Sunday, April 13, 2014

2nd Gate - Paris

With its Ratatouille sub-area nearing completion, I decided to take another look at WDSP.   Awhile back I did a radical revision/expansion plan of this park, changing its overall theme to ‘Lost Portal’.  This time, I decided to incorporate more of what is currently standing and keep it based on The Movies, specifically five distinct film-making entities and a sixth area showcasing Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1940s.   I hesitate to title this version “Walt Disney Studios” because only a few pieces represent the behind-the-scenes (studio) film-making process (Entry Plaza, part of the Pixar area) and very little represents Walt Disney Productions.  While the neighboring castle park has a lot to do with the foundation of the Company – DLP being a new vision of Walt’s original park and including attractions based on many of his films – this 2nd Gate is populated by outside entities the Company has since acquired or become associated with: Pixar, Lucasfilm, Studio Ghibli.  

This ‘build-out’ master plan (which actually includes a few sizable expansion pads) increases the on-stage areas of the current theme park by several times, ending up with an overall footprint slightly larger than its neighbor, DLP.   I realize that with such a huge increase in capacity the Studio One entrance/bottleneck would likely need to be addressed (demolished), but for this exercise, it’s nice to be able to reference some standing physical aspects of the park.

Since this is the sister park of Orlando’s DHS, I was inspired by the giant aerial hidden Mickey of the original D-MGM Studios (here the Mouse is lording over all its corporate subsidiaries) in shaping the central lagoon used for daytime fountain shows (Bellagio) and an end-of-day spectacular.

OLD HOLLYWOOD: The entrance to the park is unchanged, but once visitors exit Studio One they step into a highly-detailed, romanticized recreation of 1940s LA.   The Red Car trolley runs up and down Hollywood and Sunset Blvds.   The facades in front of Tower of Terror are expanded into functioning buildings or shops.  CineMagique receives an architectural shell (and interior) of a classic Movie Palace.  Nearby a competing venue houses a new take on the Great Movie Ride: an AA- and SFX-laden EPCOT-style omnimover with a canned spiel (select language in each ride vehicle) telling the story of film, with scenes from pivotal classic movies, not just by WDP.  I have my ideas of what greats should be included, but if anyone wants to list 10-15 movies/scenes in chronological order they think should qualify, feel free to do so in the comments section (don’t worry about acquiring the rights from rivals!). 

MARVEL SUPERHERO CITY:  Urban LA of the 40s transitions into a more contemporary but still densely-built cityscape.  The two existing attractions in this area are extensively re-skinned and re-themed.  Rock n’ Rollercoaster becomes Iron Man themed and the Armageddon FX walkthrough is themed to the Incredible Hulk (containment chamber fails).  Spiderman gets a new original family ride and there is a Dock Ock spinner.  The Red Line has a stop in the urban core.   Moving away from the city and into the greener countryside, there is a playzone (Redwood Creek) based on Captain America.  Finally, a small town gives way to the landmark Xavier School for the Gifted where a major thrill ride based on X-men awaits.

L’UNIVERS DE TIM BURTON:  This area brings the worlds of Tim Burton (via several different studios) to life in his very unique, twisted style.   There are several subsections, the linking factor being their similar design DNA (just as Pixar, Marvel, Ghibli each have a similar visual aesthetic style despite different times, places and rules of the individual films – that is how these type of “creator-based” lands can work).  Haunted Hill and Halloweentown would be the ultimate place to celebrate Halloween in the parks, with attractions, retail and dining based on ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Frankenweenie’, and ‘Corpse Bride’.   To confess, when drawing this I imagined the latter was the pink mansion from ‘Coraline’ but just learned Burton was not involved in the film.   Chris Merritt’s concept for a NBC ride has been floating around on the web for years and could easily find a home here.   There could be a Sweeney Todd barber shop in the central village area. 

The second sub-area is based on Burton’s adaptations of Roald Dahl’s books, with Wonka’s Chocolate Factory being a pretty ideal set-up for a theme-park attraction (Chocolate River indoor flume).  The Giant Peach is an exploratory attraction.   The final Burton movie represented is ‘PeeWee’s Big Adventure’, where his trademark bicycle takes to the water in an Aquatopia-style ride. 

LUSCASFILM (STAR WARS) GALAXY:  Part of the conundrum of developing a StarWarsLand is that, while a lot of Star Wars takes place on planets’ surfaces, the over-arching backdrop to the saga is Outer Space.  To communicate this in this park – and to create shelter from the Parisian weather – I decided that the central part of the land would be a massive, domed ‘space port.’   At the 12 o’clock position, beyond the lagoon, it also serves as the park’s central landmark/weenie.    The Starport divides the planetary sections of the greater StarWarsland: one heavily-forested and occupied by the Empire (reminiscent of Endor); the other based on the dry, barren desert of Mos Eisley, Tatooine.    Through four access gateways, visitors would find themselves inside the central atrium of the Starport, beneath great domed windows with stars, planets and spaceships beyond (via super hi-def screens/projection).  The Starport would house numerous unique dining and retail facilities over two levels, as well as explorable ships on landing platforms, a Rebel hideout (laser tag), a spinner and a shooter darkride.   The Tatooine outdoors section would be home to the Cantina and a high-capacity Stunt Theater (with Jabba presiding).  The Imperial, forested side would house the park’s flagship E-ticket – a new ride through physical sets (and some screens) befitting the “king of movie franchises.”

GHIBLI: THE WORLDS OF MIYAZAKI: There is currently an area with large trees just above the new Ratatouille ride.   I thought that many of these mature trees should be spared and re-purposed, creating the lush Totoro’s Forest entryway to this land.  There is a canopy walk here among the branches of the giant (artificial) camphor trees.  In a clearing is Satsuki & Mei’s country house, which houses access to the gentle Cat Bus Tour around the area, as well as a dining facility.   The next film to be represented is ‘Spirited Away’ with a mountain coaster based on the River Dragon Spirit and a recreation of the Bath House, which holds both dining and an exploratory attraction.  The mountainous backdrop stretches into an area with a large airship (Goliath) docked above and a major suspended darkride into the worlds of Laputa.  The next sub-area of this land is based on the idealized Western European townscapes seen in films like ‘Porco Rosso’ and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle', the latter of which would be the subject for an elaborate ride, and the former, a telescoping plane spinner. 

PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS:  The main change to this area is its entry plaza, which here is inspired by the industrial brick facade of the Emeryville Campus.  A giant (animated?) Luxo figure stands outside the Studio exhibit/tour.   The Aladdin spinner is re-themed to Up, with the balloon house in the center.  Crush's Coaster, with its rockwork and visible ‘soundstage’ building is indicative of the transition from ‘Studio’ portion of the land to the ‘Cinematic Worlds’, such as Andy’s Backyard or Remy’s Paris (and the rest of the park).


Wes said...

I like your ideas a lot. Do you think Pixar Studios can be applied to Pixar Place in DHS? I would be interested in seeing a build out of DHS.

Torsten said...

Your idea looks so brillant - it's a shame WDI is not hiring you to realize this ;)
I think there is only one thing you need to change - as far as I know the small wood close to Ratatouille must be kept untouched as it is a (small) protected natural Reserve.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! What an amazing remake of WDS!!!

Personally I would reduce Tim Burton's World to just Halloweentown with a N.B.Christmas dark ride.
Instead, I also would divide LucasLand in two parts: The Lost Expedition (a.k.a. IndyLand) and the SW Universe (That it's perfect as is described here).
The Pee Wee Lake would be part of the IndianaLand too (renamed and with a tropical theme of course). This Indy world would have a remastered version of Crystal Skull Temple but it shouldn't have the outdated stunt show of DHS.
Ghibli is a great idea too. Their movies are pretty popular in France and the rest of Europe.
Marvel Land should include an The Avengers e-ticket (It's one of the 3 most profitable movies of all times!).
In my opinion, one of the expansion pads should be reserved for Avatar Land.
In any case, an incredibly cool redesign for the currently lame WDS.

Iván J.

Anonymous said...

Love the ideas of Studio Ghibli and Tim Burton lands.

Brian Scott said...

Swell ideas, only thing I would change is getting rid of Tim Burton. His movies are with too many different studios for this to happen. Besides that, he seems to have his glory days of directing behind him.
To fill it's place, more Indiana Jones would fill the area well (I know there is an Indy ride at the park next door, but I could seriously see a whole land based on Indy).

Oh, and I have a great new take on The Great Movie Ride - it involves animatronics making a movie in the 1940's - but not any real movie. The ride is more like Haunted Mansion or Pirates where you see scenes with "business" happening (as Marc Davis and Walt used to say). For example, in one scene are the lighting crew guys setting up and testing lights with funny banter back and forth. Another scene is the diva actress hanging just out of her dressing room trailor yelling at some page before she slams the door shut. Another scene, crew rolling huge sets down a street (with interesting special visual effects, forced perspective, etc). A messenger delivering film cans (as he balances a bunch of them, trying to not let them fall all over the place). And so on.... Not any particular movie that has been made - they are making a movie!!

Mike said...

I'm surprised you went with Tim Burton movies for an actual area since a lot of his movies have a dark tone to them, including the original Batman he directed with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. It seems as though Avatar would be a more popular choice

Anonymous said...

Would be great to see a Ghibli related "land" and I would definitely love to see it, but you should keep in mind that a) Ghibli Studios are very protective about their films, b) Miyazaki is not very keen on theme park rides. The Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is focusing on a more quiet and simple experience indicating that there is no interest in having a Ghibli Theme Park with rides and stuff and c) Disney doesn't own the Ghibli Studios at all. Disney only owns the film distribution rights for the USA and Canada.

SWW said...

Appreciate the comments.

Wes, at least 2 build-outs of DHS have been posted here.

Torsten, good to know. I found the presence of the forest patch in that location to be quite quizzical.

Ivan, thanks and good ideas.

Brian, I really like that idea for a movie history ride. Very original!

Mike, an area and attraction based on the 1989 'Batman', being my favorite Burton film, was a strong contender to bridge from Marvel City to the Burton area. In the end I decided to move more rural X-Men mansion and leave the gothic DC superhero out.

Anonymous said...

Are you gonna do Warner Bros. Magic Island?

Byzantium said...

Love your ideas man!! As a theme park, Disney, Lucas SW & Indy & huge Tim Burton fan I am in awe of your concept. I have rough sketched a 2 gate Tim Burton park including all of his feature films as a Director (although I still include NBC) and some of your ideas are in similar vain to mine. Batman & Returns are included as a central hub in the first park with C&tCF as the central hub of the 2nd.

protojimbo said...

My wife and I are huge Miyazaki fans and ever since we've been following your work, we've played with the idea of designing one. We love your treatment of it here! The area is very extensive and includes more of the properties than I would have imagined. I like your 'outer space' solution for SW too. Your take on including Tim Burton is interesting (and generated some reactions above!)but I'm OK with it. Though I had to talk myself out of using Sleepy Hollow when I realized it wasn't a Disney movie. Apparently it is part of a new park design in Spain I think? Of course Disney has the classic cartoon... I thought it would be a great little expansion for Liberty Sq - it fits the history/location and would enhance WDW's Haunted Mansion spooky presence. Not sure where it would go though.
Thanks again for sharing your excellent work!

Donezo said...

Great stuff as usual. From a practicality standpoint, it might be worthwhile to reexamine the Marvel stuff. In particular, I think Spiderman and X-Men are off limits to Disney, no? If I were attempting this project, I'd probably keep things limited to the Avengers characters from the current franchise, or Guardians of the Galaxy if I were feeling extra optimistic. Here is a handy infographic of who owns what in the complicated world of Marvel IP:

Laughlin Murphin said...

@Donezo I'm pretty sure that that only applies to film rights, and Disney wholly owns the rights to all of the characters outside of films.

comics101 said...

A European Great Movie Ride? Hmm...

I'd keep the attraction grouped by genre, and I would actually keep quite a few of the current scenes I think.

Opening the attraction, where "Footlight Parade" is located, guests would find themselves passing an art-deco laboratory from "Metropolis" as the scene in which robot becomes Maria's double is portrayed (representing the silent genre).

The Musical Genre is next, with "Singin' in the Rain" remaining as is, however Mary Poppins gets replaced the barricade scene from "Les Mis," as "Do You Hear The People Sing" is sung by key figures from the movie.

The Gangster Scene will remain the same.

The Western Scene has been replaced by Tatooine. On the left (where John Wayne is normally found), guests find a Storm Trooper on top of a Dewback. On the right (Clint Eastwood) guests find a mountainous terrain where Jawas peek at guests from being rocks. As we roll into town, our tour guide says, "Well if this isn't the most wretched hive of scum and villainy I've ever seen.
Our vehicle stops just as Obi Wan uses the force on a trooper (These are not the droids you're looking for) and he, Luke, C3, & R2 speed off into a tunnel. The troopers then turn their attention on our tour vehicles, until a group of space pirates ambush them and an epic battle to take place. One of the space pirates quickly boards our vehicles (if the gangster hasn't already) and away we go.

I'd like to see a new horror scene replace "Alien", however that space is super narrow and I'm not sure how to best represent horror...perhaps half of the scene should be dedicated to Westerns, with the Clint Eastwood and John Wayne AA's finding a new home here. The back half of the "Alien" scene could be used for horror...maybe Nosferatu? Or maybe after passing John Wayne and the ranch behind him, guests enter into a dark and creepy forest in which the Wolfman resides...

Adventure awaits next, as the Indiana Jones scene is replaced by the opening scene from "Raiders" (just before the ball chases after him). Here, Indy stands in front of the Tiki Idol, sack of sand in hand, as he is about to swap one for the other.

The temple scene is replaced with Toon Town from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". After passing Eddie & Roger, our hijacker stops the vehicle right beside a giant glowing side which reads "FREE MONEY", guarded by a Droopy AA dressed as an Elevator Boy. As our hijacker nears the sack of money, Droopy asks, "Going up sir? You might want to stand back". Just then, guests hear a whistle as an elevator falls right out of the sky and "onto" (actually right in front of our highjacker. When the elevator doors open, we give a big round of applause to our original tour guide, who just so happens to steps out of the elevator.

The Mummy scene is replaced by Kermit the Frog, sitting in his swamp and singing "Rainbow Connection".

Guests then move into a dark cavern (replacing Tarzan) in which they hear strange whispering which constantly references a "precious". Bilbo Baggins stands hiding behind a rock, a puzzled look on his face as he looks down at a ring he just picked up from off the ground.
Moving towards the back of the canyon, Gollum jumps up from behind a rock, and our tour guide stops the vehicles and plays a little game of riddles with him, before moving to the next scene.

The "Casablanca" scene remains as is, but Fantasia is replaced with the spaghetti scene from "Lady and the Tramp," reinforcing the romance genre of those sections.

Finally, I would keep the Wizard of Oz scenes exactly as they are as well.

comics101 said...

I want to point out that a lot of my ideas were used as part of the "So You Want To Be An Imagineer" competition over at Last season, The Great Movie Ride round was my favorite, and the team I was on did an amazing job updating the classic attraction. Most of what I wrote above comes from our final project, and not every idea there is solely mine, as it was a group effort.

A few other movies that I think would work nicely in the ride that my team did not use:

-Gone With The Wind
-It's A Wonderful Life
-20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
-Forrest Gump (I imagine Forrest, sitting alone on a bench, and as he tells his story a giant screen behind him portrays the scenes he's talking about)
-Pirates of the Caribbean (the end of CotBP when Sparrow and Barbossa fight as skeletons)
-Avengers, Ironman, or Spiderman
-James Bond (Connery or Craig)

And I'm sure if I wanted to I could come up with a ton more hahaha.

Randy, as for your buildout, WOW. Once again you've made WDSP awesome. I actually really love the Burtonland, and I think the Wonka ride would be so cool. The only thing I would've added to it would be Burton's version of Wonderland (though I do understand the animated film is represented in the other park).

SWW said...

Appreciate the comments.

Byzantium, two parks both themed to Burton?! That sounds pretty neat. Feel free to share further details/maps.


The proposed Paramount park in Spain released a very nice piece of exterior artwork for Burton's Sleepy Hollow - looked like the attraction was a 3-D movie, if I recall. Including that here was considered but didn't make the cut.

Donezo & Laughlin,
Thanks for Marvel rights infographic and clarification on film or outside-film usage. Will be interesting to see how it shakes out in terms of future attractions.

This drawing was not so much about the specific properties included (I ignored any rights conflicts and included what I felt meshed and transitioned the best), but about showing a version of the Paris 2nd Gate that was at least equal in size and scope to DLP and had a more coherent theme(s) and layout. WDW's 2nd Gate was much larger in scope and size than its first gate, and became the centerpiece of family vacations growing up (MK became an afterthought as we focused mostly on EPCOT).


Thanks for sharing the details of your team's GMR Redux. Very nicely done. Love the Gollum riddle scene. Did you guys draw a layout?

comics101 said...

We never drew a layout, but I'll post the link to the project below. If you ever draw a layout for the attraction, feel free to use any ideas from our team that you like, I would imagine everyone on the site would be thrilled to see our creation in the Ideal Buildout format.

There are a few differences from what I posted here vs. what the team came up with...I was the project leader, and got a little carried away with the post, and the finale was a little underwhelming (my fault), but for the most part I think it came together really well.

And because the other team did an incredible job as well, here's the link to their project, which includes some incredibly professional looking artwork...

Also, a quick completely off topic and random question for you Randy...have you ever worked on an ideal Journey Into Imagination pavillion? I'm currently working on something (very spare time), and would love your input/opinions, etc.

SWW said...


I haven't gone into too much depth conceptualizing Imagination. But happy to give input. Feel free to email me.