halls of the Elven King in Mirkwood and through Laketown; a river rapids ride through the Anduin that passes massive models of the Argonath and ends with a steep fall down Rauros; etc.

I just think that there is a lot that can be done, but not all of it has to be so traditionally theme park-ish. Not that you were disagreeing, as I know you're a Tolkien fan yourself, I was just surprised that you felt that Harry Potter is more easily adaptable to a theme park environment, considering how limited the property seems to be in regards to the variety of attractions you could model after it.

ProjectTurtle said...

Well didn't universal just get Harry potterland which is pretty much solid in its fantasy middle earth theming. And if they take in the hobbit etc... that's also categorized in the fantasy genre. To me when you incorporated two separate stories into one theme it gets jumbled. Im not saying they are going to put them into the same park because I haven't did that much research, but that's like Disney putting DLP Fronteirland with Hong Kongs Grizzly Trails to having same overall theme but heading in two separate directions.

SWW said...

Thank you, Tasman

Pastor, To clarify, we are on the same page re: Middle Earth. The ME park I designed has almost exactly the contents you mentioned (BarrelRider flume, Anduin river ride, Moria coaster, etc.), although I didn't include Fangorn (Mirkwood substituted) and an AA Treebeard would be outstanding.

What I meant by "doesn't lend itself as well to the current standard of theme park exploitation" is that as a time-tested work of great literature, with death being among its important central themes, I wouldn't want to see it cheapened in any way. I would like to see it done respectfully and a least commercially as possible.

At the same time, the detailed histories, environments, cultures, etc. and the outstanding production design done for the films would lend themselves well to a top Tier park. It's interesting to consider a new design, not linked to the PJ films, also. ME is so vast a world, widdling it down to just a land will be interesting (I did something similar with an DHS land posted a while back).

Speaking of LotR, PhilsStuffofDoom has gifted the world something remarkable... a voice-acted, unabridged reading of the entire LOTR featuring the film soundtrack and sound effects... for a great example listen to the last 6 minutes of this chapter... just incredible stuff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCsw0j1UHxo



1967WEDway said...

This is one of the greatest designs I've ever seen you do! What I find absolutely remarkable about it is how well all of the elements come together. One would think that a theme park comprised entirely of concepts intended for every which other park would come off as rather scattered and glued together. Not this one, this design is extremely well put together and clearly a lot of thought was put towards the way in which each element was brought together in order to create a pleasing whole. It's as if all of the pieces were designed for each other! This is a park that I'd very much like to visit, and I cannot thank you enough for including a full size map so to allow for the taking in of all the details that make it so incredible. I'm very keen to the Discovery Mountain, which is significantly expanded from even its original DLP design. Big City, USA and World Holidayland are both cleverly done, as well. The elevated train? Brilliant idea routing it into Discovery Mountain. I love how you were able to sneak in the Beastlie Kingdomme just off of Fantasyland, as well. Thank you a thousand times over for sharing. Excellently done, all of it! One of the greatest triumphs in backyard Imagineering!

megatron_85 said...

i see the image is in perfect size but what about the others

protojimbo said...

Lots of great comments above! love the discussions about restaurants, IP's (including LOTR) and the influence of business on design.
I'll join in on the praise as well! There was definitely a "I want to go to there" moment for me as I read about the design and checked out the map and concept art. Your map work is pretty much at the 'stunning' level with this one. I think this park seems more hopeful - being made out of things that might have been, with a bit of hope that some still could be. I like that it has all the familiar lands but completely new and unseen versions of them! A parallel Disneyland. I so wish all the DL/MK's around the world weren't mostly copies of the first - they've missed some opportunities, even back in Florida, to make each park more unique. The story about DLP choosing to do Ratatouille ride instead of - lil' mermaid, was it? implies that the cost of designing a new ride as opposed to replicating an existing one isn't a deal breaker. Hmmm...
off topic- do you know where I can find ride capacity info? I'm interested in how many people the various ride systems (includ. walk-thru)can move per hour.

SWW said...

Jimbo & 67, thanks for the kind words.

Jimbo, I agree that diversity is a very good thing when it comes to the MKs/DLs of the world, although I think the powers that be have done a fairly decent job of differentiating them over the decades (e.g., MK was significantly different from DL and DLP was different from both). I think unique castles for Tokyo & Hong Kong would have been huge. I've read that Shanghai will not only have a unique castle and layout, but different takes on staples (e.g. PotC). Really looking forward to seeing more info on that park.

I think wikipedia has capacity data, but you have to search ride by ride.



megatron_85 said...

what happened to your print idea?

Ben said...

I really like this one but what happened to all your old maps?