Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Great Hall Dining Room and Weasleys' Castle Tours

And this month we are back with a pair of new exciting attraction/restaurant plans, for the first time not for a Disney park but for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

In my Islands of Adventure plan from last year, I proposed removing Dragons Challenge and using the space for two new Harry Potter attractions, a Forbidden Forest dark ride and a castle tour dark ride. I also proposed a Great Hall Dining experience adjacent to the castle. Now a year later, part of that is really happening. A Forbidden Forest family coaster will open at some point next year. So I decided that it would be fun to design my concept for the other parts of my plan.

So this post comes with two parts: a restaurant concept for The Great Hall Dining Room and an attraction concept for Weasleys' Castle Tours.

First the restaurant. I believe that this idea is not original. I remember hearing on a Jim Hill podcast that this was part of the expansion plan at some point in the past. I guess there are reasons that it has not happened yet, but the idea always stuck with me.

In the Islands of Adventure plan, the only place that I could fit the restaurant is to the left side of the castle, with the entrance by the greenhouse area. There are a couple obvious problems that I had to solve. Capacity will always be an issue for something that will be this popular. The Great Hall is a defined size, so you can't just oversize it to fit more tables. So I decided that two identical Great Hall Dining Rooms was a necessity. Also, the geographical relationship of where the restaurant was placed and the visible castle was a problem. You can't walk into the Great Hall at ground level while looking up at the force perspective Great Hall on the cliff above. But this was an easy solve because luckily magical transportation is a thing here. So I knew that the Floo Network was going to have to be incorporated into the experience to get guests up to the castle.

So with those problems solved, this is the story and experience of the restaurant. Guests enter the greenhouse-adjacent dungeon storerooms that are used to store the produce grown for use in the castle. Guests check in and wait in the dungeon area before their group is called. Then your party enters into a side room, where there is a large fireplace. A short preshow style introduction is given by a student of Hogwarts and then the group travels by the Floo Network up to the castle. The fireplace opens and special effects give it a magical green glow, leading guests through the fireplace and into another room on the other side. There they are greeted by another student that will lead them up to the Great Hall. Follow along on on the dashed path in the plan below. 

At this point, the hallway splits left and right to lead to the pair of dining rooms. It is very important to keep the illusion that there is only one hall, so they are completely separated from this point and each actually have their own set of bathrooms so that guests do not accidentally go back to the wrong Hall if they were to go during their meal. The student guides the group around the corner and up a staircase or elevator to the Entrance Hall of the castle.

At this point they are led through the main doors and into the Great Hall to be seated. The seating is obviously communal at the four long sets of tables. The food is served family style both for efficiency and because that best aligns with the story experience of eating in the Great Hall. When you are seated, bread and drinks are already on the table, and student servers bring out the rest of the courses during your meal. So in the actual story, the food magically appears on the table, but that seems a little impossible. But I do imagine that it would be possible for a little magic during the serving process of at least one course, with some kind of trick serving bowl to make the food seem like it has just appeared. In reality, the food comes from the kitchens below the hall, rides up a pair of service elevators between the halls, and is served by a team of waiter-students.

During the dining experience, there would also be periodic entertainment on the stage at the head of the hall. Every half hour or so, there would be a short musical performance by the Hogwarts orchestra and choir after a introduction and welcome by a staff member. The entertainment cast would alternate back and forth between the two halls during the night and their dressing rooms and prep spaces are adjacent to the kitchens below.

After your party is finished with the meal, they exit back through the Entrance Hall, down the stair, and through an exit hallway that includes another fireplace.

The total capacity would be 672 seats at one time. Assuming an average of an hour turnaround for each seat (lower than average because of the family style menu) and about a 10 hour serving day (11am to 9pm) that is just over 6,500 seats per day, which I believe is a higher capacity that Be Our Guest Restaurant. 

The other plan is for one of the attractions I proposed to replace Dragons Challenge. The idea was for a very family friendly traditional dark ride, something absolutely everyone could go on. At first I thought that the setting would have to be in Hogsmeade since that is where the attraction entrance would be, but then I realized that there are many magical means to quickly go somewhere else, so I had a lot of possibilities. I also always thought that it would be fun to see more of the castle in a practical setting, not just screens.

So that led me to decide that this attraction would be a dark ride tour through the more interesting spaces of the castle. Unlike the official tour given in Forbidden Journey, this would be an unofficial tour run by the Weasley twins in order to show guests the "real" Hogwarts. As the few that know all the secret tunnels into the castle, they are operating their tour out of the office directly above one of the most secret tunnels, which just so happens to be the Hogsmeade office of the Quibbler. 

The entrance and queue leads through the tabloid offices, passing the work desks, the storage of unsold issues, and their mini museum of bizarre artifacts and memorabilia. The queue then leads into the rocky tunnels at the back of the office and the load/unload space of the attraction. The dark ride is an omnimover style system with shell style vehicles that each seat 3. 

The attraction starts by entering the main tunnel to the castle, which is dark and windy and has a never ending branch leading off of it. Then we emerge out through a opening behind a painting into the actual castle. We are in a side hall by the moving stairs and at then end of the hall is the Weasley twins welcoming us to the castle, by form of peppers ghost musion projection. We are told that we are there unnoficially, so keep a watch out for any one looking official and to keep on the path they set. They will follow along with us to show us the best of Hogwarts. We continue to hear their narration through the rest of the tour from speakers in our vehicle.

The track then leads us into the Grand Staircase, where one of the legs above us is moving back and forth and the dozens of paintings on the walls are all moving and talking. The stairs fade into darkness and floating candles above us. We then pass through a fireplace and travel by Floo Network up to the Trophy Room of the castle, which is filled with the treasures and trophies. The Weasleys' narration tells us about some of the most unique items in the room, particularly those won by their friends. Outside of the Trophy Room is the Armoury hall, which features a corridor of talking suits of armor. That leads into the Hospital Wing, which holds a couple sick students and a great view of the sunset out the windows. The Weasley twins tell us of some of their most notable injuries at this point.

The path then takes us down a hall of magically animated tapestries that show the history of Hogwarts and then we continue into the Library. We pass rows of bookcases and desks, where books are magically floating around and students are studying. After exiting the Library, we pass through a dark hallway that is inhabited by the ghosts of the castle floating above us, talking to us and pointing out that we really are not supposed to be in this area of the castle. We continue on and are lead into the Transfiguration Classroom, where the Weasley twins are at the head of the classroom giving us a magic demonstration. The birds in cages around the room are constantly changing into comical objects in time with the spells.

The last set of rooms leads us out of the classroom and down a hall that includes a overlook over the rest of the castle and the forbidden forest at twilight. The Weasleys then tell us that they have saved the most important room for last. We turn and enter the room of requirement for the Weasleys, which is actually their joke test and storage room. The Room is full of tables of products and jokes, including many that are in the process of being tested, creating a dynamic room of flashing lights, smoke, smells, and movement. We finally pass through another fireplace and find ourselves in the Entrance Hall by the staircase, where the Weasleys are again found standing on the upper stairs. They thank us for coming to the castle and try to sell us some of their products one more time before we finally head back to Hogsmeade. We move down a hall, back through the painting, down the tunnel, and then find ourselves back at the unload space.

We leave our vehicle, exit the tunnels and walk down a hall into a new retail space. There are 5 new small retail spaces in this addition that are all themed to various magical businesses, forming a back street to the existing Hogsmeade.

I had a lot of fun working on these two Harry Potter additions but I am also really excited for what is actually happening in this area next year. Looks like a really great attraction that the park really needs. 

So that is it for this month. There are two other concepts I am currently working on, so I will make sure to get one of them finished for next month. Hoping it will be another big attraction I am working on, but it is pretty ambitious so I may end up behind schedule. So check twitter for any updates and thanks for reading!

Monday, July 30, 2018

It All Started with the Hub and Spoke: An Analysis of Park Forms

I would assume that the vast majority of the type of people that would read a blog this hyper specific to theme park design would know what the term "Hub and Spoke" means. It is the classical term for the shape of the traditional Disneyland style park. It is a park that literally has a hub at the center and various lands arrayed around it as spokes.

I have written about park form before, a couple times actually. Most notably in this post about the Urban Form of theme parks. In reality, that post is Part 1 to this post you are reading, so its worth looking back at that essay.

The simplicity and effectiveness of this form has always fascinated me. It works so well that it seems obvious, but you have to know that there was an incredible amount of trial and error that led to it and a lot of theory behind its success. It did not just magically be the shape of the original Disneyland by accident and it does not continue to be used for nearly all major parks by coincidence.

However, there are other options for park layout that have started to become popular to varying degree of success compared to the original. The fairly common loop park is the most notable, but there are some super unique cases, especially some parks that are combinations of two or more forms. That makes me ask what makes these parks successful enough to be used, but not successful enough to have overtaken the original?

In this post, this analysis of park forms, I want to go deeper into all the common park forms and analyze their pros and cons. I also want to look into applying forms to individual lands of the parks to see if there is any interesting patterns there. And finally look at some of the formal urban planning theory that I think creates some of the logic behind how these forms work.

First, a breakdown and summary of my interpretation of the various dominant park forms. I'll specifically be looking at the worldwide Disney and Universal parks, and will list what parks fall into what groupings. Some parks will be in multiple, because they are a combination of forms. Zoom into the images to see the diagram of each park.

Hub and Spoke Park - Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Paris, Disney Studios Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland

The standard and the classic, used by the most parks around the world. Its pros are evident: easy and clear navigation by way of the hub and the adjacent park icon, the single entrance corridor which help with navigation, and the inclusion of a thematic transition and gathering space at the center of the park. Cons? I'm sure they exist but I am not sure what they are. The best I can think of is that it has recently created a dependence on the hub for major entertainment and gathering events, which is a crowd control problem.

One element of the Hub and Spoke that is an addition from the opening day model is the circular path that intersects the spokes and forms a ring around the park, connecting the lands. In the original Hub and Spoke concept, each spoke was a self contained land and to get to another land, guests had to travel back through the hub. The intersecting path, which I guess technically is the rim of the hub and spoke, makes the park overall much more functional.

Loop Park - Islands of Adventure, Universal Singapore, EPCOT, Universal Orlando, Universal Osaka, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea

The runner up in the worldwide popularity contest. This seems to be usually used for smaller parks or as a part of a larger park that combines forms. The primary characteristic is a shorter entrance corridor leading to a left or right split that loops around a central element, usually water. Essentially its a hub with just one looping spoke. The benefits are that it is the clearest form, it has very easy navigation since it is just one continuous path, and it allows for some kind of central body of water for use in entertainment or transportation. The negatives to this form in my opinion is that by vacating the center of the loop, a lot of usable park space is wasted which could be a problem for smaller and denser parks.

Another weird condition that I have noticed is that the space directly adjacent to the central element is sometimes underused and hard to activate. There are two cases: the EPCOT model where the edge is the public space and results in kind of one sided lands that sit on the neutral pathway, or the Islands of Adventure model where the path is embedded in the immersive lands but it is hard to actually activate and engage with the central water element. Not saying either are bad, but its an interesting condition with different results.

There are twists on the loop park that make some very unique parks. Hong Kong Disneyland is essentially a Hub and Spoke park with a loop being built around it, which is a really cool way to expand a park. Tokyo Disney Sea is practically a loop park with another loop inside of it and then another smaller loop inside that, placing the water elements between the loops. It is pretty simple but solves a lot of problems. Also, the loop forms half of a couple parks when combined with another form, such as EPCOT and the Universal Studios Parks. Lastly, it is interesting to me that it appears that Hollywood Studios is being transformed into a loop park with the two new lands at the back of the park. There would be nothing in the center, but the single continuous path that loops the back half of the park is being clearly defined.

Divergent Hubs Park - California Adventure, EPCOT

This is a strange and specific twist on the Hub and Spoke that I noticed while studying park forms for this post. There are just a couple parks that appear to have a simple Hub and Spoke plan but actually turn out to have multiple connected Hubs with various interconnected spokes. California Adventure is the best example, where there is the Hub at Buena Vista Street with 3 spokes, but also a second Hub at Paradise Pier that connects to the same 3 spokes. EPCOT also does this in a way because Future World Central is a Hub, but both Future World East and West are also Hubs.

Pros for this form appear to be a more complex organization system of relating lands and can better fit into strange shaped sites for the park, but at the expense of sometimes making a more confusing park to work your way through. I would say it works well in EPCOT and maybe a little less well in California Adventure. This should probably really be a subform of Hub and Spoke, but I wanted to get specific with this analysis.

Grid Park - Universal Orlando, Universal Osaka

This is the category for parks set up on a regularized grid of streets, like a real city. This is maybe the least theme park-like form because it was never really meant to be a theme park. It's only examples are in the studios parks, where the intent was to recreate a studio backlot. That means its meant to appear to be varied settings but actually pretty compact in scale. That's both a positive and a negative because you can get a lot of themed space in a small area, but it may be pretty confusing to navigate because it can change setting quickly and its hard to see and understand the overall land.

This really only exists at this point in two parks, the pair of Universal Studios Parks, but it could be used to describe old Disney MGM Studios too to a lesser extent.

The irony of this being a difficult form for a theme park is that its precisely how cities work. Cities are grids. So if you attempt to recreate a city based land, it is hard to avoid its problems while also making something that looks like a city. Solutions are to either make it a city of one street, like Sunset Boulevard or Marvel Superhero Island, or vacate the center of the land-city and place something like a park or public square in the middle, like New York Harbor in Tokyo Disney Sea, so that visibility is maintained across the park.

Organic Growth Park - Universal Hollywood

The last park form I want to mention is kind of the no-form park form and really only has one example, Universal Hollywood, which was never meant to be a theme park. It organically grew into what it ended up becoming, so there was not an opening day plan like the rest of these theme parks. In the past, it has been a confusing and a random network of connected paths. There have been efforts recently to add some organization and there is now a clear crossroads of the dominant pathways, but it still definitely has to be considered an organic growth park.

There are surely more theme park form than the ones listed above that break down the specifics of the patterns even farther. But I think those above give a good outline to the shapes of the most common parks and are enough information to start an analysis of how and why these park forms function.

To me, it is clear that the two most important functions of a good theme park layout are that it is clear enough for guests to understand how to navigate it and that it allows for the creation of immersive spaces. However, in a way these are opposing goals. Of course you want a park that guests can figure out how to move through, which often means increased visibility between lands and along major pathways. Guests want to be able to visually understand relationships and where to go next. And you want a park that you can theme immersively, which often means visual separation between dissimilar themed spaces. You want total sensory control inside the immersive world. A good park finds a way to balance those two opposing goals.

An example for that previous conundrum is Diagon Alley. It's a great land in a great park. It is super immersive and its interior layout work well. But for a while now it has been documented that some guests just can't figure out where it is. That's a problem, but one that could only be solved by guests having a better visual understanding of what and where it is. Unfortunately that opposes the story of the place, so it sacrifices navigability.

I think this is why the Hub and Spoke model works best, specifically because of the Hub. In the best application, it presents an immediate preview of each and every land from a single space, immediately forcing the guest to build a visual understanding of the park. Then as you leave the hub and work your way down a spoke, you can be isolated into the separate lands but always know your way back to that Hub and the moment of navigational clarity. The loop also works because even though you often do not get a full picture of the land options when you enter, the navigation is so simple that you have to see it all just by continuing on a path. Can't get lost on a single path. Divergent Hubs, Grids, and the rest start to create moments of isolation from the overall navigation where you can get lost and separated from the big picture of the park, even if they can better immerse you sometimes.

Individual lands in these parks can also have distinctly planned forms. Not every land necessarily can be categorized neatly with a clear form, but there is always some kind of internal logic as to how elements of the land relate. Never, or I guess very rarely, are pieces of a land dispersed without some kind of designed plan of some complexity. I'll go over a couple that I see frequently in the parks and give a couple of examples for each.

Hub and Spoke Land - Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland, Future World West

This is the mini version of the big idea park plan. This is when a land is designed to lead you to a center point and then elements are distributed around this "hub". The benefits are basically the same as the park form, it is a clear organization system that efficiently brings guests into a themed world, clearly shows them the options of the land, and distributes the guests out. There's a lot of options for movement in this kind of land and usually is either pretty open plan or has a network of paths connecting major points to create a variety of routes.

Though its the most common park form, its not a very common land form. The best example is a couple of the Tomorrowlands. The entrance corridor of the land leads to the rocket-tower plaza area, acting as the hub. Then the elements of the land are arrayed from there and all visible at once from the center point.

Linear Land - Sunset Boulevard, Main Street. Toy Story Land

This is a much more common land form and a very simple one. In its simplest essence, its just a single path through a land. Enter on one side, exit on the other, with attractions and elements along the single path. Navigation is clear and its usually pretty immersive, but depending on the size and shape of the path, guests may not always be able to see all the elements of the land at once. This is not a bad thing, because it could be used to create a more mysterious and explorable land that feels bigger than it actually is. The linear nature of the land, especially when multiple linear lands are set back to back to back, forces a lot of backtracking through already explored spaces, which sometimes can be frustrating to have to walk the same line over and over.

Examples of this include nearly all lands in a loop park, except EPCOT of course, Sunset Boulevard, and the new Toy Story Land. Some of those are really simple single paths, some are a little more complex with branches coming off the main path, but in those cases, I think the dominant move of the land is still best represented with a linear path.

It is interesting to me that one of the qualifications I gave for this land is one entrance/exit on either side connected by a path, when in reality that describes basically all lands. I guess it really comes down to the patterning of the guest experience between those two points that define how the land is formed.

Loop Land - Pixar Pier, Magic Kingdom Fantasyland

Another land that is based on a park form. The loop land is simply a looping pathway around a central element, usually with one (or two maybe) access paths to the loop. It's basically a linear land that bends on itself. This has the same benefits and drawbacks as the park form. Easy navigation and great visibility, but might use a lot of space.

There's not a ton of these, with the best pure example being Paradise (Pixar) Pier looping around the Paradise Bay. New Fantasyland is pretty close to a loop as well in a way, just with more branches from the main path.

Border Path Land - Adventureland, Asia

This is a subset of the linear land that I am really interested in. These are usually linear lands that have some kind of defined edge on one side only that the path runs along. Think Adventureland, with the jungle on one side and the buildings on the other. That is a solidly defined line. There are many examples with a path running along a body of water or some other kind of defined edge.

The thing I find interesting about this is that it creates a path that seems less arbitrary because of course you would put the path next to the water or the jungle or whatever it is. It makes a more natural and believable edge to the land. It also means that you often can not see the whole land at once because the majority of the elements are on one side of the path and elongated along the edge.

Pocket Land - Muppet Studios, World Showcase Pavilions

This is a fairly clear land type, a dead end land with just one entrance and exit. It exists as its own little pocket off the rest of the park. These are not the most efficient with guest flow because of the dead end, but in small situations, they can work. The World Showcase pavilions are the best example and work perfectly for their size. Anything much larger would be a crowd control nightmare. The good thing about lands this small and with this clear of an entrance/exit is that its usually very easy to navigate and understand where you are.

There are just a couple land forms, I am sure there are plenty more. Also, it could easily be said that many or most lands could fit into multiple groupings. I tried to be very general on purpose to get an outline of a couple types, but I could believe other arguments. For instance, a loop land might also be a larger pocket land with an element in the center. A linear land could be a hub and spoke if there are branches off from the main linear path. Its a flexible set of definitions.

The success of a park is clear navigation and ability to be immersive, and the same can be said for a land, though I would flip their priority. I think the higher goal of a land is to enclose you in the theme to the point that the land seems fuller and richer than it actually is. That may mean that the internal navigation of the isolated area is not 100% clear, but if the navigation of the park overall works well, then guests should always be able to work their way through the park.

Now that we have looked at what these forms are and how well they work, the question to ask is why do they work like they do. During my time in architecture school, there was one particular theory lesson that stood out to me for its application to theme parks. "The Image of the City", written by Kevin Lynch, includes a discussion of the ways that people understand and use cities in predictable ways by reading the city as made of 5 key elements: paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks.

When I read that, I immediately related it to theme parks in my mind. They have natural comparisons on first glance. Districts are lands. Landmarks are park icons. But there is more to understand once you get into the more detailed definition of the elements

Paths - Paths are the channels by which people travel, like roads, sidewalks, and trails. Their purpose is to connect points of space. They are the most important element because they are the structure that the rest of the elements are formed on.

Edges - Edges are boundaries that define the extents of a space or a path. They can be either real and solid, or perceived and flexible. Their purpose is to define space by either separating space or acting as a seam between defined spaces.

Districts - Districts are sizable two-dimensional areas that have a common character to its space. It is a grouping of space that you enter and exit by way of a path. Its purpose is to represent the grouping of a collection of similar spaces into one object.

Nodes - Nodes are large defined spaces that can be entered and serve as focus points in a city. These are significant connection points that define pathways and serve as the notable and important spaces of a city. Their purpose is to define the big picture network of the city.

Landmarks - Landmarks are iconic elements that act as points of reference for movement in a city. They are objects you cannot occupy, not spaces that you can which are nodes. Their purpose is to act as reference points that connect the rest of the elements of the city.

I think this theory and those 5 elements of the city have a profound influence on how theme parks work. Theme parks are nothing more than idealized urban planning exercises that happen to also have a theme. Guests don't come to the park with an understanding of planning theory and theme park history. Hub and Spoke means nothing to them. They come with just the societal understandings of how urban space works that all of us instinctively build up over time. The idea of a town square (node) and a iconic building (landmark) that forms the center point of a network of roads (paths) makes total sense. That's all the hub and spoke is when you see it as an urban planning element.

Basically all the park and land forms I mentioned have ties some of these elements. Hub and Spoke is Node and Path. Loop is Path that loops around a central Landmark, even if it is just water. Grid is a grid of simple paths. A border path is a Path along an Edge. A pocket land is a district.

On top of that concept, the 5 elements also help explain why some actual cities are confusing. Endless grids with no space defining districts, nodes, or landmarks make a city that is impossible to read and easy to get lost in. See what I said about the Grid Form park. Essentially, the 5 elements are character building elements that form patterns of movement, making or breaking an urban plan.

So the lesson I take from this is simple and intuitive: design with how humans understand space in mind. If you ignore the Image of the City that we have trained ourselves to have, your park will be in trouble. It just so happens that the Hub and Spoke aligns well with this theory while some of the other park forms are a little less successful.

Thanks for reading this, especially those of you that made it all the way to the end. This is a concept and an essay that I have seriously been thinking about for 3+ years at this point, so I am glad that I finally have put it down in writing.

Next month, back to a design post. It's likely going to be an attraction, and something totally different than those I have done before. Maybe even magical in a way. Check back near the end of August!

Monday, July 9, 2018

WDW Parks Expansion Plans Recap and Wrap Up

Over the last half year, I posted here a series of expansion plans for the Walt Disney World Resort parks with my hypothetical takes at how I would grow and improve the parks. This was a big project for me with some really good results I think.

This post is a recap and wrap up, plus a closer look into a couple of my favorite lands. First, the look back at the posts.

We started with two plans for the Magic Kingdom back in October.

Magic Kingdom Plan A - This was my attempt at a realistic plan, incorporating the real additions coming soon and a couple of other small but impactful additions to the park, mostly in Tomorrowland and Adventureland. Of course, this was made before the Main Street Theater was cancelled, so it still remains in this park.

Magic Kingdom Plan B - This is the crazy ambitious dream plan that goes a little overboard with new additions to the park. Major additions come to Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, but every land sees something new and exciting, including expansions to Fantasyland and Frontierland in the northern undeveloped area of the park.

EPCOT was the focus in January with 3 versions of the park with 3 different goals.

EPCOT Plan A - This is another realistic plan, though it is on the ambitious side. The focus was to redefine the central spine of Future World, add new relevant characters to pavilions in both halves of the park, and add a new country to World Showcase. I defied expectations and instead of Brazil or Spain, I went with Saudi Arabia because I was interested in how some Middle Eastern representation would look in World Showcase. Plus, I followed the strong rumor and placed a new hotel outside the park gates.

EPCOT Plan B - This plan is the ambitious plan if the park were to go all in on characters and IP. It includes many of the additions from Plan A, plus new Future World pavilions for space featuring WALL-E, the seasons featuring Bambi, and a new take on Horizons at the center of the park. New World Showcase countries include Peru featuring the Emperors New Groove and Equatorial Africa featuring Tarzan, plus all other countries get a character based attraction.

EPCOT Plan C - This big plan is an alternate take on Plan B, where instead there are no characters anywhere in the park and actually assumes that some current additions didn;t actually happen. New Future World pavilions are created for Imagination, Weather, Health, and Computers plus Horizons from the last plan. New World Showcase countries featuring all original attractions are Ethiopia, India, South Africa, and Malaysia, plus Peru and Saudi Arabia from past plans.

Hollywood Studios had just one plan posted back in April, because I decided that so much was already happening to the park that a realistic plan was redundant.

Hollywood Studios Plan A - The goal of this big plan was to follow the lead of Toy Story Land and Galaxys Edge by creating more fully immersive single universe lands that represent the other studio brands of the Company. So that led to the creation of new lands for Marvel, Cars, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, and Toontown, plus some additions to Sunset Boulevard to represent live action films.

Lastly, two plans for Animal Kingdom were posted early this summer.

Animal Kingdom Plan A - This is a step above a realistic plan, but with this being my favorite park, I got a little carried away. I added one all new land, North America, with attractions and an animal trail. I rethemed one land, changing Planet Watch to Zootopia with a new attraction. And I made major additions to Dinoland with a new coaster and a heavily reworked version of Mystic Manor. Plus a couple small additions to other lands.

Animal Kingdom Plan B - This might be the largest and craziest of my dream plans because it basically doubles the park in one move. There are new lands for Europe, North America, Australia, and South America, all with many attractions, both original and IP.

Some stats for these plans.

Across all the plans, there are approximately 20 new lands, approximately 30 new IPs represented, and approximately 80 new attractions. That's a lot.

To conclude this wrap up, I decided to share enlarged plans of my favorite land from each park. This was a bit of a difficult decision for some of the parks, but I was able to decide on just 4.

In the Magic Kingdom, I choose Tomorrowland from Plan B.

I took inspiration from the organic canopy of the future TRON attraction to create a new sweeping element that crosses the east side of the land, incorporating the entrance to Space Mountain, a new elevated table service restaurant, and a permanent outdoor stage. The other big move for the land is the redesign of the Autopia into a very organic and winding track that includes a flyover above the public walkway and around a large freestanding rocket. The concept of the land is that the setting is an intergalactic science showcase of the future. All the new attractions support this idea by showing various fantasy science/technology topics. Time travel, alien technology, robotics are featured in the additions.

For EPCOT, I decided on Future World Central from Plan C.

The big change here is a complete rethinking of the spine through the center of the park in geometry and logic. The goal was to open up the center of the park, make it greener and more organic, and add new attractions that make sense in the core of the park. The two new attractions are new versions of Imagination and Horizons which along with Spaceship Earth form the thesis statement of the park. These are three attractions about the bigger picture of human progress and the topics of the rest of Future World support them. The center of the land is redeveloped with a new high tech fountain, a permanent stage and viewing area, and a new counter service restaurant that serves healthy Earth based food and features a 360 degree outdoor view of Future World. Also visible in this plan are a pair of new outdoor attractions for Future World East and West with the intention of adding kinetics to the area. A trackless water based teacups style ride sits in the west side and a jetpack spinner is placed in the east side.

In the Hollywood Studios Plan, I picked Toontown.

This is an urban take on Toontown, set in the downtown of the city featured in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The entrance it through a pair of tunnels from Sunset Boulevard and lead to a cartoony and exagerated city street. First is the downtown area, which includes a Ducktales suspended dark ride in the McDuck Bank, a large spinning dark ride taxi tour of the city, an apartment themed meet and greet location, and many very themed retail locations. The other end of the land is Toontown Gardens Park, which includes a carousel of animated animals and the Toontown Amphitheater, playing Fantasmic. The highlight attraction is a boat ride through the Sorcerers Workshop, where magic lets us travel right into the animated classics.

And for Animal Kingdom, I choose Europe from Plan B.

This land takes over more than half of Dinoland and serves as the mythological animal land in my version of this park. It is set in a Greek village adjacent to a mountain and the ruins of an ancient temple. The town square includes a restaurant and a new version of Mystic Manor that focuses just on mythological animals from history. The mountain, which is topped by a giant ruined statue head, holds a flume dark ride based on Hercules and focusing on his trials that feature animals of mythology. The rest of the land holds an outdoor spinning coaster around and through the ruins and an adjacent spring that is guarded by a dragon.

And that's the conclusion to this huge project, for now at least. At least a couple of attractions from this project are likely to be future posts.

But I also want to be able to move on to other original projects. In fact, I have tentatively decided to retire from doing these expansion plans for existing parks and really just do original projects from now on. That means new parks with new themes, and new attractions for both existing parks and new parks. That's way more fun and more challenging for me, so that's what I want to do from now on.

So there will be another post this month, an analysis essay project that I have been wanting to do for a long time about theme park layout form. And then likely an attraction the month after that.