Monday, March 24, 2014

Elevation and Colorboard

Tokyo DisneySea's Mediterranean Harbor has several sub-sections based on Italian geography.  Closest to American Waterfront are the Canals based on Venice.   In the center, where one enters the park, is Porto Paradiso, based on Portofinio Harbor and the Riviera.  The other sub-section is based on the hill towns of Tuscany.  For a top-quality photo tour of this area - and all areas - of DisneySea, I recommend sets by JeffFromHouston on Flickr:

Samples here and here.

Part of the genius of TDS' design and master plan is that it is a theme park with a layout in three dimensions.   I am reminded of the line from 'Contact': "An alien intelligence is going to be more advanced. That means efficiency functioning on multiple levels and in multiple dimensions."  There are a number of theme parks with great master plans, but DisneySea is the only one I know of that really takes advantage of (or did so by necessity) the vertical aspect.   Stairs lead you down to boat rides below you, pathways take you, unknowingly, up over the roofs of restaurants and ride buildings, walkthrough attractions traverse three levels, and there are always alternative staircases or ramps up or down to other passages or pathways.   I don't know who or how many deserve the credit (WDI master architects Ahmad Jafari or Wing Chao?  Anyone know?), but I stand in awe of it. 

For this piece, I imagined a unique family darkride on two levels taking up part of the area used for boat/float storage: Leonardo's Workshop (a distant cousin to Mystic Manor?).  The idea is you approach an extravagant but dilapidated Renaissance structure: part 15th-century factory, part villa, part fortress.  The architecture must meld seemlessly with the surroundings and compliment the park's iconic Fortress Explorations, but also be a weenie in itself for a major attraction.  There should be some whimsy in the building (like the mechanical tower), but also stay true to the realism of the neighboring structures.  So I designed the front facade and created the main approach elevation and colorboard:

The gist of the attraction is tried and true: One queues through the workshop rooms, seeing various machines in the process of being invented, triggering effects, maybe passing through the living quarters and painting studio.  Then there is a pre-show featuring Leonardo, followed by a boarding room (DaVinci-esque ride-vehicles) for an adventure through the secret chambers of the workshop and then out into the Florentine countryside (indoors) for testing.  The ride would include a mild thrill element, but be accessible to all.  Since the footprint is limited it would take place over two major levels (its entrance is already at the upper level).

Maybe I'll post a detailed ride layout at some point. 


Q. Mouse said...

Not many people noticed the rich layers of kinetic elements and landscaping in TDS and I'm so happy that you acknowledged that with one paragraph! And very interesting work since the beginning, keep it up!

comics101 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
comics101 said...

Hmmm, I think you have a typo in that last sentence...I'm pretty sure you meant to say, "I will post a detailed ride layout at some point," right??? :P

Seriously though, this is really cool. Actually, believe it or not last weekend after seeing Mr. Peabody & Sherman, I was inspired with pretty much the exact same concept as the one you've described, although I imagined it for Epcot's Italy Pavillion.
Just as you mentioned, guests would board the DaVinci glider and soar over the countryside and through the city of Florence. At some point during the ride, the glider would make a wrong turn, accidentally flying through an open window into DaVinci's art studio, causing quite the commotion and angering DaVinci, which Mona Lisa would find quite comical.

As always, great work! I look forward to your next post!

SWW said...

Hey Comics,

Hah! Looking at the pretty condensed foorprint (due to other backstage requirements), creating a 2-level ride of D or E scope in that space would be a creative challenge. A suspended (aerial screw or flying machine) system would be one way. The DaVinci theme allows for a lot of freedom in inventing ride vehicles or mechanisms.

Q., as you know, TDS is one of the great text books on theme park design.

comics101 said...

That's a fair point for both TDS & Epcot I suppose, although at Epcot there is that expansion pad next to Italy...
I know this is totally off topic, but of all of the pavilions in World Showcase, I think Italy is by far the most disappointing. There are so many different routes WED could have taken when designing EPCOT Center (Whether it be Venice, Ancient Rome, The Renaissance, etc) yet all they give us is a bland and generic "Italy".
I know a phase two expansion was planned and never pursued, it's just frustrating lol. Ok, my rant is done hahaha

SWW said...

^ Sorry you feel that way about that part of EPCOT. As with all the pavilions, I think Italy (as initially built) was very well done as an environment/stage, it just needed an associated attraction, big or small (and still does). It's actually mostly a reproduction of parts of Venice (the canal bridge on the lagoon, the Doge's Palace & St. Mark's Campanile, etc.).

You mentioned Mr. Peabody. Also, the really richly art-directed and history-based Assassins Creed game series has breathed life into the Renaissance genre. You can watch the movie version of it here:

Douglas said...

I was disappointed when they added Soaring to the Land using the California movie. They should have put it in the world showcase and featured a movie about a foreign country. WS needed attractions more than future world did, and it would be cool to have a Soaring with a different movie than the one in California. I would have liked to see a Soarin over Australia in the WS, but an Italy one with a DeVinci overlay would have worked great too.

I'd love to see a Mystic Manor type ride be attached to one of the countries in the WS.

protojimbo said...

Beautiful work! Your portfolio is becoming quite well rounded. Excellent idea for an attraction - it fits great! I like comics101's ending thru the workshop - perfect! The color board really does look professional.

SWW said...

Doug, what will be interesting is when the situation is reversed in a few years (Worldwide film in 'California' Adventure).

Jimbo, thanks. How is your WDW Reassembled project coming?

protojimbo said...

Good, Thx for asking! It's a lot of work though. Since my map making is nowhere near yours, I'm using photoshop to cut and paste the parks together. I should have something to share soon!

Jonathan Lovett said...

Can you do Warner Bros. Magic Island next?

Here's what it's look like:

Anonymous said...

Can you do Warner Bros. Movie World, Warner Bros. Wild World and Warner Bros. Sea World parks, please?