Monday, February 25, 2013

Poppins Attraction

A while ago I received a request by Wills F. to do an attraction layout for his Mary Poppins ride idea.  One of the older Alternate Magic Kingdom plan’s I had drawn had space allocated for a Poppins dark ride - and that seemed to be in the right ballpark, scale-wise, for Wills' attraction.  

In this version of MK, the narrow FL area transitioning from Liberty Square’s Sleepy Hollow to the Castle Courtyard is influenced by Victorian England, featuring Poppins & Toad rides/facades:

I based the layout closely on Wills’ written description (which follows):

"The queue building is modeled after Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Entering through the front door, the queue winds through various rooms of the Banks household, before arriving at the loading dock in front of the staircase.  Guests then board a chariot pulled by two carousel horses modeled after those found in the film. As they move along the suspended tracks the horses move up and down.

Scene I: The vehicle pulls forward and pulls an immediate left into the Banks Children’s Nursery. Toys fly onto the shelves and beds make themselves at the snap of Jane and Michael’s fingers.  The vehicle passes by Mary Poppins herself as she sings “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

Scene II: Out the window and into the park, passing by Bert as he sings “Chim-Chim-Cheree”, we pass through a frame and into the animated world where Bert and Mary are singing “Jolly Holiday.”

Scene III: Around the corner, the horses pass by the Penguin run restaurant where Bert and the Penguins are dancing.

Scene IV: We find ourselves on the race track and win the race. We pass by the reporters, followed by Mary, Bert and the Band singing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”

Scene V: A storm hits and the vehicle passes by St. Paul’s Cathedral, where Mary sings with the Old Bird Woman “Feed the Birds”.

Scene VI: Back into the Banks mansion where Mary warns you to stay away from the fireplace, because you never know what could happen.  Into the lounge, where Bert sings about the world above London (“Up where the smoke is all billowed and curled…”)

Scene VII: Passing through the fireplace and we suddenly find ourselves winding around the rooftops of London. Sweeps pop out of various chimneys with a cheery “Cheeroo!” before engaging in a good old fashioned “Step In Time”... but, of course, are chased away by Admiral Boom’s fireworks.

Scene VIII: The vehicle passes by several flying kites before finding itself back in the park, where the entire banks family is singing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite.”  Finally, we pass by Bert, waving goodbye to Mary, who is flying away: “Goodbye Mary Poppins, don’t stay away too long”
Post: The vehicles make a right hand turn and arrive back at the unloading dock. The exit unloads into Jolly Holiday Gifts, where various Mary Poppins related merchandise can be found."


A couple notes on my interpretation.  
-In the center of the Park is the film's carousel that does double duty for the early and late park show-scenes.
-On the right of the racetrack room would be a floor to ceiling screen running the length of the track upon which other animated racers would be projected.  At the finish line the grandstand is on the left.
-Heavy fog effects in the Bird Lady scene.  Again, fog used to obscure anything below roof-level on the Sweep scene.  

Hope you enjoy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Universal Islands of Adventure

I had fun re-visiting an old IoA Build-Out and creating an illustrative version.    This hypothetical of the park keeps and expands the original Lost Continent (its Merlinwood section).   Merlinwood featured two treasures of theme park design history that went extinct with the coming of Potter: the Enchanted Oak Tavern and the Dueling Dragons queue. 

What has always struck me about the superlative queue to DD was that it ran alongside (and led to) a massive unthemed, naked steel coaster (same for its current Potter incarnation).  In certain situations, a naked steel coaster can work in a Tier I park.  I think Hulk works across the lagoon because of the highly-stylized nature of the Comic book environment that is home to it.  And, of course, this is a theme park and there must be elasticity to the rules and expectations of theme.  

However, when the environment strives to create a realistic, albeit fantasy, world, something that makes no effort to inhabit that world becomes a jarring, sour note.  When it is something as massive as DD, it spoils the transporting effect that so much of the other elements work to achieve.   (Small naked coasters like Flying Unicorn, which can be absorbed by trees and landscape are easier to pass off).   So in this plan, I showed how several themed elements could combine to help Dueling Dragons become part of the Merlinwood landscape and enhance the sense of story and place in Lost Continent.  

The wooded berm along the property border gives and impression of distant forests.  Several rockwork embankments help support the track and perpetuate the fantasty forest environment.  The main lift hill is hidden by a rocky edifice (mountain).  Ruins and towers are scattered across the landscape.  To show how the many support pylons could potentially be themed I created this artwork:
In this illustration, the pylons could be disguised as forest timbers crudely fastened with rusting ironwork and spikes (built by orcs enslaved by the dragons?).  Torches could adorn them for a nice night-time effect. The tube-support track would be painted sky camouflage to blend in (rather than bright red/blue).  Rounding out Merlinwood would be an extensive family dark ride (where Forbidden Journey is today), with an emphasis on sets, physical effects and animatronics over screens.

The other big addition to the park is Mt. Crumpit – How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which I imagined as a mildly-thrilling, independently-powered (testrack) E+ dark ride, but with coaster-like curves, ascents and drops.  The sleigh ride-vehicles would go through numerous elaborate show scenes. The double-peaked twisting mountain (one tall, one shorter) would rise behind the Who Village queue area.    Two other major family attractions (super-hero dark ride and Isla Sorna omni-simulator) are also added to the park.