Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Disneyland Resort Phased Expansion Plan Part 2 - The Resort Expansion

Continuing the description of my design for the expansion of the Disneyland Resort, in this post, I will be showing in detail my plans for the phased development of the resort outside of the parks.

Last week, I described my thought process for how the resort would grow, now I will show you the specifics of that growth. There's a lot of drawings here and I'll be doing my best to describe them in the best detail I can to reflect the amount of thought and development I put into them.

Phase 1

So as I discussed last week, the main elements of Phase 1 are the construction of the transportation hub and the expansion to Downtown Disney with the includes a new Hotel. Additional projects include new security construction in the Esplanade and construction of a tram route to the Simba Lot. The drawing below shows each of these project zones, which will then be looked at in more detail.

These four main construction zones develop at different rates during the remaining 3.5 years of Phase 1. The security construction and tram construction are quick projects that are finished far before the end of the phase, basically as soon as possible, while the transportation hub opens in mid 2018, the Dumbo Deck for Downtown Disney opens in late 2017, and the Downtown Disney and Hotel expansion opens in mid 2020.

I will start first with my take on the transportation hub, the Genie Deck. I managed to fit a deck sized 550'x1075', or just a bit smaller than Mickey and Friends, on the Disney owned properties, running lengthwise behind the rows of hotels. By my estimation, this would be an 8000 space parking deck, with 6 parking levels (if your interested in the technical info, I used an effective capacity of 380 sq ft per parking stall). I decided to position the entrance of the parking deck so that it was best accessed by Katella Avenue and Disney Way exits from Interstate 5. Cars approach the deck on South Clementine St, and, just past Disney Way, merge onto a newly constricted overpass that leads over S Clementine and directly into the parking deck. Just like the overpass into Mickey and Friends, this is so that the cars have less impact on traffic and have space to backup without causing other issues. There is also a single lane entrance from traffic going south on Clementine. Cars exit from the same side of the deck and can turn either way onto Clementine.

On the south side of the parking deck is the entrance for bus traffic. The front half of the ground floor is dedicated as a Bus hub, with a dozen or more bus stops that can be shared between city and private buses. Now only Disney owned buses will be able to use the drop offs at the Esplanade. There is also a small bus parking lot and a bus maintenance lot on the east side of the deck.

Guests parking or arriving by bus are directed to the west side of the deck, where there is a multilevel enclosed concourse that runs along the deck, leading guests north to the pathway to the parks. These run on the second and third levels, with service below on the ground floor. The Carousel Inn is demolished and replaced with a wide enclosed pathway on the second and third levels and retail and service on the ground floor, which can be accessed from the pathway or from the pedestrian pathway along Harbor Blvd. A new double level bridge spans over Harbor and ends near the Esplanade. This pedestrian system is double level so that it can be divided by traffic direction. To make pedestrian movement easier and faster, each level is one way, or during morning or evening rush, they could be changed to both go the same direction as needed (with maybe a smaller 1/3 section, divided by rails, going the other direction). Sections of the bridge and concourses would have moving walkways to assist guests with the distance, although the walk on average would be about the same as the walk from the Disneyland Hotel.

I have no idea how similar the actual plan will be, but I feel confident that it will try to address the same issues. More parking and an easier way to bring guests from the deck to the parks. I estimate this to take about two years and really should be started as soon as possible.

The other major project at the same time period is the expansion of Downtown Disney and the Hotel. Though one project, this kind of has sub-phases of construction because the parking deck needs to be built and opened before construction can start on the expansion and hotel. So the Dumbo Deck (770'x250') is built over the overflow parking lot and valet parking. It would be 2750 spots over 5 levels, plus valet drop off and parking on the lower level. The existing Downtown Disney parking entrance and payment booths lead directly into the deck. Cars exit back out this path or on the west side. Once this parking deck is completed, the existing parking lot can begin construction.

I decided that Downtown Disney really needs an expansion, and based on the success of Disney Springs, I definitely think it is something that Disney would do. There is also the perfect location, so the only question was the theme and style of the design. I had a twitter poll with a few options, and luckily you all agreed with my top choice, Anaheim of 1955. I thought this would have some interesting architectural opportunities and also had a cool tie into the history of the parks. The plan is to refresh all of Downtown Disney to this theme, but this phase only brings the new construction and renovations to the area west of Disneyland Drive.

The new construction area is themed as a city growing around the orange groves of Southern California. There is a variety of architectural styles present here, all based on historical buildings of Anaheim and are period correct. Guests can reach this area on ground level or by an elevated bridge across the entrance road, which also leads into the hotel.

The hotel on the north end of the area has its entrance on the north side. It is themed as a high class hotel of 50's and looks into the new construction area. It holds 500 rooms, with 3 levels of rooms on the park side and 6 on the opposite side, so that there is less visual intrusion to the park. The hotel tower is roughly an H shape, with a second level pool deck on the north side, a rooftop restaurant and bar in the center leg, and other restaurants on the east side looking out to the park. Retail is built into the ground level all along the Downtown Disney side. There is also limited parking underneath the hotel as well as dedicated parking in Dumbo deck.

In addition to the new area, the buildings to the south are renovated to match the theme. Specifically, the movie theater receives a traditional 50's marquee and ESPN Zone and Rainforest Cafe get major exterior changes to fit the style.

The other two projects of this phase are much simpler. The security project is the construction of permanent security screening pavilions on each side of the Esplanade. These would allow for fully themed queues, inspection tables, and metal detectors, replacing the obviously temporary and awkward looking current setup. There would also be many more security lines to try to reduce waits.

The tram project is a project that benefits later moves. In the center of the Simba lot is built a tram stop loop and pedestrian spaces. The tram path utilizes the closed section of Disney Way behind DCA, which is narrowed to the necessary width of a tram road. Instead of intersecting with Disneyland Drive, it now passes under it, through a tunnel, and rises back up to grade and the new loop. Adjacent to the loop is a new tram maintenance area. The entrance and exit road for the lot is also reconstructed to allow for the future parking deck.

Phase 2

Phase 2 finishes the refurbishment of Downtown Disney, adds a second hotel, and builds two more parking decks.

Like the last phase, each project is on a different time table. The Downtown Disney refurbishments are quickly finished over the first two years, the Simba Deck opens 2023 or so, and the second hotel and smaller parking deck opens to end the phase in 2025.

The completion of the Downtown Disney refurbishment includes some place making additions along the pathways, architectural modifications to the facades to fit the theme, and one completely new building in the north expansion plot by Tortilla Joe's. The existing area is also divided into new named districts, Town Square and Market Street. The big change is the continuation of the fake street paving connecting from the previous phase to make this feel more like an urban city than a mall. The Catal Bar is also removed in favor of a park-like roundabout and statue, plus a fountain nearby. All the facades have some amount of refurbishment to modify their theme, however, the interior retail locations are allowed to remain unchanged with their own visual look. Later, I will talk about the contents of the new building and any other retail changes.

The Rapunzel Deck is built as overflow parking for the now four hotels surrounding it. It is 3 levels and has 700 spaces. This is currently parking for the Grand Californian Hotel, but I thought that this valuable areas should be maximized with as much parking as possible.

The Hotel fills the space between Paradise Pier and the Disneyland Hotel. It is actually a pretty large space and can hold a good sized hotel. Again, I did a poll for the theme, and again, you agreed with my pick, a turn of the century French Art Nouveau Hotel. This is a theme Disney hasn't really done yet, except on the Cruise Line, and would be very upscale and fitting of the quality of Hotels they want to build.

The hotel has an L shaped tower, has 11 residential floors and 2 public floors at the base, and holds approximately 850 rooms. That is the approximate height as the Paradise Pier Hotel and similar room count. The Porte-cochère on the east side leads into a double level lobby that opens up to a rear garden on the second floor, with an ornate glass atrium above. The garden includes a gazebo and then leads into the pool deck. These first two public floors also include a casual cafe style restaurant and at least one table service restaurant that looks into the garden. Underneath the garden and pool deck is the parking deck for the hotel. The upper floors of front corner of the hotel would have a view between the other hotels to Disneyland and Downtown Disney. Therefore, this would be the location of the suites and larger rooms of the hotel. The location of the hotel allows it to share the backstage service areas with the Disneyland Hotel and to also have a bridge connection to the Simba parking deck, so that guests can ride the tram directly to the parks.

The Simba Deck project is an effort to replace many of the parking spots that will be lost when the 3rd gate begins construction. This deck would hold 3000 spots and is 5 levels. It uses the entrance and exit infrastructure built in the last phase and the tram loop. The remaining surface lot area of the original Simba Lot can still be accessed through the area south of the tram loop. To construct this deck, the entrance to the other half of the Simba Lot will have to be relocated to the north of the lot, between Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotel, until it is completed enough to allow for cars to use the main entrance. Then the Hotel starts construction.

Phase 3

The next phase includes the construction and opening of the 3rd gate, so there is less activity at the main resort. It includes a second deck at the Simba Lot, a bus stop at Mickey and Friends, and a rail system addition to the Transportation Hub.

These projects would each only need to open in time for the 3rd gate opening in 2030.

The Timon Deck mirrors the Simba Deck and is the exact same size and capacity. It also has a secondary exit on the west side of the resort and also has a new built in tram maintenance area to the north of the deck.

The Bus Stop is added so that guests can directly travel from Mickey and Friends to the 3rd gate if they parked at the wrong location. All signage and information would direct guests that park at the 3rd gate deck or the Genie deck if they are traveling to the 3rd gate, but I figured it would be helpful to also have a smaller secondary method of travel. The Bus Stop sits around the existing tram maintenance area and can be accessed from the tram area.

The last project is the additions of a light rail station and Peoplemover station to the Transportation Hub. The stations are added to the southeast corner of the Deck and are both on the second level and accessed by the first floor. Paths lead guests from parking and the bus stops up to a concourse between the two stations. The light rail would hopefully be able to connect to one of the many local systems that are rumored or in progress. I have it drawn as being the end of the line, but it could also be a mid stop. The track would just have to loop around to the north of the area. The Peoplemover is an attempt to add a high capacity transportation method down to the 3rd gate. It is a little too far to be walking distance for many, so this is needed. It would use larger capacity vehicles and travel a little faster between stops, so it is more effective than just a theme park attraction, There would also be buses between the Esplanade and the 3rd gate to fill out the transportation possibilities.

Phase 4

The last phase has minor additions to the resort. One more deck is built in the main resort area, plus a final hotel located at the 3rd park. Note that this map does not show that hotel, because I have not developed that area yet.

The opening date of this deck would depend on how badly it is needed, or if it is needed at all. It may prove to not be necessary for park guests, in which case it could be not built or used for cast parking.

The Pinocchio Deck would have a main entrance to the south as well as an entrance through the Mickey and Friends Deck, so that it could be used as overflow for that area. Guests would then be able to access the Bus Stop and the tram area to travel to the parks.

And that is it for this week. But again, I saved one last section about this project to bring you next week. In the next post next week, I will have the details about the design and the retail and dining lineup for Downtown Disney, hopefully including some perspectives of the new construction area.

So thanks for reading and check back next week!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Disneyland Resort Phased Expansion Plan Part 1 - Expansion Phases

And the long awaited plan for the Disneyland resort begins!

First, apologies for being away for so long, even after saying I would try to not do that. Finishing a thesis project, finding a job, graduating, and moving back home significantly slowed my production. Then last week, just as I was getting finished with the plans for this first post, my computer had major issues, so I was without that for a week. But now, the beginning stages of the project are done and ready to post.

This time, we are going to start by talking about my thoughts on the long term expansion strategies and needs for the overall Disneyland Resort. I see it as very important to the success of the growing resort to have a realistic plan for both the growth of the parks and the growth of the infrastructure around the parks.

Therefore, I have decided to structure this project as a multi phase expansion of the resort that is as realistic as possible. Specifically, I have set my designs up as a 4 phase expansion, each of variable time difference, leading up to my view of a fully built out 3 park resort.

The first phase is targeted to be completed by 2020, and is composed primarily of my versions of projects that have already been announced or rumored. This timeline was selected as it is a likely opening year for Star Wars at Disneyland, the centerpiece of this phase. It also includes some original projects to add capacity to both the parks and the infrastructure in preparation for the crowds of Star Wars.

The next phase is for 2025, and features major additions to California Adventure to balance the resort after Star Wars. Also, major infrastructure moves begin to prepare for the ultimate realization of the resort with a 3rd park.

The third phase is for 2030 and is the main feature of the expansion, the opening of the third gate, opening for the 75th anniversary of Disneyland. This would open as a fully realized and unique park, but one with plenty of expansion possibilities for the future.

And finally, the fourth phase is one last round of expansions to flesh out the resort now that it features three parks. This would include additions to all three parks, but most heavily at California Adventure, where some more place making work is done to better align to the thematic goal of the park.

Over the next many posts, I will be detailing this plan. I do not really have a timeline, as I am designing on the go and only have the exterior resort completed now. Still in progress is the multi phase expansions of the two parks and the 3rd gate for the resort. I need to warn you now that I do not know how long this will take or how soon I will have a 3rd gate done, but I will be doing my best to keep to a schedule and keep you updated.

So today, I will be presenting the start of the plan for the resort outside the park.

My design for the resort outside the park focuses of strengthening the infrastructure of the resort, which includes hotels, retail, transportation, and most importantly parking.

For anyone who has been to Disneyland, especially a regular, you know how complex the parks and transportation system, and with park growth, this is only going to get worse. So that was an important consideration. The resort needs drastically more parking spots.

Next, transportation to the resort, besides by car, is something that needs to happen. There is constant talk and debate about some kind of light rail of streetcar reaching the resort. There appear to be multiple plans in the works that connect from the new ARCTIC transportation hub and the Orange County airport.

Also, I wanted to add at least one hotel. Coincidentally, just a few days ago, weeks after starting this plan, Disney announced a new hotel for the resort. So I'm glad I was on the right track.

Last, I know an expansion to Downtown Disney has been rumored and I think it has to happen after the success of Disney Springs.

I approached the existing site with these clear goals in mind.

So first thing to do is look at what is existing in the resort.

The above diagram is just a basic graphic of the land owned by Disney and the existing elements of the resort in case you are not familiar. Noted are the two theme parks, the three hotels, and the Downtown Disney district. Also shown is the main Mickey and Friends parking deck, the primary parking location for the resort, and the three other main lots for theme park parking. Not shown is extremely large Toy Story parking lot down to the south, which will be the location of the third gate.

It is obvious when looking at this aerial view that the resort is tightly packed in to a relatively small site, but there is still a good amount of open space if the parking lots to the west are to be utilized.

It is also clear how a hotel and retail district is in development on the west side of the esplanade, which can be easily added to. Opposite, on the east side, there is potential for a transportation system hub in conjunction with new construction on the lot across Harbor Blvd. This is something that, according to many rumors, is happening very soon. The recently purchased Carousel Inn is a perfect connector between this lot and the main resort.

I also did some personal estimation for the current number of parking spots and the future number required at the various phases. I did the same with hotel rooms. I did this to understand the immediate and long terms needs that would guide my changes.

The current resort parking breakdown, based on officially released numbers and my own counting, is approximately 22,000 spots, broken down as 10,250 at Mickey and Friends, 1000 at Pinocchio, 1400 at Pumbaa, 3200 at Simba, and 6000 at Toy Story. That seems like alot, but at the busiest times of the year, it apparently fills up.

So my plan needed to immediately add a new large parking facility to relieve this pressure and then to slowly add new structures to add capacity as the parks grow. Also, I needed to replace the spots lost when the 3rd gate starts construction.

Similarly, the hotel numbers at the resort are relatively low compared to the daily capacity. The total number of rooms between the three hotels is 2576, specifically 995 at the Disneyland Hotel, 518 at Paradise Pier, and 1063 at The Grand Californian.

So I similarly wanted to immediately add some new capacity and then add rooms slowly.

So from this existing site, I was able to identify a variety of clear expansion plots.

There are 7 main lots, which obviously can and will be subdivided into different programs. Each have different pros and cons based on their location and relationships with other pieces of program.

Lot 1: the current Pinocchio surface parking lot is used as overflow and bus parking from Mickey and Friends.

This lot is best suited for parking, because it can be accessed through the parking deck, can share parking facilities, and is located right next to the tram line that takes guests to the esplanade. Also, it is the most removed from the hotel and retail district, which makes it unlikely for expansion in either type.

Lot 2: the current self parking for the Disneyland Hotel.

This lot serves its purpose well and is needed as parking for this large hotel and is a little too far removed from the core of the hotel to be used as any kind of expansion, so it also may be best as parking.

Lot 3: this is currently parking for Downtown Disney and the Downtown Disney Valet parking.

This is starting to be more conveniently located to the hotel and retail area, specifically to Lot 4, which is targeted as the location of the actually happening hotel and likely retail expansion.

Lot 4: currently this is the primary Downtown Disney parking lot and the Valet drop off.

The north half of this lot is the location targeted for the newest hotel, and logically, the rest of this lot is the prime location for Downtown Disney expansion, as it is the only open parking lot directly adjacent to the public walk way. It is also the largest of the lots in this area, so it has good potential.

Lot 5: the current parking for the Grand Californian Hotel.

This lot is right in the middle between the three existing hotels, and is relatively small. It is also isolated from Downtown Disney by the movie theater. It may do best to continue serving as parking for the hotels.

Lot 6: the Simba parking lot, currently used as overflow parking for the parks and Downtown Disney.

This is the largest continuous piece of property located in the main resort area, so it has value. The north half is adjacent to the hotel core and can access the back of house facilities behind the Disneyland Hotel. The south half has parking entrance infrastructure and could potentially be connected to the esplanade by a new tram route, utilizing the road behind DCA.

Lot 7: currently land owned by Disney but not in use at this time, as well as the Carousel Inn.

This lot is already targeted to be the location of a new parking deck and transportation hub for the resort. The Carousel Inn is an easy location for some kind of connection to the main resort. Also, it is directly north of the Toy Story parking lot, so it could include some kind of connection there as well.

So after this analysis, I began to assign program elements to the different lots and set the 4 phases of expansion. The theme of this process basically is the invasion of the parking decks.

Phase 1 includes things that are actually in progress.

The two big projects of the phase are the Transportation Hub on Lot 7, and the expansion of the hotel and retail core onto Lots 3 and 4. The transportation hub can be a deck of approximately the same size as Mickey and Friends and can include an enclosed walkway that cuts through the Carousel Inn property, across Harbor Blvd, and terminating in the east plaza of the esplanade. The walkway would be double level for the sake of crowd control (one way on each level, or variable with both in the same direction during rush hours) and features moving walkways along the long stretches.

The Transportation Hub also includes a large bus depot on the ground floor, additional taxi stands, and, eventually, connection to public transit. With the new bus depot, all non Disney buses will now drop off here, not in the drop off loops to the east of the esplanade, which will hopefully control traffic better.

The west additions include the Disney announced hotel (though obviously my interpretation of the project) and a large expansion to Downtown Disney. A new parking deck would then be built on Lot 3 to serve both the hotel and retail areas. It would also include a replacement for the valet drop off and parking, and taxi stands.

The other improvement in this phase is the construction of a tram route from the Simba parking lot to the east side drop off, utilizing the existing back road behind DCA. This will be most important in later phases when decks are built here.

Phase 2 includes more parking and hotel additions to account for the assumed higher crowds at the parks and prepare for the 3rd gate.
This phase brings additions to the south west area of the resort with a new luxury hotel in Lot 6, a new small parking deck in Lot 5 that serves as overflow for the surrounding hotels, and a new large parking deck in Lot 6, adjacent to the tram route, to add parking capacity for park visitors and replace the lost spots at the Toy Story lot, which is now under construction.

The hotel would include an underground parking deck under the pool level and a walking bridge over to the new parking deck, so guests can use the tram to the parks.

The new large deck fills half of the lot with the tram loop splitting the halves. Once this deck is opened, the Toy Story lot is closed to start construction.

Phase 3 brings additions for the 3rd gate that opens in this phase.
Biggest in this phase is a new deck located at the 3rd gate, which is not drawn in this diagram is a parking facility at the 3rd gate location. This will be designed and detailed when I get to designing the 3rd gate.

A second deck is built on Lot 6 to continue adding capacity lost at the Toy Story Lot and a bus stop loop is built by the Mickey and Friends deck for direct transportation to the 3rd park. This route (Mickey and Friends to 3rd Gate) would hopefully be minimal traffic, as guests would be primarily directed to both the 3rd gate and the Transportation Hub, but this bus is here for convenience.

Also, two transportation systems are added on to the deck on Lot 7: a light rail station that connects to a city built system, and a peoplemover station conveys guests from the deck to the 3rd gate.

Last, Phase 4 adds one final parking location in Lot 1 to fully build out the main resort infrastructure.
A final new deck is built on Lot 1, the last large lot without a parking deck. This is connected to the existing tram route and the previously added bus stop to transport guests to the 3 parks.

I think that is enough text for one post, so this is going to be break between sections. But the good news is that more will be coming very soon. I developed each of these 4 phases with fully detailed site plans, with similar quality to the park plans.

So next week, I will be back with those site plans and more detailed information about the themes and contents of the hotels and retail expansions!

Thanks for reading, and leave a comment if you have any thoughts or ideas!