Monday, January 28, 2013

Ole South USA

This is a conceptual master plan I produced for a group that is exploring the development of a theme park in central Tennessee.  Here is a run through of the park's areas along with my commentary.  

 OLE SOUTH BOULEVARD is two blocks of charming southern small town nostalgia stretching from the park entrance to the park Commons where you begin your journey to the different lands in Ole South.  The unique shops, the horse-drawn carriages, the amazing architectural details, and even the smell of fresh pastries in the air all make Ole South Boulevard an attraction in and of itself.

SWW: The resort's Magnolia logo would be featured in the paving design in front of the gates/ticket booths.  Guest services is located in a Southern church or a meeting hall on the Town Green just past the Railroad Bridge.  Horse-drawn buggies would be boarded around a gazebo on the left side of the Green.  The train has stops at New South, the Hotel, the Working Farm and Countryside.

THE COMMONS: As you are standing with your back towards the Boulevard you will be looking at Ole South Mansion and Commons. The gardens will be full of many varieties of foliage and flowers and walking paths will be abundant to enjoy this scenery. Inside the Ole South Mansion will be a restaurant with space available for special events such as weddings, reunions and corporate meetings. On the back side of the mansion is a grassy area with an amphitheater on Ole South Lake for you to spread a blanket, listen to a concert, watch a fireworks show and close down the park for the night.

SWW: The extensive paths & gardens directly adjacent to the mansion would be the most formal, and they would get wilder the further from the center (especially on the Appalachia side with a 'natural' stream running through the wooded area).  You’ll note a patio for exclusive outdoor dining overlooking the lake/fireworks.  There is a portico at the front of the Mansion so horse-drawn carriages can drop off VIPs (e.g. a wedding couple).  The Mansion would be at a slightly higher elevation with the amphitheater descending gently to the lake’s edge.  The grass lawns here would be accessible for picnics and blankets.  There is a band shell just off shore.

Take a sharp left turn at the park Commons and make your way down to COUNTRYSIDE. Countryside is themed after the farmland of the South. The main icon is a large red barn with a silo. Inside the barn is a 4-D barnyard frolic show where you will jump out of your seat as a raging bull comes charging out of the screen at you, chicken feathers fly through the air, and of course you will get a whiff of those traditional barnyard smells. Also at Countryside you’ll be able to ride a silo freefall, a roller coaster based on a stockyard, enjoy a country music show, an animal actors’ show, and then take a train to a working farm featuring a corn maze and a the petting zoo for the little ones. These are just a few of the attractions in Countryside.  There are more rides, restaurants and shopping for everyone.

SWW:  I imagined the Tin Lizzies ride as a fairly long, but gentle family ride aboard old Model Ts through various country scenes.   The woody coaster has a stockyard farm theme.   I imagined the freefall ride featuring an extensive indoor queue/pre-show which sets up a haunted barn/farm story, culminating in the drop ride portion.

Standing at the park Commons facing Ole South Mansion, you will want to take a sharp right to find APPALACHIA and the mountainous area of Ole South. Bluegrass music is abundant throughout "these here hills" and the main icon is the Clingman’s Doom, themed after the tallest mountain in Tennessee, and home to two thrilling rides.  You will not want to miss the Davy Crockett Wilderness Stunt Show. See Colonel Crockett fend off river pirates, grin down a bear and save the day with his excellent marksmanship. Speaking of black bears, you'll be able to get up close and personal with'm in Ole South's state-of-the-art black bear habitat. ATV Southern Safari is a dark ride that has you using "laser-barreled" shotguns shooting wild game and skeet accumulating points as you journey through the backwoods of Appalachia. Storytelling, a BBQ restaurant, rides for the little ones, crafts, retail shops and Irish dancing are just a few of the venues in the land of Appalachia.

SWW: This heavily-wooded area is reached by crossing a bridge from the Commons.  The first thing one comes upon is the Craftsman Village (small shingled huts and cabins) and a large BBQ restaurant.  Clingman’s Doom is the big mountain of the park and it is home to a terrain-hugging coaster that passes through the mountain (tunnels) several times.  The park's log flume shares the mountain, also passing through several caverns, but having its queue on the opposite side.  It think merging these two major attractions into one large artificial mountain would be visually exciting and allow the park to leverage costs.  Blackbear Mountain is a large-scale animal exhibit with various regional animals (cougars, bears, deer) roaming in what appears to be “the wild”.

NEW SOUTH is forward and to the right from the park Commons and it is themed after the cities of the South. The main icon looking down the walkway at New South is a silhouette of skyscrapers from southern cities. Here you will find a musical salute the troops patriotic show with a surprise guest every week. A thrilling ride themed after stock-car racing will be part of this land. City Park play area for the young ones will be a major venue in New South. Upscale dining, delis and fast food will be part of this area, as well as an art gallery for Southern Artists to showcase their work. A ride based on college football is a goal of the developers. Throughout New South are rides for smaller children along with many unique retail shops.

SWW: A triumphal arch (inspired by Atlanta’s millennial arch) marks the entrance from the Commons to this urban area, with the faux skyscrapers in the distance.  When thinking about how to represent Stockcar racing via a thrill ride, I imagined a slot-racers type system, with cars rapidly accelerating, hitting highly banked turns, and finishing in a blacked-out, strobe-lit tunnel (that passes beneath City Park).

From the Commons area this time you will go forward left to get to SOUTHERN SHORES, which is themed after Charleston and New Orleans and the coastal areas of the South. The icon of Southern Shores is a lighthouse where guests can view the park from high above. In Southern Shores, there is a Mississippi River rafting ride where river pirates will get you wet with water guns if you don’t watch out. Blues and Jazz music will be abundant throughout this land. '3D and the Sea' is a dark ride that will amaze you with the beauty and danger of our ocean as you ride in your sea-mobile along the ocean floor. On your journey to Southern Shores, stop to listen to the sounds of an African American church revival musical show. On the boardwalk of Charleston are many activities and rides including a ferris wheel, carousel, bumper cars, eateries and gift shops.

SWW: Approaching this land from the Commons, the Jubillee church is on a small hill to the left.  Visitors can choose two paths: Right leads to Atlantic Coast/Charleston side with a Morris Island-inspired lighthouse beckoning.   The left path leads to the Gulf Coast/New Orleans side, with French Quarter influences and a jazz gazebo park.   The Mississippi River Pirates raft ride, at one point, merges with the wider “Mississippi River” that slowly empties into the lake.   There are boats on the Charleston side to the Sumter Island exploration/education attraction.

The hotel might represent Antebellum southern architecture.  I thought a Riverboat could house a bar/restaurant/casino or be used for sightseeing cruises on the lake.  The lakeside promenade would eventually lead to other areas of the resort (like the Campground, 2nd hotel or water park).



Anonymous said...

Very nice but...a theme park about the the kind of like a theme park about California... :)

- Tasman

Mike said...

I saw this plan on the Ole' South website and is a very good representation based on the drawing that had been on the site since the idea was first launched. At least your plan adds more depth and detail about what this park is about.

I think my favorite part is the Commons area, a nice garden area in front of the mansion. It looks to be a nice barrier that will keep each both sides of the park from merging into one another.

While it is an interesting cencept for a new park something tells me that it may be a bit limited in what can be done with the overall theme, at least when it comes to adding new attractions when the time comes. Of course I may be jumping the gun a bit since it hasn't been built yet, but I could see some revisions/retooling of areas, sort of what had happened to DCA, to make it actually "work".

Mike said...

By the way, if you look closely, the layout is shaped like a butterfly.

ScorpionX said...

When's that Middle Earth park coming?

SWW said...

Interesting about the butterfly... I see it now that you mention it. I often take a step back and look at site plans I've drafted and find unintended organic shapes in them. Must be an artifact of my human brain (akin to patterns in nature, eg The Golden Ratio). Although, laying out theme parks organically (like a natural circulatory system) with respect to crowd flow is something I consciously strive for in design.

Douglas said...

This reminded me of my trip to Dollywood a couple years back.

I think it'd be fun if you did a park based off of Studio Ghibli films. Not a lot of variety but the experience would be worth it.

protojimbo said...

@Mike - My wife also noted how the layout was like a butterfly.
@SWW -A good adaptation of the hub -there a is a sort of... pre-hub in the gardens in front of the mansion.
CONGRATULATIONS! it is no surprize to me that you've been getting requests like this one - well done!! & thx for sharing.
My very first impression of this park is that it would be quite a beautiful place with regards to the lush southern flora and all the elaborate and pleasantly nostalgic landscapes. My second impression was: given the very specific and limited theme I was glad to see you were up to the challenge! the themes of the 'lands' make sense. I wasn't sure about'new south' in the 'ole south' at first, but I came to appreciate the type of attractions there and how, compared to the 'ole' past, right now IS the future - making it a tomorrowland of sorts! The countryside area would be my favorite I think, but design-wise I'm most energized by the Appalachia side of the park! Heavily wooded with crumbly colorful rock mountains, complete with banjo music playing in the distance - I love it. Davy Crockett and mountain men and huntin' and fishing? It really seems to fit better in this park than it does in DL...
Are there any plans for water based attivities like canoeing, fishing, etc...? Also how big is this park compared to some others?
I like how the developers can offer some simple amenities, like
music/fireworks/gardens/picnic grounds(boat rides...)and they really fit here and help create a theme park and resort that reflects the slower pace of southern life and the simple pleasures of a warm sunny day in the country!
Oh! and ever since that commercial, I've wanted to see a football (and other sports-based) ride(s) - great idea Boss! I always wondered if WDW's ESPN/WideWorldofSports area (which they don't seem to promote in any of their vacation literature...)could be the 5th gate by adding attractions like this one - this plan will beat them to the punch!
Great work once again!

protojimbo said...

@Douglas - I would like to see A Studio Ghibli theme area too! I would make it just one 'land', but I would put it in a re-defined Disney Studios park where the various associated studios (Pixar, Lucasfilm, DisneyAnimation, Marvel, and Ghibli)are each represented by lands of their own. It would be an alternate/parallel to Fantasyland but from the mind of Miyazaki this time. Anybody game to work on some designs?

SWW said...

Hey Jimbo,

The park portion (excluding the hotel and lake) is on a similar scale to the MK. There would be a campground as part of the property development plan, which would include things like fishing and canoeing. The football ride was actually a bluesky idea by the Ole South team (as was most of the contents - my part was to create a conceptual plan of those ingredients).

A Sports theme park isn't something I had given too much consideration to, but could be great and I think there is a sizable market for such a place. I have, on the other hand, done a full Anime park and a used Studio Ghibli as the basis for a land or two. Interesting, that unlike when TWDC built its two studio parks, it now owns all those production companies (Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar, Henson, Ghibli (distributes)). Designing a Studio Park today could naturally have those 6 Gates... but you'd deal with the issue of having disparate properties like Indy & SW sharing the same real estate.

protojimbo said...

Yeah, any studio based 'land' could end up being a jumble of settings, since each studio has different movies and each movie is set in a different place and/or time (and/or reality...) Fantasyland is a bunch of different IPs, but it works because the setting is common to princesses - New Fantasyland moreso...
Glad you liked the idea about a sports park. Making the Disney sports comples into a full Teir 1 theme park would be a very interesting project. It's not really my favorite idea for a theme park, just an opportunity I see for WDW. I think things like 'the science of sports' and the performance of feats (and the tricks) of a given sport could be attraction ideas. Of course, simulations of 'what it's like to be in the mind of a _______ (QB, point guard, race driver, boxer, high jumper, etc.)would be a part of it - allowing people to have sports experiences they could only have thru imagineering. A tour thru the facilities, observing the training and sports events taking place in the park - could be enhanced with entertaining sports set pieces - even Goofy! I'd love to hear your or anyone's thoughts - has anyone visited the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex ?
The Ole South park is pretty big then - good! It's a strong plan I'd love to see made a reality some day.

protojimbo said...

almost forgot - Where does the train go? Is it connected to an airport or city transportation?