Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eight Continents

 I thought I'd spend a little more time doing a study of the American Empire Tower (too imperialistic a name?) for this park.
 The major influences are clearly Chrysler (similar crown, chrome gargoyles, windows) and Chanin Buildings (the bronze deco frieze).   Rooftop garden dining on the 3rd level.  As on the plan, the suspended R Train passes through the hole left of center, 2nd level, where it has a station inside), then loops around behind the building.   Like Chrysler, Cities Service and Bank of New York buildings, a small observation lounge is located behind the large window in the crown, accessible by private elevator.  The windows on the building's shaft are forced perspective (slightly decreasing in size as they go up).

Even with forced perspective, this is a tall structure, which means special attention would need paid on its effects (visibility) around the rest the park.

Alternative massing:


Here's an illustrative I drew based on a written concept by Erik Olson.   Enjoy!

"The idea is called Eight Continents. The entire park is set in the mid-1930s, with eight lands, each representing a distinct continent.  The back-story for Eight Continents centers on a small expeditionary group that is dispatched on-assignment to capture amazing stories, photos and newsreels for an outfit like MovieTone News.  During this era, the world was rapidly becoming more accessible to common citizens through commercial air, rail and sea travel.  Colonialism was waning and the public had a terrific thirst for news of the exotic, mysterious and unbelievable from all points on the globe.  Against this idealized backdrop, our guests will be transported to another time in history, no matter what part of the world they find themselves exploring.

Port America, USA

Passing under the shining art deco Port City Hotel, guests enter an early 20th Century vision of a bustling American city.  An amalgamation of period and retro-futuristic touches looking boldly outward toward the rest of the world, Port America is populated with upscale store fronts, restaurants, a coffee and hot cocoa shop, toy store, movie theater, clothing and gift shops and other staples guests may need to outfit themselves for their adventures.  While there is much to look at, there is no denying the draw of a dramatically-scaled icon: the Empire Tower, situated a couple of city blocks down from the main gate on the EC’s central hub.  Inside this destination, guests interact with displays from the era and venture upstairs to a fine-dining restaurant on the 3rd Floor, which would afford the best 360 degree views of the park. 
While Central Street terminates at the hub, there would be several feeder streets and alleys off the thoroughfare to allow for foot traffic to move during parades and though other areas, including water access to World Harbor, the park’s central water feature.  Here, guests can board period steamers to travel to other Continents and for spectacular views of Port America.

Empire Ballroom and Rooftop – affording views over the entire EC property, this upscale fine-dining restaurant features fresh, seasonal fare in the soaring marble and walnut-appointed dining room.  Several private dining rooms and an outdoor rooftop garden accommodate larger parties and private events.
Marquee Theater – short films, featurettes and news reels play all day and night in this movie palace from a bygone era.  Available for special events, the space is also configured with a dining balcony.
Globe Travel & Expedition Outfitters – gifts and comfort necessities for a day exploring the park.
Cocoa Café and News – fine coffee, tea and hot chocolate for discerning New Yorkers.
R-Train – exposition-style monorail / suspended gondola grand circle tour around Port America area and hub aboard futuristic train cars.
First Aid, Traveler Relations


Transports guests to the heart of a mysterious jungle setting through a nearly deserted turn-of-the-century outpost.  The forest has already taken much of this once-bustling town center back, with vines and other plantings encroaching from everywhere.
River of Darkness Adventure – join a crew of nine intrepid explorers for a 10+ minute river ride (Intamin 9) through a series of abandoned riverfront temples and into the heart of a headhunters village on the famed Bengal River.  Ride features 110’ lift and increasing rapids rate over the course of the ride.  Escape is seemingly only possible by plunging over Java Falls, which can be seen from other areas in the land.
Custom House Restaurant –  indoor dining in the old colonial administrative building or outdoors, along the upper banks of the River.  Asian cuisine
Jungle Trek – walking tour through animal habitats, guests try to discover new species hidden in lushly landscaped enclosures.


Adjacent to the Asia and Africa areas (where the savanna meets the vibrant outback), this area is devoted to the rugged spirit of Australia and Tasmania.  Land is dominated by Ayers Rock (Uluru).

Platypus Flats – hovering over water, riders “navigate” their trackless duckbill craft around obstacles and bump other guests for points.  Geysers and other water features promise riders a refreshing experience!
Tasmanian Tiger – a thrilling dark ride coaster housed in Uluru.  During the indoor lift-hill preshow through the nighttime outback, riders may catch glimpses of the endangered thylacine.  During the twisting first drop, riders are whisked outdoors and through two consecutive corkscrews that wind through the remote mining town of Last Chance, circa 1906.  Back in the show building, where the final scene is housed, riders finally come face-to-face with a living, breathing AA Tasmanian tiger.
Boomerang – a spinning family coaster, also embedded in Ayers Rock.  Nearby is a paddock with hopping troops of kangaroos.
Cook’s Bush Tucker Café – authentic sandwiches, BBQ items and desserts overlooking an Aboriginal camp.


Encompassing over 50 acres, travelers can experience a rich palette of diverse textures, colors, smells and sounds, ranging from a sprawling bazaar representing North
Africa to the baobabs and animal-filled wildlands of Sub-saharan Africa.

Rick’s Café Americain – a faithful re-creation of the location made famous in Casablanca.  Serving Moroccan and American food and beverages.
Overland Savanna Expedition – free-roaming live animal / animatronic ride in open-air, safari vehicles.  Riders collect images with embedded cameras that trigger interactive elements.  The smoldering volcano in the distance recalls Kilimanjaro.
Baobab Tree Retreat – Perched on platforms high atop a connected series of massive trees, guests can explore and dine on African specialties while overlooking the World Harbor.
Zebra Zig-Zag – Young riders of any age climb aboard rider-controlled, free-roaming vehicles themed in leopard spots, zebra stripes and giraffe patterns in a race to escape from a pride of wily lions.  Treetops and rocky outcroppings along the trackway conceal surprises that will delight younger riders.

Center Earth
Housed on two levels at the base of - and within - the massive Mount Thera volcano, and designed in a 1930s "Popular Science" style, the land is home to the park's signature darkride.

Escape from Center Earth – pilots fly their inverted Aerodive Machine Device (AMDs) through a 4D projection simulator theaters, interacting with unexpected animatronic dinosaur elements along the way.  This adventure combines cutting-edge projection and AA technology for a seamless dark-ride, multi-motion adventure.
Transit Steamers - The boats travel into the lower level of the Volcano interior to drop off and pick-up passengers.


One of the World’s greatest water parks resides deep inside the Thera caldera – the most mysterious volcano on Earth!  This park would also be available / restricted seasonally as a 2nd gate,  offering a full day of wet, wild watertainment!

  Vortex – Abyss water tubing attraction plunges six riders nine stories from the ridges of the Volcano into an enormous cone-shaped flume and into a breathtaking final plunge.
Poseidon – Boomerang drop and vertical wall adventure for brave riders who love the sensation of being weightless.
Point Break – “Inlanders” can learn how to pop and drop in this world-class flow-board facility (indoors), where a perfect 8-10’ left break can be found every day of the week.  Point Break appears to be the place where rock and roll technology and a tiny South Pacific island collide with surfing set under an artificial intelligent light generated skyline to a DJ-driven soundtrack over a concert-quality sound system.
Siren’s Landing – A two acre collection of interactive water attractions for sea-lovers of all ages.  Including a lazy river and floating bubbles.
The Lagoon -  A massive zero-entry beach featuring waves and tide-pools to explore.
Manta Ray Lagoon - Free swim with skates and rays.
Triton – Seafood table-service restaurant featuring fresh, market selection fare.


No matter what the weather might be on the rest of the Continents, it is always winter in Antarctica.  Ice sculptures, tunnels and other frozen features surround the Research Station Antarctica and real snowfall is usually in the forecast.

Southern Continent Pavilion – riders get up close and very personal with legions of Rockhopper and Adelie penguins riding through their natural habitats in a Polar Station Explorer vehicles that visits both ancient, de-frosting Antarctica life (in ice caves) as well as current, living inhabitants. Elsewhere in the Pavilion, travelers meet the leopard seal and other indigenous species from the southernmost edge of the planet.
Deep Freeze – a suspended, multi-stack simulator IMAX type of experience, with riders nearly dipping their toes into frigid waters, clipping the top of dramatic ice peaks and so on.
Wilkes Iced Expedition – from shave ice to frozen yogurt, cold confections to satisfy every explorer’s taste!


Central & South America
Covers both the lowland civilizations of the Maya as well as the Andes-dwelling Inca.

Flight of the Condor – A heart-stopping hydraulic-launch wing-rider coaster attraction over, around and through the terraced montane fields and Macchu Pichu-like ruins of the Ancient Inca.
City of Lost Gold Exposition – interactive exhibits tracing the rise and mysterious fall of the Maya.
Tikal Terrace – Central and South American themed tray-service dining in a cool temple courtyard."


Happy Labor Day.


comics101 said...

SWW! It's great to see you haven't disappeared from internet-land forever, I've really missed your posts. I sure do hope to see more soon!
Erik, this is such a neat idea. It's almost as though you took World Showcase and AK and combined them into one really awesome stylized park, I love it. Thank you so much for sharing!

Erik Olson said...

Thanks to Sam for taking time to move my concept leaps and bounds forward. He really understands the very best practices for park design and it shows in Eight Continents - a 200+ acre destination.

Looking at some other recent designs (Hybrid Brazil park), I see that I'm not the first to integrate the water park. Ideal Buildout really nailed the seamless transition from Africa and Antarctica to Atlantis, all the while honoring my suggestion that the water attractions should be able to serve as a distinct 2nd gate.

Sam is fantastic to collaborate with and I look forward to finding a way to work together down the road.

protojimbo said...

Excellent concept Erik! You guys created an IP-free park that is classic and compelling. I love how you combined an animal park, a theme park and a water park! It feels natural and the flow and themeing really work.
I'd love to see this kind of treatment for an America park. Not a historical park, but a celebration of the land and animals and regional diversity.

SWW said...

Comics, Erik and Jimbo - appreciate the comments!

1967WEDway said...

Awesome park design! Is it just me or does the Atlantis area looked like a greatly expanded Mysterious Island??? :D
Love the new study of the American Empire Tower that you just added! Personally I prefer the design of the first study more, I think it looks a bit less, *ahem*, "phallic", than the second one.

Pastor_of_Muppets said...

Big fan of the inclusion of animal exhibits throughout the lands, and the water park feature is fantastic. I'd have liked to see South America and Asia expanded upon a bit, but the park is huge as it is. Another great design, and the new tower study you added is brilliant.

SWW said...

^ & ^^ Appreciate the comments.

Looking at the tower proportions now, I'm realizing I probably made it too tall for this park (dominating certain backdrops from Asia and South America). Maybe a more stunted deco tower, akin to the Niagara Mohawk Building, would be better for this park... (added as alternative).

Erik Olson said...

I agree that a less emphasized center tower massing would be better. There is a more squat design out there that will remain properly scaled, yet not compromise sightlines. Plantings around the tower would be entirely of specimins that would never threaten the scale of the tower.

Thanks for the comments on the Atlantis land. Sam really focused much needed attention on that area and I took a cue from him on the cliff-diving area, which will now become a live performance amphitheatre.


protojimbo said...

How about an iconic transit station? It could contain boarding for various retro-futuristic modes of transport (including the mono) and a much more elaborate shipyard. This could provide a more literal "casting off to explore the continents", point of departure experience for the guest's expedition. It could also serve the port theme by connecting Port America to the World Harbour in an obvious way.
The building itself may be a challenge... perhaps adding a short observation tower/deck and a bit of that Popular Science futurism to a certain famous big city station would work.
That being said, I really like the tower designs and I didn't think of the sight-line issue either. Although, I was also wondering where the batteries go in design #2!

SWW said...

That's a good thought. I realized while I was doing it that for an area called "Port" there was relatively little connection to the water and no harbor.

Anonymous said...

can you PLEASE PLEASE put back the better quality images on some of your old parks (like Disney Australia and Mansions)??!?!

Lonnie said...

Another great one Sam. I also prefer the first version of the tower; the different tiers give it a more 'industrial' feel but still maintaining an 'artistic' aesthetic.

As for the name, you can always call it "Western Empire" or "Empire of the West" since it would cover alot more than just America, right?

Keep 'em comin'. Peace.

overlandfilms said...

Good ideas, thanks Lonnie!