Monday, October 17, 2016

Third Gate Progress: The Attraction Lineup

Back with another update on the 3rd Gate Project! At this point, I have fairly thoroughly transformed the rough concept and property goals I discussed in a previous post into a line up of lands and attractions.

I have also started to diagrammatically work out the layout of the lands, but it is still flexible and in progress. It is more of just an arrangement of the network of lands and the start of ideas of how attractions fit into the site.

So in this post, I am going to give you the basic network layout and the mostly developed land and attraction list. I have alot of thoughts for the story as well, but don't want to spoil all that quite yet. That story is mostly the concept of the individual members of SEA and how they are involved in the various lands and tie back together in the main organization. Therefore, I am leaving out some of the original attraction ideas because they relate to these unique members.

When formulating the attraction line up, I wanted to be realistic with the scope of an opening day park, so I analyzed the last few opening day line ups. The best comparison is Shanghai Disneyland, because the previous opening parks (Hong Kong Disneyland and California Adventure) were intentionally underbuilt.

By my count and interpretation of the following categories, Shanghai Disneyland opened with 20 attractions (not including meet and greets or simple exhibits, but definitely including walkthrough and exploration areas) and 3 dedicated theater shows (not including street based shows or the castle show, parade, or fireworks). The attractions fall into the following categories: 7 non IP attractions, 4 major E ticket attractions, 12 minor attractions, such as walkthroughs, exploration areas, and spinners, and 6 attractions that could be considered a dark ride.

I set my goals with similar numbers, with consideration that this is a smaller and more IP focused park. At least 20 attractions and 2 shows, at least 5 non IP attractions, 5 E ticket attractions, 10 minor attractions, and at least 6 dark rides.

Now I'll very briefly walk through the network of lands and mention most of the attractions that I have planned.

First, outside the park is a 3000 space parking deck on the north west side of the site, an adjacent transportation hub with multiple bus stops and the peoplemover station. On the opposite north east corner is the hotel area, which includes underground parking and sits adjacent to the park, possibly with ground floor retail in the park like the Mira Costa in Tokyo Disney Sea.

Adventure Harbor

The first land and entrance corridor is the central harbor of the worldwide SEA organization and therefore includes their storage warehouses, archives, clubhouse, and most iconic, their steamship, which is the central icon of the park.

The land is entirely original, no IPs, and includes retail, food and beverage including a table service restaurant in the clubhouse, a interactive park wide game organized from the clubhouse, and a VR explorers game in the ship.

North America

This continent is represented by San Francisco, transitioning from the urban harbor area into the streets of the city. There are two distinct areas and properties in the land: Tron and Inside Out. Tron is an interior land reached through Flynn's arcade and includes an interior Grid environment and an EMV coaster attraction. Inside Out is a shooting dark ride where guests send memories orbs to headquarters to balance the emotions. The land also includes retail and small food, including the required pizza location adjacent to Riley's house.

South America

This continent has two area, one set in the deep rainforest jungle, which includes Mystic Manor and a suspended dark ride based on UP, and the other in Mexico featuring a boat ride based on the upcoming Coco. I know Mexico is actually North America, but it fits better here aesthetically and I use it as a transition from San Francisco to the rainforest. The Mexico area would include significant retail and dining.


This is a single property land just because Zootopia set up such a complete and interesting environment that could make a great themed environment. The land at least one flat ride spinner as well as a larger family coaster dark ride through the various areas of the city. There is also (hopefully) a cable car transportation attraction between the rainforest of Zootopia and the rainforest of South America. These shared rainforests are the transition between lands.


This land is a tropical aquatic environment, transitioning from the aquatic area of Zootopia, and features a lava flowing volcano that forms a secondary icon for the park. The volcano holds a spinning family coaster and Moana is represented in a large trackless water dark ride.

Star Wars

This second Star Wars land is smaller than the first and holds a distinct environment from the Disneyland version. Possibly something aquatic to be a transition from Polynesia. The attractions would include a media/water coaster, and an animatronics based show. This is less defined since I don't know much about the first land.


This is a larger land, but is also loosely defined at this point. For transition and thematic reasons, it makes sense to relate it to space instead of a city based location, so it could possibly include the upcoming Infinity Wars events, the Thor universe, Guardians of the Galaxy universe, and maybe even Dr. Strange since it is mystical instead of realistic. The possible Dr. Strange area could be used to transition to Asia and Thor could transition to Europe.

Africa, Asia, and Europe

These lands are really more of a combined area and are smaller than the other main lands. They tuck against the hotel and possibly include thre ground floor of the hotel building. There are a variety of small areas.

Africa is represented with a savanna city and including a Lion King flume ride. The Middle East features an Aladdin based flight simulator as well as retail and dining. The jungles of India hold a Jungle Book based acrobatics show and a Chinese area features an attraction based on Mulan. Finally, Europe has a Spain inspired area with a Gigantic dark ride, and a Greece area with a Hercules maze and exploring attraction.

Like I said, that does not include everything. There are somethings that I have thought out already that I just don't want to share yet and there are plenty of things that haven't been developed at all. The real specifics will happen once the layout starts to finalize. I am in the process of starting to lay that out so we will see what's going to happen.

But for now, this is the general scheme for the park.

So are there any attractions or properties that you think should fit in these lands? Did you have any different ideas about how to include a certain IP? Let me know with a comment. Thanks!


  1. Very interesting concept for a park. I've always liked the "explorer concept" and remember back to your idea for a WDW 5th Gate. The Idea of the World Exposition put on by society of inventors/explorers. I recently read up on the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and thought of your park design. Seeing pictures of the White City and knowing that those structures are gone is remarkable although a little sad.

    I'm interested to see your concept moving forward. I like the Idea of a North American Urban section and would be interested in how it will translate. San Fransisco is a nice subject city since Inside Out is set there. But I worry about picking that city with California Adventure being right down the road.

    South America and Polynesia sections are great additions and rarely seen in parks.

    I like the StarWars and Marvel sections and see the similarities to Harry Potter World in Orlando. One thing that makes it work in two parks is the connection via the Hogwarts Express. Something to link the lands in different parks might be a cool thing to explore.

    The Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia section at this point seems a little odd to me. These subcontinents have so much diversity that this section just seems like a collection of IPs and not a cohesive land.

    Nice update and excited about the next.

    1. Thanks for the thorough comment.

      Agreed, the worlds fairs from the turn of the century were impressive looking and seemed like fantastic designed environments.

      As for North America, I had the choice of going urban or outdoorsy, but decided that an outdoor land conflicted too much with the lands of the other two parks (Frontierland and Grizzly Peak). Plus, I feel like parks need a balance between urban and natural lands, and I was already covering the latter well with the other themed areas. So urban North America gave me a few options for iconic settings, but when looking at the different films set in different cities, this seemed like a viable option because of the IPs I could use. Agree that it is maybe a little unfortunate that it aligns with DCA, but at least I intentionally did not include a San Francisco area in my refresh of the park. But still, it could be weird.

      I think that my strategy will be to minimize the focus on the specific city and work with it as more of a archetypal american urban city that just happens to be San Francisco.

      I really think the split land concept like Harry Potter and what I'm thinking about here is going to be more and more prevalent with these super franchises. I could totally see it happening again for Potter at an eventual third park, and I think it could work for these two IPs too. I will look into the possibility of the park to park transportation idea. Works perfect at UO because of the park adjacency, but I'll look at it.

      And last, the Europe Asia Africa comment. I totally get what your saying and think that I will eventually have to reign in the scope of the proposal and cut some of these areas. I'm thinking of it as three adjacent and enclosed minilands, but its still a lot of areas, I know.

      I'm including all of these diverse areas because this is the only logic I can come up with to include this diverse collection of films that don't have representation in the parks. But this is exactly why they aren't in the parks, they are themed environments that don't blend well, so they have to be these standalone areas. I'll keep working it out and remember your thoughts.

      Anyway, I appreciate the legitimate critical suggestions and will definitely keep them in mind. Thanks!

  2. So, this concept is certainly interesting and I do admit, I love the the Westcot inspiration, what with the whole America, Asia, Europe, and Africa parts of the concept. That being said, I will admit I'm slightly iffy toward the whole Star Wars and Marvel parts of the plan. They honestly don't feel like they work with the rest of the park's themed lands. Maybe it's the fact Polyensia is stuck in the middle between Zootopia and Star Wars that it points a big arrow to me toward the fact the feel a tiny bit out of place. Maybe if you switched it and Marvel's places, one so it's separate from the other three and not stuck in the middle, and two so it's southeast of Europe, Asia, and Africa like how The Americas are west of them?

    In fact, I could your Explorer's concept working really well here, if you mix it with aspects of the original Westcot design. Theoretically you could borrow some of the designs from it here, so instead of it focusing on one part of the continent like how America focuses on San Francisco (Also have to agree with Jared Long on California Adventure sort of messing with having a whole land dedicated to San Francisco). You could instead have aspects of New York, Mexico (likely to the south of the area, so it is closer to South America), San Francisco, Miami, Quebec(North of the Area), and Chicago to fill up North America.

    If you do end up deciding to use the Explorer's concept, I could think of two alternate themed lands to replace Star Wars/Marvel that would fit said concept. One land would be related to Sea adventures, and inspired by Captain Nemo and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and a land perhaps dedicated to Atlantis.

    That's my idea of course, but it's your park, so it's ultimately your decision.

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      Yes the continent structure for the park is a somewhat nod to WESTCOT, plus it just feels like a strong structure that allows for both variety but organization.

      On to the Marvel and Star Wars issue. I am responding to the below comment from Douglas as well here. So the question of if Marvel and Star Wars should go in this park is where this may begin to deviate between real life and our ideal themed design. In real life, I see no way that this park does not include one or both based on what we have seen from Universal's implementation of Harry Potter. Its going to happen. The question is if it can be done in a thematically logical way, which is what I am trying to do here. My best strategy is to mix IP and original.

      Now that's difficult, and I know that this proposal is not perfect. Since I am sharing this as I work, it's very much still in progress and trying to come to terms with the logic myself. So its all subject to change, and I appreciate your thoughts as they help guide my direction.

      I will say that I still have not revealed all my thoughts that I think will help strengthen the theme. Basically, my current thoughts are to tie the lands in through the members of SEA. For instance, I am thinking about including a member who studies and collects artifacts of Mystical World Mythologies, which I can use as a thematic transition into multiple of the mystical Marvel properties (THOR, Dr. Strange, Thanos). Same with Star Wars and a cosmonaut member, and Zootopia and a zoologist member. Again, not perfect, but I am trying to stretch some logic.

      I am going to think about Douglas's suggestion about just mixing the Marvel in with the continents instead of doing its own land. That might be able to work and would help the logic.

      Also, I'm going to take into consideration your suggestion about changing the order of the back lands. Your point about matching the spatial relation of the continents makes alot of sense.


    2. Well, based on your response I might some more suggestions. One thing I forgot to add in my last past is that you should perhaps switch Africa and Asia's positions on the map, with Asia being larger than Africa.

      Now on to some new responses. If Marvel isn't getting a full land, perhaps one of the two lands I suggested in my last post, Atlantis or a Sea Land could work. Actually based on my next idea, perhaps Atlantis. Especially in light of the fact more people seem to be liking it as it goes on, and I could very much see it becoming more of one of the Cult Disney films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Fantasia(which were both not great successes when they were first released, and only become popular over time, especially so in the later case).

      Now considering the whole Marvel/World Mythologies aspect you mentioned, it could really work. An example is to have each land centered around a mythology or mythologies, and weaving Marvel into that. Europe could have a Thor area, and a Hercules area, Asia could have Doctor Strange and Mulan, Africa could have Black Panther and maybe Lion King.

      North and South America is where it would get tricky. While Pocahontas and Emperor's New Grove are logical for North and South America respectively, you could debatably argue for the franchise which Disney does not fully(only partially) presently own, but all signs point to it owning one day. I mentioned in the comment of a previous post, but there is a possibility that Disney could one day own the Percy Jackson series.

      The basic gist of it is that Disney owns Hyperion Books which publishes the Percy Jackson books. While Rick Riordan is the author, and therefore 'owns' it, Hyperion and thus Disney have the book rights. Though Fox currently owns the film rights, unless they make another film series or sequel, it will go back to Rick Riordan and Disney, who I could very much see one day rebooting the film series. Now assuming this does happen, and this park is open around something like 2030, there's an argument to be made that Percy Jackson could be a big Disney IP by the time this park is open.

      Anyways, my final thing to speak on is Star Wars. What ultimately is going to I think decide how if this land works is the style of the 'planet' you set it on. The great thing about the new upcoming Star Wars land in Disney World and Disneyland is that they are setting in an a new 'planet' built solely for the parks.

      I think, and this is my opinion, you should one put it where Zootopia is currently placed on the map above, and two make the lands closer to South America more Jungle like, and the lands closer to Zootopia(which should be right next door) Urban, with more sci-fi looking building. Zootopia would be next door, and next to it would be my earlier suggestion of Atlantis, which would be designed to look at 'ruined', with the lands west connecting with Zootopia bigger and better blending to the Urban aspect of Zootopia, while the lands east and closer to Polynisia looking more like small ruins, with maybe one of those statues from the movie collapsed on the ground.

    3. Hey Nerdman,
      So I'm not sure if you are familiar with the ideal buildout 3rd gate design from 2 years ago. I did the Atlantis/Greek/Rome myth land for the design charrette. I think a similar idea would work great in this design as well. Perhaps mix the realistic continent lands with myth based lands like Atlantis and Greece/Rome. I am also a Percy Jackson fan and eventually want it to be redone, but at the moment I can't see a good way to include it in the parks. You might be interested in the final design because I think it fits a lot of your ideas.

  3. I agree. You don't need a Marvel or Star Wars land. Just have Marvel attractions interspersed with other IP or non IP attractions. A park with six lands themed to six continents (combining Polynesia and Australia into one) and tied together with an overall exploration theme would be simple but broad enough to encompass a wide variety of attractions.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I appreciate the ideas and criticism.

      I responded to part of your comment in the response above, about Star Wars and Marvel.

      Also, I'm going to take into consideration your suggestion about spreading the Marvel around the continents. I think, depending on the properties, that could maybe work and help address your comment.

    2. Perhaps making the Star Wars section instead themed to space and then including Star Wars and other franchises like Walle, GoG, etc...

    3. Amazing ideas. I agree with some of the other commenters about the land's orders being mismatched. I would propose to swap Zootopia and south America, with Zootopia blending into north America to the north and the jungles to the south. I also would swap Africa and Asia, as large hotel buildings might seem slightly out of place in the Savannah. I too would like to see an inter park transit system as previously suggested. I had an idea for a Hogwarts Express type simulated window ride but as an elevated railway train carrying you through Marvel style areas. I am a huge fan of the S.E.A theme here, and would personally love the park as a whole. Amazing work as usual from Imagineerland!