Sunday, March 28, 2010

Storm Center

This is the first in a series I will be starting about the revitalization of Epcot's Future World. While some new attractions like Soarin' have breathed new life into the land, I think Future World still strays too far from its original purpose. It also has a lot of empty and unused space prime for new construction.

Does anyone remember the Wonders of Life? This great pavilion now sits mostly empty and abandoned expect for the occasional corporate or other special event like the Food and Wine Festival. I think it is one of the prime pieces of rel-estate in Epcot that goes unused. It has such a unique design with is special dome structure and I think it is depressing that it doesn't have the attraction is deserves.

Because of it's location in Central Florida, I think a Storm Center would be the perfect fit for this location. Not only that, but it would be an effective way to bring edutainment back in Epcot. It could even be a way to collect new information about storms and how they function. Due to the nature of weather in Florida, if a an actual weather station was built on this location, tons of reports and information could be compiled.

One of the centerpiece attractions of the Storm Center would be an attraction called Into the Storm. It would utilize a circle vision theater, but with unique special effects. There could be lights strategically placed around the floor of the theater, motion capabilities built into the separate rows, and other effects like wind and rain built into the walls and ceiling. Along with those, this theater would have a major technological breakthrough. It would be the world's first three dimensional circle vision movie. This would be an amazing feat of engineering. It would expand on the distortion theory used when creating the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman and wrap the screen around the audience. If the math could be worked out, images on the screen could appear to come through on one side of the screen, pass over the audience, and continue into the opposite screen. Into the Storm would be a truly one of a kind, immersive experience that guest would talk about long after their stay.

Into the Storm would not be the only attraction inside the Storm Center. Minor attractions would include a tour of a home built to survive severe storms. Guest could tour the home, learn tips for their own homes, and take part in hands on demonstrations. The actual lab and  storm tracking equipment could also serve as a small attraction. If the lab was surrounded by large glass walls, guests could watch the work going on inside. Their would also be another movie in the pavilion. It wouldn't be an intense attraction, but a solemn tribute to major storms of the past, their heroes, and the fallen victims. While some might find this inappropriate, I believe it is impossible to have a storm pavilion without paying respects to those who have been lost.

I don't see this pavilion being a huge market center, I do envision one large shop and one counter service restaurant in the Storm Center. The shop would be called Radar Ray's Outfitting. It would be housed inside of a tent like structure and have an outdoor feel. This store would also have merchandise UNIQUE to the pavilion as well as the typical Epcot gear. The counter service restaurant would be called the Storm Chaser's Cafe'. It would be housed inside of a typical office cafeteria, but the walls and ceiling would be adorned with posters, images, artifacts, and other memorabilia from storms and the brave people who study them

So there you have it. My first big attraction in Epcot's Future World. In the coming weeks, I will come up with ideas on how to re-imagineer the rest of the land. But I think this is a good start and a great way to create traffic in an unused part of Epcot. Let me know what you guys think and any ideas on where I should take this series.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Frontierland Band

One of the things I think the parks are lacking is quality live entertainment. There should always be somewhere guests can go to see great live music. It is something that can be a unique experience every time that you see it.

The area of the Magic Kingdom I believe would benefit the most from this would be Frontierland. The Frontierland Band could perform several times a day in the land. They would play on a wooden stage that would be just above ground level. This would allow for plenty of crowd interaction and provide a great party atmosphere. Seeing the band play could be fun for people of all ages and be a bit of a break from the typical rides and attractions. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a good old fashioned hoedown.

Looking Old

This is last "Imagineer That!" video that I have found on Youtube. It shows how Disney Imagineers are able to make their buildings and attractions look so old.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Birth of Tom Morrow 2.0

Here is yet another "Imagineer That!" segment. This one gives a brief history of Animatronics and even the birth of Tom Morrow 2.0. Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rhapsody for Imagineers

Here's another classic "Imagineer That!" segment that originally aired on the Disney Channel. This one is a tribute to the people with perhaps the greatest job in the world. The Imagineers.


I've made a quick sketch of a logo for my blog. In the coming weeks I'll be trying out new logos as I think of them. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Cementing a Legacy

As December approaches, we will begin to see more advertisements about Disney's big winter blockbuster Tron Legacy. Billboards have been put up, trailers have been released, and now the Disney Monorails are even wrapped to look like Light Cycles. As cool as the Monorail being wrapped sounds, it's only pleasing to the eye. In the end, it's just one big rolling ad for the movie. Not anything very special. I think Tron has the potential to be a great theme for a ride in Tomorrowland. While I don't usually agree with rides being based on movies, as long as the concepts are timeless, it will usually work out. In this case, who wouldn't wanna ride a light cycle?

Because of it's intensely computer driven design, Tron has remained a vision of the future well after it's release. And since the technology doesn't seem to be coming around the corner any time soon, the probability of a light cycle ride becoming dated is quite low. My idea for the ride is one where guests, 1 to 2 on a cycle, race up to 7 other cycles on a track. The vehicles could be computer controlled much like Test Track and the new Cars attraction at DCA.Guests would board the cycles at a starting line where they were all placed in a row. A linear induction type system could launch the cars out of the gate and into a heated race. Cycles could cut in front of each other, make sharps turns, and even avoid obstacles.

I believe this ride could be given a high rate of re-ride ability by using a variable computer program. The ride would never be the same twice. The winner of each race could also be given a special prize like a photo or postcard exclusive to race winners. Because the ride would be random, any rider could win at any time regardless of age or experience.

While this doesn't go into great detail, I believe this is a strong foundation for a Tron attraction. Science Fiction is an area not regularly explored(and done well) in Disney movies. Thus it is my opinion that it would be a great idea to capitalize on the new movie in order to generate revenue to produce a new high quality attraction for the parks.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

IMW Podcast

Check out the Imagineering My Way Podcast, hosted by Greg McNaughten. It's one of my favorite podcasts about the Disney parks and Greg is always informative and entertaining. It's Greg views on what's right, wrong, and what he would do with the Disney parks. I'm sure you'll enjoy his show. I even get a special shout out on the latest episode.

Friday, March 19, 2010

JTS Enterprises

I was bored in class today so I drew this little design. Kind of a play off WED Enterprises and something I would use for my own Engineering Firm. Please excuse my poor drawing skills.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Imagineer That!

I used to love the Imagineer That Segments on the Disney Channel. I think the Disney Channel should incorporate the parks alot more on television. It would provide great advertising on their own brand. It is the DISNEY channel after all =).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If We Can Dream It...

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore your favorite Disney attraction? Well over at Mesa Verde Times a couple of guys share their experience of exploring Horizons. Hoot and Chief have complied countless pictures, videos, and stories from the beloved attraction. Whether you have found memories or not, their site is worth checking out. It's so cool seeing a close up and in depth look at this incredible animatronic attraction.

My Disney Book Collection

Imagineer Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom
Imagineer Field Guide to the Epcot
Imagineer Field Guide to the Disney's Animal Kingdom
The Imagineering Way
The Disney Mountains: Imagineering at Its Peak
Designing Disney
Walt Disney Wolrd Then, Now, and Forever
Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real

This is my growing collection of books on Walt Disney World. By far my favorite and what I find the most useful book is the Walt Disney Imagineering Book. It has so much information and provides a great background on imagineering. However the field guides can also be pretty handy. They aren't as in depth as the other books, but they have some cool facts and pictures, If you're into thrill rides you'll love The Disney Mountains book. I couldn't put it down. It has concept art, pictures, and stories from all the great Disney mountains. Designing Disney has a great perspective on the late John Hench. It is such an interesting look at his incredible park innovations. For the more casual Disney fan, Then Now and Forever is filled with tons of pictures and great facts about Disney world. I look forward to expanding my collection with the Field Guide Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic More Real, and the Field Guide to Disneyland. Post any of your favorites or recommendations in the comments!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Por Favor Mantengase Alejado de las Puertas

To any new readers, welcome! And I hope you're like what you've seen. I'll try to post new ideas at least once or twice a week. I hope you all enjoy this blog because I really never thought I would be making one of these. But I'm here, so please be patient as I am still learning. As I learn more, the site will grow and evolve into hopefully something great. Thanks for any and all support!

How to Put the Tomorrow Back into Tomorrowland

This is an article I originally submitted to the blog. ( Thanks to you guys for sparking my interest in blogging!

FILE PHOTO - Segway Recalls All Its Human Transporters

“A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements….a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure, and ideals: The Atomic Age, the challenge of outer space, and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.”

-Walt Disney
July 17, 1955

That was the dedication given by Walt himself to Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. When compared to what we have today in Disney World, it makes me wonder how things could go so terribly wrong. To me, Tomorrowland as we have it today is one of most inexcusable offenses committed by WDI in the Magic Kingdom; second only to the unholy mess in the Enchanted Tiki Room. But unlike their poor tropical friends, I believe the citizens of Tomorrowland can rebuild their city of tomorrow to regain its former glory.

Step one in the rebuilding phase is a complete overhaul of its crown jewel, Space Mountain. While this little refurbishment the Suits allowed is nice, in order for it to become great again a whole new Space Mountain is needed. The improvements should include new cars with the much longed-for onboard speaker system, a brand new track to reduce the roughness of the ride, and a new lift hill, pre-show, and post-show to totally bring the ride out of the 1980s and reflect a more advanced view of space and space travel. During this construction time, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority can also receive some TLC. The story on the ride can be greatly improved by updating the scenes you pass through on the ride. A more creative view of the other TTA lines can be presented based on upcoming transportation systems. Some cars that are more pleasing to the eye wouldn’t hurt either since the current trains are pretty bland. These improvements would be a step in the right direction, but they aren’t the only rides pleading for help in Tomorrowland.

One of Walt’s favorite attractions, the Carrousel of Progress, has been allowed to slowly fade into oblivion. To me, this is unacceptable. Yes there is a bit of a nostalgic factor to this beloved attraction, but that does not mean that it doesn’t have a solid story. It is quite possibly one of the greatest audio-animatronics shows ever created. I believe this show can be brought back to life with more life-like audio-animatronics and an updated last scene. Somewhere around 2050 should be a good estimate. Even though it would a big jump story-wise, I believe people could let that slide since it would provide a glimpse into their own future. Next, we head from a small suburban home to the headquarters of Star Command.

While I don’t believe any Pixar or other name-brand characters belong in Tomorrowland, I believe Buzz Lightyear can be an exception to that rule. Even though characters should be in Fantasyland, he gives the little kids a fun adventure in our world of tomorrow. But like every other attraction, a little touch of paint and some new effects couldn’t hurt it. Now if only Buzz can stay, that means we say goodbye to Stitch and our Monsters Inc. friends.

Let’s start with re-modeling the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. First of all, the Tomorrowland Interplanetary Convention Center needs to be brought back. I always liked the way it fit in the Tomorrowland storyline. As far as the new attraction to go in the convention center goes, you can’t fantasize about the future without time travel, can you? I picture a galaxy-wide convention on time travel, where we as Tomorrowland citizens are allowed to be the lucky test subjects for a new time travel vehicle. Instead of traveling one minute into the future as planned, a malfunction occurs, and we are taken on a journey through some of the greatest milestones in science. Our trip would end with a scenic view of Tomorrowland in the year 3000. And since this would be a simulator type ride, it would be possible to update the movie every few years to keep the experience fresh. This takes care of one problem, but we still have that fury little troublemaker across the street.

As if Stitch wasn’t stuffed down our throats enough by Disney, he even got his own attraction in Tomorrowland. I don’t necessarily have a problem with Stitch being in Tomorrowland as much as I just feel like the ride was a poor effort by the Imagineers; they simply shoe-horned Stitch into a pre-existing attraction that was already successful. I believe that some more thrill needs to be put into Tomorrowland. Even better, what if we were able to put some education back into the parks? The attraction I picture for this area involves the most popular innovation of our time, the Internet. I know Tomorrowland is supposed to be based on future innovations, but not only is the Internet a new frontier, it is also growing and constantly changing. The ride would be a wild mouse style spinning rollercoaster that took guests on a high-speed adventure on the information superhighway. The pre-show could slowly take guests inside a computer, through the circuits and hard drives, and eventually to their destination of the Ethernet cable. The post show would provide the newest information on the Internet. It would showcase the newest innovations and have interactive games that taught lessons on how the internet works and how to properly use it. Done well, I believe it could be a new E-Ticket for Tomorrowland.

All of these changes are just a start. There is so much that could be done with the extra space available, the vacant Tomorrowland stages, and even the scenery in the area. However, I believe that this would be a step in the right direction on the long road to rebuilding Tomorrowland. The important thing to remember is that there is always room for change in Tomorrowland. It should be a headquarters for innovative new rides and a breeding ground for new ideas. A beloved extinct attraction said it best, “If we can dream it, then we can do it”.