Friday, December 15, 2023

Walt Disney Studios - Paris

   Hope all are well.


  When looking at the possibilities for the 2nd Gate to Disneyland Paris, I've typically started from scratch, as it is more enjoyable for me to imagine & lay out a park that begins with Vision, awe-factor, rhyme & reason in terms of theme and attraction placement, carefully positioned vistas, weenies & sightlines - all of which WDSP has lacked.   But now that the much-needed revamp is well-underway, I've decided to draw a plan showing how the actual park-that-will-be could further expand & improve.  


  This drawing includes - mostly - what will be there when the current central boulevard, lake and Arendelle are finished in 2025.    The Front Lot, Toon Studios, Toy Story Playland, Place de Remy, Avengers Campus, Cours des Reves (my name for the lake and boulevard, as I'm not sure what the actual name will be) and Arendelle are "as is" and do not need written explanation here.


  The big change in Part I is Hollywood, which takes some inspiration from the original Disney-MGM Studios at its best.   One passes out of the cheesy Studio One indoor main street and enters a much more impressive Hollywood facsimile: the street is curbed, the atmospheric Resident characters and vehicles are there, the detailed facades all now hold shops & dining.  The Tower Hotel looms behind the shops.  On the right is a Studio Gate separating Toon Studios from 1930s/40s Hollywood streets.

  The major addition here takes up the currently underused corner of the park with a new version of The Great Movie Ride, with its landmark Chinese Theater facade.   As at MGM, one queues in an ornate lobby past movie props and costumes and then enters a theater showing classic film trailers, previewing upcoming scenes.  Great Movie Ride in its 1.0 form was one of my all-time favorites.  Here the concept/feel of the ride is the same, though the execution is somewhat different, including ride system are new film scenes.  Musical, Gangster, Western, SciFi, Comedy, Adventure & Fantasy genres would all be represented via highly detailed sets, scores of audio-animatronics and special effects.  In my imagination, it would be fully narrated by the great "What will be your fate?" voice from the original ride.



  When I think about fixing this park, ideally it would have had WDSP offer a completely different menu of themes and IPs than its neighbor, DLP.  Any properties that would enhance an extant land at DLP shouldn't have been considered for WDSP and vice-versa.  That ship has sailed, but Disney still has a lot of IP that isn't a natural fit for DLP and would be well-suited for this Catch-All park, some of which is already present: Marvel, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Cars.  Avatar is another big example, already associated with Disney Parks, so here it goes.   

  As often mentioned, a major consideration is sightlines and vistas - how it feels just to explore and soak in the park.  So in this plan, I am trying to minimize the impact of the rear of the (ill-placed) Tower of Terror, add a lot of trees/nature and do something to disguise the long view of the Flight Force (former RocknRollecoaster) gravity box.  Considering the scale and treatment of the Avatar Flight of Passage showbuilding in Orlando, I thought this would work well abutting Flight Force and get two birds with one rockwork stone. 

  While Flight of Passage is generally the same as in WDW, including the landmark floating mountains, this plan shows a unique and improved version of Pandora, defined by the Navi River Rapids - a long indoor-outdoor raft ride that takes explorers on a journey throughout the land.   This ride features additional "floating" mountains at the top of the lift hill, adding to the depth and grandeur of vistas in the park.  Good Humans have set up an eco-tourism business, which queues partly through an abandoned hydro plant.  Lively Pandoran plants and AA wildlife (e.g. a herd of hammerhead titanotheres, a troop of Pandoran monkeys in branches, etc.) are seen around the riverbanks, with the more sophisticated AAs (such as Navi) and bioluminescence saved for the indoor scenes at the beginning & end of the ride.   To account for the Parisian weather, how wet riders get could be minimized as it is on Tokyo's Splash Mountain.

The canteen and shop from WDW are also here, though relocated.    The other addition is a Hometree explore zone.


   I've changed the left edge of the land with the removal of the Stunt Show Theater.   A new attraction inspired by Dr. Strange and his magical artifacts takes the form of a special effects show in a similar vein to Alien Encounter or Poseidon's Fury with multiple stages: Preshow A, Preshow B (more elaborate), Main Show (two theaters for capacity).  The exterior is an ancient & otherworldly portal or sanctum, which aids in the transition to Pandora.  


  Best practice is to avoid a situation in which almost all the park's IP is taken from a certain timeframe or generation (e.g. the last 10-20 years).   Hence London Square, dedicated to some of the classics of the 1960s & 70s.  

  This land's setting is the idyllic Old London of the early 20th Century, with Cherry Tree Lane diverting off the main parade route.  The carousel from Mary Poppins occupies the central park.  An Edwardian glass tea pavilion is near the central loop.   I wanted the main rides here to be unique to this park, so I chose "101 Dalmatians" for the classic darkride, its facade continuing the street of terraced townhouses, with scaled-down London landmarks such as St. Paul's on the roof.

   "Bedknobs & Broomsticks" might be the best movie in the Company's entire catalog.  Apparently, this is not a widely-shared belief and thus it's never had a park presence.   Here I can change this, as film seems ideal for ride-translation with a magic, multi-passenger flying bed and automation of inanimate objects
being the central features.  The facade is the bomb-abandoned London mansion where Professor Brown is squatting.  The queue begins in an old roundtower (nod to the film's castle), goes through the mansion's gardens and outbuilding and then inside through the various rooms: library, nursery, etc.  Suspended bed vehicles take riders on a careening musical adventure to Portobello Road, the Briny Sea, the Isle of Namboombu and the battle of reanimated soldiers.  


  You may notice that they way I've put the layout together has corresponding themed lands on opposite sides of main Cours, e.g. London vs Paris.   Here, contrasting the lush jungle/ mostly-wild alien world of Pandora, is the arid desert/mostly-urban alien world of Mos Eisley.  

  While another Batuu-Lite was originally part of the official plan, here I wanted to go with something totally unique and try incorporating a famous location often seen in the Star Wars Universe.  Timeline is Original Trilogy (of course) and the full-scale Lamda-Class Imperial shuttle at the back of the land fills the same role as the TIE Echelon in Batuu (am I the only one who thinks the Echelon looks too small to hold all the people coming out of it?).  Darth Vader himself could occasionally descend from the shuttle ramp in his search for Rebels.

   I also saw this land as an opportunity to cleanse Discoveryland of the extraneous IP, as every plan I've drawn for DLP has Discoveryland adhering to its original vision, free of Star Wars (and Toy Story).  Therefore, I've moved Star Tours over to this park.  Its weenie features a landing platform with a couple of Starspeeder 3000s on it.   I think it's a shame that the Company plan for both DHS and Disneyland Anaheim has been to feature Star Tours in the same park as Star Wars Land - but not in the actual land.  

  In addition to Star Tours, three new rides complete this land:  Mos Eisley Transit Authority, or M.E.T.A., is a peoplemover that circles the entire land on the 2nd level, featuring numerous indoor scenes and Audio Animatronic vignettes.   Bounty Hunter Blast is D-ticket family shooter darkride.

  You've probably seen art of the cancelled giant beast ride for Batuu.   Here I have expanded that idea with a dedicated Bantha Caravans ride.  The queue winds up to the level of the howdah on the top of a mechanical Bantha (or Dewback for variation).   The hairy animals then proceed to undulate and trot around  the desert landscape.

   Mos Eisley would be rounded out with a replica of the famous Cantina bar with its aliens and band.  Han Solo & Chewbacca could drop in from time to time.  There is a Jawa Junk Market and large table service restaurant run by members of the Hutt Clan.   I envision the Millennium Falcon as a Swiss Family type walkthrough attraction.




  This final area is themed to Disney's collective animated villains, and I designed it to achieve a number of goals: 1. provide a very large and impressive weenie at the back of the park; 2 give the lineup a major, heavily-themed, indoor-outdoor mountain coaster, which it sorely lacks; 3. counterbalance the saccharine princess-land of Arendelle opposite it; 4. avoid another single-IP land; and 5. feature some environments that aren't natural fits for Disneyland next door.

   Like a sinister version of Fantasy Springs, this area has subsections with distinct geographies & architectural styles.  The medieval one - the area around Dark Mountain - is a mash-up of the mountain lairs & castles of the likes of the Horned King, Maleficent & Chernabog.  It's not intended to be a recreation from any of these movies.  This an original creation - an ominous mountain with an evil-looking castle & crumbling towers in its upper reaches.   Here the aforementioned villains gather and plot.   The queue begins by crossing a murky water and entering the mountain portcullis gateway.  Explorers then wind through subterranean chambers where villains (in AA form) are revealed in multiple pre-shows.  The queue then emerges in a forest north of the mountain, finally entering another set of caverns for final pre-show & boarding.   Post ride, the lengthy egress passes over a bridge north of the mountain, re-enters the mountain base, where a gift shop could be located at the last cave, before returning to the land. 

  Across from the Mountain is Sleepy Hollow Village - a haunted version of Liberty Square - with dead oaks, a Headless Horseman Tavern restaurant and some shops.  

  Inspired by the Jim Shull artwork (which you can find linked on IdealBuildout twitter page), there is an Ursula spinner at water level.  Part of its queue descends through a ship wrecked on the rocks by the trident-wielding seawitch.

  Deeper in the land, one passes under a broken wall and enters either a dilapidated New Orleans area featuring a Dr. Facilier rotating madhouse ride, with its SFX pre-show/queue. 

  Opposite it is the final sub area, with its Ancient Greece theme.   A crumbling temple to Hades marks the entrance to an indoor musical boatride featuring the villain from "Hercules" tormenting the Greeks.


The End.




Anonymous said...

Happy you’re back! Can’t wait for the full buildout. I have been thinking about walt disney studios park, and for me the only way to save it is to have a Harry Potter type success. IP’s that could generate this kind of hype are Lord of the Rings (not disney owned but iconic), villians, black and white cartoons. What else…?

SWW said...

^ If you look at the 1ride-1restaurant-1shop minilands like Arendelle and Ratatouille in the plan above, you could fit another 6-8 similarly sized ones in there. Zootopia looks like a higher quality take on Place de Remy, so that one's probably not a good idea for this park. My main concerns are sightlines inside and from Frontierland, so that will affect a lot my choices. Villains Land was/is a consideration.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could get better notifications to when you are posting. By chance would you be interested in starting a Threads account. I am rarely on Twitter so I would keep up with you better that way.

Blue Sky 7 said...

I'm so excited to see what you do with WDS. I created my own ideas to what new lands should be added. Including Tron, Star Wars:Galaxy’s Edge, Aliens, and Avatar. I look forward to what you do for your version. After seeing how impressive Sea World can be with their latest park would you be interested in designing a Sea World or Bush Gardens park?

Anonymous said...

Is there going to be a Cars Land?

megatron_85 said...

Are you still planning to publish a book series?

Mark Russell said...

"Bedknobs & Broomsticks" might be the best movie in the Company's entire catalog." -- I wholeheartedly agree, the film is on equal footing with Mary Poppins. I'd love to see B&B get a ride in the parks.

Artistic Wonder said...

I heard Paris Disney might need a third gate. Would you design an ideal third gate for them? If so, I nominate a World Showcase-themed park.

SWW said...

^Yeah, with 2 parks showcasing alot of IP, I'd want something IP-free the third.

Anonymous said...

I really like this post, especially with the new star wars land. and it looks like you took some inspiration from the original star wars land plans at HS where Echo Lake is.

Also, I have been wondering how you make these maps for your posts because i have always wanted to try and make something like it of my own?

Anonymous said...

Where’s the next update

Artistic Wonder said...

Loved the villain land. I had similar thoughts about it. If you do a third gate make a Epcot style park. I love for you to redo the one you created from scratch.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful buildout. Always love seeing a new post up on this blog because it'll be guaranteed to be incredible. Sadly I think WDSP will not get even 10% of what you've built out - they'll be lucky if they get more than 1 new land (the plot originally slated for Star Wars) with 1 ride.

Anonymous said...

I have been a dan of your work for a long time! I am trying to get into map making msself! What program do you use of coulance you explain something about hoe you make your park maps?

Anonymous said...

Man - I know you clear out old designs all the time but the fact that there's only six left on this blog is just depressing.