Monday, September 26, 2016

Disneyland Fantasyland Expansion Plan: Frozen Ever After and A Tangled Tale

This post will be hopefully the first of multiple detailed plans based on the Disneyland Resort expansion I just completed.

This time will be the north Fantasyland expansion that I proposed, formed of an Indoor Arendelle area, a Frozen boat ride, and a Tangled trackless dark ride. I'll start with a walk through of the area before we enter the attractions.

The addition begins as a forest path coming from the train bridge underpass, splitting left for Frozen and straight ahead for Tangled. The area also connects to the expansion area replacing the Fantasyland Theater, where the new Peter Pan's Flight is located.

Each of the two attractions have architectural icons that we can see from this path. To the right, through the trees, guests can see a forced perspective Rapunzel's Tower in a distant cleaning, surrounded by a rockwork wall with a waterfall behind. Guests cannot get all that close to it, so it should be able to stay in perspective as being far away. The entrance to the Tangled attraction is straight ahead and the queues lead into the rockwork wall and then into an interior simulated exterior forest.

The Frozen side of the forest path, the left side, features a stone tower with a wide eight sided roof as the icon, beckoning guests to the cave path to Arendelle. The tower is covered in snow and displays banners for the kingdom, welcoming us to the Winter Festival of the newly opened city. The train station is also redressed with Arendelle inspired architecture to further tie the area together. It is not removed or replaced, but the exterior architecture is redesigned. The train station remains on the second floor while the ground floor below becomes restrooms and a gift shop that opens to the north side, holding merchandise for both properties.

Guests enter The Kingdom of Arendelle through the cave path and find a small Village facade on the left and the Palace gates on the right, which lead into the square of the Palace. The main Palace facade sits ahead, with fountains frozen into grand spirals on either side. Inside the palace is a meet and greet, which has two identical rooms. The short queue passes through the main entry hall, where a large family portrait hangs at the end of the room, into a side room, the library, and then guests are directed down a hallway to one of two rooms where both sisters are waiting.

The left corner of the square facing the palace is the entrance to the Ice Skating, and a small queue leads to a payment and skate rental desk, and then to a seating area for skaters to get ready. Small lockers are available. They then can skate for a 20-minute shift on the frozen lake in the middle of the icy forest. Occasional snow flurries fall on the skaters, and a Photopass photographer is on the ice to document guests experience.

The north corner of the square has snack carts that sell specialty cold and hot drinks, perfect for the theme, and basic snacks. The south corner has a large retail location, operated by Oaken, which can also be accessed through the tower at the exterior of the land.

In the Village facades across the way is the queue for the main attraction. The queues begin on the north side of the building and gradually slope down before entering the ground floor of the building, which is 5’ below the level of the main pathway. The queues pass through various rooms that are the shops of the city. Fastpass goes directly to the load, Standby goes up a staircase to a second floor extended queue, then back down to load. Handicap guests may use an elevator to go directly to the load platform. By the way, I did not design the upper queue, ran out of time, so it is just a blank room for now.

Guests board the large boat and then float away from the dock and into the Ice Forest, where fake trees twinkle with crystals. We pass the ice skating, and then head into a dark tunnel. We emerge into the Ice Forest and immediately see Olaf on the left, greeting us. This would be similar to the awesome walking figure in the existing ride. The trolls are ahead on the right, telling the story of the sisters, but they are found on both sides of the flume. Then on the left is a look into the dark forest where the glowing eyes of the wolves menace. We make it through however and see Anna on her sleigh on the left, greeting us. We float under an snow covered rock arch and come up upon Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, where he stands on the porch and offers us his winter sale. In the windows, we see projections of his family in the sauna, waving. We float into the barn and meet Kristoff and Sven, and then emerge into the Crystal Forest, filled with pointed ice spikes and Olaf and Anna pointing our way to visit Elsa.

We turn and enter an Icy gateway, the entrance to Elsa Ice Palace, and then go up hill to the mountain. Above us are ornately carved ice arches. At the top, we turn left to a wall of pointed ice arches looking out over the frozen mountain landscape, just as the song begins. Through a swinging set of doors, we finally make it to Elsa’s Ice Palace. In front of us is a large automated set piece of the palace which actually grows in front of us in time to the music, as Elsa, who we see projected in the balconies, uses her powers. We then float underneath it and the huge ice chandelier above, pulsing with the music. Then we continue out of the tower and under the icy arches and to the next scene, where we see Elsa on her balcony completing the song. Then we exit the palace and finally pass Marshmallow, who pushes us down the mountain. We splash down and pass a giant model of Arendelle, snow fireworks exploding above, like in the existing attraction. Then finally we pass the group of characters once again, waving goodbye. Then unload, up a ramp, and back to the public area of Arendelle. We don't directly exit into a gift shop, but there are two nearby.

I have a scene animation created for the Ice Palace effect that I described above. The video shows 4 repeats of the growth and reset cycle. The effect is formed of multiple layers that slide upward around the central tower. The top crown slides up and the points slide out of it, the balcony slides up and the hand rail grows up from it, the inner pointed arches slide down, the stairs slide up with the balcony, the side wall grows up, and finally the rear window arches slide up in two pieces. Additionally, projections are important to the effect. The front faces of the tower and the side rear walls are projection mapped, so that crystalization textures can be added to emphasize the growth effects. Also, the projections fill in the interior space of the tower, showing the Ice Chandalier growing and Elsa walking around, using her power, and causing the tower to grow. The rear walls show views looking out on the icy mountain. The entire process takes about 15 second, begining when the doors open to enter the room, and ending right as the boat enter the interior of the tower. It then all quickly resets for the next boat. The overhead arches on the north side of the tower attempt to block the view of guests on that side of the track from really noticing this repeated transition.

Now on to Tangled.

The Tangled dark ride entrance is outside in the forest path. The queue goes through a simulated interior forest, like the ET dar ride, next to the castle walls and then gets to the load area, where guests board a trackless carriage. The 4 carriages then pass through an open door in the stone wall and into the first scene, where they circle around a platform. Rapunzel and Flynn are at the center, welcoming us to the Festival of Lights, where she will be retelling the story of the lost princess. This is my strategy to somewhat get around some of the problems of the book report dark ride. Because this is a retelling, there is license to summarize and leave out plot elements because Rapunzel is telling a new version of this story. The image below is a rough massing perspective to show the character of the scene.

We then move backwards and turn to a tunnel of projection surfaces on either side, where Rapunzel's paintings come to life with her narration. These are used to summarize and transition between scenes, allowing for quick but logical transitions between the major spaces. In these paintings, she tells us of how she came to be in the tower, and then we enter the tower itself, a large and tall circular set, where she sings “When Will My Life Begin”. We continue through the curtained portal and into scenes of “Mother Knows Best” and Rapunzel interrogating Flynn, all of which technically take place in the same room. The car rotates and shifts as it transitions to hopefully confuse and obscure where we are really going. The first of these scenes shows the dark room, with just Gothel and the Mirror, instructing the seated Rapunzel. The interrogation scene shows Flynn tied up and Rapunzel with her frying pan, agreeing to leave the tower.

Then we leave the tower and transition past paintings showing the descent from the tower. We processed into the forest, where the track splits through the woods, and passes Flynn complaining about his wanted poster, stuck on a tree. Rapunzel frolicks in the distance, in projected form. We then move into the Snuggly Duckling for the largest scene of the ride. The track again splits around a large center table where Rapunzel is standing and singing. In the corner is the Piano Playing Thug, who trades verses with Rapunzel. The highly detailed room is filled with figures singing along, including Flynn pinned to a post. The Cupid thug rotates on a wire above us as well.

Then we move under the balcony to a side room, where we see Maximus and a Guard searching for Flynn, but they have escapes out of the trapdoor by the bar to the side of the room. Mother Gothel peeks through a window to the side. We turn backwards into a transition painting room, where Rapunzel summarizes her journey into the Kingdom walls. This is themost effective use of the transition paintings, because it cuts out a solid 20-30 minutes of less important plot. Then we move into the large scene of the Lanterns on the water. We make a full revolution around the-central boat, surrounding by gently bobbing lanterns, supplemented with projections and mirrors to extend the view. We leave this room through a large swinging door and pass a view into the woods, where Mother Gothel consoles Rapunzel as Flynn sails away in a silhouetted projection through the trees.

We continue back into the tower, and circle around Rapunzel in the center, just at the moment she realizes she is the lost princess. The paintings on the tower walls and ceiling come to life just like in the film with fiber optic and projection effects. The cars move on to a series of small scenes completing the story. First, we see Gothel stabbing Flynn, just in front of the tower window, then a scene of Flynn cutting Rapunzel's hair, and then Rapunzel healing Flynn in a cloud of light. The middle scene uses an update of an old school effect to show Gothel ageing. The figure stands by the mirror, and when the hair is cut, she turns to face the mirror, but we actually see a duplicate aged figure simultaneously turning into view. The ride concludes with another storytelling scene, where Rapunzel completes her story with a happily ever after and everyone says goodbye. The cars then move back out to unload, and guests exit back out into the forest path of Fantasyland, passing a retail cart and eventually seeing the retail ahead under the train station.

This is probably the largest detail plan area I am going to develop, but I want to design many of the smaller additions I proposed. Are there any specific attractions or lands you want to see more detail on?

Thanks for reading and leave a comment!


  1. Oh I love it! I'd particularly like to see a ride POV of the Tangled Ride similar to your London Library Epcot Ride.

    1. Thanks. This would probably be a good ride for that so we will see. The animation process of setting the path and the views is a little more complicated than I would like, preventing frequent attempts, but I am thinking about other solutions (ie Blender) that might make it easier and therefore make it more likely that I do more videos.

      Potentially more likely is shorter video segments of specific scenes instead of whole attractions.

      Anyway, I will definitely keep the request for more videos in mind.

  2. This is great! Also I would love to see an attraction plan for the Incredibles ride.