Disneyland Resort Master Plan
by, 03-26-2010 at 02:01 AM
Disneyland Resort Plan
The Disneyland Resort is unique among all of the Disney properties for many reasons. Notably, it sits in a highly urban area which causes numerous transportation and parking problems while limiting expansion in ways that have left Imagineers with many unique obstacles over the past half century.
Today, I would like to propose a master plan of sorts. This post brings together a lot of work, research and labour that has brought me through every inch of the DLR. I am working toward a degree in civil/transportation engineering, so while this doesn't focus on new rides or themed areas, it does propose a plan which lays out a better flow for the resort with new opportunities and experiences inside and outside the parks. Worth noting is that the plan requires a few properties to be acquired, or partnered with. Those will be highlighted in their respective sections, but the biggest property worth noting is the Anaheim Garden walk. All ideas have been checked for feasability to ensure their basics could work, and I hope that what I have here is interesting and insightful.
Alright, with that said, lets begin.
The first thing you will probably notice in the map is the big blue parks, and the fact that there are of course three. A third park is eventually going to make it into the DLR, so my plan treats it as if it is there for transportation purposes. This thread is not focused to much on the parks themselves, but below are some basic points for each property.
Much of what I envision for Disneyland has been posted before in my other numerous threads. I emphasis my Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Rivers of America and Main Street posts for a detailed look at what I really want to see inside Walt’s original park. Briefly, my vision for the park is that each land would be the Main Street of its era or theme. Already, Fantasyland is downtown in a Bavarian Village, Adventureland showcases a market-like setting from an exotic outpost and Main Street, Frontierland, Toontown and NOS are literal downtown representations. If Tomorrowland became the Main Street of the Future, or a Space Station settlement like I suggest in my thread, all the lands will work toward this overall theme. Basically, I want the new details in the park to work toward this environment enriching the experiance.
Disney's California Adventure
The park is undergoing so much change that I have held off speculating too much about its future. Personally, I would like to see the suggestions I made for Paradise Pier come to be. The only other change I want to suggest for the park is the removal of the Easternmost wing of the Grand Californian Hotel in favour of a National Park expansion to the North-West corner. A new wing could be constructed to the West to make up for lost ground, or the bottom floor of the Northernmost wing that is currently occupied by shops in Downtown Disney could be converted to rooms.
What this change would do is remove the imposing structure from the border of the park, especially in the Condor Flats area, allowing the Hotel’s pool courtyard to act as a ground-level buffer between the structure and the park. Currently, the hotel throws off the scale of the area and having it set back in the tress away from the walkway would make it fit much better with the surrounding theme of GRR.
While it is currently far to controversial to suggest a specific theme for this park, I do personally think that a condensed EPCOT would be cool. The Innoventions displays could be relocated to this gate meaning that Tomorrowland could then take on a more specific theme than just "the future".
Water Park/Ice Palace Complex
To many SoCal folks, a water park might seem unneeded for the DLR. However, for a tourist with no rental car on the expanded DLR property, this will be a great part of any vacation. This whole proposal is to extend the idea of the Disneyland Resort as its own Tourist destination, so alternate entertainment venues will be a big part of that vision. It is warmer in SoCal most of the year than many places where visitors hail from so a water park is not too crazy. Should it not stay open year round though, the challenge to Imagineers would be to find use for it during the winter months.
One possible solution for this would be to enclose it. Aside from the possibility of creating a year round water park, enclosing it creates another possibility. There are designs for systems that can create a skating rink in the bottom of a drained pool. You flood the pool two inches (minus the chlorine or salt), and then a refrigeration system under the pool floor freezes water just as an ice rink does. This system could be a dual system used to heat the water for the fall/spring months.
Furthermore, the same technology could be applied to waterslides creating mild "bobsled" tracks. If Disney could make something like this work, a waterpark would then become a year round offering with a one of a kind experience found nowhere else in the world.Downtown Disney
The New Downtown Disney
In the current Downtown Disney location there are many opportunities to shop, play and eat, but just like in Walt Disney World, the Downtown Disney district could be its own attraction. For this reason, I would, if I were Disney, purchase the Garden walk and re-brand it as Downtown Disney once the resort becomes large enough to support such an investment.
While Disney World's Downtown Disney theme is around a lagoon, I would make Anaheim's Downtown Disney around gardens. A simple back story to incorporate an elaborate garden layout could be created to tie the area together. For example, a new replacement Rainforest Café location could be placed in a part of the garden that has become overgrown like a jungle, while in other parts of the complex fancier boutique shops are accented by nicely trimmed and tended Parisian flowerbeds.
As a whole, this would greatly benefit the resort in its mission toward becoming a Multi-Day tourist attraction. In addition, Disneyquest or a large show such as Cirque or Blue Man Group could also be considered as a ticketed attraction.
The Old Downtown Disney
Much of the current Downtown Disney would be removed in favour of walkway and landscaping as a transition between the theme parks, the hotels, and the water park. World of Disney would remain in this location selling the more generic Disney Merchandise currently available throughout the park. A more specific commentary on merchandise changes and relocations is discussed in a seperate entry.
Hotels West//Hotels East
In the Current Resort hotel area, a district would be created called Hotels West. Here, three hotels (two of which you already know about) would coexist as one of two major lodging centres for the resort.
The Disneyland Hotel plot would remain basically unchanged.
Paradise Pier Hotel
Allotted more land, the Paradise Pier Hotel could be demolished and replaced with a hotel in the style of the premium WDW hotels. Ornate in design and structure, it could be the answer to even TDL's fanciest hotel. It should be aesthetically designed to be viewed from the Paradise Pier section of DCA.
The Grand Californian
The Grand Californian Hotel would most likely remain in its present location. However, if I could, I would remove the Easternmost wing of the hotel in order to free up some space between the hotel and DCA. Currently the hotel overbares Condor Flats and throws off the scale.
Hotels West Parking
To replace the lots lost to the water park, a 6 story, 10 000 stall parking structure serving all three of the DLR West Hotels could be built in the bottom left corner of the Resort. It could be recessed two stories into the ground to become less imposing. Four thousand of the stalls in this structure would go toward the hotels, while the other six thousand would be cast member parking stalls. This is up from 2514 stalls between the hotels, and 5591 cast stalls currently. A road would run from this lot to each hotel in order to facilitate bag drop-off and valet services..
Over at the new Downtown Disney, room for two or three new hotels exists to the East. Parking for these hotels would be accommodated as is already planned, with extra parking in the Garden walk structure. I don't have any information on how the drop off roads are going to work for these hotels, so I will not speculate at this point but I will assume that the real plans for these hotels have sufficient services. I tried to use existing roads and traffic data to create my design, so I didn't speculate on things like this where I had no information.
If the resort is going to get denser and busier, it is going to need more room to walk. All of the green areas on my map are solely pedestrian walkways. Only security/delivery/company vehicles would be allowed to drive in any of the green zones. Grey sections are roads in the main resort area for public use, and they are basically just to get to the entrances of the hotels for baggage drop offs.
Decorated resort entrances would be built at each of the places where you access the Disney Property. Some of these areas would receive a security checkpoint which is denoted by an orange line on the main map. The entrances themselves are labelled by yellow letters on the map as such:
E - East
The Harbour Blvd Entrance would become the "Disneyland Resort East" Gateway .Sporting a new pedestrian overpass, it would be cleaned up nicely. The esplanade would no longer have bus loops extending into it, so instead of the bus station feel, it could take on a park atmosphere more in keeping with the aesthetics of Disneyland.
Rough sketch of new shared taxi, bus, shuttle loop, and pedestrian bridge over Harbour Boulevard that makes up the new East Resort entrance. (Looking up the road heading North)
W - West
The entrance south of the water park near the Disneyland Hotel would become the "Disneyland Resort West" Entrance. You would enter under a monorail station.
S - South
This entrance near the Paradise Pier hotel would be the major entrance from the south to the main Resort Block. Running along what is currently Disneyland Drive, it would cross over the GCH access road and be lined with trees and foliage.
N - North
This entrance between the water park and the Mickey and Friends parking structure would be a minor entrance.
GN/GS - Gardens North and South
These are the entrances to the Downtown Disney Shopping and Entertainment district.
3rd N - Third Gate North
This is the street entrance to the Third gate property.
All parking has been moved to the perimeters of the Resort where the often unsightly buildings are less detrimental to theme and more accessible from roadways. This itself eliminates the need for most of the public roads inside the resort area. Entrances to all of the parking structures are shown above. Featured is the new semi-direct access from the Freeway to the new Downtown Disney (Garden walk) Parking lot where the current Pumba lot sits. This would undoubtedly require permission from Anaheim.
All entrances were examined to ensure they would allow for proper navigation, and that they had clearance from intersections and would feasibly work. I will admit, I do not have a survey team and traffic analysis gear, but from the standards that are being used elsewhere in the resort district, my plan attempts to comply. Attached is a breakdown of the parking lot schematics, but I will summarize here.
Mickey and Friends
Mickey and Friends would be tripled to accommodate up to 30000 cars and it would get an additional entrance onto Walnut Street.
The current DTD and Hotel parking lots (2300 stalls in Simba, Pinocchio and Lilo) would be lost to the new water park, but they would be easily made up by the larger structure South of the Hotels. The removal of Downtown Disney from the area would also mean that parking for this purpose would no longer be needed.
The Toy Story lot would be lost to the 3rd gate, but its parking would be made up by a huge 7600 stall structure at the Pumba. It would have semi-direct access to the Interstate.
The new Downtown Disney Structure
The current Garden walk structure would serve the new hotels and limited amounts of shoppers. Any extra cars would be directed to the Pumba Structure.
Lastly, a new over-sized lot would be introduced in the old cast parking area North-East of M&F. About 1000 over sized cars could fit there, and it would double as overflow.
The brown square along Harbour Blvd is the new drop off zone. It would be a two way strip of road with pull offs for each transportation service along its length. Also integrated here would be an area for 15 min drop offs. It should be noted that the green extending over Harbour Blvd would be a pedestrian bridge, requiring permission from the city and landowners.
North >Each kind of transportation has a labelled area above. The red area would be ART drop-off, the orange would be bus drop-off, the yellow would be taxi service, and the blue would be 15 minute parking. The edge lane would be the pull off lane, while the inner lane would be the driving lane. Turn arounds would be made large enough for busses to turn so that they could get back to the main exit.
Resort Line // Disneyland Line
Previously, I have submitted proposals for complex monorail configurations with multiple loops, shuttle operation, etc. However, without ground shuttles, the monorail would need to move in a continuous fashion, and in a loop connecting all of the different parts of the resort. Permission would be needed to run a monorail line over Harbour and along the empty lot toward the current location of the Pumba lot. Other road crossings would also need permission.
At a glance, the monorail is basically a figure eight loop. The yellow (Resort Line) track highlights a loop of twin tracks with trains travelling opposing directions. At the system's centre would be the Transportation and Ticket Centre located in the esplanade. The bottom floor of this building would be the new ticket booths, while the upper floor would house four loading platforms.
From this station's four platforms, any station on the line is just one stop away (with the exception of the 3rd Gate station which is two). Secondary to this main station would be the Downtown Disney Station (at the current Garden walk) which is also home to four platforms. Here, the line would directly connect to the new DD parking structure and would sell park tickets and give out info on its bottom floor. All eastbound trains leaving the TTC will enter this station, and all Westbound trains from this station would enter the TTC.
Rough Sketch of TTC. Notice the ticket booths and information center on the bottom level.
Smaller two platform stations at the Mickey and Friends Structure, between the Disneyland hotel and the new Water Park, and at the entrance to the third gate, would all connect together with trains leaving in each direction every 5-10 min (probably staggered).
The trains on this line would be large, similar to those used at WDW. They would have five cars with a total approximate length of 160 feet. Each cabin would hold about sixty people for a total capacity of 300 people per train. The tracks for this reason would need to be bigger and complete more gradual turns than the current Disneyland monorail tracks. This has been factored into the design. Ideally, the roundhouse for this track would be built on the 3rd Gate property where there is more room.
A second Monorail line completely seperate from the one just described (which is basically the current monorail with an extension) would coexist with the Resort line. Using the same tracks it does now and Mark VII trains, it would be more of a novelty for Disney Hotel Guests, and an attraction for all others. Its route is shown in pink.
Well, this wraps up my whirlwind tour of the resort. Disney clearly shares my intrest in creating a self sustained resort, with experiances for all kinds of guests from tourists to AP holders. How does it seem to you?
Map images taken from Bing Maps and remain the property of Microsoft.