A New Entrance for SeaWorld

Hello again! Today a visit to 2nd tier of themed entertainment: Seaworld Orlando. 

I actually really like Seaworld Orlando. Views on animals in captivity and recent controversies aside, the park itself is a really pleasant and attractive place to be with some fantastic coasters (if perhaps less than fantastic other rides). While I often say I grew up at Walt Disney World, since it was 15 minutes away from my house and both my parents worked there and we were therefore there very often, it’s actually probably more accurate to say I grew up at Seaworld. My house was within walking distance of the front gates (not that I ever actually have walked there – should try that some time), my family loved the place because of all the shows and as a nice place to walk, and we probably were there a good deal more than Disney- at least until I became a tad older and wanted to ride more rides. Keep in mind there were nearly no rides at Seaworld during this period – only the sky tower and Wild Arctic. Later there was Journey to Atlantis (which I have ridden a record 13 times in a row without disembarking) and Kraken (which was my first “big kid” roller coaster). But there was an amazing playground! (which the good part of doesn’t exist anymore). So lots of fond memories, lots of experience with walking around and seeing the sights, lots of sadness around the lack of water-skiing shows these days. 

Continue reading “A New Entrance for SeaWorld”

A Dream House

A slight departure from strict themed entertainment today. I was talking to one of my friends and we somehow got on the topic of dream houses. Ok, we were hiking in the mountains of LA that are chock full of beautiful houses and we might have been a tad envious. Anyway, I was trying to explain that I’ve always loved the idea of taking themed entertainment and applying it to my house. The idea of having a house where you have one building but depending on where you see it from looks like completely different buildings fills me with so much joy. I also like the idea of having one hidden side of the house looking like the most boring  warehouse ever.  Plus, there’s so many great styles of architecture and this lets you have more than one and rake in all the benefits of each. Some of my favorite styles are Tudor and Modern and so when I got home I looked up some examples and came up with a quick sketch of what I was talking about. 

Ok, so yes it’s probably two really cliche facades, but hey they’re pretty and Falling Water especially is amazing. Also sort of alluded to here is how much I feel landscape design is just as, if not more, important than just the buildings themselves. Actually my main criticism of the Magic Kingdom in Florida is the lack of landscape in most of the park, and the continued deforestation of what remains. I think it’s actually something that we’ve seen disappearing or taking a backseat to fantastic constructions and massive rock work for a while now.. And nearly all parks could really take more advantage of elevation changes and stacking attractions or areas for much more visual and exploratory interest – but I digresss.

I imagine this house nestled somewhat on a hill. Immediately to the left there is a tunnel in the hill that leads towards the garage and “utility” side of the house that’s not visible from the street. The Tudor side with stream and background of large trees faces the street. Then the backside of the house is larger and lower than the front and positioned on an overlook over the water of the stream and/or waterfall that wraps around to the front of the house. 

Like it? Will someone build it for me? For free? Lol. Thanks for reading and as always I’m always grateful for thoughts and feedback.

Jolly Holiday – New Site Plan

Happy New Year! (Again, I think – I need to log on to this site more). Today I come with a new, more detailed site plan for Jolly Holiday. This is probably the closest I’ve gotten to something that could actually be built, and also stays relatively compact. I’m really happy with it. The only thing I would change is that currently there are two maintenance areas – one for vehicles, and one for the horses – and I think there’s enough room that they could just be combined into one.

MP_Site_Plan

While I’d be happy to see it anywhere, the design has always been geared towards Epcot and the UK pavilion – so as I’ve refined it I’ve definitely kept that in mind. As you can see it fits very nicely there (obviously getting rid of Millenium village is necessary )and leaves plenty of room next door for a new pavilion.

MP_Site_Plan_Map

So what do you think? Love feedback as always.

In Praise of Traditionalism

dsc_0125
Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean is probably the pinnacle of traditional design.

Okay, since I constantly seem to get sidetracked by this issue any time I try to write anything about theme parks, I might as well talk about it now.

First some quick definitions. David Younger in his fantastic book aptly titled “Theme Park Design” (add link) outlines a few different design styles that have been applied to theme parks in their relatively short history. Here they are along with their (paraphrased) definitions.

Traditional: the classic form of design that originated with Disneyland that seeks to immerse you in environments. Characteristics include almagations of different kinds of spatial entertainment (not just rides), a trend towards experiential vs explicit story, loose theming. Pirates of the Caribbean or The Haunted Mansion.

Continue reading “In Praise of Traditionalism”

A Christmas Carol!

I was recently watching the Robert Zemeckis version of A Christmas Carol (the motion capture one with Jim Carrey) and it really struck me again just how well suited to a theme park or theatre experience it would be. I particularly love this version because of just how dark it is, to me really illustrating the vision of what A Christmas Carol should be. Aka a nightmare. (A happy dream isn’t going to change your bad ways is it?)

Also I probably should have cropped some of these images. You live and learn I guess starting off a new blog. LOL.

Anyway, I had a series of images mostly just pop into my head and I decided to try and put them down. So here’s an idea for a theme park show or immersiveish experience (at least one scene would make it impossible for normal theatre).

Main Curtain/Scene 1So the movie begins and ends with an illustrated book fading into the actual action of the movie. I’ve always loved this kind of effect, especially when done live (the Jungle Book show at Animal Kingdom used to do this). So the opening curtain is styled in the same way, like an illustration out of a book with a scene of Scrooge going about town. When the music starts the lights fade and it would line up perfectly with the real set and actors.  Continue reading “A Christmas Carol!”

Jolly Holiday Update! The Horse Race.

Today here’s an image from the climax of the ride where you join the horse race and the jockeys ride alongside you accompanied by a rousing score. The scene takes place in a series of 3 speed tunnels laid out in the shape of a horse track. The backgrounds are project but the jockeys are animatronics that ride along side you, neck and neck. Eventually Mary Poppins sends the wind to help you along and you’re lifted above the riders to the finish line.

horse race in jolly holiday

For the full rundown of the Jolly Holiday attraction please check out the page. What do you think?

Jolly Holiday Storyboards!

I’ve started working on some story boards for Jolly Holiday. They’re kind of crap but it’s nice to have something. I’ve gotten up to the carousel scene. (You can see how the quality drops as I got tired and started to speed up lol). Let me know what you think!

For more information on this attraction check out this page.

Portfolio!

Pen and Marker
Just one of the many goodies you’ll find.

Quick update. I’ve now added some of my work to the site. So you can now view my Mary Poppins ride concept, Jolly Holiday, here and just some general art here.

In the future, when there’s new content to add I’ll either be making individual progress posts and updating the pages themselves. Not entirely sure how I’m gonna manage the organization of that, but that’s not your problem. 🙂

The Trend Towards (new) Immersion

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter undoubtably set in motion a new immersion standard.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter undoubtably set in motion a new immersion standard.

Alrighty, a big topic to start off with lol. Just as a warning, this post doesn’t exactly have a thesis – there’s a lot of ground to cover, more it’s a bunch of half developed observations. Take it as fair warning that my biggest flaw as a writer is keeping myself focused.

Has anyone else noticed just how prevalent the terms “immersive” or “immersion” have become in the themed entertainment world? It seems I can’t even read a press release for a  new merry-go-round without coming across a sentence like,

“this ground-breaking new attraction featuring a brand new type of rotating mechanism immerses the rider into the world of wooden horses and carousels of old like never before.”

Hyperbole and the focus on ride system aside (topics for another day) there’s that damn word again: a concept encompassing perhaps the absolute pinnacle of themed design being reduced to a buzzword completely devoid of any of it’s original meaning. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is immersive. Radiator Springs is immersive. The Rivers of America is immersive (I can hear some shouts about that last one coming my way already – I’ll get to it). The Simpsons land at Universal Orlando is not immersive. Nor is the despicable me attraction. Nor is a lot of the theme park world. But that’s not a bad thing, especially when the focus on immersion in the modern era seems ever so more emphasized not on the concept of immersion itself, but on a particular subtype of it. Continue reading “The Trend Towards (new) Immersion”

Hi there and Hello

 

Disneyland aerial view drawing
Herb Ryman’s original concept of Disneyland

This is the beginning I guess of a more complete website for me and my never-ending interest in theme park and themed entertainment design and also will function as a online repository for my growing amount of work related to it. I’ve been slowly trying to acquire skills necessary to change careers to do design full time, and I intend on posting that progress here. I also have often wanted to just write my views on various topics in the themed entertainment world forever now, and it’ll be nice to finally have a place to put that that’s a little (or a lot) less toxic than many of the fan forums – and hopefully discussion that’s a bit more theoretical and deep in nature.

I’m basically planning on it being a more organized and expanded version of my tumblr blog Theme Park Concepts (go follow that if you haven’t already lol). And so yeah…we’ll see how much I keep this updated and what happens from here on out.