Sunday, March 31, 2013

Varied Resolution

Happy Easter.

The conceptual site plans you see here are at the widest resolution in order to present the Big Picture of a particular theme park idea.  My design mantra is "The Park is the E-ticket" - meaning the goal is to create a park where the visitor can wander around going on few or none of the composite rides and still feel like the experience has been worth it.  Granted, achieving this rare feat is mostly done on the micro level (detail and execution), but establishing good skeletal and circulatory systems, themes and transitions, sightlines - and showing the full build-out potential (no park would open on the scale that I present here) - is, to me, the vital first step. 

 When the time comes to communicate a more detailed idea of what a park would be like, I begin to "zoom in."  To show this, I've chosen a small section of the American Experience - a park on which I collaborated with Comics101 a while back.  

The area shown, part of Libertyville, is to have the feel of cities like Boston, Philadelphia, New York around the time of the country's founding.  This, of course, has already been conceptualized and executed brilliantly by the likes of Herb Ryman and the designers of the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square (a great gallery of its construction can be seen here).

The Federal, Dutch, Flemish and Georgian Colonial styles of the facades dictate the roof types of this section, and I used a semi-chaotic massing to give the area a theatrical feel.  Even the backstage facing roofline of the show-building is themed in order to maintain proper long-distance sightlines (probably unnecessary due to tree-planted berms around it, but with no budget to worry about, why not...).

And if you want to view the patriotic slideshow from the original American Experience post you can check it out here.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Felipe Z. floated an idea for a DisneySea park for his native Brazil.  The hook was that it would not be a typical theme park, but be a hybrid park: a water park mixed with a “dry land” park.  I have designed loads of land parks and a number of water parks, but never merged the two into a fully hybrid park, so I agreed to come up with an illustrative master plan for Felipe.

There are numerous considerations that would make a park like this a logistical challenge, to say the least, which is why it is so unusual (e.g., you could be riding indoor attractions/coasters in dripping bathing-suits!).  But it was fun and different to imagine and draw such a place.

The park is about the same size as Anaheim's Disneyland (a little smaller than MK). 

The Entry and First Land would be based on ruined Atlantis, not unlike the Mythos/Poseidon area of Islands of Adventure.   The idea is Atlantis was a proto-civilization, so the architecture could be a hybrid of Mayan, Egyptian, Persian, etc., not just Classical).  The lazy river (Castaway Creek) is this park’s encircling railroad and has entry points throughout.  The river would pass through various environments (arctic to tropic), props, special effects and an ice cavern.   Lost Continent would have the main changing rooms/lockers, retail, signature dining, and two major attractions: a Big Thunder scale coaster through the ruins of the Great Temple and an indoor E-ticket set-based dark ride (based on Atlantis seeding various civilizations on Earth before being destroyed).  I opted for a smaller lagoon for the fountain show, because I think it's more effective when the visitors are closer to the water cannons (if everyone is in bathing suits, they might not mind getting wet). 

The central park Icon/weenie is a larger version of King Triton's castle (TDS) built into the undulating coastal rockwork.  The castle is a portal through the shell-like ridge/reef into the park’s hub-land, which has direct access to all other lands.  The area is to feel like giant tidal pool (not under the surface as in Tokyo’s indoor section) where the various spinners are imbedded.   There would be an all new Mermaid dark ride in this area – which is where the undersea parts would be presented –  as well as a high-capacity dining venue.  

The land is bifurcated into a polar/montane wilderness/scientific exploration area and a recreational ski mountain (nod to Blizzard Beach).  The bigger, wilder mountain has the park’s vertical speed slides, the six-person raft slide (like Teamboat Spings) and serves as the show-building & base for the Yeti Rapids.   The major dark ride in this zone is an LPS polar explorer attraction.   The suspended ski lift coaster would be D-ticket family thrill.

This area is dedicated to studying and preserving the tropical coral seas.  I imagined The Seas pavilion as closer in spirit to the EPCOT original and its contents as independent of the Pixar franchise (to avoid Nemo overkill).   I imagined a Manatee Habitat (river) that flows out of the pavilion and through the land, so visitors can look down and see Manatees, not in a tank, but in a natural riverine environment.    There is also the popular Crush coaster from Paris. 

This area is also bifurcated into a Pirate Port, which would be ramshackle and dangerous, and a Crown Colony, which would be cleaner and more peaceful.  I love exploration areas like the Tree of Life Paths (RIP), Maharajah Jungle Trek or Tom Sawyer Island and this area would have two great ones: the Fortress, which would be elevated on a rocky hill - a dark counterpoint to King Triton’s Castle.   There would be layered vista from the lighthouse: the pirate ship (sit-down dining) in the foreground, then the pirate village (a conceptual elevation of which I posted last week) in the middle, and rising in the distance, the dark Fortress.  There is a new 'Jewel of the Seven Seas' interactive game being prepared in MK's Adventureland.  Buccaneer Bay would have a special area dedicated to such an experience (on the scale of Maharajah, with caverns, shipwrecks and ruins to explore and trigger special effects).

The Crown Colony would be more civilized port town with a Clocktower in the square.   But the marquee ride would betray that feeling of safety, when the town comes under attack (in the queue) and visitors must flee aboard boats on a harrowing PotC-style adventure (new ride).   The Typhoon Lagoon inspired wave pool  is surrounded by a sandy, palm-dotted beach and backed by another rocky mountain that supports the various slides. 



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Area Development

Here is a Conceptual Elevation of an imagined theme park environment:

In this Pirate Town, I wanted to represent a dilapidated-but-fanciful, sagging English Colonial Town as opposed to the Spanish style that is more typically seen in and around PotC (although there are unusual elements of other styles - Pirates were not rule-abiding).  The stable doors on the left would be flung open to serve as wider access to the retail or dining venue within.

This area is part of a new theme park that I will share in the coming days.