Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mentioned in a Magazine!

Pretty cool - just found out that my website, The Neverland Files, got mentioned in the magazine Mental Floss's Quick 10 blog column! Funny - they've used the same wording as me in a few places! Take a look at their article at: The Quick 10: Abandoned Disney Projects

One More Imagineering Archive Update

Yahoo! I have finally finished uploading all of the articles from the previous version of The Neverland Files. The final push was for International projects - please take a look!

Main Street Elevated Railway

20th Century Limited

automata exhibit

futuristic tower castle

Tarzan rollercoaster

Disneyland Paris hotels

Dining in New York

Lava Lagoon

Doc Hudson's Desert School of Driving

penguin Tiki Room

Glacier Lake

The Rocketeer ride

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yet Another Imagineering Archive Update

My attempts to convert and upload all of the old Neverland Files articles continues. Now, I have completed uploading all the Walt Disney World articles. Take a look!

Fire Mountain

Thunder Mesa

Thunder Mesa mine train

Disney's Asian Resort

Sunset Boulevard

Hotel Mel

Muppet Studios

Mickey's Movieland

Roger Rabbit's Hollywood

Bullet Train ride

Movie Pavilion

Disney's Animal Kingdom park entrances

Genesis Gardens

animal carousel

Tree of Life Lion King show

Wonders of Nature

Tiger River Rapids

The Excavator

Another Imagineering Archive Update

I have continued uploading old pages to my website, completing Disneyland Resort. Take a look!

Armageddon Special-Effects Show

Candy Mountain


Crocodile aquarium

Edison Square

Firework Factory

Geyser Mountain

International Street

Mickey Mouse Hotel

Monstro the Whale

reel ride

Silly Symphony Swings overlays

Stitch Mountain

Unofficial Imagineering Archive Update

I have begun the painstaking process of converting and re-uploading all of my old written articles on the never built ideas of Imagineering. So far, I have uploaded all of the 'Featured' articles (the very best ones), plus one extra one. To take a look, click the link!

Indiana Jones and the Lost Expedition

Plectu's Fantastic Intergalactic Revue

Western River Expedition

Soviet Union Pavilion

Switzerland Pavilion

Dick Tracy's Crimestoppers

The Great Muppet Movie Ride

Beastly Kingdom

Sci-fi City

S.S. Columbia Showcase of Nautical Marvels

Discovery Mountain

Beauty and the Beast ride

1920's Main Street USA


Pirates of the Caribbean Water Adventure

Monday, March 29, 2010

Backstories: Discovery Bay

Discovery Bay, a magnificent project by Imagineer Tony Baxter, has never been built, but its backstory was the first thing to hook me on these prose tales behind the attractions and lands. Discovery Bay would have been located north of Big Thunder Mountain, bordering the Rivers of America, where Big Thunder Ranch now sits. It's design later lead to Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris (included the massive zepellin), and influences Mysterious Island at Tokyo DisneySea. There is a possibility the land may yet be built; apparently Tony Baxter and John Lasseter have been surveying the land north of the Rivers of America in recent months, hoping to expand Disneyland to alleviate the busy crowds that fill the park.

This backstory comes from a memo distributed amongst Walt Disney Imagineering (or WED as it was then known) dated October 12th 1976, made available online by Jim Hill Media.

Discovery Bay: Themed Expansion Area for Disneyland

Along the Rivers of America in the northen portion of Frontierland lies Discovery Bay. Having as its roots a "San Francisco of the 1850-1880s", the theme area would bring to life a time and place that climaxed an age of discovery and expansion.

Discovery Bay would reflect the influx of opportunists, dreamers and adventurers that poured into this cultural melting pot after the discovery gold. The railroad link with the East had brough with the beginnings of culture and luxury, and the area was now earning its reputation as a "city of myths and eccentricities".

With these parameters established, a Western port city would be a logical and exciting addition to Frontierland.

Such a debarkation point would be a natural for many of our exciting show concepts, as well as some exciting new ones. The flexibility of this once-only-place in time can best be demonstrated through brief sketches of some attraction possiblities.

The area would fan out around a bay inlet from the Rivers of America. Standing on a rock outcropping, the old lighthouse keynotes the styling for this age of mechanical marvels. Here the Columbia would dock, as well as several "set piece" crafts, giving a feeling of international adventure to this frontier port.

Along the docks would be a traditional Chinatown. This version would recreate a Chinese settlement in the days of the Western Frontier, with its exotoc food dishes, merchandise, and an unusual attraction called the Fireworks Factory. Here guests could test their marksmanship - bursting skyrockets, pinwheels, and various firecracks as they move through a whimsical assembly line.

In another corner, a group of opportunists have set up shop. Among the promises and allures offered are those a French aerial explorer. He promises brave adventurers a trip aboard a fantastic flying machine to an island of paradise located at the top of the world.

With this set-up, we could effectively integrate a very exciting show that has been difficult to fit into the logic of the Park's existing realms. This "Island at the Top of the World" adventure and several others are not really fairy tales for Fantasyland, nor backwoods frontier adventures. But they do date from the late 19th Century, and could use the Discovery Bay location as a debarkation point for adventure.

Another example, the motion picture "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" has its beginning in exactly this type of place. Perhaps a new version of the old Disneyland attraction could be developed. Guests might view the workings of the Nautilus and Nemo's secrets, before dining in an undersea Grand Salon.

A time machine or "dimensional" adventure also works nicely with this 19th Century port, so often the period of time depicted in the writings of Verne and Wells.

Returning now to the streets of Discovery Bay, the facades might include elaborate gaming halls with crystal chandeliers and plush interiors, while the shop windows could reflect the runaway inflation of the golden economy (eggs - $18 a dozen, Room & Board - $100 a day) -- a parody on today's economic situation. Actual shops might include "The Model Works" featuring Disney oriented scale reproductions, and a scientific supplies office.

At the other end of town would be the Railroad Station and the site of Discovery Bay's most unusual attractions. Dominating this area is The Tower, a wild structure that takes guests down a dizzy spiral and into a giant magnetic structure where the forces of magnetism are demonstrated in a most exciting manner.

Also a part of this sector is the great Western Balloon Ascent and Professor Marvel's Gallery, a fascinating visit with the foremost collector of the exotic, weird and whimsical from all over the world.

The cornerstone of this development would be the completion of Big Thunder Railroad. This will allow access to the new area and provide a glimpse of the gold rush fever that paved the way to the land of adventurers and dreamers -- Discovery Bay, Frontierland.

Backstories: Big Thunder Mountain Part 2

Here is a passage from the book Walt Disney Imagineering. It is a narrative account of your wild journey on Big Thunder Mountain.

The Miner Details of Big Thunder

Big Thunder Mountain dates back to the wild and woolly boom town days when every prospector west of the Rockies was looking for gold. The following is the tall tale heard tell by one of those prospectors who got it second-hand from old Sam, the last of the Big Thunder Miners:

Yessir, it is 1840, and around these parts, things got prit’ near quiet as the hangin’ tree on Sunday after the Big Thunder Mine tapped out. One day there ain’t none richer, the next, even a ghost wouldn’t have much innerst in her.

Things got mighty busted up and rusted down inside Big Thunder, so Sam told me while sluggin’ from a dusty bottle of Old Imagineer. He was the last prospector inside that mine. Fact is, poor old Sam took a spill and done landed belly up in one of them ore cars. Next thing he knows, the car takes off like a skinny coyote after a plump hen!

Off he went, a headin’ fer the mine. Seems like that old ghost mine came to life for Sam. He swears the rusted winch engine was a pumpin’ and a wheezin’ and just when he was thinkin’ he must have bats in his belfry, there was bats! Then he sat up to see what he could see in the dark, and there was pools of rainbow water and waterfalls, and plenty of them rocks the schoolmarm calls "stalactites and stalagmites".

The walls of the canyon kept comin’ in closer and closer at old Sam and he yelled until he couldn’t yell no more. All of a sudden, the car thunders into a pitch dark tunnel, with Sam holdin’ on fer dear life. Comin’ back out the other side, he spots a couple a danged skunks foolin’ with blastin’ powder, like to blow the top off a whole derned mountain! Little ways away, danged if’n there ain’t a Billy goat chawin’ on a stick of the stuff! But Sam didn’t have no time to worry about that, ‘cuz next thing he knows he’s whippin’ down Spiral Butte and headin’ right back down into Big Thunder Mine. Sam figgered he was goin’ in and never comin’ out this time, with all that rumblin’ and shakin’ and rocks comin’ down all around him. He closed his eyes tight but the next thing ya know he was outside and high-ballin’ down on the track again, right over the Bear River Trestle Bridge.

That ore car finally squealed to a stop right smack dab in the middle of Big Thunder Town. Sam just sat up, brushed off the dust and said, “I ain’t had this much of a whoop and a holler since the Grub Gang hit town. I just barely got out with my hide!”

Sam’s amazing ghost story was told and retold over the years, and because of it, no one was ever brave enough to even set foot near the mine – until the day a bold young Imagineer heard the tale and thought it might be fun to take a ride on old Big Thunder himself. Sure enough, he did, and the train turned out to be so much fun he decided to officially re-open the mine. Folks soon heard the news about Big Thunder and began to arrive there to take their own wild ride on the legendary runaway train.

Big Thunder Mountain is intriguing as the backstories vary depending on which version of the ride you're visiting, and has frequently been written and rewritten. Perhaps its the mischeveous miner ghosts killed in an avalanche, or perhaps its an Indian curse angered by the descration of the sacred mountain (and if so, does vengeance come in the form of earthquakes or flash floods). Disneyland Paris has a completely seperate backstory weaving all elements of the Frontierland town there, Thunder Mesa.

This story below comes from the Spring 1992 issue of Disney News, written at a time when Tony Baxter's Discovery Bay concept was going to have been built north of Big Thunder, and the northern edge of the Rivers of America, where Big Thunder Ranch now sits.

Discovery Bay and Big Thunder Mountain

The highly imaginative tale includes the legend of a young inventor, named Jason Chandler, who lived in a town called International Village during the peak gold rush years in the Big Thunder region - circa 1849. According to the chronicles, "...the young inventor devised a drilling machine with the capability of boring into the very heart of Big Thunder Mountain. There, the veins of gold ran so deep, it was rumored they could produce a mother lode that would bring a man enough wealth to last a hundred lifetimes and more."

But a cave-in occurred on Big Thunder, burying 26 miners alive. They would have drawn their last breath then and there, had it not been for the inventor and his laughable drilling machine. He burrowed down into the Earth’s core, rescuing the miners from certain death. It should have been a moment of joy and celebration, but as the men scrambled to the arms of safety, a massive earthquake shook the ground and a cavernous maw opened up, swallowing the inventor and his machine whole."

The miners, as well as the citizens of the village, struggled day and night against the mountain, trying to dig the young man from his living tomb. But they never saw him, or another nugget of gold, again. Big Thunder had taken its vengeance not only on the miners, but on their wealth as well. The mountain had gone bust, and it became just a matter of time before only ghosts resided there.

The official SIG (Show Information Guide) for Big Thunder Mountain has another story attributed to Tony Baxter, and also appears in Jason Surell's book The Disney Mountains. Of all the versions, this appears to be the most canon.

Big Thunder Mountain Ghost Story

In the Disney version, gold was discovered in Big Thunder country in the 1850s, shortly after the Gold Rush began near John A. Sutter's Mill in California, leading to the formation of the BTM Mining Company. But the locals believed Big Thunder Mountain and the land around it to be sacred, and a protective supernatural force dwelt deep within the mountain to protect it from anyone who might deface it in the pursuit of profit. At first, the mining operation went along without incident, but as the miners began using explosives to blast deeper and deeper into the unforgiving rock and laying tracks for the mine train they'd use to retrieve its golden bounty, the mountain's ancient fury was unleashed. Strange noises emanated from a newly opened mineshaft. The spirits of long-dead miners could be heard tapping on the boarded walls of abandoned tunnels. Cave-ins became common occurrences. And then the narrow-gauge engines began rolling out of the station with no human hands at the controls. Entire trains, most times packed with unsuspecting passengers, would race driverless, at breakneck speed, along the spiraling steel and wooden track. The miners began to concede that perhaps the locals were right all along. Maybe the mountain - and their mine - was cursed. They abandoned their posts, the BTM Mining Company went bust, and soon Big Thunder became just another ghost town dotting the Old West.

To make things even more complicated, the name of the town Big Thunder is located in seems to change - is it Rainbow Ridge, Tumbleweed, Thunder Mesa or Big Thunder?! It's certainly intriguing reading through all of these. For a detailed article on the Big Thunder backstories, take a look at a post at the WDW Radio Blog.

Starlight Runner Entertainment

Firstly, a hat tip to All Things Disney for coming across this!

Starlight Runner is a company which essentially creates backstories based on existing material. While not Imagineering related, this company has worked for Disney and quite definitely has had an impact on Disney lore that may one day feature in the parks. Most recently, they have been working on the Tron backstory.

You give them a product, and they'll come up with characters, places, events and much more than the client can then use as inspiration for book series, video games, promotional material or anything else they desire.

"Disney hired Gomez in 2005 to come up with a backstory for Jack Sparrow, the character played by Johnny Depp in the 2003 hit, Pirates of the Caribbean. One concept prompted Disney to launch a series of books about the swashbuckling Sparrow as a teenage stowaway searching for explorer Hernando Cortez's sword. The books charmed fans of the first film, and Disney used the series to help market the next two sequels."

This is an extract from an article appearing in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which I definately recommend giving a read.

The company's website can be found at

Dissecting Disney's Lands: Fantasyland

On the opening of Disneyland back in 1955, Walt was able to introduce each of his fantastic lands in just a few sentences each. But as they’ve grown, and even when they first opened, their component themes are incredibly wide ranging; an eclectic collage of ideas and settings grouped loosely by their land’s title. In this series, I hope to break down these sub-themes (their settings both in location and in time) to better understand how to lands come together as a cohesive whole.

“Fantasyland is dedicated to the young and young at heart. To those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams do come true.”

“Fantasyland is the world of imagination, hopes and dreams. It is dedicated to the young, and the young in heart. To those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true. Come with me to King Arthur’s Carousel, to see an elephant fly, to dig for diamonds in the dwarf’s goldmine, and to ride a pirate ship though the sky.”


At opening, Fantasyland was by far the most eclectic of the original lands that spreads its subthemes remarkably wide. With so many disparate themes, you’d think they wouldn’t blend together – but just like a fairytale castle at the end of a small town Main Street, it somehow fits magically. Fantasyland began as the sole domain of Walt’s animated features.

The land’s entrance marked the most iconic of the Fantasyland subthemes. Sleeping Beauty Castle was a fairytale image brought into three dimensions, supported by the walkthrough later added inside it, Snow White’s Adventures attraction, and the 1961 Snow Whites Grotto addition. Beneath stone castle towers and by a musical wishing well, this subtheme was distinctly European, inspired by Disney’s princess features; Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. But at the same time, the style was not an attempt to be realistic. The Castle was inspired by real European castles, but modified to appear friendly, not imposing. Remarkably however, this land makes up very little of the original Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland.

During Disneyland’s construction, there just wasn’t enough money to properly theme the Fantasyland attraction facades. Instead, the soundstage-like boxes containing the attractions were dressed up two dimensional as stone buildings - continuations of the castle – and decorated with dozens of flags, shields and striped awnings. At this stage, the courtyard was not a village. Instead, it was the centre of a grand medieval tournament. At any moment, we might imagine two jousting knights gallop past. These facades did not match up to the attractions inside; Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Adventures, Mr Toad’s Wild Ride and the Mickey Mouse Club Theatre, but the exterior theme was cohesive with a limited budget. This was the Medieval Tournament.

Speaking of the Mickey Mouse Club Theatre, whilst it did not entirely establish a subtheme of its own, it did lay the foundation for a theme that would develop over time. The theatre established, before Mickey’s Toontown was even dreamt up, that the Fab Five could have a place in Fantasyland. The Toons were represented.

The attraction that most intrigues me is the Carousel. To all intents and purposes, it is un-themed. Why does a Victorian carousel exist in a fairytale or storybook village? And yet, it fits. Of course, the reason is the fond memories Walt had watching his daughters on the merry-go-round when he first dreamt up the idea for the park, but I still like to contemplate how its placement affects the cohesion of Fantasyland, especially when it could have fit thematically in Main Street USA. Essentially, the carousel brings a piece of the Edwardian to Fantasyland, a theme backed by the Fantasyland Station before its conversion into Toontown Depot. Rather than have the station as a whimsical fairytale structure, the station was essentially a slightly more fanciful version of Main Street Station, but, of course, it works.

Walt had a love for the circus, and this too is represented in Fantasyland. Both based on the animated classic Dumbo, the Casey Jr. and Dumbo the Flying Elephants attractions bring American Circus into Fantasyland, specifically a 1940s era travelling circus probably located in Florida.

If that was what the exterior theme was established as, what maintained cohesion within the attractions themselves? Snow White as said is part of a Fairytale Princess subtheme, but the other dark rides, including Alice when it was later added, are all part of a Storybook subtheme. This one is quite broad, but includes all of the childhood stories that we might have read when we were young; Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio, Wind in the Willows and so on. More modern than the medieval fairytales, Storybook is still very nostalgic – awarded a very Victorian and Edwardian sensibility. No individual theme is explored as a mini land, perhaps the closest is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and Alice in Wonderland attractions being adjacent which could arguably by a Wonderland mini area, but this is negligible. There was also the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship and Skull Rock in Fantasyland, which brought a small piece of Peter Pan’s Neverland to the Magic Kingdom. Most intimately linked with this theme is the Storybook Land Canal Boats, which directly present a boat ride through stories before bedtime. An update of the entirely unthemed Canal Boats of the World, this attraction blends the storybook and fairytale themes together with its dioramas, and incorporates the circus theme as well with the intertwining Casey Jr. track.

Another Fantasyland classic, “it’s a small world” moved from the 1964 Worlds Fair to Disneyland in 1966. Entirely disconnected from the other themes of Fantasyland, I am honestly surprised Walt didn’t label it as part of Tomorrowland, where it fit with his optimistic hopes for the future and would been equally as contemporary as the Carousel of Progress. Regardless however (probably due to space), it was placed as part of Fantasyland and established a 1960s Contemporary theme in the land. Later, when the Matterhorn switched its land designation from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland, the 1960s Contemporary theme was strengthened. Most remarkably to modern day guests, we also have to remember that some of the Autopia’s were located in Fantasyland; the Junior Autopia (later Fantasyland Autopia, and then the Rescue Rangers Raceway) and the Midget Autopia. Most likely, these are anomalies from a time before the themes were set in stone, where more practical considerations such as land space and cost took precedent. Still, 1960’s Contemporary became established in Fantasyland, stretching from the Alps to all around the world.

In 1983, the New Fantasyland make-over took the theming to a new level. Along with moving attractions around the both create more space and strengthen the subthemes (the Tea Party was moved next to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), the Castle courtyard received a magnificent update. Gone was the Medieval Tournament, no longer to be part of Disneyland Park, and in its place was built a wonderful fairytale village, with giant twirling beanstalk, thatched cottage roofs and quaint old time architecture. Partly inspired by Pinocchio’s village, the update also enhanced the Storybook subtheme, giving a stately home to the front of Mr Toads Wild Ride, a puppet theatre in front of Pinocchio, and adding more to the Wonderland area.

Just as I chose to argue that New Orleans Square was a subland of Frontierland, I want to again take the controversial position that fundamentally, Mickey’s Toontown is a subland of Fantasyland – although I admit, it is more removed than New Orleans. I want to propose this because there was already a historical precedent that the Toons could appear in Fantasyland, established with the inclusion of the Mickey Mouse Club Theatre at the parks opening. Later, this was continued with the Disney Afternoon Avenue down Small World Promenade in 1991, which included Duck Tales, TaleSpin, Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers and the Gummi Bears in Fantasyland. Toontown is simply an extension of this – giving the classic Disney characters there own city of bent laws of physics and wacky goings-on. Its time period is elusive; the Fab Five’s houses seem modern, but Roger Rabbit’s inclusion places the year as 1947, and Gadget’s Go Coaster confuses the setting even with its time setting back in the 1990s. Really, this land is timeless – after all, toons don’t age, do they? At parks without a Toontown, such as Hong Kong Disneyland, the toon characters are still unashamedly a part of Fantasyland – for example with its inclusion of Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Magic Kingdom

At the Magic Kingdom’s opening, Disneyland’s established Fantasyland was continued. Although without Casey Jr., the Circus appeared with Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and the Medieval Tournament style continued to theme the facades of the Storybook attractions. The inclusion of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Fantasyland incorporates Pooh Bear into the Storybook subtheme.

However, the park did make two major influences on the established Fantasyland mythos. First was that large parts of Fantasyland here used quite realistic European village architecture, most significantly Bavarian architecture. These buildings weren’t as fanciful as the later 1983 New Fantasyland at Disneyland would go with, but instead presented a large scale Fantasyland set in real medieval times (although the contents within were distinctly fanciful).

Another major development was the inclusion of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. The spiritual successor to Disneyland’s Submarine Voyage, the attraction was moved from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland. The reasoning behind this is interesting, and makes the ride an example of how Imagineers were really making up the rules as they went along, seeing what worked and what didn’t. The decision to swap lands was due to the source material being entirely fictional, and the view that it therefore fit into Fantasyland. At the time, Tomorrowland was solely a realistic approximation of what the future might become, and did not yet have the science fiction elements that would later turn it into the future that never was. Still, the location was not entirely successful, and whilst the ride was well received, and the blue lagoon looked wonderful, the steampunk submarines were a severe mismatch with the fairytale and storybook architecture on the land. With Tomorrowland now welcoming science fiction into its background, it’s unlikely a science fantasy like this would ever be built in Fantasyland again. Although it was certainly a brilliant transition between fantasy and science via science fantasy, future versions of this will almost certainly be entirely located in Tomorrowland, and only border Fantasyland. Still, Steampunk has been established as a Fantasyland subtheme.

Mickey’s Toontown Fair (formerly Mickey’s Birthdayland and then Mickey’s Starland) is an extension of the Mickey’s Toontown theme from Disneyland, transposing Toontown’s urban setting to a country rural area.

In 2009, Disney announced the New Fantasyland expansion for Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, doubling the size of Fantasyland and incorporating a greater presence for Disney’s incredibly popular Disney Princesses franchise. Fundamentally, this New Fantasyland is a massive expansion of the Princess Fairytale subtheme, including Cinderella, Belle and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. But as well as this, it expands the Storybook theme with a Little Mermaid area, a vast jump from the relatively small Ariel’s Grotto that preceded it and its equivalent Triton’s Garden from Disneyland. Even the Circus is being added to, with a second Dumbo spinner and a clown themed rollercoaster. Whilst some of the eastern architecture will be made more fairytale, most of the expansion is outside of the castle courtyard, meaning the existing Medieval Tournament subtheme of the western part of Fantasyland will remain.

Tokyo Disneyland

Disney’s international parks have stuck rather closely to the precedents of the state-side parks. Tokyo Disneyland’s Fantasyland is very reminiscent of Walt Disney’s World’s Fantasyland, including Medieval Tournament exteriors, and a number of Storybook attractions – Alice even gets her own restaurant.

The major divergence here, however, is the inclusion of the Haunted Mansion as a Fantasyland attraction. Part of the tradition of locating the Haunted Mansion in a different land for each of its incarnations, with no New Orleans Square or Liberty Square it was decided that ghosts and spirits most fit into fantasy stories in Japanese culture. Inside the Mansion, things continue as normal however. The Ghost Story has claimed its place in Fantasyland.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris contains the most beautiful of all the existing Fantasylands. As with Tokyo however, it does not stray from the established Fantasyland themes. Appropriately, Peter Pan’s Flight is moved to border Adventureland, providing a smooth transition to Adventureland’s pirate island sub-area.

The most noticeable difference is that the European heritage of much of Fantasyland is recognised by a much more international European Village. Rather than staying with one style, the architecture blends French, Swiss, German, British and Italian influences as guests move through the land, each nationality appropriate to the attraction or restaurant contained within the building.

Edwardian is also strengthened with the beautiful Fantasyland Train Station and Fantasy Festival Stage, while Storybook is expanded with a Wonderland labyrinth.

Hong Kong Disneyland

As with Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland remains faithful to the established Fantasylands. However a future addition will arguably act as a Fantasyland miniland.

Just as Mystic Point can be viewed as an Adventureland miniland, and Grizzly Gulch as a miniland of (a non-existent) Frontierland, it can be argued that the upcoming Toy Story Land could be counted as a miniland of Fantasyland.

Toy Story Land will be a contemporary addition, but conforms entirely to the childhood theme of Fantasyland. It is the modern equivalent of a ‘Babes in Toyland’ miniland, and I’m sure very few of us would think it odd if Walt had included that in his original Fantasyland. To be shrunk to the size of a toy and to play with living versions of favourite toys is perfect for Fantasyland, if guests embrace it – something we will see in time.


Fantasyland may be the only land whose focus has narrowed rather than broadened. As its original three sibling lands were intended to portray reality (real nature, real history, real ideas of the future), Fantasyland was the sole domain for already established Disney imagination. But gradually, that fantasy crept beyond the borders of Fantasyland: talking Tiki birds and tropical island tree-houses in Adventureland, Zorro and Tom Sawyer in Frontierland, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in Tomorrowland, and redefined what Fantasyland was for, probably due to Walt’s realization that there wasn’t enough humour in the other lands. Consider an attraction based on Aladdin; if it was part of Disneyland at opening, it would most probably have been part of Fantasyland. But now, many of us would expect it as part of Adventureland. Fantasyland has narrowed its focus, and its result is a remarkably diverse but still cohesive land, where fairytales, storybooks, circuses and even global understanding all fit together like a jigsaw. The binding idea appears to be, quite simply, childhood. Fantasyland is made up of;

- Princess Fairytale (including Fantasy Forest)
- Medieval Tournament
- Toon (including Toontown)
- Edwardian
- Circus
- Storybook (including Peter Pan’s Neverland, Alice’s Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood)
- 1960’s Contemporary
- European Village
- Victorian Science-Fantasy
- Toyland
- Ghost Story

The Future

Recognising Fantasyland’s malleable theme, there are a number of possibilities it could delve into in the future.

- Perhaps a full embracing of of the storybook lands could be included? Fully fledged minilands, each with their own handful of attractions and shops, could be built for;
          - Peter Pan’s Neverland – with Skull Rock, Captain Hook’s Jolly Roger, an improved Peter Pan’s Flight, Indian Territory, Mermaid Lagoon and Pixie Hollow.
          - Alice’s Wonderland – with the Mad Hatters Tea Party, Queen of Hearts Castle and the numerous other unexpected elements of Lewis Carroll’s world.
          - Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood – with hunny bees, heffalumps and woozles, kites, balloons and even Pooh Sticks.
          - The Little Mermaid – perhaps the Mermaid Lagoon section of Tokyo DisneySea would fit into a Fantasyland.
          - Or what about other classic stories; the Wizard of Oz, 101 Dalmatians, or any of Disney’s other animated classics.
- Perhaps the Edwardian aspect could be expanded, bringing Mary Poppins to the park.
- Could genuine medieval life be recognised, with real knights in armour, blacksmith shops with horseshoeing demonstrations and other information about genuine castle life?
- Could the childhood memories outside of Europe and America be included? Perhaps Chinese children’s stories could appear in Shanghai Disneyland?
- Would Aladdin and the stories of the Arabian Nights be appropriate in Fantasyland, or should they be in Adventureland?
- Could the Disney villains be given there own Toontown style miniland?
- Maybe Toyland could be expanded beyond solely the Toy Story movies, perhaps along the lines of Babes in Toyland or with a Santa’s Workshop.
- Could a holiday subland be included, with celebrations of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Halloween?
- What about a candy land, inspired by the proposed Candy Mountain that was to have been built in the 1950s?
- How about a subland of mythical animals; unicorns, trolls and dragons?

Once again, I hope you enjoyed reading this! Check back soon for the penultimate article in the series, all about Tomorrowland!

Disney Park and Resort Sizes

When Walt first had his idea for a Disney park, it was going to have been an 8 acre venture across the street from the Disney Studios called Mickey Mouse Park. Little did he know what that gem of an idea would turn into. Here, I have listed the sizes of all the current Disney parks and resorts worldwide. It's fascinating to compare them.

DISNEYLAND RESORT - 510 acres (Walt originally bought 160 acres)
Disneyland - 85 acres
Disney's California Adventure - 55 acres (will expand to 67 acres with Carsland)
Downtown Disney - 20 acres

WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT - 25,000 acres (Walt originally bought 27,400 acres, but pieces have been sold off)
Magic Kingdom - 107 acres
Epcot - 305 acres
Disney's Hollywood Studios - 135 acres
Disney's Animal Kingdom - 410 acres (500 including parking lots)
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon - 56 acres (this may include parking lots)
Disney's Blizzard Beach - 66 acres (this may include parking lots)
Downtown Disney - 120 acres (this may include parking lots)
Pleasure Island - 8 acres
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex - 220 acres

Tokyo Disneyland - 115 acres
Tokyo DisneySea - 176 acres

Disneyland Paris - 140 acres
Walt Disney Studios Paris - 62 acres

Hong Kong Disneyland - 55 acres (will expand to 68 acres with Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land)

CASTAWAY CAY (Disney's private island) - 1,000 acres (only 55 of which are developed)

Total Disney Acreage: 32,115
Total Acreage of Parks: 1,552 (1,430 without waterparks)

Largest Resort: Walt Disney World Resort
Smallest Resort: Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Largest Park: Disney's Animal Kingdom
Smallest Park: Disney's California Adventure

Average Park Size: 130 acres

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Backstories: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Inspired by the magnificent Jules Verne novel, the classic 1954 live-action Disney film, and Imagineering's previous explorations of Verne's source material with the eponymous submarine attraction at the Magic Kingdom and Les Mystères du Nautilus at Disneyland Paris, this attraction takes guests far below the ocean waves. This backstory comes from the Tokyo DisneySea Press Kit, as provided by

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Backstory

The time is the 1870s. On an uncharted island somewhere in the South Pacific, a giant volcano rises up from the ocean depths. This is Mysterious Island, the secret base of operations for the enigmatic genius, Captain Nemo. It is here that he is engaged in experiments and research intent upon unlocking the secrets of the oceans and uncovering the hidden forces of nature deep beneath the earth's surface.

Inside the caldera, a crater formed at the base of the volcano, a large body of water provides secret access to the ocean beyond. Suspended above the water is a small submersible vessel, the Neptune. This is Captain Nemo's personal submarine boat, capable of taking him to underwater locales not accessible by his larger submarine, the Nautilus.

In an unprecedented decision, Captain Nemo has invited the world's scientific community to come to Mysterious Island and share in his discoveries of the countless marvels and mysteries of the ocean's depths. He has announced that his special guests will be permitted to board one of his fleet of submersibles, similar to the Neptune, and join his crew as observers to assist in his research and to share the ocean's majesty.

To board their vessel, guests descend a spiral ramp and enter a volcanic rock cavern that leads first to Captain Nemo's Private Study and Control Station. Discovering that Captain Nemo is working in another part of the facility, they are able to walk through these private quarters and observe Nemo's various notes, maps and research materials related to his studies of the sea and his efforts to develop the ocean floor for fanning. It is here too that they are introduced to the Aquaphone. Nemo's amazing wireless communications invention, which allows him to monitor activities throughout Mysterious Island and to broadcast information to his fleet of research vessels under the sea.

Moving along, they enter the Dive Hatch Area where they observe that Nemo and his crew are able to don diving suits and enter the ocean directly through a special pressure hatch. It is clear from the missing dive suits in the storage area, and from the seawater and kelp around the hatch, that divers must have recently used the hatch and that their dive is still in progress.

Soon the guests enter the Submarine Docking Port, a rock cavern that has been reinforced by large metal riveted plates. The submersibles are suspended from an overhead conveyor system for loading. They arc attached by large metal hooks that release the vessels into the water. Guests board the six-person submersibles and the conveyor moves them to the ocean's edge to be dropped into the water and begin their dive.

Upon release, Captain Nemo can be heard over the Aquaphone in the vessel. He broadcasts along the way and provides information to the intrepid voyagers about the sites they see. In their first view after diving to the ocean floor, they observe the beauty of the ocean reef around the perimeter of Mysterious Island. Then they enter one of the many undersea fields where Nemo is harvesting the limitless bounty of the ocean and continuing to develop and refine his Aquafarming operations.

Nemo reminds his guests that the ocean is a vast and wondrous place, but that it is not a domain that can be controlled by man - that man is merely a visitor in the sea. As evidence, guests next encounter a graveyard of lost ships. As they float through the Ship Graveyard, in and out of the wrecks of sunken ships from every era, they observe that all the power and riches the people who piloted these vessels might have possessed or sought, were only destined to become so much junk at the bottom of the sea-a playground for the denizens of the deep.

But there is little time to reflect on the irony of man's quest for fame and fortune. An unexpected encounter with a sea creature of mammoth proportions leads guests on a life-or-death adventure beyond imagination. Sinking to a depth far deeper than ever thought possible, the guests soon discover secrets of the deep that even Nemo himself never dared imagine possible.

Backstories: Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull

Temple of the Crystal Skull, an arguable improved version of the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye from Disneyland California (devoid of fire effects due to Japanese laws) takes guests on a wild jeep ride into a South American temple. This backstory comes from the Tokyo DisneySea Press Kit, as supplied by

Temple of the Crystal Skull Backstory

The time is the 1930s. The place is Lost River Delta, a tattered outpost of civilization on the ragged edge of the ever-encroaching Central American rainforest and jungle. Famed archaeologist Dr. Henry 'Indiana' Jones, Jr. has discovered a long lost pyramid hidden in the dense vegetation. The ancient limestone edifice is called Temple of the Crystal Skull, in homage to the supernatural and vengeful Crystal Skull said to be the guardian of the temple's secrets. One secret Indy has determined by deciphering the temple's hieroglyphics is that this pyramid is alleged to be the location of the fabled Fountain of Youth. He has further discovered that to prevent interlopers from coming in and bathing in the rejuvenating waters, the temple is booby-trapped with untold peril at every turn. Indy has reported that the temple is littered with the skeletal remains of those who have disregarded these safeguards and has advised that no one should attempt to enter. This has done little to discourage the curious and those in search of eternal youth. Even Indy's Central American assistant, Paco, seeing a business opportunity, is disregarding Indy's warning and has established "Paco's Temple Tours," promising to take guests deep into the pyramid by way of a fleet of jungle transport vehicles.

Upon entering the Temple of the Crystal Skull, intrepid guests will walk through an active archaeological dig in a cavernous chamber. Traversing hastily erected scaffolding, they walk up and around the perimeter of the room passing by ancient idols, skeletal remains, and frescoes depicting the legendary Fountain of Youth, which appear to contain warnings about the presence of the supernatural Crystal Skull.

After reaching the top and stepping through a wall that has been broken open, the guests queue through a series of rooms used by Indy and his archaeological team. Along the way they will see maps, artifacts, newspaper clippings and even a short film by Paco, all of which should advance their knowledge and pique their interest in the secrets of the temple, its contents and its guardian, the Crystal Skull.

As guests board their well-worn jungle transports, Paco is heard over the radio assuring them that if they are careful not to disturb the Crystal Skull, no harm will befall them. The vehicle takes off, lurching and rocking on the uneven road, into the dark depths of the pyramid. The vehicle enters the Chamber of Purity, a grotto-like room of pools where, apparently, ancients in search of the Fountain of Youth would cleanse and purify themselves before attempting to go further into the temple. But the skeletons scattered about the chamber are evidence that few made it any farther. The vehicle does not stop, but races forward.

Cresting an embankment, the guests come face to face with the fabled Crystal Skull. If the vehicle can move slowly and stealthily, it can go past the Crystal Skull undetected and the secrets of the temple will be within reach. But a surprise backfire from the ill-maintained vehicle breaks the reverential silence, alerting and angering the Crystal Skull and unleashing its supernatural powers.

The vehicle speeds up and turns into a previously unknown chamber. Now it's a race against the encompassing wrath of the Crystal Skull and the many booby traps and unknown dangers that await, in an attempt to escape from the pyramid. Throughout their escape attempt, guests will encounter everything from mummies and bugs to fire and poison darts. But the most dangerous peril still awaits... Even with the help of Indiana Jones himself, can the guests tempt fate and survive? The answer can only be found inside Temple of the Crystal Skull.

Backstories: Journey to the Center of Earth

Journey to the Center of the Earth on Mysterious Island in Tokyo DisneySea is a white-knuckle race through the Earth's fantastic underground wonderlands and back again. This backstory is from the Tokyo DisneySea Press Kit, as provided by

Journey to the Center of the Earth Backstory

On an uncharted island somewhere in the South Pacific, Mysterious Island rises up from the ocean depths. In the shadow of a giant volcano, the enigmatic genius Captain Nemo has established this desolate site as his secret base of operations. It is here that he is engaged in experiments and research intent upon unlocking the secrets of the oceans and uncovering the hidden forces of nature deep beneath the earth's surface.

On an ashen slope inside the caldera, a crater formed at the base of the volcano, a large drilling machine hangs suspended from a huge crane. The hole it has created marks the place where Captain Nemo first discovered natural volcanic tunnels running through the caldera rock. Below the drilling machine is a giant screen to protect those below from falling debris and volcanic ash. Flanking either side of the screen are other corridors that Nemo's crew has drilled into the rock. These corridors lead to another natural cavern inside and the entrance to Journey to the Center of the Earth.

In an unprecedented decision, Captain Nemo has invited the world's scientific community to come to Mysterious Island and share in the discoveries he has made deep beneath the earthy surface. He has announced that his special guests will be permitted to board one of his fleet of smaller subterranean drilling vehicles, personally designed by Nemo himself specifically for scientific subterranean sightseeing excursions.

To reach their vehicle, guests must first trek through the Magma Sanctum (Lava Sanctuary). En route, they will hear Captain Nemo's voice welcoming them to witness the marvels that he has discovered.

As they make their way through the Lava Sanctum, they will pass Nemo's Study, where they will observe that the Captain has continued his study of the caverns he has discovered. It appears that he has recently been engaged in a study of maps he has made and is drafting new ones.

A little farther inside, they arrive at a cast iron structure with walls of glass. This is the Bio-Lab. Here, on worktables and shelves are various reference materials and unique samples Nemo and his crew have brought up from the center of the earth. They include beautiful colored crystals, gigantic mushrooms, bioluminescent life forms and petrified egg fragments that appear to be prehistoric.

As the guests move along, they pass a Specimen Case where more strange insects from the center of the earth are preserved and studied using gloved portals built into the side of the case. Nearby is the Workstation where experiments mechanical in nature are being conducted.

To board their vehicle, guests must now descend a half mile below the surface of the earth in a special elevator known as a Terravator. After a quick and exhilarating ride, guest arrive at another massive cavern dug by Nemo's drilling machine. This is the Base Station where they will board their subterranean vehicle. Large pistons shore up the rock walls and ceiling of this cavern and a giant bellows pumps in fresh air from the surface. Huge dynamos generate the electricity that lights the chamber.

As they make their way to the loading area, they pass the Communication Center, which is the terminus for a system of speaking tubes used by Nemo and his crew to communicate throughout this underground network of caves and drilling sites. On a large map overhead, signal lights indicate the condition of seismic activity. Since the station is unmanned at the moment, there is no notice taken by Nemo's crew of warnings over the speaking tubes to the dispatcher of increased volcanic activity and requests to suspend further departures of vehicles into the caves.

With guests aboard, the vehicles pull out of the station and the excursion is underway. The plan calls for the vehicles to pass the areas where the samples from the Bio-Lab and Specimen Case were originally found. These places are all well known and well-explored by Nemo and his crew.

Starting at a leisurely pace, the vehicle enters the beautiful Crystal Cavern, a subterranean cave of colorful crystalline structures, the place is alive with sparkling color reflected and refracted onto the cave walls. Along its route, the vehicle passes through a Giant Mushroom Forest, a strange forest filled with huge. luminous mushrooms and populated by odd colorful creatures, never before seen on the earth. It all seems very wondrous and somehow quite safe until the vehicle travels ever deeper into the center of the earth and comes upon a vast Subterranean Sea. This cavern is vast and dark — so vast that it has developed its own atmosphere. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is alive with a loud and violent storm.

It is at this point that the excursion goes terribly off course and the journey becomes much more treacherous. Guests now must face unforeseen peril and danger before they are finally blasted out the side of the volcano in a thrilling and surprising high-speed conclusion.

Backstories: StormRider

The StormRider attraction at Port Discovery in Tokyo DisneySea is an amazingly immersive simulator. This backstory comes from the Tokyo DisneySea Press Kit, as provided by the great Disney website I highly recommend their 'Tales From the Laughing Place' magazine.

StormRider Backstory

Located on a shore not yet known, in a time yet to be, Port Discovery is a vision of a unique tomorrow: a time when science and nature are in balance. It is the home of the Center for Weather Control where scientists from around the globe are gathered to probe the intricate workings of the earth's weather. They are engaged in intensive research and experimentation with one goal in mind: to control severe weather systems such as tornadoes, hurricanes and typhoons. To that end, they have designed and built a new type of flying weather laboratory known as StormRider. Aboard these airborne weather research stations, scientists arc able to locate, analyze and combat the planet's most devastating storms. To celebrate the success of StormRider and the arrival of a bold new scientific era, the Center is hosting a festival and open house. As part of the festivities, guests are invited to join a mission aboard StormRider for the flight of a lifetime.

Once inside the Center for Weather Control, guests learn that a major storm has developed and is rapidly approaching Port Discovery. They must quickly prepare to join the next flight, whose mission is to neutralize the storm before it makes landfall. To prepare for their flight, guests are introduced to the Storm Diffusion Device, or 'Fuse'. One of the most important inventions from the Center, the Fuse will be launched from StormRider into the eye of the storm and detonated to negate the destructive force of the winds - effectively to diffuse the storm.

Entering the hangar that houses the StormRider vehicles, guests board one of the two flying labs docked there. When the protective windshield cover is opened, guests can see that their vehicle is now hovering outside the hangar, awaiting clearance to take off. As they wait, guests are treated to a spectacular view of the waters of Port Discovery and the ocean beyond. They can see that the other vehicle is hovering ahead. Clearance is given and the flight is underway. The sensation of take-off is exciting, accentuated by the view out the windshield as a floating city quickly disappears beneath the vehicle.

Nearing the huge, dark storm, it is clear to see that this is not just any average weather disturbance — this is the storm of the century, the greatest challenge for the StormRider pilots, and possibly, the most deadly. Suddenly a lightning strike renders the other StormRider incapable of completing the mission and it must return to base. Although the StormRider with the guests aboard is ordered to return as well. the pilot, feeling that he is within striking distance of the storm, ignores the order and continues on. But when the Fuse doesn't operate as expected, the real thrill of StormRider begins with a while-knuckle race against time to make it back safely to Port Discovery.

Backstories: Disney's Typhoon Lagoon

The Imagineering creation that redefined themed water parks has a wonderfully quirky backstory. Available in some of the waterparks maps, in Disney literature, and even on signs as you drive to its entrance, guests can discover the fate of the paradise Placid Palms Resort.

The Legend of Typhoon Lagoon

"A furious storm once roared cross the sea
Catching ships in its path, helpless to flee
Instead of a certain and watery doom
The wind swept them here to Typhoon Lagoon."

For as long as anyone could remember, the quaint thatch-roofed village had nestled along the shores of the sparkling lagoon, in the shadows of a great volcanic mountain. Then came the 20th century with its cruise ships, and tourists and the Placid Palms Resort... a special little place for lucky vacationers each year.

The great storm, however, changed everything... a furious, unrelenting typhoon catching a small fleet of ships by surprise, and tossing them about like toy boats for one terrifying hour. But in the storm’s wake was left a remarkable scene.

A surfboard had penetrated completely through a huge tree. A small boat had blown through the roof of one building. A great buoy had crashed through the roof of still another. The Placid Palms Resort was now the Leaning Palms, almost ready to topple over at any moment. A small harbor had been cut off from the sea, trapping an overturned boat and thousands of colorful fish, uh... plus a few sharks along the way.

Nothing, however, topped the sight of the shrimp boat, 'Miss Tilly', impaled precariously on the peak of the great volcanic mountain. To this day, the mountain tries vainly to dislodge its unwelcome burden with an enormous geyser of water every half hour.

Well, what nature has done is a little redecorating. The inhabitants were left with the most extraordinary assortment of waterfalls, rapids, pools, surf and all around wetness the world has ever seen. The once sleepy resort had been turned into Typhoon Lagoon.

Backstories: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin

Here's a backstory for the Michael Graves designed Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Whilst not Disney-designed, Michael Eisner still imposed Disney's thematic expectations.

This information comes from an interview with Disneyphile Jim Korkis, conducted by Werner Weiss and hosted at his amazing website, Yesterland.

"[The] basic concept for the Dolphin was that it was an island formed by a sudden cataclysmic event - an upheaval by an underwater volcano or earthquake. When the island emerged from under the sea, it lifted dolphins out of the water, and these are the dolphins on the roof. The banana leaves on the side of the building are the tropical plants growing on the island. The mysterious “black box” was never intended for monorail usage; it was the heart of the island, which burst open from the sheer force of the events. Water went spilling down the outside of the building into that dolphin filled pool, and then splashed over to the Swan. The railings and the curving landscape connecting the two hotels indicate waves moving from the Dolphin and splashing up along the side of the Swan. These are the waves that you see on the side of the Swan. Two swans were so entranced by this natural phenomenon that they alighted to watch it up close - and were turned to stone."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Disneyfication and Disneyization

Here is summary of an area of (what I perhaps optimistically call) Disney Studies that has developed; the ideas of Disneyfication and Disneyization. Commentators often use the words interchangeably or inadvertently mix them up, but each describes a separate phenomenon related to Disney.

Disneyfication is more closely tied to the Disney animated films, and its verb form 'to Disneyfy' explains its meaning. Disneyfication is the transformation of something into a childlike, family, perhaps simpler, form. Often used negatively, Disneyfication may be accused of sanitizing history or literature, Americanizing it, or making it overly saccharine. Richard Schickel, in his book 'The Disney Version' most scathingly attacks Disneyfication, explaining that "magic, mystery, individuality, were consistently destroyed when a literary work passed through this machine that had been taught there was only one correct way to draw."

Personally, I don't agree with Shickel, and immediately his argument of only one Disney art style can be quickly disproven. A closer look at Disney's animated library reveals the natural realism of Bambi, the classic Disney roundness of Cinderella, the wonderful stylization of Sleeping Beauty, the abstraction of Fantasia, the surrealism of Dumbo's Pink Elephants sequence, and hundreds more variations and experiments throughout Disney's archive of animated films, shorts and live action pictures.

The frequent argument that Disney 'ruins' the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm completely misunderstands the history of fairytales. The Brothers Grimm did not invent these stories - they were simply the first to write them down. Before that, they were an oral tradition, with one storyteller passing it on to the next, each emphasising the aspects they liked, changing each retelling, and like a game of telephone, allowing the story to evolve as it passed throughout the communities. Walt Disney is just the latest in a long line of these storytellers, perfecting within his rights to tell the stories as he wishes to tell them - and to his credit, he has been so successful that many think of his retellings as the definitive version; we have often heard how many think Happy, Grumpy, Doc and so on are the traditional names of the seven dwarfs, when in fact they are a Disney creation.

Disneyization meanwhile, refers to a cultural phenomenon in which more and more of the real world is beginning to resemble a Disney theme park. It is a follow-on from McDonaldization, the idea that more and more of the real world is beginning to resemble a fast food restaurant - comprised of Efficiency (both in production and in pleasing the customer), Calculability (aiming for quantifiable data, for example sales rather than taste), Predictability (reassuring the same product and level of service will consistently be available) and Control (both technologically by replacing workers with machines, as well as standardizing employees in their training and appearance).

Disneyization comprises of five aspects; theming, hybrid consumption, merchandising, performative labour and control & surveillance.

Theming, the identifying feature of a Disney theme park, has now spread beyond the berm, in that restaurants, shops, hotels, zoos and so on may theme themselves, infusing them symbolism and a constructed history that enhance their appeal. The service provided is enhanced with entertainment, and in a society which relies increasingly more on service over goods, it is a way of plussing themselves, making them unique, and able to charge a higher price.

Hybrid Consumption refers to the blending of services and products in an effort to provide more and retain customers longer. Visiting a theme park is not just riding rides, it is dining, shopping and entertainment, just as a mall will provide entertainment or a restaurant will sell merchandise of itself.

This leads on to Merchandising (and similarly branding), which is the marketing of what would typically be rather indistinguishable items with the logo or creative property of a particular cultural construct. A movie is no longer a movie; through 'synergy' it is the launching point of books, CDs, DVDs, clothing, toys, home goods, merchandise ... and even theme park attractions. By establishing a brand, companies can guarantee higher revenues for a longer duration.

Performative Labour, highly visible in the service industries, is the embellishment of an employee’s role as a service provider to that of a performer. Just as Disneyland workers are not simply staff, they are Castmembers and part of the show, this same expectation is found in chain restaurants and shops. It is epitomised by the smile - a perhaps artificial enthusiasm for helping the customer. Companies recognise that this theatre, like theming, can separate them from the competitors and establish a reputation for service and experience.

Finally, Control & Surveillance is the element which binds the others together. Control & Surveillance refers not only to the business themselves, but also to their customers. Disneyland imposes a dress code on its visitors, and prohibits certain items from its park, but more indirectly filters the type of guests who enter its parks with the high cost of entry to what is typically middle class. Guest movement is specifically channelled, flashes are restricted within attractions, and Disney's real estate and intellectual property are vehemently guarded. For some, even the guests’ imagination is manipulated by the Disney parks (although largely in disagreement with the argument that Disneyland limits the imagination). Disney employees are limited to a specific look, behaviour and personality - their hair, facial hair, make-up and jewellery specifically controlled, and their interaction programmed through Disney University training programs and scripts. Every aspect of the business, from the employee to the customer, is managed to create the desire response.

Those are the fundamental arguments of Disneyfication and Disneyization. While both are often used pejoratively, this is perhaps too simplistic. The Disney traditions have guaranteed a successful and popular product consistently for decades, elevating the company to the top of its fields. Other companies may try to mimic Disney's practices, yet none have yet surpassed them - and they do this because, almost universally, this is what contemporary customers desire.

For further information, I highly recommend Alan Bryman's book The Disneyization of Society and suggest similar theoretical ideas such as McDonaldization, Cocacolonization and Walmarting.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dissecting Disney's Lands: Frontierland

On the opening of Disneyland back in 1955, Walt was able to introduce each of his fantastic lands in just a few sentences each. But as they’ve grown, and even when they first opened, their component themes are incredibly wide ranging; an eclectic collage of ideas and settings grouped loosely by their land’s title. In this series, I hope to break down these sub-themes (their settings both in location and in time) to better understand how to lands come together as a cohesive whole.

“Frontierland! Tall tales and true from the legendary past.”

“Frontierland is a tribute to the faith, courage and ingenuity of the pioneers who blazed the trails across America. We find ourselves back in the exciting days when the story of our country’s past was being lived. We will ride a covered wagon to a roaring river town, pay a visit to Slue Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe, and then catch the paddlewheel steamer Mark Twain for a trip down the Rivers of America.”

Frontierland has become synonymous with ‘cowboy land’ at Disney, but I hope to open people’s eyes to how much more Frontierland represents; it is a representation of American history and geography from its earliest discovery to the turn of the 20th century (when Main Street USA takes its place).


When Frontierland opened, it was a living piece of the past that gave guests the opportunity to travel like one of the early American pioneers. The emphasis was on a majestic landscape being slowly tamed by the hardship of the inhabitants, but still holding new wonders to astound the guests. Similar to the ghost town at Knott’s Berry Farm, Frontierland established itself by not solely representing the past, but infusing it with the Hollywood western that was hugely popular at the time. Walking through the fort stockade entrance, guests found themselves in a thriving western town. Straight ahead were the steaming smoke stacks of the Mark Twain, ready to make its way down the mighty American rivers. To the left, were the iconic western buildings of the town; the general store, and the bustling Golden Horseshoe, inviting guests inside for a rollickin’ good time. The combination of historical accuracy (there was a Davy Crockett Museum) and pure Hollywood magic (exemplified by the Davy Crockett television show), made this Frontierland stand out; this was the Western Town.

Beyond the town was the Indian Village. Here, amongst the teepees, totem poles and burial ground guests could witness the customs and culture of Native Americans, representing many tribes across the country. At the heart of this was the ceremonial dance circle; or guests could alternatively climb aboard the Indian War Canoes and paddle their way down the Rivers of America. Even with its move further along the river in 1956, this was still the Indian Village.

But that was not all. North of the town lay the wide open wilderness. Conestoga wagons, pack mules, stagecoaches and walking trails allowed guests to explore the wonders of nature’s landscape travelling through majestic rock sculptures, strangely anthropomorphic cacti, past colourful bubbling geysers and along the wide open riverbank. The switch to only the mine train and the pack mules in 1960 would not affect the spirit of the environment. Added were Bear Country, the mighty waterfall of Cascade Peak, the dam-building beavers, the magical Rainbow Caverns and the perilously dangerous balancing rocks. This area celebrated the wonder and majesty of America’s landscape and wildlife; this was Nature’s Wonderland.

One year after the park opened, guests were invited to board rafts and sail across to the newly opened Tom Sawyer Island. Here, guests became part of Mark Twain’s world, climbing rocks, exploring caves and stumbling across rickety barrel bridges. This was the fantasy of American youth and lazy summer days, the ultimate adventure playground, and a dedication to classic American literature – Tom Sawyer Island.

In 1958, a small plaza near the Mark Twain received a new name; El Zocalo – the traditional name of a Mexican town square. Inspired by the increasingly successful Zorro television program, El Zocalo Park was a piece of Mexico in Frontierland – for the first time expanding Frontierland beyond the borders of the United States (although the land represented would later join the US, at the time it is set it was part of Spanish California). Mexican Imports sold south-western goods; Casa de Fritos (later known as Casa Mexicana) sold Mexican food. More recently, the restaurant reopened as Rancho de Zocalo Restaurante, but the theme remains; this is Mexico.

In 1966 came one of the grandest single upgrades to Disneyland; New Orleans Square. Now some may consider this an entirely separate land (as the map certainly does), but there are a number of reasons to suspect this was intended as a sub-land of Frontierland. On its opening day, Walt Disney explained that “Frontierland is representing the hardy pioneers and things that really made this country in the last hundred years what it is, and New Orleans comes into this thing in this way; that was a very important acquisition that we made at the time, that we purchased New Orleans from the French”, and later explaining “the Gadsden Purchase was another part of the expansion of our country, and that is what will be known and developed later on as the Mexican area”. To Walt, New Orleans Square was just one of the three representations of American expansion, and for any further proof, look at the painted sign on the dockside in New Orleans; the shipping company sign, right in the middle of New Orleans Square, describes itself as Frontierland. New Orleans Square represented the Crescent City sometime in the mid 19th century, and by extension the Louisiana Purchase which so radically expanded the United State’s dominion over the continent. From the city streets, to the outlying bayous, and even right out into the Caribbean with Pirates, New Orleans Square represented a whole range of American history and geography.

Eventually, Nature’s Wonderland made way for Big Thunder Mountain, now an extension of the Western Town. But 1986 brought a new sub-land, Big Thunder Ranch – which was astoundingly advertised when it opened as the first new land since New Orleans Square (a bit of an oversell, I think). Big Thunder Ranch gave representation to the home farm and the cattle ranch, where guests could interact with farm favourites, experiencing what life was like on the prairie. This was the Ranch.

In 1972 came the Country Bear Jamboree, and with it Bear Country. Planted with two hundred and sixty-five trees, ranging from pines and evergreens to redwoods, Bear Country represented the endless forests of the Great Northwest – with a bit on anthropomorphic whimsy.

The 1988 addition of Splash Mountain began an identity change however. The Georgia setting for the Song of the South inspired attraction was a far cry from the Great Northwest, and the lands name was changed to Critter Country. Now the focus was on cartoon animals of America, regardless of their location. Later, the replacement of the Country Bear Jamboree with the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh finally clipped any ties with Frontierland, adding the setting of the English Hundred Acre Wood, and changing Critter Country to be the land of anthropomorphic forest animals, regardless of geographic location.

Walt Disney World

With the upcoming celebration of the Bicentennial, the Magic Kingdom took a bold step and excluded an entrance to Frontierland from the hub. In its place was a bridge to Liberty Square, analogous to, but distinct from, New Orleans Square. Just like New Orleans Square, I’m willing to assert that Liberty Square is a sub-land of an even more expanded Frontierland, in which the history and geography of America is traversed as guests travel from east to west along the Rivers of America. Liberty Square represents the American Northeast; from pre-Revolutionary New York with the Haunted Mansion, to somewhere in Philadelphia, shortly after July 4th 1776. The Sleepy Hollow food outlet even injected some of America’s earliest literature into this sub-land. This is Liberty Square.

Across the river, Tom Sawyer Island again began a representation of American’s literary past, whilst heading into the official Frontierland, we return to the Western Town as established by Disneyland; part history and part Hollywood. The legendary Western River Expedition was intended to have been constructed where Big Thunder Mountain currently lies, and would have given a permanent home to Nature’s Wonderland if it had been built.

Placed as the perfect transition between the Spanish themed Caribbean Plaza in Adventureland and the Frontierland town, a small Mexican area stands next to the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café.

The historical progression was interrupted with the addition of Splash Mountain in 1992, which attempted to fuse the Southern Brer Rabbit story with the surrounding cowboy town. The setting is somewhat confused due to artistic license, and I’m unsure exactly whether it would count as a subtheme representing Georgia when it is so out of place amongst the theming around it.

Tokyo Disneyland

Without as much connection to the historical sourcing of Disneyland’s Frontierland, Tokyo Disneyland’s equivalent was renamed Westernland (due to the lack of an appropriate translation); and very much rethought as a recreation of the Hollywood western movies. The Western Town and Tom Sawyer Island remained, whilst New Orleans Square, in a reduced form, was moved across to Adventureland.

Rather than attempting to squeeze Splash Mountain into the cowboy world of Westernland, Critter Country was opened as a completely new land for the park in 1992. Joined by the Beaver Brothers Explorers Canoes, Critter Country in Tokyo Disneyland retains its theme as a representation of anthropomorphic American animals.

Disneyland Paris

Frontierland in Disneyland Paris is huge, and is located in the traditional place for Adventureland to better flow into the (also Americana) Main Street USA. Here, the generic Western Town is given a name; the mining town of Thunder Mesa, and filled with so much iconic imagery of the American West it is astounding; a general store, a saloon, a steakhouse, a mining supplies office, and much more. The entrance to the land is again a fort stockade, but here it is a walkthrough depicting, in a museum style, the famous figures of American frontier past. The setting is therefore somewhat confusing; are we in the 1800s, or is this merely a recreation? My assumption is that as it is a transition between the Hub and the core Frontierland, the Imagineers feel free to bend the time period.

Travelling west beyond the town, are three small sub-lands. Mexico is again represented, with the Fuente del Oro Restaurante, whilst the Pocahontas Indian Village represents the Native American past. The Ranch is also here, but, whilst it used to be a petting zoo like at Disneyland, now it serves as a Woody and Jesse Meet & Greet. Still, the prairie life lives on, especially with the impressive Cowboy Cookout Barbeque barn.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Uniquely, Hong Kong Disneyland has no Frontierland. In its place will be the miniland Grizzly Gulch, which, with its Big Grizzly Mountain rollercoaster and abandoned forest town built in 1888, is very much the spiritual successor to Bear Country and the American Northwest.


In summary, Disney’s Frontierland is much more than a cowboy town. Anchored with a Hollywood inspired western town, Frontierland is a representation of not only centuries of American history, but of the natural landscapes and animals of the United States and beyond. From the colonial towns of the north-east, to the endless forests of the north-west, via the wondrous canyons of Arizona, the baking deserts of Mexico and the celebratory streets of New Orleans, Frontierland is a living monument to the hardships overcome by the American people, and a demonstration of how the country grew from thirteen small colonies to one of the most amazing countries on Earth. Its subthemes are;

- Western Town
- Indian Village
- Nature’s Wonderland
- Tom Sawyer Island
- Mexico
- New Orleans (and the Deep South)
- The Ranch
- The American Northwest (Bear Country)
- Critter Country (before the addition of Winnie the Pooh)
- Liberty Square

The Future

If we recognise that Frontierland is not just a cowboy land, but a land of American geography and history up until the mid to late 1800s, there is huge scope for future additions;

- Could Nature’s Wonderland, which now has no representation in any Disney park, return, allowing guests to see glistening gold and crystal caves, cacti forests and painted deserts? A representation of America's south-western landscapes?
- Perhaps more focus could be given to America’s folk tales and legends, from Paul Bunyan to Johnny Appleseed.
- Could the frontiers of America be extended to the harsh climate of Alaska, purchased in 1867?
- Or perhaps the Great Lakes or other areas of natural beauty across America?
- Could the arrival of the Pilgrims, or before that even Columbus, be represented in Frontierland?
- To go in a more whimsical direction, what about the Weird West - the combination of the Wild West with horror, occult or fantasy.
- Or even cowboy Steampunk, hinted at with the never built Geyser Mountain.

Once again, I hope this dissection of Disney's subthemes is of interest. Next, I continue my way around Disneyland with Fantasyland!

Huge thanks to Daniel Lew for providing information about El Zocalo!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3D Films versus 3D Environments Part 3

Thanks to the posters at WDWMagic, especially Tirian who offered a number of insightful considerations, I've continued to expand my opinions and ideas on 3D films, 3D environments and the role interactive experiences will take in the future of Disney parks.

For the sake of completeness, I will include my final post from the discussion board here:

In reply to Tirian, when you said that "films cannot literally drop you down a flume, walk you through haunted hallways, or give you whiplash", I totally agree - I only intend my argument to apply to tame, passive attractions like Pirates and Mansion. Simulating the tea cups won't do anyone any good, and rollercoasters aren't at threat because their appeal comes from the physical sensations, not what you see along the way, which is what dark rides rely on. With Pirates and Mansion, once you're seated you literally have no interaction with the world around you. In these situations, if the screen technology is advanced enough, how would you know the difference (obviously that's a big if). The portions of the ride that can be interacted with (say, the portrait gallery before you board Mansion) I don't expect to be made obsolete. The fact that you can reach out and touch this is, exactly as you said, what makes them vastly superior to screens. Its this reasoning that makes me feel tangibility needs to be massively expanded.

That said, I can imagine this happening before screens are advanced enough, if the other benefits screens can provide (computer generated imagery and so on) outweigh the perception that it's not real. Ideally, screens need to be photorealistic, simulate changes of viewing angles and be glassesless before I'd be entirely comfortable with them fully replacing sets. I don't know how likely this is.

Thinking about it, perhaps the Spiderman attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure is kind of what I'm expecting to happen; screens disguised into physical sets - although (even with the massively commendable leap in realism), the screens can still be noticed as screens. When it's mainly the speed that avoids that realisation, slow moving rides like Pirates wouldn't stand a chance.

"As lazy as the idea sounds, Guests will at some point lose patience with the fact that their experiences completely depend on them."

Here, I very much agree with you. For decades now, Disneyland has been passive, television is passive, films are passive - and they're all doing fine. The interactive playgrounds I'm imagining would, for many people, by quite simply exhausting after a while. This is why I definately feel you're correct in saying "a balance of interactive, open-ended environments and thrilling, pre-selected experiences (e.g. Space Mountain) presents the best solution." And wow, won't it be amazing when it happens!

You mention the size of the showbuildings needing to be increased (and I find it funny you mentioned Florida, I'm a Disneylander myself so California is always at the forefront of my mind when I'm thinking about this!), and you're definately right. With more people exploring and interacting, the queues won't be people-eating and the parks going to need a lot more space. That said, if we compare the Pirates showbuilding to Snow Whites, there was no problem massively expanding the building size back in the sixties - I guess we'll just need to do it again, this time on a twenty-first century scale. Where this will leave the land-locked Disneyland is very puzzling.

Dissecting Disney's Lands: Adventureland

On the opening of Disneyland back in 1955, Walt was able to introduce his fantastic lands in just a few sentences each. But as they’ve grown, and even when they first opened, their component themes are incredibly wide ranging; an eclectic collage of ideas and settings grouped loosely by their land’s title. In this series, I hope to break down these sub-themes (their settings both in location and in time) to better understand how the lands come together as a cohesive whole.

“Here is Adventureland: a wonderland of nature’s own design.”

“This is Adventureland. We are in a little village clearing far up some tropical river. There is an explorers launch at the landing; let’s climb on board and explore the farther reaches of these mysterious waters.”


When Disneyland first opened, Adventureland was a tribute to the wilds of nature, the sole land in which man’s influence took a backseat to the power of nature. It had only one attraction; the Jungle Cruise, which spanned the dense jungles of Asia, Africa and South America. With the location so diverse, Adventureland was geographically transient; even Walt described it as “a little village up some trouble tropical river” without specifics. The buildings matched the sole attraction, with corrugated metal shacks, stone buildings and thatched roofs – a hodgepodge of African, Asian and South American architecture. There were overtones of colonialism, western mans first steps into the wild, and the first exercising of his power over the environment (at one time a ‘Big Game Safari’ shooting gallery was located in the land), but the land was all essentially contemporary – implied by the pristine boats of the Jungle Cruise. Adventure was out there, and new lands still remained to be discovered to the 1950’s American. Despite the collation of Africa, Asia and South America, the lack of specificity makes me reluctant to dissect the land any more than its original amalgamate theme; this is the Colonial Jungle – the iconic representation of the worlds jungles, the mysteries they present and the bold platform from which adventurers may tread.

As the sixties approached and Hawaii was admitted into the United States, the post war Tiki craze influenced a popular addition to the land. Whilst Hawaiian shirts had been sold in the land since its opening, it was the Swiss Family Treehouse, the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Tahitian Terrace that brought French Polynesia to Disneyland. With Tiki idols, masks and fountains, the Tiki Room presented the stereotyped, americanised view of hula dancers amid a tropical paradise. Again, the setting was contemporary, as betrayed by the Tiki Room hosts parodies of popular singers (José crooning like Bing Crosby, Fritz scat-singing like Louis Armstrong and Pierre singing like Maurice Chevalier – an element mostly missed by the audience of today). On the far side of Adventureland, the Treehouse broke with the contemporary setting and established nineteenth century New Guinea as part of the land. These early sixties expansions bookended the Adventureland village and expanded the land from the jungles to the tropics. The Hawaiian hula dancing stretched the location from solely Australasia; these are the Pacific Islands.

In 1993, the massive popularity of Disney’s Aladdin brought the Middle East and Arabia to Adventureland; albeit minimally. An Arabian courtyard was constructed, the Tahitian Terrace converted into Aladdin’s Oasis with a stone tiger head as seen in the film, and some of the shops updated into an Arabian bazaar. The effect was minimal (especially with the cessation of the Aladdin’s Oasis dinner show in 1995, and the entire restaurant the year after), but medieval Arabia was now part of Adventureland.

1995 brought the biggest change to the original Adventureland. The opening of the Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye influenced not only itself, but the Jungle Cruise and some shops as well, to throw away Adventureland’s withering fifties time period and set the village in the pulp adventure world of the 1930s and 40s. Indiana Jones brought Adventureland the pulp magazine exaggeration of adventure, with its supernatural temples and exquisite booby-traps. The Jungle Cruise, now with battered, period boats, was a combination of the Deep Jungle and the new Pulp Adventure.

Finally, the re-theming of the Swiss Family Treehouse to Tarzan’s Treehouse moved its intended location from New Guinea to Africa.

Walt Disney World

When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, Adventureland grew on the foundations of its west coast counterpart. The Jungle Cruise contributed the Colonial Jungle, whilst the Swiss Family Treehouse and the Tropical Serenade brought the Pacific Islands; the two Adventureland subthemes that existed in Disneyland at the time.

1973 brought the first major divergence for the Magic Kingdom from the established Adventureland themes. Due to popular demand, Pirates of the Caribbean was green-lit. Lacking a New Orleans Square, and in no way fitting into its counterpart, Liberty Square, either thematically or spatially, a new sub-land was constructed beyond the existing Adventureland. Caribbean Plaza brought seventeenth century buccaneers to Adventureland, housed in an imposing Spanish fort.

The Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland remained undisturbed until 1998, when the Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management gave a decidedly modern placing for the venue (despite the medieval origin of its new main character, Iago). Later, when the need for a new Dumbo-style spinner to alleviate crowds brought Magic Carpets of Aladdin to the area, along with a re-theming of some surrounding buildings to create an Arabian Bazaar. Due to its prominent location, this Arabia was far more impactful than its Disneyland cousin.

Tokyo Disneyland

Ready for a Pirates of the Caribbean from its start, Tokyo Disneyland made the unusual decision of cloning half of New Orleans Square and including, not as its own land, but as part of Adventureland. Here, the New Orleans Square sub-land acted as a buffer zone between World Bazaar (Main Street) and the more exotic colonial area of Adventureland (due to Adventureland being accessible not only from the Hub, but from Center Street). New Orleans was part of Adventureland.

Again, the Colonial Jungle was included as part of the Jungle Cruise and outlying buildings, as were the Pacific Islands with the Enchanted Tiki Room. Just like its Florida counterpart, the Tiki Room was updated to a modern setting with the Enchanted Tiki Room: Get the Fever show, which presented a Las Vegas style club in the middle of the tropical jungle. Later, it become meshed with Hawaii when Stitch took over the venue and presented the Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai!

Interestingly, the Western River Railroad had its only stop located in Adventureland, and, whilst the majority of the journey is through Frontierland, it does include the Prehistoric World diorama that is decidedly not of the frontier theme. Consequently, this very brief Prehistoric World become the first appearance of dinosaurs in Adventureland’s lore.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris had the first Adventureland to fully recognise the disparate elements of its make-up. Expecting popularity with the upcoming Aladdin film, and appreciating the French fascination with the Middle East, it was Arabia that was chosen for the lands entrance.

Beyond this marked the first exclusive incorporation of Africa – now separated from its Colonial Jungle brothers Asia and South America – with an abandoned safari truck, Hakuna Matata restaurant and the Explorers Club (which would later be moved to an Indian setting with its renaming to Colonal Hathi’s Pizza Outpost).

The Pacific Islands were again represented with the Swiss Family Treehouse, whilst Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril brought Pulp Adventure to the land (a contribution which was later intended to be expanded but lacked the funds).

However, it was the pirate presence that dominated the land. Not realistic or taking its influence from Spanish architecture like Caribbean Plaza, nor American South like New Orleans, this representation of pirates, with Captain Hook’s Jolly Roger, Skull Rock and the classic Pirates attraction comprised a storybook Pirate Island setting.

Hong Kong Disneyland

At its opening, Hong Kong Disneyland brought together the established cores of Adventureland; Colonial Jungle with the Jungle River Cruise and the Pacific Islands with the Tahitian Terrace and the Leaky Tiki fountains. But as well as this, Hong Kong included the so far largest presence of solely Africa, with the combination of Tarzan’s Treehouse and the Festival of the Lion King show.

Uniquely, Hong Kong Disneyland’s Adventureland had a temporary ‘Pirateland’ promotion which transformed much of Adventureland into a pirate themed area. The Jungle River Cruise included a pirate attack, whilst a Jolly Roger flag was flown from Tarzan’s Treehouse. Stereotypical in its representation, the pirate theme was definitely a continuation of Disneyland Paris’s fantasy Pirate Island sub-theme.


To summarise, there are a number of different sub-themes that comprise Adventureland with little to bind them together other than public consciousness ideas of the exotic, hot, mysterious and uncivilized.

- (Post-) Colonial Jungle (in either its 1950s-1970s contemporary guise, or its crossover with pulp)
- Pacific Islands (ranging from Hawaii to Tahiti to New Guinea, and with a time setting ranging from the 19th century right up to modern day)
- Pulp Adventure (Indiana Jones style, geographically ranging from South America to India)
- Arabia
- Pirate (either as the Spanish-influenced Caribbean Plaza, New Orleans, or the more fanciful Pirate Island)
- Prehistoric World
- Africa (Safari)

The Future

If we look to the future, what opportunities are their to expand Adventureland's themes? Here are some possibilities;

- How about more pulp, and introduce some adventurers of the skies; giant dirigibles flown by intrepid explorers and attacked by sky pirates in biplanes?
- Perhaps the freezing poles or snowy mountain peaks, with their legends of Shangri-La and mysterious snow creatures, which hardy explorers trekked and conquered.
- The deserts of Australia and the Aboriginal legends that flow through them.
- The wonders of Egypt.
- The Aztec pyramids and legends of El Dorado.
- Mythical underwater realms like Atlantis.
- Famous mysteries of popular consciousness, from the Bermuda Triangle, to the Mary Rose, to the Easter Island statues.
- Could the steam-punk world of Tokyo DisneySea’s Mysterious Island fit into Adventureland, with its Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attractions? Or are these more appropriate for a sub-land of Tomorrowland?
- Could we delve more into the distant past and give a larger presence to the Prehistoric World and its dinosaurs. Perhaps a Conan Doyle style Lost World?
- What about a Chinese port of the seventeenth century, similar to that seen in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, with a fireworks factory, Forbidden Palace, terracotta warriors or dragon rollercoaster?

I hope this was interesting for you, and contributed a bit more to Disney knowledge. Next up, Frontierland.