Monday, April 10, 2017

Islands of Adventure Park Plan v2

This month brings an updated version of the Islands of Adventure park plan that I posted just about a year ago.

This, along with the two Paris park plan revisions posted in the last few months, begins in earnest the effort to publish updated versions of many of the existing park plans from the first year of the blog. So that means that thought is starting to go into revisions to the four Walt Disney World parks and possibly minor revisions to the Disneyland parks from last summer. These are some of the most popular posts for a reason, so I want to keep them current in regards to real life developments and just changing ideas. I think I have some good ideas going, so they should be good posts.

And to start, I return to Islands of Adventure, a really fantastic park in its current state that has a lot of expansion potential.

First, a bit of theory that guided my planning. This is somewhat repeated from the original plan, but it all still holds true.

Islands of Adventure was originally designed with a really unique theme and organization of a ring of separated "islands" based on literary property genres, tied together with the conceit of an entry port where the residents of all the islands intermingle. That is a pretty well defined concept that almost technically still holds true so many years later. That's unique among theme parks, where generally the theme and organization dilutes over time. It was finally broken with Reign of Kong just last year, but I'm kind of ignoring that.

The other unique thing about this park is just how much of it can be replaced right now. Each land has at least one expansion area, and two whole lands could be entirely replaced right now for the better of the park. That's a lot to work with.

So with these possibilities, I had some personal goals. Overall, I wanted to maintain the original concept and structure because of how well it was originally defined.

First, I wanted to make sure to keep distinctly divided islands. Some of the island transitions had existing water barriers, but some did not, so I want to make it so that guests always cross water to travel between islands. Logically, that makes sense to repeat the bridge transition.

And second, in my choice of additions, I stuck to the literary source theme and actually began to set up a structure of literary relationships between islands. This is something that isn’t supposed to really be evident, but helps me, the planner, understand how the park is structured.

The situation of the park presented me with two major holes on opposite sides of the park, surrounded by established lands. In general terms, the left is action/sci-fi comic books, a void, and then sci-fi/thriller fiction. The right is whimsical fantasy children’s fiction, another void, and then contemporary high fantasy fiction. The left is adventure, the right is fantasy. I attempted to keep these trends with my selections. Additionally, I knew realistically that nothing would be added to this park if it was also not based on a film property, so that further limited my possibilities.

But still, these goals are a great place to start and I think my plan successfully expands the park with the original intent intact.

And now, walk through the park starting at the entrance.

No changes to Port of Entry, besides adding prop and text references to the characters of the new lands. This is already a great entry land, so no need to try to improve it.

However, there is an ideological expansion to the land across the lagoon. I always found it odd and unfilfilling that the Jurassic Park Discovery Center acted as the practical weenie for the main entrance corridor. It felt off to me to base it on a single land and it wasnt as grand or impressive as it could be. So, just like in my last version of this plan, I decided to include a new individual island across the lagoon to provide for the view terminus of Port of Entry. Aligning with the literary theme, the island holds The Library, a large structure with an impressive facade that is a cross between the eclectic Mediterranean style of Port of Entry and a more traditional Beaux-Arts Library, like the New York Public Library. It is meant to fit in with the style and view of this entry land, but also be able to be its own thing. The idea is that The Library has always been there, and that over time, the beloved stories that emerged from it populated the Islands of the park to create what we have today.

The interior therefore includes a grand entry hall with references to the books that created the park, a large retail space that is designed as the book stacks, a counter service resturant with outdoor patio on the right side, and a second level table service restaurant that looks back out over the lagoon. The book stacks retail would be dressed as if the elements of each story began to grow out of the bookcases, and now the themed merchandise specific to each land has filled in the space.

This concept of adding this neutral land may be a bit impractical, but I like the idea with respect to the thematic concept and the balance of the park. It would create some nice symmetry and finally give the park an in-park icon to pair with the lighthouse.

Back to the front of the park, the land next to Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, gets just a few alterations and is the same concept from my original Islands plan, because I still think it is the best concept for the plan.

The architectural style of the land is updated to reflect a more realistic city, so the oversized comic book characters are removed and some actual materials replace cartoon materials. It is still clearly a comic book land, but just with a higher level of detail to help match the quality of the hyper realistic areas of the rest of the park. This is a move throughout the park. The Wizarding World lands have set a new benchmark for thematic detail in this park and resort. If possible, I think the rest of the land should attempt to follow suit to a lesser degree to make a more cohesive park.

The Hulk is slightly modified. The rear area of the attraction behind the land is rethemed and the track is partially enclosed. Trees and façade flats surround the track area to reshape it into a city park that the Hulk speeds through. Then, after the brake run, the track dives into an enclosed building where the Hulk barrels through destroyed office and lab interiors in the dark. The final brake runs and track back to the station are enclosed and themed as the lab where the experiment went wrong. Again, this is a move to up the immersive quality of this area.

Replacing Storm Force and Fear Fall is a new large dark ride based on the X-Men family. The entrance is to the left of the dining location, which is also rethemed to the X-Men, and exits to the alley between attractions where there is also a permanent meet and greet building with Marvel heroes and villains, supplementing those that meet on the streets.

Next is the land replacing Toon Lagoon, which needed to be based on adventure literature, and also needed to be able to transition from city to jungle. After looking at a lot of possibilities, I decided on a land based on horror literature, because it can tie into the Universal Monsters Universe that is being created. I see this as the perfect fit for this park. Unfortunately, it is hard to design a land based on films that are years away from reality. I have no idea what the time period or visual style of the movies will be. All I know is that the lineup will include the Wolfman, the Invisible Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Van Helsing, which are the properties I ultimately selected because I could realistically see them being set in similar environments. That is why I declined to choose the new Mummy movie, because desert just would not be as successful a transition between lands.

Guests cross a new water way separating the two lands and enter a forested modern Eastern European village area. I'm just assuming they will keep the traditional Eastern European setting for these kinds of monster movies, but alternately, this area could be any kind of village. Three of the retail and dining buildings from Toon Lagoon are salvaged and redressed as the village with expansive changes to the facades and interiors. To the left, on a rocky plinth, is a stone castle that sits overlooking the village. Inside is the main Dracula vs Van Helsing attraction, a trackless Haunted Mansion style attraction that is heavy on animatronics and special effects. The main village is made of retail and dining facades as well as a small attraction for the Invisible Man. An interactive special effects walk through show lets us meet the Invisible Man in person as the props of the room come to life. This would take advantage of Musion effects, live actors, and a lot of automated effects.

The rafts attraction remains, but is rethemed. The reason I did not remove it like the other attractions of the land is because I think it is too highly integrated into the waters edge. Also, I think it could be reworked into an attraction for the Creature from the Black Lagoon. The village transitions to a jungle expedition camp, so the vegetation of the area around the rafts is built up. The existing queue buildings and infrastructure are maintained and rethemed. The actual track is the same but more of it is enclosed in rockwork caves so that there can be more indoor show scenes for encounters with the Creature. The ship playground is removed as well. The final lift building is reworked as a cave and a new indoor section after the splashdown features the final scare from the Creature before unload.

The third and final area replaces Ripsaw Falls. The heavily wooded area is the home of the Wolfman and a wooden coaster. The queues travel through a gypsy camp in the woods. The coaster is mostly indoors, where is speedily weaves through the forest, avoiding the attack of the Wolfman, and ending with an outdoor loop by the main path.

These predictions and design may prove to be completely inaccurate to the character of the final films, but these are my best guess for an area that would work in Islands of Adventure.

Jurassic Park is next. This version is completely different that the first Islands plan, just because I decided that the popularity of the Jurassic franchise warrants something big and better. Therefore, this plan proposes the removal of Jurassic River Adventure, Camp Jurassic, the Discovery Center, and most of the intermediate buildings. Basically, just Thunder Falls Terrace remains intact. I removed all this because I decided that I could get more attractions and therefore more capacity and more impactful experiences in the same amount of land. The River Adventure too up a huge amount of land, and you will see that I subbed that out for two attractions, so I am happy with the decision.

Side note about Kong: it's incompatibility with the franchise and the literary model put me in a difficult place to decide what to do about it. At one point, I considered not including it as a hypothetical situation, or maybe retheming it to Jurassic Park, but I decided to most realistically let it be, but separate it from the main land and let it kind of just be its own thing on its own island. So Skull Island exists as an unofficial island, with a water transition to both other lands. Best I could do.

The land of Camp Jurassic is basically replaced by a shifted path and Jurassic Park gate, so that Kong can be isolated. This leads right to the clearing ahead of Thunder Falls Terrace, just as now, and past that is a similar body of water with a boat flume runout. Right is the path through the jungle, but a new Discovery Center is visible straight ahead. Also visible is three different transportation system attractions, all winding their way through the land.

On the right side is a new suspended family coaster, replacing Pteranodon Flyers, but using basically the same queue and load building, because it is well ingrained into some nice rockwork. This would be not just a kids ride, but a longer and higher capacity family friendly coaster that windows over the right side of the land. It's still short, but with larger vehicles, it would at least have a reasonable capacity.

Also on this right side, in order left to right, is a mini Camp Jurassic, a Raptor meet and greet like they have now, and a Dino Encounter pavilion, where you can seen an animatronic dinosaur up close.

The left side is the main attraction, a very large boat ride. I had a unique idea to split the ride into two buildings, with an outdoor segment in the middle. The dinosaur scenes are always going to look better inside because the figures can be better maintained, but I definitely wanted to keep an outdoor element. It loads outside in a similar building to the existing, and into similar boats to the existing. But then the interior showscenes are simulated jungle, not industrial space like the current ride. There, we have better encounters with dinosaur figures and the expanse of the park is increased with projected vistas over the valley. The transition outdoor segment leads us into the second half, where things eventually get darker. A more prolonged and intense encounter with a T Rex (or similar large terrifying dino) leads us over a waterfall. I think the value of the T Rex encounter isnt in passing it quickly, but in staring it down eye to eye, so I would like this to be a longer moment. The waterfall leads to a splashdown in the outdoor lagoon, though it is a more reasonable and minimal fall, like those in Pirates of the Carribean, not the huge fall there now.

The Discovery Center straight ahead is the load for the last attraction, an overhead peoplemover style ride that uses Gyrosphere bubbles to ride along the track. It loads on the upper floor of the Center, above the great hall, and then takes a loop first through the area of the coaster, passing the raptors, then crosses the path and goes over the river ride, and finally into the same two showbuildings. The idea is to get a second view into those scenes as well as some individual scenes for this attraction. The Discovery Center also has a small counter service location, with patio seating under large canopies.

The path then leads under a second Jurassic Gate and to the rear courtyard of The Library.

Next is the Wizarding World, where there are two big additions. First, to the left of the castle and Forbidden Journey is a Great Hall dining experience. The path along the greenhouses lead to a cave entrance that is themed to be the side entrance to the kitchens. Inside, by magic, we are transported to the entrance hall of the castle, and then into one of two Great Hall dining rooms. I included two so as to allow for good capacity and a high amounts of theme. The dining rooms are on the second floor, above the kitchens. Magical effects above entertain during the family style meal.

The other significant change to the land is the complete removal of Dueling Dragons. Even if it is a good coaster, it does not match the high realism of the land, and there are better uses of the land. This area becomes an expansion of Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Forest. A second backstreet of Hogsmeade has more retail and relieves congestion on the main street. It is on this side street that the first of the new attractions is located.

I originally decided that I wanted to add in a dark ride through the environment of the castle, since Forbidden Journey is so quick and expansive. But then I had to do some logical planning with the rules of Harry Potter to understand how I could explain a ride through the castle. Luckily, it worked out perfectly by taking advantage of the secret tunnels out of the castle. There are multiple that we don't know where they end, but the Weasley twins know each and every one. The conceit of this attraction is that the twins are operating an unofficial tour of the castle, sneaking guests in through a secret tunnel from a shop in Hogsmead, and then guiding us through many of the more interesting spaces of the castle. This would be a true dark ride with all physical sets and a lot of effects.

Back by Hagrid's Cottage is the entrance and queue for the new Forbidden Forest attraction. This area is the stables for the variety of animals he cares for. The queues wind through the roughly constructed paths and stables to the load building, which is the Thestral stable. This is nearly perfect, because it means that the ride can use autonomous vehicles but still be in theme. The ride is a carriage ride through the magical and terrifying forest, beginning with an outdoor section and then inside the show building. The scenes inside are heavily based on animatronics and environmental special effects. This is a much more family friendly attraction than Forbidden Journey.

Near the village is a new larger permanent arena venue for the Triwizard Rally. Also, in the next land, the theater is removed, so the forest surrounding the train station is grown so that the land is better isolated.

The next land is the second void. I like Lost Continent, but as it has been shrunk, its lost effectiveness and the remaining attractions are lower quality. This new land needed to align with the fantasy literature theme of this side. I decided to look through future film releases by the studios that Universal often work with. After some searching, I found the perfect option. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will be released by Warner Brothers this summer, and is meant to be the start of a franchise. This fantasy history property fits perfectly. Now there is a good chance this will flop and the franchise hopes will die. But I'll reconsider the land once that happens, though I don't see as obvious of a future film for this area. Oh well.

I removed all the attractions and buildings of this land except for Mythos. The land is small, so I decided on one main attraction. Looking at the attraction types at the resort, I saw that a large scale boat ride was missing (except for the Jurassic Park boat ride I added, but that is a bit different). Set behind a castle facade across an elevated bridge, the boat ride explores the action filled world of the Knights of the Round Table.

The main area of the land is set up as a Medieval village with small retail and dining around main town square. On the other side of the elevated bridge, there is a small area and stage for periodic knight shows, which would feature swordfighting and other showmanship skills.

Mythos is reworked into the location where Arthur found Excalibur, or some other location from the films. Again, this is all a guess based on my assumptions for the style and locations from the film, but from the trailer, I have a pretty good idea.

Last, Suess Landing only has minor changes. The One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish spinner is moved to where the play area is now. The expansion plot becomes Whoville with small retail buildings and an indoor family coaster/dark ride through the story of the Grinch. The mountain sits high above the land.

The park day culminates in a new fireworks and media show on the lagoon. I believe that the park was designed for this all along because each land features existing viewing areas on the water edge. Like other 360 degree shows, it would feature mainly low level pyro launched from a barge at the center of the lagoon as well as fountain effects. I drew in a 360 degree fountain screen, which could be used to cool effect.

That completes this updated version of this park. Overall, it adds or changes 11 attractions and expands every land substantially. And from the last version of this plan, one entire land is a different concept, and the execution of the concepts for three other lands moderately changed. I think it is a much better overall vision and I am happy with the result. 

Let me know what you like or don't like about it. And suggest an alternate to the King Arthur land in case that soon proves unrealistic. I would love to hear your ideas about a different direction for this land. 

Next month is what I meant to have this month, a detailed plan for my new Tomorrowland at Disneyland. I put a lot of work into it, but needed more time, so I moved this up instead. Tomorrowland is going to be a really good one, with a lot of design for the overall land plus one new attraction design. 

Check back soon and follow on Twitter to keep up. Thanks for reading! 


  1. Hey i see the Islands of Adventure Park plan V2 and i know your working on the Tomorrowland project at Disneyland and i love seeing all of your Disney Theme Park Projects and here is the 2018 Future Projects you may do or not, and so here a list of them:

    New international Disney Parks & Resorts in United Kingdom, Singapore, Dubai and Canada.

    Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea Future Expansions

    Hong Kong Disneyland Second Gate Park maybe like Disney's Hollywood Adventure, or even Hong Kong DisneySea

    Disney's America Park

    Walt Disney World Resort's Fifth Gate Park maybe like an DisneySea Type Theme Park

    Shanghai Disneyland

    That's All for now i Hope you love it and also post me in the comments to tell how that might be for 2018 because you did'n put an Shanghai Disneyland plan and an Tokyo DisneySEA plan yet i just saying because i am not angry i am just saying that to tell what parks your missing Shanghai & Tokyo Disney Parks.

    1. Some may happen, some may not. It's all about what I have ideas for. Suggestions noted, and thanks for reading.

  2. Hi Imagineerland! I was wondering - you mentioned the difficulty in selecting a franchise to replace the Lost Continent. Did you consider the newly owned Nintendo franchises or Dreamworks? Legend of Zelda (which, despite not being a film property is highly successful, and maybe coming to Netflix) or How to Train a Dragon could have fit with the theming of the land.

    1. Hey thanks for the suggestions!

      Nintendo- I didn't really consider it for two reasons: I never got into Nintendo as a kid, so I don't know much at all about it, and also I'm sure that what they have planned is already better than I could ever propose. But if we were to abandon the literary basis requirement, it probably would actually be a really good possibility, so good suggestion.

      Same for How to Train Your Dragon. The self imposed literary requirement kept it out of my list of possibilities, but the nordic dragon style could probably work pretty well here.

      So good ideas!

    2. Just a little known fact. How to Train Your Dragon is actually loosely based off of a children's novel of the same name. And i mean very loosely.

      And yea... I completely forgot about the literary requirement. Oops ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Again, I really love your work and keep it up! :)

    3. Huh well good research and suggestion then. Did't know that!

      The literary thing is really just me being particular, I'm 100% positive that in real life that is not a requirement. So your suggestions still count.


  3. Hello, Mr. Imagineerland. I only just discovered your wonderful work thanks to WDWMagic's March Madness event (where your Disneyland third gate Worlds of Exploration was eventually pitted against my third gate DisneySky). I love how realistic you are in all of your design projects, considering space issues, parks' existing ride menus, operational practicalities, popular IPs, et cetera. Seriously good work! You'll likely be a regular source of inspiration for my own silly Armchair Imagineering.

    To the matter at hand: ideas for replacing Lost Continent. Children's fantasy literature IPs with films: Chronicles of Narnia, Bridge to Terabithia, Wizard of Oz, maybe even Dahl's Willy Wonka stories. Any of these could likely reuse Mythos (not so much Wonka) and a could fit a slow boat ride. Each one I think requires licensing from another studio, but that's a Universal tactic already!

    1. Hey! I saw your project as well and was equally impressed! Funny that two projects on the same site with some similar ideas came up against each other. I thought yours had some really great ideas and I loved your drawings and maps.

      The children's fantasy literature idea is actually perfect. Fits the fantasy literature idea, could be a good transition from Suess to Potter, and some of those would definitely be interesting worlds to explore. Oz or Wonka could definitely work. I like it. That's a direction that I somehow never considered, I guess because I was really looking into future releases. But those are classic enough to an extent to warrant consideration. Great suggestion.

      I saw your starting to post on WDWMagic, have you ever put any of your other stuff anywhere else? If you have other stuff as good as DisneySky, I'd love to see it.

      And thanks for stopping by an leaving a comment!

  4. All of my Imagineering work to date (excluding very recent WDWMagic activity) has been for the Theme Park Apprentice competitions on Theme Park Insider. Here is an archive of everything TPA competitors have made. My work appears in Seasons 7 and 8. DisneySky excepted, I'm proudest of Buyan Park, an independent park in St. Petersburg, Russia, inspired by Russian folklore. But check out other stuff too, such as my Hill Valley land for Universal Studios Japan.

    Sometime within the next month I'll doing the Theme Park Apprentice Tournament of Champions, for which I'm holding onto all of my best Imagineering concepts. Once that's completed, I'm considering using the WDWMagic boards to revisit and refine DisneySky (inspired largely by the seriousness of your Imagineering).

    Always looking forward to seeing more of your work!

    1. Cool, I'll definitely check your stuff out and see what you put up on WDWMagic!

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  6. Hey i found an layout of WestCOT the never build theme park maybe you can make that in the summer of 2017 or in the 2018 plans, the 2 links i found of WestCOT is down below the picture and the web page and also comment me to tell me that how you may like that plan or maybe in the summer of 2017 i just saying.

    and the web page i found for WestCOT is on MiceChat check it out and make sure to highlight web you know at the begin with the https: and also comment me to find out how it maybe the next project. Thank You!