Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The New Shape of TDS

At the beginning stages of theme park mega-projects such as the forthcoming expansion of TDS - when years lie ahead before we see what it will actually look like - I try to visualize based on the early hints released to the public.

What I've drawn is likely quite different from what is actually planned, but I had fun imagining the possibilities for this unexpected 8th port.  I didn't pay too close attention to the info that's on the net about facility square footage, expansion acreage or number of buildings.  Instead, I took the basic ingredients (the announced attractions and other features), the artwork, and the land available and I sketched a layout.

You'll note the current TDS expansion pads are filled in, and I dedicated them to original, non-IP attractions to counterbalance the huge injection of animation IP that's coming.  Lost River Delta gets a Central American jungle jaguar rapids ride.  Med Harbor gets Soarin' as it will soon open in 2019.  Finally, if the Central Energy Plant is relocated and opens up a plot in Arabian Coast, I added a less-kid-friendly '40 Thieves' darkride (C- or D- ticket spook house) to diversify the land's content.  The new area would reflect the more flat-topped kasbah's of North Africa than the Persian influence onion-domes and minarets of the current port. 

Fantasy Springs
I used the key artwork above as a major influence in my plan.  I imagine this view coming from a hotel room, looking down into the land towards TDS proper.

 Above  is a view you'd have with your back toward the Neverland Area and look southward (in the plan) towards the Tangled area.  

Neverland area, looking across Lagoon:

I imagined an extensive garden-like Springs area with lots of rocks and water feature on the parkside approach to the Hotel, not unlike the gardens in front of the DLP hotel (see artwork below).

Some design notes:

-Since access from the park to the expansive new area is a bottleneck, I created dual paths around a flowing stream, underwhich passes the backstage access road.  This came at the expense of the Jasmin carpets, but will help ease congestion.

-The showbuildings and their mountain fronts form a visual berm to insulate the land from outside intrusions.  Paths wind to maxmize visual impact/reveal of major landmarks.

-The hotel gets a footbridge to access the existing Resort Line station.

- Possibility of connecting the land to TDL (if Toontown is replaced with more Fantasyland) in the space northeast of the Arendelle castle (south of Frozen Mountain).  

- Snuggly Duckling and Arendelle restaurants could share some kitchen facilities.

It will be interesting to see what actually comes to be in the end and just how far off this is.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Yesterlands II

 ** Final UPDATE up **

Back in the beginning of this blog I created a Yesterlands concept plan as a repository for extinct attractions, restaurants, shops, entertainment and other features from all the worldwide Dis parks.   In the subsequent years, some of my favorite attractions have unfortunately been sent off to Yesterland, as a have a number of things I won't miss as much.  So I decided to try a new Yesterland park from scratch.  

In this imagining, as in the first version, the pieces aren't always exact facsimiles copied & pasted into a new master plan: I gave myself the freedom to make some alterations to allow for an idealized theme park.   

This will be a slow reveal, so check back regularly.

THE GREAT OUTDOORS: This entry land is an amalgam of the extinct Bear Country (DL) and Camp Minnie-Mickey (AK).  It is a National Parks-Adirondack-North Woods version of AK's The Oasis.   This provided a nice change-up from my first Yesterlands park which had a typical Main Street but with lost features.  

Like The Oasis, this land is dominated by nature, such as the stream from Camp Minnie Mickey and a pine forest environment, with only a few built structures in the craftsman-Adirondack style seen below.  There are four CMM gazebos for meeting the characters off on side paths.  

Reaching the inner ring, the Country Bears (extinct at DL) host the major off-hub restaurant - this park's equivalent of Plaza Inn or Crystal Palace.  The AA bears would perform numbers intermittently on several stages around the large dining hall.


THE HUB: This area is a version of the original Central Plaza of the MK.  It is a rolling, manicured Old World park.  The notable features are the extinct Swan Boats, park benches, Rose Garden path and large shade trees.


HOLLYWOOD: The approach to this land is marked by the full elephant gateway once found at DCA (below).   On the other side is a fountain plaza and at both ends of boulevards are marquee theaters.  At the southern point is the Chinese Theater marking The Great Movie Ride - in its original, magnificent incarnation (1989 script, costumes, finale montage).  

At the eastern point is WDSP's extinct Cinemagique.  While that attraction had a great film, it had a lackluster physical build.  Here at Ideal Buildout budget is never an issue, so the attraction is given a lavish period facade, queue and theater.  Its neighbor, Muppet-Vision 3D, is now gone from DCA, and I included the Kermit hot air balloon which was removed from the DHS version.  

Superstar Limo, one of the most vilified attractions, is here but with a new exterior which maintains the Classic Hollywood look of the entire land.   The streets are lined with palm trees and Art Deco/Art Moderne building fronts.

Little needs to be said about DCA's former Tower of Terror, but one inclusion I had forgotten ever existed is DCA's short-lived Soap Opera Bistro & Bar...  it's a fun dining idea where the staff of servers/actors re-create the cheesy drama of soap operas and include you.  Finally, the Sid Cahuenga One-of-a-Kind bungalow, once a unique shopping experience at DHS and now an info kiosk, finds a home in this land.

A BUG'S LAND: This area is on the cusp of extinction at DCA and so here it is, re-arranged and expanded.   I included the extinct Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playzone on the Hollywood border, as I think it's a decent enough fit.  

FANTASYLAND: In what, to me, is the most fascinating and unique project currently underway in the world of theme parks, Hong Kong's castle is being transmogrified into a grand new towering centerpiece.  Although it appears the existing castle will remain mostly intact as it is assimilated, the change is enough to qualify for Yesterland-status, meaning HK's Sleeping Beauty Castle is featured here.

Two extinct features that once existed inside castles also make the park: Tokyo's Castle Mystery Tour, featuring the Horned King, a dragon's lair, etc., and King Stefan's Banquet Hall.   Since Sleeping Beauty Castle's is far too small to house these, each is given its own dedicated building.

A central lagoon is inspired by Anaheim's original land, with the Jolly Roger (aka Chicken of the Sea) and Skull Rock.   Centrally located are King Triton's Carousel of the Sea which is integrated with Triton's Gardens, extinct from DCA and DL, respectively.  The two traditional dark rides - MK's original Scary Adventures of Snow White and its souped-up version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - both get a New Fantasyland-style storybook exterior and queues in place of their original 'fiberglass tournament' facades and switchbacks.

A new, dedicated theater is created for MGM's Hunchback of Notre Dame musical show

At first, Maelstrom from World Showcase may seem like a stretch, but considering most of its on-ride scenes (and its exterior) qualify for Fantasyland status (even featuring a glimpse of a fairy castle during the backward portion), I think it works.   It would require a little reworking, such as the boarding mural and finale scene (no more North Sea oil rig), removing the post-ride film for additional ride or queue space.  

FRONTIERLAND: Whereas the entry land is populated with fanciful characters in a National Park setting, this area sticks closely to the original "live-action" spirit of Frontierland, featuring historical edutainment, cowboys & Indians, prospectors, outlaws, gunslingers and a lot of untamed wilderness.  The town part of the land is anchored by the lively Diamond Horseshoe Saloon, featuring an Old West Vaudeville revue - something universally extinct at the actual parks, where if any shows still exist, they are character-based.  Authentic or interesting retail returns here in the form of the Old World Antiques and Pendleton Mills, and dining options include Aunt Jemima's Pancake House and Mile Long Bar.  I don't know if the miniature train museum ever actually existed in early Frontierland or was an unbuilt concept, but if the former, there is space here for it.

The western approach to the land is through the extinct Fort Wilderness of Anaheim.  Keelboats ply the rivers.  Tom Sawyer Island - extinct in its original form in Anaheim - is here, with a treehouse that can still be accessed.  Paris' lost Critter Corral is present.  So is Anaheim's Indian Village featuring War Canoes (extinct in Paris and MK), teepees and a Native American show.  The canoes travel the circuit of the river beyond the bridges, where the taller keelboats cannot venture.

 Nature's Wonderland, with its mountains, valleys and deserts, comprises a lot of the land and three separate attractions - Pack Mules, Mine Train and Stagecoach - wind through it.  The Stagecoach gets its own dedicated path and unique scenes.  One of those scenes is a Mexican-Californian Mission and village where the extinct Zorro street stunt show could be brought back.  I also added a flooded canyon where banditos could threaten to hold up stagecoaches.   The burning settlers cabin is back, replete with the arrow-riddled corpse.    

FUTURE WORLD: As you might expect - considering the drastic changes it has experienced - Future World is the final land.  It incorporates the real-world, optimistic, techno-futurism of the original Tomorrowlands as well.   DisneySea's lone contribution to this park appears here, also.  

 Approaching from the Hub, the entry is marked by MK's lost waterfall pylons.   The Inner Area contains most of the Tomorrowland content, with a Circlevision theater, 2nd level Peoplemover, Adventures Thru Inner Space and some dining & retail options.  Along the main axis is the 70ft tall TWA Moonliner and beyond, in the land's center, the Rocket Jets platform.

Because the Outer Area is ringed by very large & iconic pavilions, I wanted its center to be
uncluttered with buildings.  It is a lush park, filled with trees, flowerbeds and lagoons.   This allows all the pavilions to be visible from the Peoplemover and Rocket Jets and emphasizes the importance of Nature in any worthwhile future.
The Living Seas adds TDS's StormRider simulator, accessible from Sea Base Alpha - an easy fit.  Energy, Wonders of Life, Horizons and Imagination are all in their original forms.  World of Motion sees two adjunct attractions added to it, with access on its wings: Hong Kong's Autopia and MK's If You Had Wings/Delta Dreamflight - take your pick.


As some have requested, I did concurrently draft a Neverlands II park map around the same time I did this one. If individuals are interested in co-sponsoring that map, feel free to email me (under About Me at left) if you would like participate crowd-funding campaign that could result in Neverlands II being posted expediently. 

The idea is like Kickstarter, but cutting out the middle-man (actual Kickstarter).  Email me what you think a Neverlands Map post is worth to you (e.g., you can pledge ($5 (minimum), $10, $100, etc.).  Your pledge is never called in until & unless the Pledge Goal (fair value for the hours required to make the map) is met (at which point I will return everyone's email with my Paypal link).  Again, if the Pledge Goal isn't met, no payment by you - but no Map gets posted:(.  If the goal is met, slow-reveal here and somewhat higher-res versions emailed to the patrons as a reward.  

You could get more maps, faster, with zero risk.  I get a little recompense for my efforts.  Win-win. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Paris 2nd Gate: Go Big or Go Home

As noted in my recent EPCOT post, there are a handful brilliant park templates that have been built in the world, and the majority are one-offs.  Being one-of-a-kind can be an attractive quality.  But, just as it is great to visit and imagine variants of the Castle Park template, it is also fun to consider variants of these other park types, in this case DisneySea.

I realize DisneySea is tailor-made for its waterfront location, taking advantage of open vistas onto Tokyo Bay, and a cousin park in Marne la Vallee wouldn't have as much impact.  I also understand that having Southern Europe-based land(s) in a country that contains and neighbors the real thing also isn't necessarily ideal.  In this case, however, I had an itch to draw another park in the TDS mold, including a sprawling Renaissance-themed hotel that builds on what was created at MiraCosta and equals (at the least) the adjacent in-park Disneyland Hotel in splendor.

But before getting to this park concept, take a look at an earlier official Master Plan of the Paris Resort.  

As can be seen, the dinky WDSP (red outline) only uses a small fraction of the land once available for the 2nd Gate.  Even when WDSP is one day fully redeveloped or built out, it will not use nearly as much land as this plan does.  In the interim, the undeveloped land has been used for farming, and I believe Val d'Europe residential units have recently usurped part of it.  In my plan (purple), I will utilize all the original land out to the circular perimeter road, making for a vastly larger 2nd Gate... a theme park that surpasses DLP in scale, just as EPCOT did to MK.   Why should the 2nd Gate be a lesser experience when it can instead be the grander.

MEDITERRANEAN HARBOR: This Main Street port is similar to Tokyo's, though here it is re-arranged, expanded and altered in a number of ways.   The hotel has four thematic zones and the park follows them: Rome, Tuscany, Riviera (Portofino) and Venice.

In the upper Tuscan section (largest) there is a theater for live musicals, as was featured on a pre-opening model of TDS (see below).  There is also the major family darkride featuring Leonardo DaVinci's workshop and inventions.  Unlike Tokyo, in this Sea park every Port of Call will contain at least one anchor darkride.  A vineyard and old Villa fine dining establishment are also featured.

There is no longer a Fortress Explorations across the lagoon in front of a Mt. Prometheus, as this park has a different central Icon (to be revealed later).  Instead, there are two new fortress exploratory areas: a coastal 16th Century fort with adjacent Carrack to explore and, on the lower side of Med Harbor, a tribute to Venice's famous Arsenal.   The port abounds with dining, street entertainment and retail opportunities, with the PortoVenere Hotel guest rooms situated above, and terraces overlooking the park and Lagoon shows.

LOST RIVER DELTA: The next Port is the park's Adventureland proxy, adopted from Tokyo's and greatly expanded.  The land features proven ride systems from other major parks, redressed with new themes, stories and show scenes.  It is a large land that snakes across the top of the park and has three sub-areas - all based in mysterious South/Central American jungle - distinguishing it from DLP's Adventureland.

The first area reached from Med Harbor is based on a lost Mayan city's ruins.  A terrain-following E-ticket coaster here is a cousin to Hong Kong's Grizzly Peak, but featuring a unique layout, AA Jaguars and other dangers and denizens of the Jungle.  The other E-ticket in this section is unique take on the Indiana Jones Adventure.  While from afar it would feel similar to TDS's Meso-American version, this one has a unique story, exterior and interior.  There is a topspin ride inspired by Phantasialand's Talocan, which could be even more integrated into the ancient Mayan time period (using "stone" versus steel arms).  Centrally located is an explore/play/treasure hunt zone  themed as an Archeological Dig.

Crossing one of the arms of the river delta, guests enter the second sub-area, this one taking a cue from Shanghai Disneyland.  Plaudits to WDI for inventing a park-originated theme and place for Shanghai's Adventure Isle.   Not only does this area have similar attractions (a rapids ride with indoor AA show-scenes and a ropes course adventure trail), but the area theme would also reflect a newly-discovered primeval people in the Amazon and the wild and dangerous beasts that still survive in its caverns.  Just as the "League of Adventurers" set up tours and rafting to visit the Arbori culture & wildlife, the same organization has set up camp in this remote part of South America to study a new culture. 

MERMAID LAGOON: Another larger sibling to a Tokyo port (there will be 2-3 original ports forthcoming), expanded somewhat, but also the most compact area in the park.  Replacing Tokyo's theater-in-the-round is a new Mermaid darkride (maybe an updated version of the suspended attraction originally planned for DLP).  

The upper bank of the river features an aerial carousel inspired by the rare WDI artwork above.  


NEW YORK WATERFRONT: When approaching from Med Harbor the first landmark and distinction from TDS is that Ponte Vecchio is replaced by a Tower & Cable Suspension Bridge, inspired by - but not replicating - landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge.   And while Tokyo's port is modeled on a Late Victorian Gilded Age New York of 1890s-1914, my thought is this version is moved forward a decade into the Roaring Twenties.

On the waterfront is a semi-circular fort based on Castle Clinton, which could be used as a cafe.  Fifth Avenue has the ritzier shopping and nearby Broadway Theater, featuring a tribute to classic American musicals such as those of Cole Porter.  Next is a Rainbow Room-inspired big band club with dinner and dancing.  Adjacent to that is a Police Precinct where a Cops vs. Gangsters major shooter ride is housed.   

The Endicott Tower Hotel features a totally unique Tower of Terror that uses the two-shaft, rear show-scene template of Orlando's tower, allowing for a more graceful, tapering, spire-like skyscraper.  Cornelius Endicott is Harrison Hightower's arch-rival, according to TDS lore.  Here Endicott owns the Hotel, and perhaps the Trans-Atlantic steamship is owned by Hightower.  Inside the ship is  Storm at Sea, a revolving-house ride in place of Turtle Talk.

Also note the New York City facades attached to the visible sides of the massive parking structure to give a berm and depth to the area. 

S.E.A. BASE: Creating this concept plan for a 2nd DisneySea afforded the opportunity to bring back The Great Lighthouse - Tokyo's original, abandoned icon - as the main weenie and symbol for this park.  Behind it, the port - home to a secret society of great adventures - is built into the rockwork of collapsed calderas.

For the Lighthouse attraction,  I imagine a "gyroball drop" thrill ride, where, after queuing through the Lighthouse plinth's lower levels, 8-12 riders board a gyro-spherical ride vehicle (think "Jurassic World" but cast-iron).  The spheres pass some show-scenes before being lifted to the top of the Lighthouse through the central shaft and then spilling down a spiral slide and rolling at high-velocity through caverns that wind around the land.

With Jules Verne and Captain Nemo at home in DLP's Discoveryland, this Hub Port for the park takes on a different theme than Tokyo's Mysterious Island.  If Fortress Explorations is the 16th Century HQ for S.E.A. in Tokyo, here we fast-forward a few centuries to its late-19th C. headquarters.   

Since my favorite attraction genre - the long, spieled, edutainment vignette ride - is nearly extinct in the real world, I always feel obliged to include such rides in these dream plans.  Here, a "History of S.E.A." ride would show the origins, key figure & moments, treasures and secrets of this Order.   If you're familiar with "The Librarian" tv movie and its Collection Vault -- S.E.A. could be something along those lines - not just exploring the real world but protecting thought-to-be-mythical artifacts from evil-doers.   An under- and oversea-simulator mission to places such as the mysterious Bermuda Triangle would also be featured, with the tech and atmosphere retaining a unique Steampunkish style.

CAPE COD: This reveal of the Concept Plan shows the remaining part of Lost River Delta (featuring Hangar Stage and the multi-level dining, retail, steamer dock complex).   It also shows space reserved for a future ninth port, which will NOT be a part of this drawing.  I often like to keep space reserved for future expansions in case I decide to return to this drawing at some point down the road or just to let the imagination wander.  But I also remember how the parks would sometimes tease great things to come by building small previews (e.g. Adventure Outpost in EPCOT Center heralding the planned Africa pavilion or Dragon Rocks in DAK signaling Beastly Kingdom).  So here, there could be a glimpse of the Falcon, just out of reach.  If a Star Wars port does ever go in this drawing, it should follow the very smart WDI template of creating an original, non-film (here, an ocean-based planet) locale for the land.

Cape Cod (assigned its own port status here) adds a major attraction in Kragsyde... an old sea captain's shingle-style 'cottage' where vehicles (LPS) would take riders through tales, shanties and legends of the seas as recounted by the Captain.

You will note the park's layout allows the Transit Steamers variable courses: either around Cape Cod or through the caldera.  Next are the park's two ports that do not have a precedent at TDS.

HEROES' HARBOR: The seventh port replaces Arabian Coast (as Arabia features in DLP's Adventureland) and adds a genre that  seems well-suited to theme parks but that WDI has yet to build: Greek Mythology.    One of the port's major landmarks is the Colossus, under which Transit Steamers pass.  

Enrichment features of this port include a temple dedicated to Poseidon and replica trireme to explore.  The Odyssey is retold in a long, family-friendly boat ride, similar to TDS' Sinbad.   Another family ride is based on the Twelve Labors of Hercules.   There is a major SFX theatrical attraction under the dome of the Oracle.   A lively Agora marketplace takes place near the water, with retail, qsr and entertainers among its many stalls.   A more tranquil Garden of Muses is the locale for impromptu appearances by a Greek Theatre troupe, storyteller or philosopher. 

GLACIER BAY:  The final port is a northern, icy realm, heavily influenced by Scandinavia.  It is the last outpost of civilization before the great boreal forest, tundra and ice sheets of the Arctic.   The technology level spans late Machine Age to Early Atomic Age (1950s era sub docked in harbor), with the Norse darkride looking back at the history of exploring the polar regions.  

The dominant feature of the port (and one of the tallest points in the park) is the great Glacier Peak coaster - an original E-ticket for the park.   The town portion of the port has many winding streets, like a Scandinavian NOSq.  The port's attractions run the gambit from a central ice-berg version of Aquatopia to exploratory Observatory to a history-based darkride to two of the park's biggest E-tickets. 


The title of this post is "Go Big..." and the following side-by-side should speak to that (DLP is among the larger castle parks):

While anything near this scale is now an impossibility for a variety of reasons, it was enjoyable to take the complete opposite tack as the Company did with its 2nd Gate Plan and imagine a very expensive, massive, immersive, timeless, multi-day draw that overwhelms the visitor in scale & content.

*The version of DLP I've used for the image above would need some changes as it has a Mermaid ride, Indiana Jones and Hyperion Cafe that would become redundant with this new 2nd Gate.