With that in mind, I imagined it as a film-, IP- and character-free park, e.g., Thor here would not be Marvel, but re-invented for this park based on traditional Norse myth. Another example: the hydra cavern beneath the Acropolis (visited by the circling boat ride) would not be based on Disney’s Hercules. You can see how such a park could also host Company IP (Mulan in China) if so desired, but what I’ve imagined here is more of an outdoor Metropolitan Museum of Art with the thrills, fun and effervescence of a theme park.
LOCATION & ACCESSIBILITY
The genesis for this exercise was seeing photo updates of DisneySprings progress, with the 1970s/80s suburban sprawl Official WDW Hotels and Sun Bank always popping up in the background, ruining the visage. Here, we can fix that and replace all those concrete & glass mid-rises with a unique, tier I park. A strip of forest beyond the park helps isolate the mundane sprawl of Orlando & I-4 from the utopian escapism found within the WDW borders.
In this fantasy future, the monorail system is expanded to service the new park and Springs district, with the station designed to complement the Marketplace architecture. Guests at both resorts (Oxbridge and Saratoga Springs) walk to this station to reach other parts of WDW. The park also comes with two new parking structures (only “D” visible here) and a shuttle bus station.
This British-lore based area at first felt like odd man out next to the more exotic, ancient areas. However, it’s much easier to incorporate and convincingly pass requisite park services, retail & dining (and a hotel) in the context of more modern eras versus if the entry land/hotel were, say, Mesopotamian in theme.
I broke Anglia into three sub-lands, each representing a different locale & era. The central area is a rural English village (the park’s Main Street), with building facades a mix from 15th-19th century, on whose outskirts lies the Henge of the Ancients (Stone Henge). Crossing the river to the west, the land becomes a more orderly, urban townscape of Oxbridge, based on the university towns, with gothic spires & trim college quads. The resort hotel – late 19th century luxury – takes place in an elaborate structure inspired by Christ Church College or the like.
The east side of Anglia goes back to the medieval era of the 11th-13th centuries. Camelot is a more fantastic interpretation of the English Castle Town. Behind the numerous towers and turrets lies a marquee AA boat ride (PotC cousin) based on the King Arthur mythology. There is an explorable forest that houses both a Unicorn Glade as well as an area to shoot a bow with Robin Hood. On a small island the lagoon are the ruins of an old Scottish keep, similar in scale to Central Park’s Belvedere Castle, used mainly as a viewing area for lagoon spectacles (and occasional appearances by Nessie).
The Imperial Court section of this Chinese-themed land is laid out according to the feng shui ordering principles, surrounded by a moat, willow trees and covered walkways. The wooden structures within this palace house lagoon-view dining, a small theater, art history exhibits and a madhouse walkthrough. An ancient Chinese-themed version of aquatopia is also accessible within the Court. Outside the Court are two of the bigger attractions: a mountain coaster and the Phoenix E-ticket.
A long forested embankment of dark pines marks the edge of the world as visitors enter the land of Norse mythology. In the far corner of the park is Odin’s Tower, a freefall-darkride, distinct from Tower of Terror in its ride system. Jotnar is a BTMRR-scale indoor-outdoor coaster through the world of trolls and other creatures of this mythos. A Redwood Creek-style forest exploration area is here as well as a swing spinner based on the World Tree, Yggdrasil.
This Egypt-themed area is home to the several major landmarks. The Library of Alexandria is Fortress Explorations-like, housing a planetarium theater and fine restaurant in addition to numerous interactive rooms to explore. Around it are fountains, pools and multiple terraces for lagoon show viewing/dining. It is a clean, classical oasis compared to the crooked, crumbling, sun-baked streets of Old Town, home to many shops, galleries, food stalls and street entertainers. A carousel sits in one plaza. The ruins of an Old Kingdom temple serve as a sunken explore/play zone.
On the outskirts of the dense residential area built of mud & bricks, are the big monuments (housing even bigger attractions): the Sphinx (an EMV adventure) and the Great Pyramids (dark coaster).
The park’s central icon & landmark, aligned along the entry axis, is the Pharos Lighthouse (explorable). Most recreations of this Wonder in history books are pretty similar. Interestingly, IoA’s version is a completely unique take. This park’s larger version would also be a unique take (while I want the park to have sophisticated, museum-like qualities, there is still room to re-imagine and romanticize history), but with some recognizable attributes to the agreed-upon historic design. Perhaps I’ll get to drawing the concept I’ve got in mind.
The final Phase I land is based on the classical world of Ancient Greece. Like the Library, the Acropolis has many explorable nooks as well as lagoon-view dining. Within it is the major Hydra show scene for the lagoon boats. The Labyrinth is an outdoor walkthrough that leads to an indoor adventure ride. The land’s biggest attraction is the flume Mount Olympus – the Greek mythology mash-up. A large theater and couple spinners round out the rides.
As EPCOT Center has for years had The Outpost marking the once-pending addition of the African pavilion, in this park plan I included a small section in the northeast that heralds a future Atlantis expansion. This is also why I placed the ‘Poseidon’s’ seafood TSR and Olympus flume splash-down where I did: near to this potential sea-oriented mythological civilization.
The very large expansion area in the northwest could be earmarked for the Maya Civilization – as that is not well-represented yet in WDW and the meso-american rainforest would transition easily from the heavily-forested Valhalla.
There was a request for some additional reference imagery to better paint a picture of the park. For all of these, what actually goes in the park gets altered, scaled down, romanticized, added-to, and morphed in so many ways, so that the park becomes its own entity, not a collection of replicas (E.g. Harambe is not a specific recreation but inspired by East African coastal towns). Here are a some images, in addition to Dan's, that helped inspire the plan:
|This is concept art for Cair Paravel, but reflects the more romanticized approach to medieval England I thought Camelot should have.|
|Lycan Manor inspiration, obviously greatly scaled-down and 'theatricized' for the park.|
|This shows Aegyptus's duality of big, symmetrical monuments and un-planned organic streets of 2-3 story flat-roof dwellings.|
|Norselands. Wooden buildings, stone foundations.|
Another comment asked about theme-bleeding and sightlines. These are two things that are the forefront of my mind when I do these. One very good way to handle it is the "two-faced" strip of buildings (imagine Frontierland & Adventureland at MK), and that is how a majority of the Valhalla-Aegyptus border is handed. If you were standing at the Carousel in Old Town, you'd have no intrusion from Valhalla. Sometimes, things are so tall that from a wide vista you can't hide them. For example, if you were standing in front of the pyramids and looked northwest, in the distance, above the egyptian roofs, you'd see Odin's Tower (or Mt Olympus to the southeast). These are sometimes unavoidable, BUT, if everything is well-executed, they can be pretty cool juxtapositions: