Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Variations on a Theme

***UPDATED(see below) ***

The imminent opening of Shanghai DL underscores the limitless possibilities of the castle-park format.  It can be fun drawing various interpolations of this concept, as well as seeing what others have come up with.  The following Illustrative is my edited interpretation of Vipraa’s dream Texas Disney Resort flagship park, the write-up for which can be found here.

This park concept has taken some inspiration from Shanghai DL, though it retains a more traditional Hub & Spoke layout.  The SDL influences include (i) a Treasure Cove area with similar content as Shanghai's; (ii) a Fantasyland boat ride that travels through the center of that land as well as below the Rose Garden plaza behind the Castle; (iii) a Broadway-scale theater in the entry land (separate ticket required?); (iv) wavy, bulbous glass curtains covering the Tomorrow-based land buildings.

I've imagined topography playing a much more dramatic role than in existing parks (which are limited by water-table).  For example, the Crystal Canyon Runaway Mine Train takes place mostly well below the pathway 'grade' level in a deep artificial canyon.   Similarly, in Fantasyland West, the pathway gradually rises (as the Spaceport pathway descends) so by the rime you enter Spaceport from Fantasyland you are on the 2nd level (the Expo’s 2nd level, StarGazer’s 2nd level, etc. can all be accessed from this skybridge) while the parade route passes below (parade floats would have a max. height req. or need to mechanically transform to make it past the overpasses).

The big question is what should go in the Sixth Land pad...


Now to answer that question.  I settled on a kitsch "Fifties America" in order to give the park another nostalgic American area with original attractions created specifically for the land.

From the hub, one crosses a bridge and passes under a googie land marquee.  On the right is a Mel's Drive-thru type burger joint with metallic arches and neon signage.  

Taking up most of the land are two intertwined automobile-based attractions.  They also share a mountain-clad showbuilding for individual show scenes.  Road Trip, USA is basically Autopia with much more to see.  Drivers control (do a degree) their small 1950s cars (electric but feigned as gas-powered) and pass numerous stylized roadside tourist attractions such as Carslbad Caverns, Mt. Rushmore, dinosaur road-side stands, drive-thru redwood, the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota... you get the idea. 

Rock n' Roll Drag Racers is something akin to Radiator Springs Racers, but without the toon element.  It has a 1950s rock soundtrack, indoor show-scenes and a high-speed race finale.

If Car Culture is one part of the land, 1950s sci-fi is the other.  The major E-ticket ride is hidden behind a crashed UFO flying saucer, where government agents have descended on the town to investigate.   This original attraction might include giant Atomic Ants, Martian Invaders and other monster staples of the time period.  

The town green by the train station reflects the somewhat disapproving older section of town - still enjoying trains and gazebo bands versus newfangled cars and rock n' roll:



Jared Long said...

This is cool! Definitely a variation of a traditional Disney Castle Park but one I would love to visit. I've never thought of the Fantasmic show in FantasyLand but it fits perfectly. The entry land looks incredible with how much more open it is to traffic and all the attractions it holds; I love main-street but feel that it lacks substance to keep visitors moving. This is a welcomed change. I'd be interested to see how well a steampunk train would be received by each land's vastly different tone. I am with you in that I am also scratching my head at what that sixth land could be. Keep up the great work.

mark russell said...

Well I'll just throw out some random ideas out of the sixth land:
* The most obvious ones, Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land would likely be candidates if this park were real.
* Marvel City - Avengers-themed cityscape but themed to look like part of a bigger city. It could work well when the landscaping changes from Horizom Spaceport and Discovery Avenue.
* Toontown/Mickey Avenue - Not sure about this one, but could be used as an explorative area and a good place for unique attractions and extensive M&Gs.
* Pixar Place - Another suburban/big city area (inspired the area from your 2015 project).
* Beastly Kingdom - The unmade Animal Kingdom land, though it might work better if it swapped places with the spaceport.
* Ghibli Country - Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki land. Because of the films' themes of flight, innovation, and nature, the theming could work surprisingly well between the two other lands. Could be similar to the plans for Star Wars Land but with Ghibli characters instead, mixing nature with technology and have familiar faces like Totoro, Spirited Away, Nausicaa, Laputa, Howl's Moving Castle, etc.
* Mythica - Classic mythology, in a Greek temple/Olympus setting with some nods to Disney's Hercules. Could feature other myths.
* Mystic Point - A more traditional Adventureland with a Polynesian theme and Mystic Manor.
* Agrabah - Arabic-themed alt. Adventureland based on Aladdin and contain elements for an Indiana Jones subarea.
* Villains' Vale - Dark, gothic area for the Disney Villains, with a Bald Mountain log flume ride as its E-ticket weenie.

Just some ideas. Share what you think.

SWW said...

^ & ^^ Thanks for the comments. Nice suggestions. The size of Space Mountain (it's closer to MK's in scale, much bigger than the other versions), means that whatever goes in the southwest will need to account for/absorb that structure.

I always have a soft-spot for the pulp adventure genre, but I think anything that can't integrate with looming SM is out.

Leaves Star Wars & Marvel City as solid choices. Another possibility is an entirely indoor land (themed as a large cavern or underworld (Hades) - which widens the thematic possibilities).

Ghibli is an interesting thought (SM sort of looks like Mt Fuji and there are some tech-based Ghibli films).

Recent IP land might include Wreck-it Ralph gaming world.

A park-originated, non-IP land is also something I'd be interested in drawing in there...

Will give it some more thought.

mark russell said...

Personally speaking, Star Wars Land could thematically work well between the two other lands and could integrate Space Mountain. However, considering all the other lands are a mixture of various stories, it might be a bit odd with Star Wars Land focusing on one alone. And the use of SW as a stable in theme parks might grow stale.

I'd go with Ghibli Country, mixing technology and nature together with lovely European architecture. Miyazaki has a passion for aviation and human ingenuity, and it could serve as a midpoint of sorts (the 20th century innovation between the 19th century and futuristic lands). There are also numerous potentials to either blend with Space Mountain or at least overshadow - Laputa, Howl's castle, the spirit bathouse, Totoro's tree, etc. Food for thought.

SWW said...

Good points on Ghibli. I know Vipraa was leaning to Star Wars Land and having it connect - Hogwarts Express style - to another park in the resort. We'll see where he comes down.

TRF said...

There's so many nice moments in this park plan. This might be one of my favorite castle park plans I've seen. Especially some of your choices in Fantasyland, such as the subdivided thematic areas and the permanent Fantasmic theater.

As for the left side of the park, I agree with what you said above. I think it has to be urban, and it would have nice balance if it was somewhat futuristic and technology based, to mirror the pair of lower scale outdoor adventure based lands.

I think the practical real world choice would obviously be Star Wars, which could work since you already have a single property land in this park.

Otherwise, I always tend to include Discoverylands based on Victorian Futurist literature. I think its a nice aesthetic and has good attraction possibilities. But that's been done a lot, and this park already has the Nautilus in Main Street, so that might not be the right answer here.

I think my favorite idea though might involve a little reshuffling of your current Horizon's Spaceport in order to do a science-based EPCOT style land, and a more sci-fi pulp fiction Tomorrowland in the expansion. That might just involve removing the IP based attractions from the Spaceport land in favor of EPCOT style edutainment experiences. Then doing a more loose and abstract Tomorrowland that could include Buzz, Stitch, Tron, WALLE, stuff like that. That may not be a solution that the current Disney company would consider, but I think it would make a compelling pair of lands for the left side of the park.

SWW said...


Taking a fresh look at the park, three elements I think could be expanded upon are 1. Nostalgia, 2. Americana (Nature's Wonderland being the only American history based area) 3. Original, non-IP material.

With that in mind, I'm thinking a land called "Fifties America" - 1957 Chevies, Greasers, Diners, Elvis, Rock n Roll, etc.

Dining could take inspiration from DHS's prime-time cafe or sci-fi Drive-In. I feel like an outdoor Autopia-like "Road Trip USA" would take a lot of space, similar to the early non-Pixar Car(s)land concepts. Major drag-racer here too - maybe combine slow and fast into one as RSR does.

Similar to what you're thinking, the area closest to Spaceport becomes more Atomic Age 1950s SciFi with a major attraction based on either Area 51/Flying Saucers (if one wanted IP there could be a new "Indiana Jones Adventure: Saucer Men of Mars" set in the 1950s). Maybe marked with a crashed UFO near Space Mountain. An indoor ride featuring the type of zany stuff of 1950s cinema (e.g. in the vein of Giant Radioactive Ants, 50-foot-women, the Blob - but specific material originated for the park).

PJ Butler said...

This is a great plan! I think the Fifties America concept would complement its neighbors and the park as a whole very well. If I remember correctly, Lucasland (My personal favorite of all the parks you have done that has been taken down) had its entry land done in a similar vein. There was a cousin of Autopia themed to American Graffiti and the Drive-In that you mentioned above that in my opinion would be quintessential piece of an Americana themed area of the park.

Laughlin Murphin said...

I don't think a separate ticket would be needed for a Broadway-style attraction. Tokyo DisneySea and California Adventure both have Broadway-level venues with 30-45 minute productions.

protojimbo said...

Since some of the lands suggested might belong in the designer's "worlds" concept, the Americana area works well here. The first 2 sections of the park reflect a good bit of the American Experience. I like how the 50's Sci-Fi motif blends nicely towards TL.

Jared Long said...

The Fifties America section comes completely out of left field for me but totally makes sense. It fits so well with this castle park, I can't believe it hasn't been thought to put one there before. I wish this park concept could become a reality.

mark russell said...

It is a very unique and stylish new land, SWW. Good work. What does that word "Kuka" mean under Monster Mayhem?

Imagineer55 said...

^The Kuka ride system is robotic arm based, as seen with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at the Universal parks.

SWW said...

Appreciate the comments and, yes, that is the type of ride system I thought might fit.

Brian Scott said...

This is about as perfect as you can get - best park plan you have made in my opinion!! The transitions between lands is perfect and the addition of 1950's America is BRILLIANT - it is a great transition to "Tomorrowland" - and Disney has only touched on 1950's America (Hollywood Studios 50's Prime Time Cafe and CarsLand).

I'm not certain about the Entrance Street though - I still want to see the Roaring 20's street made, as was originally intended for Disneyland Paris.

SWW said...

^Kind of you to say.

Mike said...

This is a such a massive park that one could easily get lost in but seeing the details I think that is not a problem. I like getting lost without having a map and explore a new to me park blindly and you really get a better sense of discovery that way. This park would be perfect for that.

This idea is totally left field and I get that it would seriously screw up the sight lines in the park but wouldn't a Tower of Terror type ride fit in a castle park instead of a second, usually Hollywood themed park? For some reason I saw the location of where your Edison Theater is located and a ToT type ride quickly came to mind. Granted that might ruin the focal point of the castle at the end of Main Street but wouldn't it be an ideal attraction to keep people in Main Street longer?

My favorite area is the Fifties America section. It's very original and not centered around any of the numerous IPs Disney owns.

SWW said...

^Several posts down you can see I put a Big City-themed one in the 2015 Project castle park.

For this park it couldn't go up front where the Edison theater is, because it would kill sightlines within Natures Wonderland.

SWW said...

^Agree, I would also like to see a classic, Audio Animatronic, IP-free Main Street darkride, maybe take the period appropriate scenes from World of Motion and work them into a broader Victorian-themed omnimover...

Garrett Smith said...

As usual, excellent artwork and material. I am endlessly intrigued by everything you post here and always enjoy checking for something new.

Would love to do a collaboration again with you in the future as we did with Disneyland Australia so long ago. Ironically, I'm revisiting the project now, making it the biggest Magic Kingdom-style park in existence.

SWW said...

^Hey now.
Sometimes going to Ludicrous Size can be a fun exercise(though it requires more thought & work to make into practical concept plan). Since real-world plans are always more grounded, why not push the limits of one's imagination and drawing board when you can.

This park's on-show area (back of house is not shown) is in the range of the standard castle park size. Will be interested in seeing your thoughts on laying out a castle park that has 3x the content of a typical one.

Garrett Smith said...

I just completed a year working at Disneyland, so space constrictions and backstage areas do come to mind when designing a large park, even if pushing the limits of my imagination is involved, I'm doing my best to be realistic. It is quite the challenge. I've been posting it piece-by-piece on WDWMagic since late March.

Imagineer55 said...

^Could you post a link to your plans? I'd love to check them out.

Garrett Smith said...

It is a work in progress, Imagineer55, and it is a lot to read since I have no artistic skill, haha. Once I have finished the entirety of the park I will be doing one last final draft that recaps everything and makes certain changes to certain areas so some of the existing project is subject to change in the end.


David said...

I'm curious: have you put any thought in how the railroad will pass thru the KUKA ride system's building? It seems like an impossible feat with the KUKA's vertical clearance necessities.

SWW said...

^For the parts where it needs to pass under the elevated RR track (trains could be incorporated into show scene), the ride path could dip below grade while the Kuka arm simultaneously moves into the "tuck" position.

It's something to consider if/when one were to zoom down to the attraction level and begin to more closely consider the ride's story and layout. Adjustments could then be made as needed, including at the more drastic level, the potential moving of the railroad or changing of the ride system.


Garrett Smith said...

MANEATINGWREATH here, just curious as to how one can receive a quote for a park map. I've been trying to get ahold of you via email, but my laptop refuses to let me go any further than clicking on your email.

SWW said...

^ Email link is in the "About Me" section at left. If the link isn't working directly for you, maybe try in another browser (e.g. Firefox), or hover/right click on the email link and copy & paste my address (or enter manually) into your "to:" box.

Steven Bruce said...

Amazing and interesting photos. really lovely.
NECA Action Figures & Collectibles

James Jones said...

how much would my disney books be worth?
how to draw cartoon characters step by step from disney

Md Shohidul Islam Robin said...

Good post!
Do you prefer Flap Barrier Gate in parking area?