Monday, December 12, 2016

Third Gate Progress: An Update

I decided that I should give you a quick update on the Third Gate for Disneyland that I have been working on.

This has been the most challenging project I have worked on. I've been mentally stuck for a while, keeping me from making significant advances in the design. It's been a combination of the challenging site, formulating a logical themed story to connect the lands, and figuring out the lineup of attractions that are both realistic and cutting edge enough for a modern landmark theme park.

But things have started coming together and I have reshuffled my plans, partially based on the comments you gave in the previous posts and a lot of evaluations.

So the big change is that Zootopia is out, Star Wars is (possibly) back in, and I have doubled down on the international structure for the park to strengthen the relational logic between lands.

Eliminating Zootopia was difficult because I think it would make a perfect themed environment, but I was never able to reconcile it with the thematic structure I set up for the park. The reason for that in my mind, and the reason Zootopia is potentially a bit of a challenge anywhere, is that it is a fully realized world where humans do not exist at all, not even, as far as we know, in an alternate world, like Monsters Inc, or outside the world, like Wreck it Ralph or Inside Out. If the park at all relates on a logical story level to the human world, Zootopia just makes no sense, because there is no story loophole to allow us humans into the world.

Of course this is not always an issue. Zootopia would work just fine in a studios based parks, or likely in an animal park, where the logic is a little less rigid. Actually it would probably work everywhere except EPCOT (or at least what EPCOT should be) and the park I am setting up here because there are some thematic rules that relate to humanity. So Zootopia is possible for somewhere else. I am considering some options to add it back into the resort somewhere else in a future revision to the existing parks. I have a cool idea.

Next, Star Wars is potentially back in directly because Zootopia was out and I believe I have room for one more land. I previously set out the reasoning why I believe the resort would want Star Wars in more than one land and that is still true. And it both does not have the humanity problem and is directly related to exploration and adventure, so I think I can make it work. I am pretty confident I will end up with room for this land, so assume it makes the final plan.

And last, I am maintaining the international based land but simplifying to one country and one IP per continent-land. The hope is for larger single environment areas instead of a collection of loosely related smaller areas.

So that means that the land lineup is now as follows.

The Village - The entry land, directly based on Greenwich Village in New York, but with a fantastic world exploration twist. A diverse and eclectic cityscape home to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers.

Mexico - A colonial town square featuring the future Pixar film Coco, where we explore folk culture here in the festival of Dia de los Muertos.

Greece - The ruins of a great civilization, where we explore mythological history, featuring Hercules.

Saudi Arabia - A Middle Eastern marketplace and the surrounding desert, where Aladdin and the stories of One Thousand and One Nights explore storytelling and legend.

(If you noticed, those three are grouped together into a kind of cultural exploration area, and are also all placed close together.)

Star Wars - An alien planet home to the world of Star Wars, where we explore the depths of space.

Kenya - An African preserve, featuring the Lion King, focusing on zoology and conservation.

Samoa - A Polynesian village at the base of a volcano, based on Moana, exploring both geography and geology of the land and seas.

Brazil - A rural mining town plus the rainforest, where we explore inventions and innovation with the characters from UP.

(Those three similarly are adjacent and share exploration of the natural world.)

New York City - The urban city of the Marvel superheros, exploring, well, super human abilities and societies. This is directly adjacent to the Village, so the city to city transition holds.

China - The city of modern China, exploring art and telling the story of Mulan.

The Grid - The digital world of Tron discovered by Flynn, where we explore the digital frontier. This is also adjacent to the Village, and entered through the arcade.

That's where it stands now. I think this all makes more sense that previous versions and I can make this work. Now that I am over the mental roadblock of setting up this structure, the actual drawing will go faster. In fact, the first few lands are roughly completed.

As a preview, here's where we stand now:

The transit hub, Hotel, The Village, The Grid, and Mexico are basically set up, and the other lands are placed. The rest, coming soon.

Also coming soon, that Indiana Jones ride from my Disney Studios Paris plan. This is going to be a good post, with a pretty cool video element that I have put some time into. So keep checking back and staying connected on twitter.


  1. Though we haven't seen the full drawing yet, the plan looks pretty compact. I can't see where any big open vistas, like you have in Rivers of America, or Cars Land, or Paradise Pier, can possibly fit in. I think that this is something that is important to help the park breathe a little.

  2. Absolutely true. The real life site is challengingly compact, which is another one of the reasons I've been going slow.

    There just isn't room for huge lakes and lagoons or big single attractions if I also want to fit in a good amount of lands and attractions. But more moderate spaces, like the scale of the walkway along Rivers of America, are definitely possible, where there is open space but still a lot of function packed in. So that's my goal.

    I'll make sure to keep your ideas in mind as I keep going. Thanks!

    1. Good point about Rivers of America. Even though it has open space, every inch is actually used. Tom Sawyer's Island, the riverboats, the canoes, the rafts and Fantasmic make sure the space is not "wasted."

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  4. Good plan, though if I might make some suggestions, I would switch Marvel and China, as since the Grid and the Village are connected to New York, which is in turn related to Marvel.

    As for Star Wars, I'm a bit iffy on whether I think you should include it or not, but it's fine overall I guess.

    1. Thanks. Star Wars will be first cut as I continue if there is no room or if I feel the theme doesn't work.

      But transition wise, I believe I can make it work as a tropical Star Wars setting, not urban, that blends to the Jungle of Africa, sands of the Middle East, and beaches of Polynesia pretty cleanly. Like the setting in Rogue One. That works perfectly.

      And to the story, I see the idea of Star Wars fitting in with the adventurous spirit and exploration of the unknown theme the rest of the park has. I can loosely tie it to the SEA organization theme, since its all fictional and fantastic already. Why not say that one of the SEA members went into space?