Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Tangled Tale

The design post for this month is another attraction that I have proposed for the Magic Kingdom based on Tangled.

I decided to make the possibly controversial decision of removing Peter Pans Flight in order to create a modern darkride that completes the already established Tangled inspired area. In my plan, I also included a new modern and relocated Peter Pans Flight, making this decision somewhat easier. Because the existing darkride is suspended, I believe it would be possible to install a double level attraction, allowing it to be a bit longer and larger than many other comparable Fantasyland rides. The fa├žade is redesigned starting at the transition to Liberty Square to match the style of the Tangled restrooms across the path, continuing all the way around the corner. The detailed facades create an immersive mini-land for Fantasyland based on one of the most popular current stories.

Though I normally am against book report style dark rides, I felt that this was a good opporunity for a ride like this because of two factors. First, the small size of the space forces a condensed ride, so it helps to use a plot that is already known. And second, I believe there are multiple iconic songs in the film that have to be included. Without following the plot, it would be difficult to hit these big moments.

The queue begins at the armory of the town. The standby queue turns right and runs along the facades, entering the guard office and passing through storage rooms, where barrels and boxes surround the path. Each area of the queue is heavily detailed, including plenty of wanted posters. It then rejoins with the Fastpass+ queue and travels into the formal hall of the armory, with painting depicting the many successes of the royal guard and a row of ornate decorative spears in the center of the room. The two queues then merge as directed by a cast member and into the stable area, leading up to the loading area. At this split, wheelchair guests are directed straight to the unload area.

Guests board a wooden carriage-styled vehicle, seating 2 or 3 per row with two rows. The vehicle is able to rotate 360 degrees on the tracked base, like an omnimover. Guests load the vehicle on a slowly moving loading belt. The vehicles would dispatch approximately every 10 seconds, similar to the existing dark rides, but because the vehicles are larger, it would have a better capacity.

After loading and seat check, the vehicle pulls forward towards a painting of Rapunzel on the wall, beginning the telling of the story of the lost princess. The vehicle makes a u turn and begins moving slowly downhill. The ceiling above and wall to the left are painted just like Rapunzel’s art, retelling how the princess was born and subsequently disappeared, narrated by Rapunzel herself. The art comes to life with a projection effect as we pass each major element. At the bottom of the ramp, we find ourselves in the tower, with Rapunzel to our left in front of her window, singing “When Will my Life Begin.” The next few scenes take place inside the single room tower, so the rotation of the vehicle is used to misdirect where we are in the space, making it believable that everything is taking place in the tower. Rapunzels hair wraps all around the scenes, acting as borders and visual barriers while literally tying the grouping of scenes together. The vehicle turns around the corner, rotating a full 180 degree to face a second scene of Rapunzel in the tower, this time showing her longing to visit the lights and painting the lights on the tower wall. After another spin and turn, we find Mother Gothel singing “Mother Knows Best” to Rapunzel, convincing her to stay. Just on the other side of a thick curtain, the story progresses, showing Flynn Rider held captive in a chair and being interrogated by Rapunzel, and eventually agreeing to take her to the lights. We rotate right to face a stone wall, where the shadows of Flynn and Rapunzel descending down the tower are projected on a stone wall. We turn to find the forest, with physical trees augmented by projected landscapes above the brush. Flynn stands in the center, by a tree, complaining about his wanted poster while Rapunzel frolics through the projected forest between the trees. Around the bend, we see a small sign for the Snuggly Duckling, and hear the raucous music in the distance as we approach the front door.

Through the door is the largest scene of the attraction, “I've Got a Dream.” In the double height tavern, multiple thugs sit underneath the rough wood beams, listening to the Piano Playing Thug and Rapunzel alternate verses while Flynn is hung on one of the wooden columns. The Piano Thug sits of course at his piano on the stage in the corner while Rapunzel stands on a table, surrounded by singing thugs, telling us of her dream to see the lights. In the room are many of the recognizable thugs, including Gunter the interior designer, Ulf the mime, and the cupid thug, who is spinning circles overhead. We continue past Rapunzel and the bar, turning right and beginning to go uphill. Again, paintings on the ceiling tell the story of how they made it into the city. At the top, we rotate left to face animatronics of the King and Queen lifting up the first lantern as “I See the Light” begins. The vehicle moves out over simulated glistening water, through a sea of floating lanterns, and turn to face the boat holding Rapunzel and Flynn.

The lanterns of the room gently float in place and twinkle, aided by mirrors and projections to create and endless field of lights. Ahead, we ride back into the forest, where Mother Gothel reprises “Mother Knows Best”, consoling Rapunzel. Through the trees, we see a projection of Flynn sailing away on the boat. Through the next door, we are back in the tower, right at the moment that Rapunzel realizes her identity. She stands in the center of the room, looking above at the large ceiling of paintings, which come to life with fiber optics and projections, creating an effect similar to the movie. As we turn and rotate into the next room, we see Flynn confronting Gothel before turning again to an alcove, where we see the shadow of Gothel falling over and out the window. We continue on and turn to see Rapunzel and Flynn together, happily ever after. Just around the corner is unload, back at the stable, and the exit path leads to a new gift shop that is split with the new Frozen attraction next door.

I'll be back next month with another discussion post on March 9th and a design post on March 23rd! Leave a comment with what you want to see coming up soon!

And I am still working on the existing plan for Disneyland plus another major theme park that I am excited to design expansion plans for. Hopefully those will be coming up sooner than later!


  1. Cool. Is there going to be a ridethrough video like you had for the London Library ride?

    1. No Im not always going to do the same things for every project. This time I included the new photoshop perspectives of the two big scenes.

      I'm spending most of my time right now on the existing plans for Disneyland and another theme park so that I can then design expansion plans.