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.