Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sydney Summer: Fireworks and The End

Part 2: Theme Park Overviews
Part 3: The Resort Outside the Parks
Part 4: Main Street and Fantasyland
Part 5: Adventureland
Part 6: Discoveryland
Part 7: New York Harbor
Part 8: Hollywood Boulevard
Part 9: Disney Animation Studios
Part 10: Marvel City
Part 11: Star Wars Spaceport

The final and possibly shortest part of the Sydney Resort Series: the night time fireworks entertainment. This post will cover more infrastructure and less story. 

When planning both parks, I constantly kept in mind how a night time show would work and how my design choices impacted those shows, such as square footage of the viewing areas. This post presents a diagrammatic plan of the infrastructure and viewing areas for both shows. 

For Disneyland Sydney Park, the main show occurs in front of the castle, like all others. I imagined it as a show in the Disney Dreams style, so heavily mixing fountains, projections, and fireworks to tell a complete story in multiple dimensions.

I'll start with the projection system. I have includes four long throw projectors on the rooftops of the Main Street buildings. They are spread to cover the castle from all four angles as well as the side walls on either side of the castle so that projections can move the full width of the hub. Additionally, there are smaller projectors in the small turrets in front of the large wall end turrets. These are directed at the front of these large turrets. 

Next, fountains. The system is symmetrical on either side of the castle. Each side has a large mist screen with a rear projector, hidden in the castle walls. A network of fountains in the moat wrap the front of the hub. A smaller system is in the rear ring of the hub. 

Fireworks are the next major element of the show. There are five low level firework launch platforms on the rooftops behind each side of the castle. One on each side flanks the edge of the hub for special shots. These would all fire low level pyro, like the fireworks used in Disney Dreams. Additionally, there is a major launch point on top of the ship at the rear of the park, capable of firing large shell fireworks. The circles on the map show the approximate fall out zone for each type of firework. Limited areas of Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Discoveryland are closed before each show as they are in the fall out zone, noted as crowd control lines on the map. 

The last element of the show is drones, something I know is being considered for future fireworks shows and has also been used before on small scales. The two raised building sections marked in green, which are also the access towers to the rooftop for fireworks loading, are the launch point for various drones during the show, most specifically a fleet of floating lanterns for a Tangled segment. They would strictly fly over the fireworks fall out zones and closed pathways, never over guests, and could be grounded in event of wind. 

As for the story, I believe it should be a series of scenes connected with a main story. Since it is Rapunzel's castle, the main story could be Rapunzel telling some of her favorite stories in some kind of Festival of Lights.

Over to Hollywood Adventure, the nightly show is a new version of Fantasmic based at the Chinese Theater. It uses basically the same setup of infrastructure in a different way. 

For projections, there are two projectors on the Hollywood rooftops, aimed at the Theater, primarily to project on the front legs of the theater as well as the main pinnacle. 

The body of water in front of the theater also has a full system of fountains including an extra wide mist screen wall. Because it has to cross the solid ground of the stage, a series of pop up misters rise out of the ground to create the solid wall. Rear projectors in the theater facade are aimed at the wall. The wall and projectors are split so that either the full wall or just the sides of the stage can operate at any time. 

The fireworks include six low level launch points fanned out behind the theater and a large shell launch platform centered behind the theater. 

The main element of this show is live performance. The central stage is accessed by ramps on the side and stairs at the back. Two retractable light towers sit behind the stage and raise and lower throughout the show. To the left of the theater is the garage and entertainment building for the show. Set pieces, props, and characters roll out from here and either enter into the inner courtyard of the theater through a large door or around to the front and to the stage. Additionally, there is an access point for Mickey to appear at the top of the theater to end the show. 

The story here would be like the other incarnations of Fantasmic, but with different scenes. The basic premise would be that during a grand Hollywood premier at the theater, Mickey falls into the world of film come to life, so properties from the park are featured as well as other modern and classic Disney films. The finale would be the same, with a Malificent dragon that appears in the theater courtyard, threatening to bring down the premier. Mickey defeats her, allowing the show to go on and a big firework finale. 

And I think that will be the end. This is a park that I have been contemplating for a year or two and I have put a lot of thought into it, but I think its time to move on to something else. 

I'm prepping a few posts to finish out the year and I think it's some really good material. 

However, I am also getting busier and busier with school work and some freelance design work, so to keep quality up, I think I need to reduce the post frequency. I know, you probably don't want that, but I need to do it just to keep up with new content. But I promise it is going to be good stuff, and back to expansions to parks you know. 

So from now on, we are going to one post a month, probably mid to late month. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sydney Summer: Star Wars Spaceport

Part 2: Theme Park Overviews
Part 3: The Resort Outside the Parks
Part 4: Main Street and Fantasyland
Part 5: Adventureland
Part 6: Discoveryland
Part 7: New York Harbor
Part 8: Hollywood Boulevard
Part 9: Disney Animation Studios
Part 10: Marvel City

Sorry for the few weeks of silence! Now I'm back for a new post to finish up the Sydney Resort. This post will cover Star Wars Spaceport.

Its also going to be a little shorter than past posts because of the topic.

I had planned to give a full description of the Star Wars land I had designed here, but since the unveiling of Disney's plans, I have decided to rethink a lot of things. However, I am still presenting the old version here, hence less descriptive text.

The pathway from Marvel City leads under a pair of enclosed bridges to block further views and transition architecturally from the New York style city to the Coruscant style city. Basically the transition is a progression of materials from stone and brick to metal and concrete. 

Straight ahead is the Millennium Falcon, which is fully explorable. To the right of the entrance path is retail on the ground floor and a table service restaurant on the upper floor, looking over the Star Wars city. Past that is an X Wing fighter in dock, as the entrance to an X Wing spinner attraction. It is not a standard kid spinner however. The central axis rises up into a projection dome and tilts 45 degrees off axis. The slightly faster spinning vehicles rise high into the dome and swiftly fall back as they cycle. 

Next is the Jedi Training Academy theater, which presents a version of the show much like the existing show, but with an animatronic Yoda figure. 

Back across by the Millennium Falcon is a two story complex of retail and dining. A snack location and large retail space is on the ground floor. The Cantina counter service restaurant is on the top floor. 

Also on the ground floor is the entrance to a theater based attraction that is mostly on the upper floor. This is a 4D movie with live actors and effects, like Terminator, that tells the story of the history of the Jedi. It enters on the ground floor and exits on the upper floor. 

Last, the main attraction of the land is Star Wars: Flight of the Force, which is a modified Kuka arm attraction. Guests ride in X Wings and join the Rebel Alliance as they attack the Death Star. It ends with an encounter with Darth Vader and a run through the iconic trench. This is an attraction I have been working on for another location, so it will probably show up again later on. 

So since seeing the concept art of what Disney is building, I have started to reconsider a lot of my choices. Such as my decision for an existing planet (Coruscant) vs original plant, my decision for basing the land on the original trilogy vs the new films, and my attraction lineup. 

I really like the Disney concept art, and look forward to seeing what actually gets built. In the mean time, I will probably try another version or two. Maybe. 

The last post will cover the nightime shows for the two parks, and will be another short one, so should be up next week. Then things are going to change. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sydney Summer: Marvel City

Part 2: Theme Park Overviews
Part 3: The Resort Outside the Parks
Part 4: Main Street and Fantasyland
Part 5: Adventureland
Part 6: Discoveryland
Part 7: New York Harbor
Part 8: Hollywood Boulevard
Part 9: Disney Animation Studios

This week we cover the next land of Hollywood Adventure: Marvel City.

From Hollywood Gardens, the Marvel City land is composed of two separate areas, the Stark Industries Expo to the south of the main road, and the urban city to the north. Before walking through the land, I wanted to comment on the contents. There are three major attractions in this area, each probably capable of being a headliner, and each high thrill. I decided to take a "Universal Studios" approach to this land because of the demographics of the property and focus on more thrilling high impact attractions.

Starting from the hub area, a highly manicured garden leads toward the Stark Industries area. This is modeled on a sleek utopian World's Fair, like the architectural style of Stark featured in the movies. The main entrance to the indoor pavilion is under a sweeping circular arcade and through a large metallic sphere, into a highly modern technology expo that serves as the entrance to two attractions. The main attraction is Stark Expo, which is a Dynamic Attractions SFX coaster, a highly unusual coaster system that has yet to be built as far as I know. The coaster/dark ride hybrid is a set up as a tour of Tony Stark's experimental projects lab, including a demonstration of his new high speed urban transportation system. The other attraction, which is on the second floor, is an Iron Man animatronic show, like what I have proposed for other parks. Both attractions exit to large retail spaces that lead back out to the street.

The urban half of the land begins as the facades of Hollywood transition to New York. The facades are slightly taller, creating a more enclosed land. It is a much more stylized New York than the version in the Disneyland Park, with less real world detail and more cinematic stylization. We turn right down the main street into the land, which is on axis with the Stark Expo facade behind. We pass under a lowered bridge that reveals a view of the glistening force perspective tower at the end of the street, which is the SHIELD headquarters.

The building to the right contains a large counter service location sandwiched by retail. The left building is retail and a meet and greet facility. The retail spaces are all subdivided into individual but connected stores, like Main Street, and all have unique themes and unique products to create a diverse city. The counter service restaurant is split between the first and second floors of the building and has an urban diner theme. The meet and greet is themed as a SHIELD recruiting facility where a rotating group of Avengers and heroes are found through the day.

The headquarters building at the end of the street holds the main attraction of the land: Avengers Assemble, a thrilling trip that follows the Avengers into battle. The SHIELD building's main element is a force perspective tower that is 100' tall in total. It rises above a class curtain wall facade with a semicircular sloped metal canopy with a fountain at the very center. We are here today as part of a SHIELD initiative to be more transparent to the public after their recent major mishaps.

The queues for the attraction begin on the right side of the plaza, and lead into the main entry hall, where guests find a large marble statue of the Avengers team.  The queues lead around the hall and then into the back hallways of the building, through the Avengers artifact gallery and towards the informational presentation. As we make our way through the queue however, we are informed by periodic overhead monitors that the Avengers have suddenly been called into action for a minor event, forcing a change in schedule. Nick Fury suggests cancelling, but Tony Stark decides that this is the perfect time to test out his new high capacity troop transits, so he invites us along on the trip. We pass a briefing station where an animatronic of Fury stands before a projected wall of information, including Stark's schematics for the vehicle. To get to the vehicle, we are being routed through the experimental lab section and towards the loading docks.

The queues move into the next space, the labs, which is the interior of that 100' tower piece, though the clearspan of the room is probably only about 75' In the room are four large industrial cylinders running all the way to the ceiling, dressed as large vehicle test chambers. These four cylinders are actually the show elevators for the attraction. Pipes and industrial set dressings cover the walls and the open floor space is filled with scientific equipment. The queues turn into the loading bay, which is a more industrial but still sleek and modern space. The fastpass and standby queues merge and turn left towards the digital info glass (3D) distribution station before a few more switchbacks and then the loading dock.

The Stark designed vehicle resembles a large all terrain vehicle with an Iron Man paint job. It is a tracked motion base vehicle that seats 5 per row with 4 rows, making it significantly larger than other similar ride systems. Each row also features a large touch screen dashboard that features a OS like that of Iron Man. Guests are given the opportunity to interact with the screen during certain scenes of the attraction.

After loading is complete, we slowly move forward and a video message from Tony pops up on our dashboard. He tells us that Jarvis is in complete control of the vehicle we are in, but this is the first major test run, so hold on. Also that if flies. As we pick up speed and round the corner we see the first large format 3D screen, showing the Avengers Quinjet preparing to take off. Iron Man flies into frame and tells us some about the mission, and that we are here to follow and observe as they investigate an unusual cosmic event. He sends us on to the launch bay and we turn the corner and take a track switch to one of the two elevator tubes. Inside the tube is a a 240 degree projection surface, enclosing our whole view as we face forward. The elevator tube also extends upward 85' as one continuous show space. This is the main element that makes the attraction unique: the inclusion of vertical launch and freefall elements into the middle of a dark ride.

The dim launch bay comes to life with flashing lights and a quick countdown and we are launched vertically upward. The launch is at a medium thrill speed, but the synchronization with the projected surface simulates a much swifter launch into the sky. We shoot up, past the second floor, and then slowly descend back to the second floor as the projection shows us soaring through the clouds. A commbination of smoke, lighting, and movement disguises our vehicle reversing out of the elevator and into the first scene of this floor. We rotate to a scene of the Avengers landing and surveying a city in the midst of battle. The general premise is the same as every other Avengers battle: a big bad has led an army of minion soldiers to destroy a city, and the Avengers must work together to stop it. Ideally, this would tie into a villain character from an Avengers film, possibly Thanos from the movies that will be coming out in a few years.

The next few scenes move us from screen environment to environment as the battle continues. Each is closely integrated with physical sets and effects to create a 4D experience.  Jarvis is able to keep us out of the way with only minimal damage and we are able to watch as the Avengers tag team battle through the city.  After a few of these similar scenes, we emerge into another unique scene: a large physical ruined city show scene, with just a few integrated screens. Effects throughout the city scene, including fire, smoke, and moving set pieces simulating destruction, add depth and chaos to the battle. The Avengers are mostly seen on the screens integrated into the city sets, but some of them also appear in physical form. An animatronic Iron Man swoops up from behind a pile of rubble and hovers in the smoke, telling us to watch out behind us, causing us to speed around a corner. Then we see Captain America and Thor together in battle, recreating the pose with Thor striking Captain's shield, forming a shock wave that pushes us away. Finally, we see the largest figure, an animatronic of the Hulk standing atop rubble and roaring and holding up a minion soldier. We swoop away and out of this large scene and stop in front of another large screen.

Iron Man and Thor land before us, telling us that the battle is under control, but that maybe we should get out of here because we might get in the way. Suddenly, some kind of missile shoots past the Avengers and right at us, hitting us with a blast of smoke and light. We fly out of control after getting hit and swerve wildly around the dark corner as lights flash all over the car. Iron Man appears on our dashboard to tell us that the missile took out the wireless connection to Jarvis, so we have lost our autopilot. He tells us that he can take over to get us out safely, but that he may need our help. When our dashboard lights up with a warning message, we must press the reset button so that Stark can keep control.

We fly into one of the second set of elevators and shoot upwards through the projected city as Stark wildly controls us. This elevator acts much more like a mid thrill drop tower. We go up and down in coordination with our projected flight through the skyline. We swoop up and down to dodge flying objects and finally descend down and land in front of the SHIELD headquarters. We emerge out of the elevator tube and drive through the loading dock area. Stark appears on the screen and apologizes for his driving, saying that they will be back to meet us soon. We pass one screen where Nick Fury welcomes us back from the battle and gives us an update on the battle. Around the corner is the last scene, where we see the Avengers finally gathered again, sending us off. We turn the corner and are back to the unload area.

The exit path leads back through the lab area and into a large interactive Avengers Training area, which is like Innoventions for super hero skills. Digital games let you train skills like flight with Iron Man, archery with Hawkeye, and shield defense with Captain America. It also leads into a gift shop and then an exit back out to the public street.

Down the side street of the land is the final attraction, a Pandoras Box dark ride based on Spiderman. The Pandoras Box by Vekoma is another ride system with a long history that as far as I know was never actually built (and I see now that it isn't listed on their website anymore, so it may never be). The ride system was basically a dark ride in 3 dimensions, with a vehicle that could travel up as well as side to side. This seems like a perfect fit for Spiderman and maximized the potential of a rather small show building.

The attraction would be a swiftly moving dark ride that explores the rough streets of New York, featuring mainly Spiderman as well as other New York based heroes, like Daredevil. It would be less plot based and more a chance to explore the environment of New York and super powers of Spiderman, The vertical movement of the ride vehicle would allow us to follow Spiderman as he ascends through the city. The ride unloads on the second floor into a gift shop that is connected by way of sky bridge to the main retail building of the land.

Finally, at the south end of the street is one final retail and snack location building. The path continues on west into the Star Wars Spaceport.

The entertainment of the land includes a small group of New York City style busking musicians as well as the meet and greet characters.

Finally, behind the southern retail building is the entertainment building for the park, including a small parade float shelter. A bus stop and cast center is located at the north end of the Avengers building.

Two more posts for Sydney coming up soon: Star Wars Spaceport and a post about the night fireworks shows. Then on to some new stuff.

Thanks for reading!