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).


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Parallel HKDL

   Here is a What-If concept plan for Hong Kong that incorporates some logos I made for the new lands.  

   HKDL has - beyond all initial expectations - morphed into the Castle Park I'm most positive about.   While the other parks, developed over decades, have included many big steps forward, there have also been many big steps backward, in my view.  But HKDL started out with so little, that its forward progress has eclipsed any back-steps.   

   The park greatly benefits from its insulating forested Berm - something Shanghai desperately needed and all parks should have.  The visual storytelling element of the Great Green Beyond (a forest/wilderness backdrop) is a concept that reinforces and helps sell every aspect it touches in a theme park.   HKDL's vegetation growth has been exceptionally lush: I'm a big fan of trees in general and their benefit to the parks, particularly as they get older.  HKDL also has the mountains in the background, which add so much to the wide vistas.   And it has the series of mini-lands outside the railroad which give it a unique layout that is fun to plan - swapping mini-lands here and there.


The addition here is a walkthrough Ghost House inspired by the original concept for Haunted Mansion (below).



   Marvel is moved to its own mini-land.   The new non-IP DreamFlight ride has a facade that builds on the wavy canopy motif of the existing TL buildings.


   I've added the new castle.  All the current fiberglass tournament facades are replaced by themed architecture, as in the 1983 Re-do of Anaheim's FL.


   The only change here is the removal of the Moana stage... I prefer the area uncluttered, with just paths, stream and vegetation.  


   This land is set in the American Southwest (a fitting neighbor for Grizzly Gulch).   There is a log flume E-ticket and a Soarin ride over and through a Prehistoric Earth of 100 million years ago (photo-realistic CGI).

Art by Damir Martin



This area is a translation of the Favilli Studio proposal for the mini-land, which you can find online, with dueling spinner and mountain coaster.



   An alternate choice to the Frozen area being built.   The left-hand side is based on the cancelled area for the Magic Kingom (see below).




   This mini-land has the Iron Man ride and an interactive game/exhibit area called Banner Labs, in addition to a Quick Service dining option.