Thursday, April 15, 2010

Astronomers Club

A new update to the Neverland Files - the Astronomers Club, a restaurant seperately planned for the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Paris, allowing guests to dine in a Victorian observatory with famous astronomers throughout history.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Backstories: Tomorrowland (Magic Kingdom)

This piece, circa 1993, gives the background story of one of the many Tomorrowland variations. You can tell it's trying hard to tie together the futurism Walt intended and the sci-fi influence that developed. On the subject of Tomorrowland, my Dissecting Disney's Lands piece on it shouldn't be too long away.

Tomorrowland - Headquarters for the League of Planets

At the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland is a community where everyday living is made better through science, invention and inter-galactic influence. Inhabited by robots, space aliens and a few humans, this amazing Earth community is so world-renowned, it was selected as the universal headquarters for the League of Planets.

In Tomorrowland, robots perform household chores, ice cream comes from the Milky Way, and a trip through time is as common as a spin around the solar system. Tomorrowlanders keep up with the latest on and off-world wonders and technologies by visiting the exhibits presented at their neighbourhood Interplanetary Convention and Science Centers.

Those who work and play in and around Rockettower Plaza, the bustling heart of the community, live outside of town in the hoverburbs. They cummute via the Tomorrowland Transit Authority's Superskyway Blueline Express. Locals get all the news before it even happens by subscribing to the Tomorrowland Times.

Today, in this fantasy community of Tomorrow, the future that never was is alive and well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Backstories: Mickey's Toontown

Here's the cute backstory of Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland California, taken from the Walt Disney Imagineering book.

Mickey's Swell Idea

Of course, everyone knows that Mickey's Toontown existed long before Disneyland was built right next door. One happy day in 1952, while Walt Disney was in Toontown visiting his pal Mickey Mouse, his dream for a new park come up in conversation. Mickey knew that whenever Walt got that sparkle in his eye, whatever he was dreaming up was bound to come true. So he was dismayed when Walt confided in him that he was having a difficult time finding a site large enough to accomodate all the wonderful things he had in mind.

"Oh, boy, I've got a swell idea!" Mickey exclaimed as he grabbed Walt by the hand and led him over to the fence that seperated Toontown from the human world. "Take a look over this fence," continued Mickey. "There's a fine and dandy parcel of land just on the other side that would be a wonderful place to build Disneyland!" And it was.

Many years went by before it finally dawned on the toons (the first time something dawned on them besides a happy cartoon sun) that since it was so easy for them to go next door to visit all their non-toon friends at Disneyland, their non-toon friends could just as easily come visit them in Toontown! And that is exactly what happened when Mickey's Toontown was "finally" opened to Disneyland visitors in February, 1993.

Backstories: Pleasure Island

Here's the backstory of now lost Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney, taken from the amazing Walt Disney Imagineering book. This is one of those backstories with a lot of depth to it, weaving together Pleasure Island, the Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise and Typhoon Lagoon. I hope to explore this further in the future.

It Was Our Pleasure

Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World Village was an abandoned industrial waterfront district that was converted into a nightclub complex. The property was originally owned by one Merriweather Pleasure, a seafaring adventurer, who, during the nineteenth century, operated Pleasure's Canvas and Sailmaking, Inc. His business become the heart of Pleasure Island, a place to which daring adventurers from all over the globe came to tell their incredible tales.

But Merriweather was not a landlubber at heart, and hearing these stories made him long once again for adventure on the high seas. One day, he heeded the haunting call of the bounding main, and set sail from Pleasure Island. Upon learning that their father was lost at sea, Pleasure's two lazy sons abandoned the business. The once bustling waterfront district was left to decay beside a mysterious lagoon. Years later, the near-ruins of Pleasure Island were rediscovered by adventurous Imagineers with their own incredible tales to tell.

These Imagineers refurbished the island, turning its run-down warehouses into exciting restaurants and nightclubs that were designed to reflect the original themes of Pleasure's functional buildings. Once again, the district bustles with the activity of world travelers who come together in the spirit of fun and adventure; a tradition established here a century ago.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dragon Tower, Mickey Ville and a Nature land

Another three updates for The Neverland Files!

> Dragon Tower - a dragon rollercoaster through a ruined castle, carried by strange bat creatures. Planned for Beastly Kingdom.
> Mickey Ville - a medieval Toontown planned for Tokyo Disneyland.
> Nature land - an early concept for Animal Kingdom, featuring edutainment exhibits and future expansion areas for Bird and Insect themed zones.

Have a read!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Discovery Bay, Dumbo's Circusland and Professor Marvel's Gallery

I've added three new articles to The Neverland Files - these three linked closely together;

> Discovery Bay - a spectacular steampunk land designed by Tony Baxter for Disneyland.
> Dumbo's Circusland - another Tony Baxter design, a circus themed land with Mickey Mouse dark ride.
> Professor Marvel's Gallery - a Carousel of Progress style show of the weird, wonderful and whimsical from all over the world!

Take a look!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Backstories: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Discovery Bay)

Here's a very interesting prose description of a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. No, not the one that was at the Magic Kingdom. No, not the walkthrough at Disneyland Paris either. And no, not even the attraction at Tokyo DisneySea. This "Captain Nemo Adventure" was a simulator for Tony Baxter's amazing project Discovery Bay.

Over our heads is a gravity pointer trim indicator. Along the port and starboard walls are small Davis lamps, mounted on swivels, which remain continually on a level whichever way the ship we're in may rock or tilt. On either sides of the viewports stand two enormous vertical glass cylinders reinforced with copper bands.

Suddenly Captain Nemo's voice comes on a loudspeaker, telling the audience not to worry, everything is perfectly safe, etc. and that our craft is about to submerge, enter through an underwater gatelock, tour a little of the unknown depths of Discovery Bay, cruise along parts of the uncharted Pacific Ocean, then head for home again.

Engine bells clang into action and both glass columns suddenly begin to fill with water at terrific force. Then the viewport screens open slowly as the lights inside our cabin dim to a lower amber. Our eyes then adjust to the underwater scene set before us.

We are now traveling away from Nemo's underground laboratory thru beautiful undersea gardens. As we look about the room the once level trim indicator overhead is now registering several degrees of incline, and the Davis lamps along the wall are no longer level, but all tilting at the same angle.

A flash of bubbles obscure the view as we descend to greater depths. We see Captain Nemo's crew in diving suits, hunters and farmers gathering a harvest at the bottom of the sea. Further on we see more evidence of Nemo's genius: huge undersea structures and machinery, capable of withstanding the great pressures, and the wear and tear of the forces of nature.

Now an alarm is heard. A surface craft is detected on a sensor device, circling overhead, and the order is given to investigate. As we ascend, the water filled columns suddenly empty and we clear the surface of the ocean. On the horizon we see a 19th century warship, featureless, unromantic in its design. "A ship that flies no flag," as Captain Nemo remarks to the helmsman.

The warship begins to fire on us and Nemo orders our craft hurled toward it at "Collision speed!" The water parts on either side of the view ports in great volume, almost obscuring our prey. Our submarine strikes the warship at full force, bending in its iron plates, splintering the entire vessel in half. We come about and start to submerge, and see the once might enemy ship sink below the ocean's surface.

Then a great explosion is seen (and felt), our trim indicator swings crazily about, the curtains on either sides of the great viewports sway back and forth. The mate calls to the Captain from the command post that our submarine is temporarily out of control and sinking rapidly. The warm amber lights in our cabin flash out and immediately the blue emergency lights come on.

The scene beyond the viewports gets darker and we begin to see unusual fish, with living phosphorescent lights of their own.

"We are deeper now than man has ever been before," the Captain explains. "Fortunately our craft was only in temporary danger and can now ascend to the surface."

Another alarm sounds: a giant squid has appeared from the murky depth and grabs ahold of our submarine boat. Great blue sparks crackle about the monster's tentacles and body as Captain Nemo prepares the full electrical repellant charge. This is not enough, the mate replies and our only hope is to get back to the surface quickly so that the rapid change in pressure will destroy the creature.

As our ship once again breaks the surface, a terrifying thunderstorm at sea is in progress. Thunder and lightning flash about the crashing waves and we see the body of the giant squid still hanging on. Suddenly an overhead hatch opens and the beast's tentacles slither through, thrash about wildly for a few seconds, then retreat.

Even some water comes in, but not enough to drench the first and second rows.

The hatch closes, and our submarine heads back towards Discovery Bay.

We submerge, enter the undersea grotto, but our craft blindly grazes some of the rocky walls "due to our faulty rudder," the Captain explains, "caused by the warship's attack and the giant squid."

As we dock, the viewport hatches close and "when the cabin lights come on" (the announcer informs us), "we are to take any small children with us by the hand and any personal belongings and please exit to the right."

Garden of the Gods, Fantasia Gardens and Project Gemini

I've added three new articles to The Neverland Files;

> Garden of the Gods - a Fantasia themed boat ride for Disneyland.
> Fantasia Gardens - a Fantasia themed boat ride for Beastly Kingdom at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
> Project Gemini - an ambitious plan to retheme Epcot's Future World as Discoveryland.

Take a look!