Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shanghai V

Having already drawn four guess-work Illustratives for the Shanghai DL park, I told myself I would hold off on drawing a fifth until it became very clear what the park would actually be like.   While a great many details have (frustratingly) yet to come into public view, enough material has become available in the interim (content roster, artwork, blurry/small site plans, satellite photos, etc.) for me to draw another plan.  This one should provide a fairly accurate idea of what the park will entail, but I also filled up most of the park’s expansion pads and changed one of the ‘early-expansion’ lands (from ToyStoryLand to StarWarsLand).   So this is an Ideal Build-Out version which encompasses the opening-day roster*.  

So let’s take a look at what we know and some lingering mysteries surrounding one of the world’s biggest and most exciting theme park projects since Tokyo DisneySea.

*excluding Toy Story Land

 

 

DISNEYTOWN: While no renderings of this area have been released, it is a safe bet it will be composed of ‘Entertainment/Branded Architecture’ (e.g., Anaheim DTD) versus ‘Time & Place/Themed Architecture’ (e.g., Main Street, U.S.A.).  There will be a major theater hosting Broadway-caliber shows, beginning with “The Lion King.”  The theme park looks to be accessible through this area.


MICKEY AVENUE: Glimpses of this area have been seen via artwork and those glimpses are very interesting: an eclectic mix of facades that seem to have some basis on Disney film history.  A Club 33 may be housed in the corner Carthay Circle fa├žade.  There appears to be a French boulangerie based on “Ratatouille.”   There might be a faux train station cover just north of the Mickey Floral entry ramp (not shown here).


 

GARDENS OF IMAGINATION: This is by far the least unknown area of the park as numerous press pieces have been released about it.  My assumption is ‘Garden of the Twelve Friends’ is a sub-area of the land (as there will be Dumbo and Fantasia sub-areas).  One the early expansion pads (due east of the center) is filled on the blurry official site plan with a large structure, likely a dining facility. 


ADVENTURE ISLE: This is an area for which I am really keen to see some artwork.  Roaring Rapids forms the mountainous backdrop and has an indoor portion.  The peak of this attraction will be the second highest point in the opening-day park, after the castle spire (although my Build-Out adds a few taller expansion attractions).    Nestled within the Rapids attraction is the Challenge Trail exploratory area.  Two big mysteries of Adventure Isle: First, there is a large structure on the far east of the land.  I am going to guess this is a theatrical venue due its big, covered queue adjacent to the building.    Filling one of the first expansion pads, between the Rapids and above mentioned theater, is the new version of Soarin’.   Another mystery is whether the land will be set in the past, like traditional Adventurelands, or in the present (i.e., “Tomb Raider” or “Uncharted”).   The latter would make Soarin’ much easier to integrate.



TREASURE COVE: The park’s signature attraction boasts maybe the longest name ever given to a theme park ride.  Interestingly, the land’s stunt show looks to be indoors.   Guest-powered canoes (a personal favorite) will circle the azure waters of the park’s largest lagoon.   On the blurry site plan, both the EastSide and WestSide performance venues take up early epansion pads.  It is possible these will be inexpensive ‘temporary’ venues like AK’s Dino Jubilee or EPCOT’s Millennium Pavilion or HK's Haunted Hotel - added to beef-up the opening day roster. 



CELESTIAL REALM: Continuing counter-clockwise, I imagined the park’s largest expansion area being filled by a non-Disney, non-Franchise area dedicated to Chinese history/mythology (as the other parks have their areas dedicated to American history).  To uitilize this area most effectively, I re-routed the parade egress loop, which on opening day will run parallel to the rear of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  The icon of this area is an original, Everest-scale outdoor coaster (Jade Mountain), which, when viewed from the castle, would form a nice layering affect, rising to a jagged peak beyond the foothills of the SDMT.



FANTASYLAND: I’m hoping and expecting Fantasyland will be like the MK’s Fantasy Forest in style.  One of the big mysteries on my previous version of this park has been solved:  The large building in the northwest corner is a theater (proscenium construction visible from Google Earth), likely showing a musical medley.  I filled up the due-North expansion pad with a Haunted Castle dark ride (the park’s non-IP haunted mansion or dedicated to Disney Villains?).  



STAR WARS OUTPOST: The blurry site plan showed this area to be a Toy Story Playland (with a somewhat-altered content).  Since then Lucasfilm has been acquired, so I thought why not change this to a Star Wars area, which would transition nicely from Tomorrowland (and employ a lot of trees to block it from Fantasyland).   The centerpiece of the land could be a nex-gen X-Wing/TIE Fighter spinner on a rising arm (inspired by Favilli Studios’ Dubai Disneyland).   The area would be surrounded by lush plantings (not Tatooine), so the Galactic Cantina is in the same vein as the Mos Eisley one, but not a replica.  There would be a small amphitheater for the Jedi Academy show and a major Space Adventure E-ticket anchoring the land.



TOMORROWLAND:   The properties here are mostly character-based (Tron, Stitch, Buzz Lightyear), but the architecture appears to be Gehry-Calatrava, with unusual features like aerial planters.   It will be interesting to see how it all meshes.  Since the Lightcycle showbuilding and wavy, glass curtain (the ‘Tron Cover’ covering the outdoor coaster segment) are both quite tall, and because it is distant from all the other themed areas of the park, I thought the land’s expansion pad might be a good place for a new, billowing Gehry-esque free-fall tower attraction, with an original story to balance the character-heavy area.   Another mystery of this area are the circular pools near the parade route - will they do anything (futuristic geysers?)?  



OVERALL OBSERVATIONS:
-There looks to be a very heavy emphasis on live theater at this park, with three major indoor venues, and possibly 4 or more outdoor ones, plus the Broadway-level auditorium in DisneyTown.
-The park has more of a Multi-Loop layout vesus the traditional Hub-Spoke associated with all the other castle parks (especially the way I have used the expansion pads).
-The park should feel much bigger than tiny, opening-day HKDL, although when HKDL gets fully built-out, they will be in a similar league, with Shanghai still being the big sister.  If the roster is accuate (excluding my expansion additions), SDL on opening will have equal or more attractions than 2016 HKDL (with Iron Man), so it should feel like a full experience.

***
Hopefully, the coming months will see a lot more models, plans and artwork surface for this park.  At the very least, The Bund Preview Center is supposed to open in early 2015.

18 comments:

Felipe Zahtariam said...

Great post! I was not paying too much attention to the Shanghai project, because at first I thought I would be a very different Disney park.

But now, with your fifth work, I'm starting to think that this park will be really awesome. Like you've said, one of the most exciting theme park projects since DisneySea.

I really like the things you added by yourself, I think the Star Wars area is an incredible addition, because I thought Tomorrowland, at first, was a little bit sterile.

Speaking about the large grass & water pools area between the Gardens and Tomorrowland, I think it could be a plan, very scenic place offering sights of Tomorrowland viewed from the Gardens, since Tomorrowland is the most distant area of the park (from its center). It would feel very "futuristic" to have this view of tall, shining and modern buildings on the horizon (think about "The Prologue and The Promise"). I hope you understand my opinion.

Again, great work!

Anonymous said...

What about Toontown?
Which probably Disney would make sequel to Roger Rabbit in the future, what kind Roger Rabbit rides would be in SDL? Toontown Trolley and Roger Rabbit's Runaway Cabs? Or the gift shop would be ACME Warehouse, and it features a lot of Acme gag boxes, what Toons would be appearing in the simulator ride, Toontown Trolley, like Disney, WB, Universal, MGM, Hanna-Barbera, etc.. Since Roger Rabbit would be having his land, Toontown at SDL in the future if the sequel gets made?

Colin said...

Great park and great additions. I did hope the star wars land was a bit bigger and there is a problem now. Toy story land comes together with a budget hotel themed to toy story so will this still work if there's no toy story land. I do think that if shanghai is getting toy story land then they should put toy story mania in it or something else completely new but e-ticket. I love the celestia area and I would see keep on going like this.

mark russell said...

I would assume either Disney Town or Mickey Avenue would take on some Toontown elements, though they could both incorporate them. I looked at the map first before reading the description and asked aloud why there are so many theatres. Is theatre popular in China?

Out of curiosity, do you think Mickey's Toontown in Disneyland fine as it is, or does it need some new additional attractions to it? And have you ever designed any parades before?

SWW said...

Thanks for the comments.

Felipe, I appreciate the pure landscape parts of the parks (like the large landscaped hill at HKDL Fantasyland that is now being converted into a rumored Frozen M&G - I always kept that as landscape in HKDL build-outs). A Calatrava-Gehry like city rising beyond the landscape would be a cool sight in Shanghai.

***

Colin, good point that Shanghai "doubled down" on the Toy Story Franchise by building the hotel, so it would make sense for a heavy Toy Story presence (on top of Buzz) in the park. However, I wouldn't let a unconnected Budget hotel over-ride any design decisions for creating the best park possible (if it were a in-park hotel, that would be a different story). If Toy Story Land does come, I do think it can be done well and integrated well (with hopefully no visual intrusions into Tomorrowland or Fantasyland).

***

Mark, I think some Toontown elements are definitely possible in Mickey Ave (but not DisneyTown).

Regarding the whole Star Wars replacing Toontown rumor in DL: To me, it doesn't make sense, financially or design-wise (but would happy to be proven wrong). I think existing Toontown is a well-designed, well-integrated land for the park and does a good job absorbing the stroller brigade, as is. In a park that seemingly needs every bit of existing capacity it has, why demo a perfectly good, large & popular area? There a several underutilized areas that should be targeted for expansion first (e.g., Motor Boat Lagoon, Festival Arena), others that are very expensive and low-capacity (Subs) or unpopular (Eo, Pooh). Then there is Tomorrowland, that lacks the cohesiveness and aesthetic appeal of the other lands (and where a Star Wars attraction already exists).

Never designed any parades, as Planning, Architecture and Environmental Design are more my areas. Character & float design is not something I have attempted. But now you've got me thinking about it...


Colin said...

Hey there

I completely agree about the weird rumour of toontown and star wars. I do think toontown fits better in Dca and that the area could be used for a fantasyland expansion or just a new land but star wars is also a weird choice for a land behind fantasyland because it doesn't link at all. Pooh is low capacity because its in critter country. If they'd put a new pooh ride somewhere in fantasyland or a hundred acre wood area there. Critter country could use some new rides then and make it look more like tokyo's version.

big fan of your work and keep on going please

protojimbo said...

Great post - I can't wait to see more art and construction for this park, shame most of us will never get to visit. I like the conversation about the landscape - my take on the Gardens area is that they are planning for the future. Much like the current expansion of the hub area in MK, the gardens may be there to provide overflow space for the crowds. Instead of endlessly churning around the park, guests will have a spot to regroup and chill. The placement of the shopping district looks like it would provide an alternate exit for the night time light show crowds. This the first really good look at how this park will look and feel when completed - well done!

Anonymous said...

What happen to your other posts and maps?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, where did all the old posts go?

Colin said...

Where are all your old blog posts?? :(((

SWW said...

People noticed that?? I assumed no one re-visited posts six months past or older. I can re-activate the old ones, if there is enough interest.

Regardless, I'd like to change things up over the coming months regarding this site, collabs, presentation of work, etc. Not sure what those changes should be quite yet, but I think it would be good to shake-up the status quo.

Colin said...

I always love reading all your posts again so yeah i miss them right now

Anonymous said...

I think people liked reading them because they were just that good. They didn't get old. I know you will create some even better ideas and that you know what your doing but I will still miss some of the older posts.

Colin Prijn said...

It always gave me inspiration

Anonymous said...

I really miss the old posts, like the star wars land and disneyland austrailia ones. Please bring them back!

Anonymous said...

All of the old posts were great. All of them- you're land ideas, your park expansions, your ideas for other Disney parks, your takes on other peoples concepts, your ideas for rides- I had never found better imagineering concepts anywhere on the web. They all sounded fun, fit the themes, we're extremely well thought out, creative, and realistic. Thankfully, some of them are still around, but I still miss them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, please restore the old posts with the full-size imagines. Your work always fires up my imagination, and I miss the old blog posts.

Anonymous said...

Too me, it seems like he is just making changes to the old posts and will bring them back eventually.