Saturday, May 29, 2021

Mega Kingdom

I enjoy imagining and drawing riffs on the Castle park template.   And out of the scores of them I've drawn, this is one of the larger examples.  The on-show park area of this park is larger than any of the existing castle parks at buildout.   Here I've gathered Best Practice elements among the existing castle parks (e.g. Paris' hotel at the gate and indoor main street arcade; WDW's long-distance, lake-front approach and (former) rolling, river-encircled hub, etc.).   This park's setting would be a large, idyllic resort property with plenty of water and natural  acreage.   A few parks and several unique resort hotels would be connected via monorails, boats and esplanade paths, as the plan shows:


 

OLMSTEAD PARK AND THE GRAND VICTORIAN
The Dan Goozee mural below inspired me to create a Frederick Law Olmstead-style park outside of the theme  park.   Like a Boston Common or Central Park, the very large park (only a portion is visible in this plan) would have picnic lawns, fountains, band shells, rowboat ponds, wildlife areas, etc.   

 

The Fantasia Gardens park and the hotel are heavily-inspired by Paris, though somewhat unique in layout and design.  There is a Victorian monorail station & water ferry dock to match the hotel.  



MAIN STREET USA
As noted, in this super-sized castle park, Main Street gets extended by an extra block added to the typical two.  This extra space allowed me to explore some very cool early concepts for the land.   I was inspired by the early Dale Hennesy & Harper Goff artwork for a suburban street with Victorian mansions, including one very spooky, dilapidated one...  I also placed a church on this street - an essential element of any turn-of-the-century American townscape.  

 

A large, non-haunted Victorian mansion houses "Walt's" the park's signature dining venue, which could be either a museum-like decor dedicated to Disney's life or follow a more fictionalized path, in which "Walt Disney" becomes a character and this his house of secrets, magic and wonders (a la Kingdom Keepers).


As always, this Main Street features all the little non-commercial things that made it interesting and special to begin with (and that the Company has seen fit to do away with in favor of generic merch space).   The west side houses a two story Grand Arcade with a glass & iron roof.   It could feature some exhibits and nods to the original Edison Square concept.  


ADVENTURELAND
Approaching from the Hub, the land is marked by Roaring Falls and the ropes course that goes with it.   The land's entrance and center features the traditional exotic jungle and early 20th Century Pulp/Adventurer vibe.   The center of the land is filled with scattered ruins of an ancient temple complex reclaimed by the rainforest.  Around and through these ruins, an E-ticket terrain-following launch coaster traverses, mostly below path grade.  The coaster would enter temples for certain show scenes or animal AA interactions before launching forward or falling backward (akin to HKDL's grizzly mountain).  The land has a shooting gallery appropriate to the theme and an Explorers Club restaurant modeled on WDW's Adventurers Club interior decor.

    

The land's 2nd distinct geographic area is an Arabian cityscape where Aladdin finally gets a long overdue darkride.  The last geographic areas transitions away from the tropics and the desert to the location of a lost Byzantine city for a new version of the Indiana Jones Adventure EMV ride.

 

LONDON SQUARE
For this park I took a different tack for the typical central castle and fantasyland.  Rather than use the typical French/German-inspired chateau and fairytale area behind it, I decided to have the main castle modeled on Hampton Court Palace with its Tudor style, red brick and octagonal towers.  It would still be theatricized somewhat for a theme park setting.   Behind it is a dense, urban London square with a trio of darkrides set in the Edwardian Period: Mary Poppins (the unbuilt Tony Baxter ride), Peter Pan (tweaked & upgraded version of the classic) & Mr. Toad (the Magic Kingdom's extinct dual track version). 


 There would be a Puppet or Pantomime Theater that could feature non-film-based comedic short plays.  Dining and retail venues befit this London setting: a regal restaurant, a traditional public house, a Dalmatian furrier, etc...

 

DISCOVERY BAY
This land is dedicated to Machine Age exploration & adventure and may be reached via the indoor Grand Arcade of Main Street.   The first visual landmark would be a large, explorable Airship preparing for departure.    The Lost World Dino Cruise has guests boarding tramp steamers for a voyage through a primeval jungle of giant animatronic beasts.   Climactic and frightening SFX show scenes take place inside the smoking landmark volcano and caverns.


The next area is a romanticized version of Monterey's Cannery Row or the San Francisco industrial waterfront of the late 1800s.  Here is a Fireworks Factory restaurant and an 'Around the World in 80 Days' suspended darkride.

 

Deep in the land one arrives at Captain Nemo's Base, a sub-area featuring an explorable Nautilus submarine (as in DLP), a table service restaurant that takes place in a Victorian "undersea" aquarium, and a unique version of TDS's dry-for-wet ride.

 

FANTASY FOREST
 Leaving the cityscape of London Square behind, one transitions to the village facades, green countryside and forest that makes up the 2nd half of what one could consider 'greater fantasyland'.   Some of the attractions are familiar (e.g., SDMT, Labyrinth, teacups).  Others offer a new ride system for an existing IP (e.g., a Frozen traditional darkride; a more elaborate LPS ride for Little Mermaid, as drawn by Helen McCarthy below).  The music and characters of 'Robin Hood' are applied to the popular whip flatride.  


The area's landmark E-ticket is a Splash Mountain-scale flume inspired by The Black Cauldron.  The queue and pre-show (featuring an AA Henwen and Dallben) take place in the Caer Dallben farmstead.   After experiencing numerous AA- and FX-laden showscenes and minor drops, the boats climb to the heights of the Horned King's castle for the final plummet.   


Note that the towers and parapets of Horned King's castle align with the park's central axis, as does the lower-massed Tudor Court Palace.   When viewed from Main Street or town square, this would play a trick on the eye of these two being a single tall, unusual, castle.


 

TOMORROWLAND
This park’s version hearkens back to the original theme of the land: Real World, Optimistic, Techno-Futurism.  No movie tie-ins, characters or alien creatures.  Everything is grounded in a plausible future for mankind.   The aesthetic is sleek, curvy & monumental.   Space Mountain - of the same scale as Magic Kingdom’s but with updated fx, soundtrack, etc. - dominates the vista at the end of the land.   Water features, flowerbeds and a hidden railroad tunnel front it.  At the exit/entry areas there is a homage to the MK’s waterfall pylons.  Nearby is the Peoplemover plinth, and above that on the 3rd level is a spire-centered version of the Jetpacks – feet would dangle much further off the ground level than in Shanghai.

 


Horizons was, to me, a lightning-in-the-bottle classic on the same level as Haunted Mansion and PotC and epitomized the spirit of Tomorrowland/Future World.   Here it is re-born with upgrades (e.g., to film footage, simulator finale tech) but keeping the general experience intact.  Other attractions could include an new take on the old Adventures thru Inner Space concept (maybe making it a nanotech shooter omnimover), a seamless CircleVision experience and an interactive walkthrough experience that would draw from CommuniCore, House of the Future, TransCenter, etc.   

 

STAR WARS OUTPOST
This is yet another unique planet and unique set of rides for a Star Wars land.  This time the locale is Malastare Spaceport with a unique flora, flauna and geology marked by crystalline rockwork formations.  


I considered the idea of Star Tours being accessible from both Tomorrowland and the Outpost (queue/exit & 2-3 sims for each direction) with one-way flights ending up in the other locale.  Sort of like the Hogwarts Express.   There are story problems with this idea as Tomorrowland and Star Wars exist within very different universes, times & tones, so maybe-not.  The layout allows for this idea, however.



The center of this land features a bazaar marketplace with numerous shops and quick service dining.  A billowing crystal canopy partially covers it.   One (of two) E tickets in the land is a Radiator Springs Racers-style ride where landspeeders or podracers experience indoor show-scenes (e.g., an AA Hutt Clan gangster and his protocol translator attempting pre-race bribery) before exploding into a high speed outdoor race to the finish line.


A crashed Blockade Runner, approx full-scale, dominates one side of the land and marks – and serves as queue for – a major ride where visitors choose to be on the side of the Sith or the Jedi.  Kuka vehicles, which seem ideal for getting thrown around by a force-weilding Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Yoda or Emperor, take teams of Rebel or Imperial volunteers to face down their enemies.



TREASURE COVE
My take on this tropical, coastal themed area was to divide the main draw – PotC - into both a kid-friendly, stylized (see art below), musical darkride (C/D-ticket) as well an epic E+ motion-based boat ride that would be more intense & feature more scare/jump-moments (e.g., a sudden shark attack that rocks the boat sideways) than a typical PotC attraction.   Both rides would present a unique sequence of settings, characters & events, with some familiar elements as well.  

 

 

The land has an indoor stunt theater and four explore zones: Swiss Family Treehouse, Skull Island, a pirate ship, and the ruins of a Mayan temple.  The interactive map/treasure hunt game from MK’s Adventureland would make use of these areas (and other nooks of the land).  Most lands in the park would benefit from a similar type of exploration/engagment feature.

 

FRONTIERLAND
This supersized version of Frontierland combines some familiar elements with some never-built ride concepts.    From the hub, guests enter a forest with an Indian camp before crossing a bridge into the explorable Fort Hancock.  Beyond, there is an extensive townscape filled with lots of small, individual artisan shops and places to wet one’s whistle, as one might find in a Western town: a gun shop, leather shop, blacksmith, general store, woodworker, miracle medicines wagon, etc.  There is a vaudeville theater and riverboat dock in town.  


Outside of town is Canyon Country where one would find Lil’ Thunder Mountain kiddie coaster (see art below), the loading station to island-based Big Thunder and the massive Western River Expedition mesa.  The queue to this PotC-like musical ride winds along the Riverside going behind waterfalls.

 

 

The area that transitions to Treasure Cove has a Spanish Southwest/Mexican influence.  The rivers stay busy with two paddlewheelers (stern and side-wheeled), keelboats, rafts to Tom Sawyer Island and Davy Crockett Canoes accessible on the Island.  The final ride brings back an old concept for Disneyland: a horse simulator (see art above).  Real horses could make appearances in the corral outside the building.   I imagine legendary characters of the Old West (Zorro, Tonto, Lone Ranger, Annie Oakley, etc.) could make cameos in the simulated bounty hunt within mini dome simulators.  The footage would be slot-machine style (like Star Tours 2), with many variations on the experience.


This land (and all lands) could feature live streetmosphere situations – e.g., a bank robbery, a speech by a Railroad Baron, a stagecoach arrival, Zorro jumping from roof to roof, as used to happen in Disneyland, etc.  
 

***





Saturday, May 1, 2021

Fifth Gate - Mythica Revisited





When imagining a fifth theme park, I typically use it as an occasion to address several problems that I see at WDW.

Problem 1: Overdevelopment of WDW & Orlando - Sprawl at the expense of greenspace.

    When you recall (or see photos/video of, particularly aerials) WDW and its immediate surroundings from the 1980s, un- or lightly-developed land stretched in every direction to the far horizon.  This insulating factor was an absolute key to making the place feel like a world apart.  For me, WDW began feeling overdeveloped when things like the sprawling Value Resorts, the Town of Celebration, Wide World of Sports, etc., came into being in the 1990s.   That was decades ago.  Since then, rampant, unchecked development inside and outside WDW has snowballed, most of it is very, very average American suburban sprawl.  Today, most elevated vistas are filled with development, near & far.  The famous Walt Disney quote about the "blessing of size" and a place "that can hold all the ideas & plans we can possibly imagine" is sadly no longer applicable.
    
    Because of this, most of the Fifth Gate park plans I've imagined and drawn for WDW replace an existing development, usually areas where unremarkable hotels stand.  In these wishful-thinking scenarios, I like to incorporate properties not technically part of WDW but touching on the bubble: e.g the Bonnet Creek hotels; the Waldorf and its neighbor; the Grand Cypress golf club; Celebration; or in this case, the Official WDW Hotel Plaza and Hyatt Regency north of Disney Springs.
    
 

Problem 2: Eyesore Hotel Buildings.
    
    Replacing a cacophony of 1970s hotel mid-rises with a forested greenbelt and the visual icons of a top tier theme park is a win-win.  Idealbuildout parks are designed to inspire awe from both within and without the park - no un-themed backsides of mountain ranges or giant showbuildings would be overly-conspicuous, even from outside the parks.  Beautiful & monumental 360-degree landmarks are the best kind of advertising billboards. 

 

Problem 3: All parks trending towards IP.  

    The parks are on a steady path from Theme Parks to IP Parks, where guests experience a random assortment of popular films in person and ride the movies, without overall rhyme or reason.  While not fully homogenized yet, they've been inching closer every year.  WDW was never better than when each of its parks felt like a completely unique experience.   In my opinion, the parks should take their original dedication statements to heart.  
    
    This fifth gate bucks the trend by eschewing IP.  The source material here is World Mythology that has already been adapted into countless films, but all the art direction and attraction/character design here would be originated for the park.  New slants.  That said, if one were inclined to have Disney IP, it is easy to imagine switching out attraction content throughout this park for its film-based interpretation. 

 

Problem 4: Less focus on Edutainment - a staple of classic parks.

    Going hand in hand with the above (no IP), a truly great theme park doesn't just entertain & divert, it illuminates and inspires.  I think this fifth gate can garner its own unique identity by taking a different approach to edutainment than EPCOT does (did), focusing on experiencing Worldwide Myths & Legends firsthand.  Via atmospheric rides & heart-pounding thrills, as well as walkthroughs and shows, the park's aim is to educate without the visitor even realizing it.  Passive infotainment.   This works via architecture (well-researched and executed recreations of historic buildings, though still romanticized and theatricized) and queue props, details & displays, pre-shows, pre-recorded spiels, etc.  Nothing should feel like an academic lecture, but for those who want to look deeper, the details and story elements should stand up to scrutiny.  Plenty of great attractions that most do not consider edutainment still contain aspects of history, culture and knowledge (thus providing illumination) in their execution and such would be the case here (things like Dinosaur, Tom Sawyer Island, Fortress Explorations, the new TDS Soarin' queue are a few examples).




ANGLIA

    The first land is based on myths & folklore from the British Isles and contains the most 'modern' areas of the park in terms of theme (19th century), as well as the new deluxe in-park hotel.  It has three sub-areas.  The entry area is a welcoming, charming English country town inspired by places like Chester, with its assorted old buildings, shopping, dining and services.  The central landmark wonder of this sub-area is a hill inspired by Stonehenge.  

 

   Crossing a bridge to the left is the grander, more urban section based on Victorian Oxford and Cambridge, with the sprawling gothic Royal Oxbridge Hotel sits with its countless spires and chimneys.  There is a large darkride here set in a lord's manor house and a SFX theatrical show set in a building inspired by the Radcliffe Camera.

    On the opposite side of Cheshire, visitors go back to England's medieval times & legends.  There is a Sherwood Forest explore zone and a major attraction marked by the tall towers of Camelot castle.  This is an elaborate indoor atmospheric boatride that explores the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

   There is viewing for the nightly lagoon spectacular where myths & legends from different cultures have an epic battle on the water via lasers, fireworks, projections, floats, submerged watercannons, etc.

 

 

HELIOS 

In a theme park based on world mythology, Ancient Greek mythology would get  a major presence.   

 

Rising above the center of the park, a rocky mount topped with a temple complex is inspired by the Acropolis.  Reached via an inclined path, it features walkthrough experiences and a dining venue with elevated lagoon views.   In the cavern below the Acropolis a monstrous AA hydra threatens boat passengers traversing the lagoon.

The famous Minotaur's Labyrinth may be experienced in this land via a maze and darkride where riders try to escape alive from the pursuing half-bull monster.  A sunken theater hosts live shows.  The land features a couple spinner B-tickets.   The E+-ticket here is a giant flume mountain, with numerous show scenes, animatronics and special FX bringing to life the pantheon of Olympian gods, demi-gods & heroes of classical mythology. 



TIANXI  

The park's Chinese myth-based land.  There is a grand imperial palace complex modeled on the ancient seats of the Chinese emperors.   A mountain-based spinning coaster, a major kuka-based attraction (see art below) and a junk version of Aquatopia round out the areas rides.   Walkthrough attractions supplement.



AEGYPTUS
This large, central land contains some of the park's most important landmarks or weenies.   The very tall Pharos or Lighthouse of Alexandria would serve as the park's castle.  It would feature explorable rooms across multiple levels, as would the Great Library complex nearby.  The Library has a dining element, as well.  All such "explore zones" in this park are not just static museum exhibits or playgrounds: they feature memorable elements, such as special fx/projections, triggered audio narration, secret doors and passageways and interactive features & puzzles, as you might find in Fortress Explorations or games such as Jewels of the Seven Seas or Uncharted. 

 

Naturally, a land themed to Egypt would get a monumental attraction housed in the Pyramids of Giza and based on the legends hidden in the depths of those wonders.  In this case, a darkride/coaster hybrid is the ride system.  The Sphinx also houses a major attraction, featuring scarab like vehicles and the Egyptian pantheon of gods.   The land features a dense, urban network of flat-roofed dwellings, shops and quick dining.  Streetmosphere also. 



VALHALLA
Passing under an archway, visitors transition from the dusty, clay-brick streets of Memphis to wood and thatch viking villages scattered among dark nordic forests.  The land brings Norse mythology to life so people can learn what inspired things like the popular MCU characters.   A central landmark World Tree is also a swing ride.  There is a terrain coaster through and around snowy, mountainous terrain, at a similar scale to Big Thunder.  A vertical drop dark ride rises in a far corner of the land.

 

 

EXPANSION
This drawing leaves some area for future lands.  My initial thoughts are for an Atlantean area to connect Helios and Aegyptus.   I think a Mayan or Aztec inspired mythology would work well in the far western forested area.

***







Friday, April 16, 2021

A New Port for Hong Kong DisneySea

 I'll sometimes swap out lands and attractions in concept plans, and in this case I imagined that a Pacific Islands themed port, based mostly on Moana, would be a fun alternative to the Mermaid Lagoon port that had been done once in Tokyo.  



There are similarities with the previous port (Mermaid) in that there is a kiddie coaster (re-themed to a coconut grove) and a character-based spinner outside (re-themed to the pig and chicken from the film).  And a large indoor space: I imagined a network of torch-lit caverns under the mountains (as seen in 'Moana', where she discovers the ancestors' canoes) that houses some retail, dining, restrooms, etc.   There is also a major attraction found in the caverns: an outrigger canoe simulator (mini-domes)  with water-effects that take riders across the wild ocean to mythic locales.


 

Built atop of the cavern amid the lush peaks of Motunui (and Hong Kong) is a rapids ride.   A  waterfront-dining venue based on the chief's huts rounds out the features of this port.

The former Peter Pan Mermaid ride becomes a Peter Pan Pirate ride and joins the port of Buccaneer Bay 

***


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Shanghai: The Hotel at the Gate

 
This is one a few Shanghai drawings in which I look at filling the hotel pad near the park's entrance.

 



 

HOTEL PONCE DE LEON

The most important consideration for a hotel is that it enhances resort-wide and in-park vistas.  It needs to be On Show from almost all angles and elicit wonder and delight in passerbys as well as hotel guests.  This is what the great hotels do so well (e.g., MiraCosta, DLP Hotel). 


Where the hotel would impact the park the most, visually, is in the adjacent Adventure Isle and very wide vistas from north Treasure Cove.   While I also added a forested berm to hide the back workings of Adventure Isle, the hotel's taller parts, like its many parapet towers, could likely be glimpsed from the park.   But such visual intrusions add a unique, surprisingly-appealing, mystique to theme parks that I've grown to appreciate (it's the back-stage & non-show intrusions I decry).

 

Another consideration is that, connecting to the Entry Plaza/Mickey Ave, that a hotel tie in with that area too.   Mickey Avenue is generally eclectic American, early 20th C..   Adventure Isle is exotic.  So the hotel should be Exotic/American early 20th/late 19th.  Here I settled on Spanish/Moorish revival as both American and Exotic and created an enlarged riff on the magnificent Ponce de Leon hotel of St. Augustine in a similar way to how the Grand Floridian riffs on the Del Coronado.

 

The hotel would feature all the rich and magnificent detailwork, both inside and out.  Manicured grounds feature winding pathways, garden courtyards and a large Fountain of Youth central pool complex.  



MICKEY AVE & GARDENS OF IMAGINATION

The only change here is to add a dedicated M&G space in order to remove the temp-looking Meet Mickey tent from Gardens of Imagination



ADVENTURE ISLE


One of the things I most appreciate about this land is that the majority of it is IP-free and was invented for the park, something which has become almost unheard of at today's Disney.   My plan uses the last, small expansion pad to continue the story & placemaking of the Arbori People by adding a top-spin, heavily-themed as an ancient Arbori temple/machine.

 




TREASURE COVE

This plan aims to fill in a lot of SDL's interior picnic lawns with on-show content.  Here, two of them get converted into a 2nd pirate village area with walkthrough attraction, bar/dining and a shooting gallery.




 CELESTIAL REALM

Looking at the overall plan of SDL, the large expansion area behind Seven Dwarfs Mine Train should have been saved for a tall mountain attraction, because the vista from the castle of the foothills (SDMT) in the foreground and the tall peaks rising behind them would have been sensational.  I've seen an early official plan where Everest was a placeholder back there.  We'll see how the Zootopia vistas are.

 


  In this plan an original E-ticket coaster called Jade Mountain anchors a land themed to Chinese myths and legends.   There is a family boat ride and a spinner as well as retail and dining.



FANTASYLAND

The big new addition here is SDL's haunted house attraction.  As Mystic Manor did for HKDL, this is a new concept - but still accessible and musical - for the staple Disney attraction.   The attraction is reached by queueing up a ridge and across a rope bridge over the main pathway towards the decaying castle. 

 

 

  I added an Old Mill Ferris wheel B-ticket to fill in some of the empty picnic lawn space.  Smaller changes include a full-size Dwarfs Cottage for the mine train (the existing gray screen mini cottage is not as effective as WDW's full version with witch) and adding castle ramparts & crenellation to the upper levels of the show-buildings on the western village side.   All the other Fantasylands do this to effectively disguise the showbuildings as castle ramparts, whereas Shanghai - perplexingly - broke with precedent and themed the upper buildings as large 'fairytale warehouses'(?).



STAR WARS OUTPOST

Replacing Toy Story Land is a unique Star Wars miniland set on its own planet with original attractions and features.  Timeline is Original Trilogy.   Falcon is a walk-through.  Darth Vader is the antagonist for the set- & AA-based based shooter LPS ride.

 

TOMORROWLAND

East of the pathway are more rides and features to fill in the empty areas of the park.    The major addition to the land is a freefall darkride based on Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.  It's hard for me to square DCA's Tower of Terror building with the GotG overlay at DCA, so I think I would appreciate the attraction much more this with a custom, original landmark tower that feels like GotG and also complements the existing Tomorrowland style.
 

***




Sunday, March 7, 2021

Parallel TDL

  Here is a version of TDL I drew before the recently completed changes.   


 

GRAND AVENUE 

  World Bazaar is transformed into a romanticized, open-air urban boulevard.  For variety's sake, this land is slightly different from a typical Main Street USA: a little taller and a little more grandiose.  The added height (rather than being faux 2-3 stories, it would be faux 3-5 stories) gives it a bit more urban feel of an Eastern city (Boston, Philly, New York) at the height of the Gilded Age (1890s).   Indoor cover is provided by 2-storey arcades in all four quadrants.  

 


  The central plaza is transformed to accommodate the horse trolley and a new castle stage and approach, as seen in this Erik Van der Palen concept:

 

 

NEW ORLEANS SQUARE
   This is just carving out the existing sub-section of Adventureland and changing the name for symmetry purposes (you'll see in Part 2).

 


ADVENTURELAND

   Here the costuming building gets replaced with a mountain ride inspired by some more Van der Palen concept art:

 

 

WESTERNLAND
No real change here except to not include the duck camp.  



CRITTER COUNTRY

A perfectly-done miniland as is, so no changes.

  

TOONTOWN
No major changes.


FANTASYLAND
   This area is based on the aerial birdseye art that pre-dated the actual New Fantasyland project.    Live character shows are popular in Tokyo, so the current Philharmagic Theater gets repurposed.  The new castle forecourt stage would also host outdoor musical performances.  Of course, the original Castle Mystery Tour is back and all the 70s Tournament Tent facades are replaced by appropriate storybook architecture.   Haunted Mansion gets a gothic European re-theme and becomes Vampire Palace.

 


    Everything else in the land is my interpretation of the above artwork.  A new IASW is built near Tomorrowland and its old spot is filled by a major Wonderland darkride.  Dumbo moves over towards the parade route.  Some kid of fairy tale village, which I'm assuming was a meet & greet, is near the hub bridge.  The rest of the area is Beauty & the Beast, though my guesswork was different than what was actually built.   I drew the castle marking a Be Our Guest restaurant and the darkride reached by queuing through Maurice's cottage. 



TOMORROWLAND

   The land is given a sleeker, more sci-fi aesthetic while keeping its iconic waterfall towers and Space Mountain.   I replaced Buzz with a GotG re-theme and had the nearby restaurant become The Collector's.   Star Tours has a new facade featuring a Starspeeder on a rooftop launch platform that raises and lowers. 

 


 The new district is an Atom Punk retrofuture with a PeopleMover, AstroOrbitor and a new original E-ticket omnimover ride called Amazing Tales of Tomorrow!.  I'm imagining something that hearkens back to the lost Future World classics like Horizons and World of Motion: long, music-backed, pre-recorded narration, featuring Animatronic vignettes out of the pages of pulp magazines showing comedic moments of life in the retro future.

 

PIXAR PLACE
   The final mini-land balances New Orleans Square and includes rides, features and dining based on Monsters Inc (existing), Up, Wall-E and The Incredibles.

***

 



Saturday, February 20, 2021

River Country

   The world's first Themed water park, River Country had a great Tom Sawyer Island-esque feel, a beautiful location and a number of unique features.  But when Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach came along they set a different standard in terms of slides.   Here is a concept plan I created that would expand River Country into a waterpark on the level of its larger siblings.

 
   Everything below of central access road is kept pretty much as it was.  The major difference is hidden under the wooden bridge dividing Bay Cove from Bay Lake.  There would be an "invisible" barrier, so while the Cove would still appear to be connected to the Lake, it no longer is.   Separated from the Lake, all the water in this park could be temperature controlled, filtered and chlorinated. 


   The lower half has all the Fort Wilderness features of the original area, such as pony rides, a bluegrass/country bandstand, picnic area, nature boardwalk trail and use of watercraft on Bay Lake.  

 

  The new upper half continues the same theme with a large array of new themed slides and features, spread cross three rocky hills and the pine forest.  The new half is accessible by footpaths or by a shallow "Riverwalk".  There is a lazy river through the deep forest, under caverns and waterfalls and past Indian camps.   There is cliff diving.  The tallest hill - Eagle Peak - features a spooky cave system to explore, body slides and a large, multi-person raft ride.  Cherokee Caverns slide takes place entirely inside a rockwork mountain in almost total darkness, save for some brief atmospheric show moments of vengeful Indian spirits, angry bears and booby traps.

 
  The new Ma's Tavern restaurant at the Lake waterfront is near the boat launch.  These boats takes guests to and from the Magic Kingdom Resorts as well as to Treasure Island, a version of Discovery Island that is closer to its original incarnation.   While Treasure Island would have some animals, it's purpose would be the canvas for an elaborate interactive game/treasure hunt. 

 

***

Thursday, February 11, 2021

DLP Buildout

 
Here's a DLP expansion plan. 


 

MAIN STREET, USA:  Per usual, this plan reverts to Main Street's original slate of unique shops and features which have been steadily deleted over the years in the name of more shelfspace for Disney merch.  Main Street Motors displays and sells vintage autos.  The Photography shop stays as an exhibit dedicated to early photography.  Walt's restaurant is in its original incarnation, with first floor dining room.  

The Barber Shop and Statue of Liberty diorama exhibit remain in their places.



FRONTIERLAND:  Indian Canoes & Keelboats are back.   Lucky Nugget vaudeville show is back (sans Disney characters).    In the large pad beyond the railroad berm, a new district is added: a dusty and dangerous gunfighter town called Redemption.  The Saloon is themed dining populated with live characters out of a classic Western.  There was originally a Stunt Show planned for Frontierland, so I've included that.   The main draw, marked by an old Spanish Mission, is a high-tech E-ticket inspired by some concept art by Chris Bradley, where stagecoach riders have rifles and shoot at targets and villains throughout the ride.   

So you'd have Thunder Mesa, with its elaborate backstory and attractions, then the rural Cottonwood Creek district and then a neighboring frontier Town of Redemption with its own rivalry backstory.



ADVENTURELAND: While the powers-that-be are big proponents of making everything "more Disney", I am not a fan of unnecessary IP insertion/overlays and/or changing the name of a feature to include a tangential character.    So in my drawings the restaurants (Aux Epices Enchantee, Explorers Club, Blue Lagoon, etc.) revert to their original names.  I'd also bring back the winding indoor Bazaar in its original form before it became the Agrabah Cafe - that area looked too cool.  Losing the Bazaar meant breaking up the "Covered Pathway" ( a stroke of genius).   I'd amend the Aladdin walkthrough to allow the Covered Pathway to go on its, full original course.  


A larger, Jungle Cruise-inspired coaster - a concept that pre-dated Temple du Peril - is here.  Indiana Jones is a cousin to the EMV Ride found in Anaheim and Tokyo.   



FANTASYLAND: I've added a dedicated M&G area and a fourth C-ticket darkride based on Tangled.  The larger addition beyond the railroad berm is Heroes' Quest - a park-originated flume attraction that creates a set of characters, story and world set in a medieval fantasy genre of wizards, knights, ogres, etc.



 

DISCOVERYLAND:  Discoveryland, originally dedicated to the retro-futurism of 19th-Century writers, had a few built-in flaws to its thematic cohesiveness from Day One: Star Tours, Videopolis & Captain Eo.  These  never fit the purported theme very well, despite the talking points.  In this plan, I've replaced those three attractions to reflect a tighter interpretation of the original theme.  

The original Visionarium remains, serving as the thesis statement for the land.  Jules Verne's stories are reflected in the original Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon, the Nautilus walkthrough, and a new madcap, stylized, family darkride (a la Peter Pan/Mr. Toad) taking up the space used for Videopolis (Around the World in 80 Days).   H.G. Wells finds representation in a cabin simulator War of the Worlds: a steampunk Star Tours, with expanded storyline and design (not based on any previous treatment of the book, but something along the lines of WotW: Goliath, where humanity is using steam/deiselpunk technology to fight back against the invaders).   Similarly, Edgar Rice Burough's classic "A Princess of Mars" gets an E-ticket ride, but one designed for the park and that clicks with the feel of the land, not necessarily based on the look created by Bruckheimer's John Carter movie. 



A major attraction, called Bon Voyage!, is based on idea once posted to the internet, but has since disappeared.  Some of you may remember this - and I don't know who to credit - but the concept came with artwork and even a pretty professional scale model.  It was a major suspended darkride aboard Airships, marked by an observatory dome and a curving grass-covered canopy, with the showbuilding beyond the berm.


Finally, since the land could use a major dining venue, there is a special-effects-laden table service restaurant themed to The Invisible Man (an alternate theme could be something like the old Jekyll & Hyde Club in NYC or Astronomer's Club).


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