Monday, June 15, 2015

Sydney Summer: Main Street and Fantasyland

Now time for the interesting walk throughs to begin! At the end of the Disney District lies the premier park of the resort, Disneyland Park. We are going to walk through it land by land and I will be providing descriptive text on the content, detail, and architectural design as we go. Drawings will be interspersed. So we begin.

The District street opens up to a wide entrance plaza with two bag checks that lead to the main entry gate pavilions. To the far left and right are pitched roof guest service buildings that house the main guest relations desk, wheelchair and evc rentals, and lockers. The design aesthetic from the District begins to transform into midcentury modern vernacular. The classic floral Mickey greets guests and splits them left and right to the entry tunnels. Since there is no train, this is not a train station, but an equally iconic civic structure (maybe a library?) for the city of Main Street, featuring a clock tower. The poster lined tunnels compress and enclose your view, heightening the anticipation as guests enter Town Square and Main Street.

This Main Street is very similar to the existing model. Not much need to change a successful version of a entry corridor. This Main Street is based in the late 1920's, like in Paris and has a bit more of an urban feel. The building scale is similar to other versions, but everything is a little bit tighter and denser due to the compressed nature of the park. The street width is 25' gutter to gutter or about 50' average building to building. The Magic Kingdom is 32' and 62' respectively, so it is tight, but proportional to the scale of the park.

Town square includes a flag pole plaza at the center, City Hall to the right, and Exposition Hall and the Fire Station to the left. These are all grand civic structures of plaster and brick. City Hall holds the guest services of the park and the Fire Station is retail and Photopass. Inside the Exposition Hall is a meet and greet center, including a small outdoor garden for rotating characters. From here, a small fleet of Main Street Vehicles travel up and down the street to add movement and character to the land.

Down Main Street, the buildings begin to diversify in scale, represented program, and detail. This is the true city, so not all the buildings are as ornate as the Town Square. They are a mix of material and quality and include a wide variety of residents, from flower shops to magic shops, and of course private residences above, which can be heard and assumed from the street. Rich detail and the illusion of life is important to the believeability of this street (this is hyper true for this entire park). The building to the right is the main Emporium, hidden behind the series of individual facades and stores. The merchandise is mixed to reflect the character of the stores. There is an enclosed crowd control alley behind the stores for use during heavy traffic on Main Street that is lightly but convincingly themed.

The building to the left is retail in the west half, dining in the east half. This retail is broken up into individual specialty stores, including an art gallery. The dining is a combination Bakery and Creamery and would sell a variety of items, including coffee, bakery goods, sandwiches, ice cream, and candy. This location covers all the food of Main Street. It also includes a second floor dining room with a porch looking out to the castle. A matching porch on the other side of the street is used for special events. The dining location shares a kitchen with the Plaza Inn just around the corner. This is a traditional counter service location and includes an outdoor umbrella filled seating area. On the other side of the Hub is the Crystal Palace, a buffet style restaurant under a glass greenhouse pavilion, transitioning to Adventureland. The kitchen for this location also serves an adjacent dining location in Adventureland (The Tiki Room) and a large cast cafeteria.

The Hub itself is very spacious and oversized in order to hold the majority of a day's guests. A grass lines moat splits the inner and outer rings on the west side. The east side instead has a pathway in place of the moat and a step down waterfall feature outside that, flowing into the main moat lagoon of the castle. Of course, Partners is at the center.

The iconic castle at the end of the hub is a new design for Rapunzel, based on the concept art for the castle and city in the film. This is the piece I was most inspired by; its a great piece but I was unable to find out who the artist is. This was the mood I was striving for for the castle and Fantasyland.

The castle is 123' - 6"tall from park level and is flanked by two 72' tall turret towers, connected to the castle by tall sweeping walls. The form is roughly reminiscent of the other castles, but has unique details like the cruciform plan, tall transcept, Rapunzel inspired highest turret, and its dark red and tan color scheme. It is original but of the same language and scale to the worldwide collection. The stage in front of the castle is simple and without permanent set. Smaller turrets to the far left and right hold lighting and show equipment, the control booth is in a Main Street facade, and there are retractable lighting towers build into the stage and surrounding Hub areas. No permanent visibility issues with ugly lighting equipment out all day. I wanted to avoid the problem of the castle being inaccessible during shows, so to either side of the stage are ramps going both up and down. The up ramp leads to the main door to the castle and would be closed during shows. The down ramps lead to a path along the edge of the water and access to the basement level of the castle.

Inside the castle is a grand hall and atrium dome with a mosaic of the story of Rapunzel. An open stairway from the basement level leads up into the banner filled hall. The heavy stone walls and wood buttressing defines a grand and regal space that is larger than any other castle interior, since this is the only program inside. The visible second floor balcony is inaccessible and is only used for shows but still adds depth and complexity to the space. The basement level includes a walk through attraction that features interactive multimedia mosaics and murals representing the various Disney princesses. Somewhat like the Sleeping Beauty walkthrough, this respectfully and gracefully depicts each princesses story in a gallery setting. Through the other side of the castle is Fantasyland.

The primary land specific entertainment on Main Street is the Dapper Dans singing quartet and a small group of Citizens of Main Street that perform like the Citizens of Hollywood at DHS. A daily parade and the nightly fireworks also take place here, but I will discuss those later in an entertainment specific post.

There are many backstage functions around Main Street. Behind City Hall is an office building and cast support center as well as a covered parking area for the Main Street Vehicles. There is a second office building on the north side, adjacent to the Exposition Hall, also housing the character break room. The large building south of the street is the entertainment center for the resort, which includes dressing rooms, storage, and rehearsal space for all the characters and shows of the park. A very small parade storage building is built adjacent to it, large enough for 5 or 6 floats total. Last, the previously mentioned bus stop is to the south of the cast cafeteria area and includes cast break rooms and support areas. There are also some backstage functions built into the castle for the fireworks show, but I will go over those later.

On to Fantasyland.

Entered primarily through the castle, Fantasyland is set in the quaint medieval village of Rapunzel's city. The village opens up towards the Regal Carousel, which features horses from all the medieval setting Princess movies. In front of the Carousel is the Sword in the Stone and retail fills the buildings on either side. The architecture throughout the land is much more rustic fantasy based, with strong use of stone, wood, and thatched roof. It starts closely tied to the world of Tangled near the castle but then fades and melds into a generic village setting for each other property. This is definitely more Disneyland Fantasyland than Magic Kingdom Fantasyland, including more trees and beds to break up the concrete wasteland and more attempted thematic variety.

The building on the right hold Peter Pan's Flight and is a transition to Adventureland. This is a modern update of the classic, featuring higher capacity vehicles, modern effects, and more animated figures. It enters on the Fantasyland side, just across from the Carousel but exits to the right, just between the two lands and in sight of Adventureland because the attraction ends with the escape from Hook and unloads in the pirate setting of Neverland. In-ride thematic transition.

The building straight ahead is anchored by the spinning Dumbo and the colorful circus inspired towers and awning. The Dumbos sit up on a pedestal surrounded by a hedge wall and spin above a water feature. This is the single attraction with a slightly different design aesthetic, but it is a much toned down from other deceptions of the circus, so it may be able to fit. The rest of this building is a large counter service location, the Snugly Duckling. This location features a second floor dining room to increase the capacity. and is richly detailed like its film namesake. It transitions east into New York Harbor, so its urban size is necessary to blend the transition.

The left building across from the Snugly Duckling holds a classic dark ride based on Tangled, like the one I have proposed for the Magic Kingdom. This is a two level dark ride through the story and songs of the movie. A snack location at the north corner of the building serves specialty items and drinks.

Farther north is a Wonderland mini land in Fantasyland that includes a glass roof covered Mad Tea Party ride. Around the spinner is a small garden that includes a Tea Party Table meet and greet. The high walls of the Queen of Hearts castle is just beyond. Inside the castle is a large retail area and an atrium leading into the Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall buffet location. This shares a kitchen with a location in New York Harbor. Also in this building is a LPS dark ride based on the Alice story and another larger retail location.

I guess this is a good time to mention the character presence in the parks. I have mentioned it before, but I decided to limit IPs to only Fantasyland in this park to preserve the integrity of the other lands. Because each land is so small, I believe they must be richly detailed and themed to be as effective as a larger land, and the inclusion of characters that may or may not fit begins to weaken this. I want the DisneySea approach. Hyper realistic and themed lands that envelop you and transport you to another world. Throwing a Tarzan coaster in Adventureland and a Nemo simulator is Discoveryland would hurt that (poor Storm Rider at DisneySea....). So characters are only in Fantasyland. I choose the small set I did based on popularity and classicism. Peter Pan was always in because I see that as the perfect Fantasyland attraction. Tangled made sense because of the castle tie in and box office success. And Alice has alot of design potential.

Characters are the primary entertainment here in Fantasyland. Any Fantasyland style character would be appropriate here. Likely the most popular few princesses, the characters associated with the rides, and an assortment of other popular ones like Pooh would have regular hours. I would hope this could operate like Disneyland with roaming characters.

The backstage elements of the land include a bus stop adjacent to the Queen of Hearts Kitchen, and some infrastructure related to the fireworks show. There is a tunnel that travels underneath the land for transportation of fireworks and cast members. It is accessed at the north side of the Alice attraction building and leads under the three dark rides with access to the castle and to roof access towers for fireworks setup. I will talk about this more later.

And thats all for this week. Please ask any questions about these two lands in the comment section below and check back in two weeks for a post about Adventureland!


  1. Rapunzel's kingdom is called Corona. I like the idea of only having IPs in Fantasyland, though don't 20,000 Leagues and POTC count as IP? And who owns the treehouse in Adventureland?

    Would Main Street have the tribute windows to Imagineers like the other resorts? I am quite fond of those.

    1. Ok good question that needs some clarification. I see theme park original IPs as a totally different object than film IPs. The real issue is avoiding the animation takeover of lands that don't need it, so the ones you mentioned are not offensive to my strategy. Pirates will be entirely original and without Jack Sparrow, the treehouse and surrounding areas have an original supporting story, and the attractions of Discoveryland are very loosely based on classic stories of literature and have original characters and story lines that tie into the literature based mythology.

      The point is to just reign in the animation overlays that are a little too common now.

      Yes I dont see why the windows shouldnt be featured here. They are well designed and have good variety of theme, so they would still make sense here.

      Ah I never knew it had an official name, thanks!

    2. That makes sense. DLP's version of Pirates is going to be refurbished to feature Jack and co., so say goodbye to the last attraction that still remembers the franchise was born from the ride rather than the films.

    3. That a shame, though admittedly it could be worse. Its one of the less offensive IP overlays at least. Glad I saw the good original form last year. I wonder how the Shanghai Pirates is going to end up.

  2. I really enjoyed this detailed look at the park. Admittedly though, I wouldn't mind if you updated faster than in two weeks. I liked when a while back you had something small to fill the two week gap on your showcase of the WDW parks.

    1. Unfortunately I don't think there is anything I can do about that now.

      When I posted every few days on the last blog or even every week like months ago, I had a backlog of things ready to post. Now I don't and am putting all my free time into the next post. Wish I could post faster, but I want to keep quality up and that takes time.


    2. Right. By the way, I like the design for Rapunzel's castle.

      Quick small thing though, but for Disneyland Paris, I think the castle should be renamed as Beast's Castle instead of Sleeping Beauty's castle, as ever Disneyland park should have a different princess castle.

    3. Yeah I wish they had differentiated the existing castle more than they did. The big offenders are the exact copies of Cinderella's and Sleeping Beauty's in Tokyo and Hong Kong. At least Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant looks different.

      Snow White, Belle, and Rapunzel are the only medieval style princesses left I believe. I guess the Frozen princesses and Merida could fit in a stretch, maybe even Prince Eric's castle in some situations.