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  1. #1

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    Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Something I feel strongly about, and I am not sure many others do really.

    Do you feel the left side of the park (entering on Main Street, i.e., Adventureland, NoS, Criitter, Frontierland) is stronger visually and thematically than the right (Fantasyland, Tomorrowland) as a whole? I do. Fantasyland's inner courtyard is nice, and the Matterhorn, but once you get past Alice in Wonderland it kind of thematically falls apart, I feel, visually. There is no strong visual connector or sense of being somewhere else, and once you're in the rather barren Tomorrowland, looking back at the Matterhorn and the sub lagoon doesn't make much sense.

    As for the west side, the argument can be made certain things are also out of place, but overall the visual landscape is much stronger, from the jungles of Adventureland giving way to the city of NoS, then out into the backwoods and Frontierland from a southern town, which kind of melts into the wilderness beyond Big Thunder. It somewhat makes sense, visually, or works to stand at Big Thunder and see out across the river and island, to a southern plantation mansion standing in the trees, for me, due to the overarching sense of the American frontier and the towns that inhabited it in history. The transition between Adventureland and NoS is a bit more troublesome, but it seems to work with the rather non-descript Pirates building bordering the jungle on that edge, and the wrought-iron Victorian touches starting on the other side of the building to some extent.

    Opposed to this, Fantasyland and it's quaint European village with the tall Matterhorn looming over it seems to have nothing to do with the broad, concrete expanses of Tomorrowland next door. Not a very good meld, overall, though the Matterhorn kind of forces Fantasyland to be a good neighbor, visually, due it's strength as a visual icon. That being said, however, it really has nothing to do with Tomorrowland either..it works, temporarily, in the context of seeing it, but that's due more to the magic of Disneyland I think than any real cohesive design elements the two share. What are your thoughts? Is the left side of the park more cohesive and visually strong, or is it just as bad as the visual and thematic jumble of the Fantasyland/Tomorrowland border? Discuss.
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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Well at one time the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland border made sense because the theme of Tommorowland was a world on the move, the bobsleds on the Matterhorn moved, heck, it was even in Tomorrowland at one point (not literally). But with the TL 98' fiasco, they made TL into the "concrete expanses" that it is today.
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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    It's interesting that you mention this. I, myself, often mentally categorize the park by right and left. And I don't mean politically. Each half of the park is radically different. And it has to be obviously for thematic reasons, but yes, the left side (Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Critter Corner) is themed more accordingly than is the upper area of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. This is a major issue that many feel strongly about when talking about Tomorrowland. It lacks a cohesive and binding theme to tie the whole thing together. And visually the buildings and environment do little to remedy this. I also agree with you on Fantasyland. My opinion is that, overall, it's the most "perfect" land in the park. But like you say, once you exit from the Mad Tea Party and Matterhorn area it kind of falls apart. This is largely due to Tomorrowland bordering on the other side, but at the same time the area along Storybookland Canals and beyond feels more like a walkway to another area (as well as a parade route) than it does part of Fantasyland. I'll readily admit that I RARELY go that way. For one, it's a small world isn't one of my favorite rides. It isn't one of the "must-dos" for us in the way that The Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain are. Nor have I been to Toontown in nearly six months, despite being in the park over a dozen times in that timeframe. I don't know that there's a solution to that other than Disney going in and revitalizing that area with some new mini attractions like Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, and King Arthur Carousel. Toontown is pretty much beyond saving in my opinion unless it is totally redone.

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    I agree that the left side is stronger. A lot of it relates to what I think of as the "coziness quotient": there are a lot of "nooks and crannies" that are appealing. Contrast that with the relative sprawl of the right side. I sort of forgive the strange Fantasyland/Tomorrowland melange (timeless Swiss mountain plus contemporary oceana plus ambiguous sci-fi future) but yeah it's troublesome. Fantasyland itself if fine -- the 80's redesign is wonderful (I've looked at some pictures of the old version and it's really stark and "flat" compared to the current incarnation). But Tomorrowland does need work. Maybe it needs to be more "fanciful", at least on its western border. There's a whole other thread on that, and Autopia, etc. But I gotta say here that Autopia really needs to be either radically reworked or just removed completely. And then there needs to be some more "coziness" like the left side has. Not sure how to effect that, though. I guess it comes down to making it feel like someone could or had lived there. In the left-side lands, there are so many interesting little buildings and windows and doors and you wonder who's inside or who might have been there at some time. Tomorrowland doesn't have that habitable feeling, because it's more industrial and relatively barren. Of course, visions of the future often have that more stark feel, but perhaps it could be tempered somewhat.

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    On the day of the POTC premier the entire left side closed at 2pm. I'd say left is better, but has very little future potential due to space restraints. Right side has many more problems but has enormous potential.

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Fantasyland and Tomorrowland are infact related because they are based on the concept of Fantasy. Science Fiction really is just a form of fantasy, so both lands are in fact closely related.

    Contrast to the left side. This part of the park is more literal. This area of the park is what portrays the "hard facts that make up America". This part of the park lays it out, but leaves the guest to imagine based upon what is presented to them.

    The park as a whole is laid out beautifully.

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Tomorrowland does not take me anywhere. Unlike all the other Lands in the park, TL is so plain. As someone pointed out above, the other Lands have story telling facades. Windows, doors, signs, 2nd and 3 stories, details, gags, and side stories. Tomorrowland has non of this. Even the often picked on Toontown is light years (pun) ahead of Tomorrowland with it's building design, signs, gags, eye candy. Tomorrowland, big plain buildings with murals painted on them. No imaganative facades that take you someplace else. Just big buildings (Star Tours, Buzz, Innoventions) with pictures painted on them. The 1967 Tomorrowland did not have the facades like the other Lands either. But the 'World on the Move' created a different kind of eye candy. Give me a space port, a colony on a different planet, area 51, something. Take me somewhere like all the other Lands do. As a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, Tomorrowland was my favorite Land. Now it sits on the bottom of the list. I go to the park often because I have an AP. More than half my trips I visit every Land except Tomorrowland. The rides and attractions are wonderful. But the overall feel on the Land is seriously lacking.

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    I spend 85% of my time on the left side of the park when i go.

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Standing in the hub, the visual power of Tomorrowland '67's design was awesome. It balanced very well the north and west side spaces -- as John Hench designed it to.

    All that visual goodness got trashed in '98, unfortunately.


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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    It's difficult for me to look at it dispassionately since the 'left' side contains almost everything I love. There are times when we don't even visit the right side. It's habit for me to go down Main St. and cut left upon arrival at the park.

    I also find the left side much more visually appealing but that's a personal thing as well. I like plants and trees and flowers and water and shade, all of which are more prevalent on the left side.

    I remember the old Tomorrowland and for me the loss of the People Mover somehow seemed to change the atmosphere. FNSV is an abomination and Innoventions is just a waste of space. There's certainly vast room for improvement.

    Fantasyland to me is mostly fine the way it is. I like the detail that went into a lot of the facades (something I appreciated even more after a visit to WDW's Magic Kingdom)

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    The area with the Matterhorn and the submarine lagoon does not work. A while ago on MiceChat, I discussed in an essay, entitled "What Do Bobsleds and Submarines Have in Common?," the possibility for a fifth realm, Discoveryland, to join Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland.

    With the Matterhorn presented as part of the "mountains of the world" and the submarine lagoon presented as part of the "oceans of the world," Discoveryland would be populated by a community of explorers who are drawn to the remote and the mysterious.

    Throw in some volcanoes, glaciers, and crevasses, and Discoveryland could become a fantastic and unique place that is truly creative because it actually makes sense.

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    The problems with Tomorrowland can be summed up in theme, lack of solid attractions, traffic flow and places to just lounge. Its always been interesting to me how out of place Tomorrowland feels.

    Theme and Transition: coming from Main Street is not the problem with transition, its when walking in from the Matterhorn side. Even though both lands are based in fantasy and sci-fi, they are both different enough where they need a better transition or even a separator. A wall of trees maybe?
    The same could be said when walking past Big Thunder and into Fantasyland... but somehow the transition is not as abrupt.

    Depending on who you ask Tomorrowland has 2 1/2 attraction, Space Mountain and Buzz. The 1/2 is made up of Star Tours and HISTA. Normally the lack of attractions could be covered up by shops, like that of what you find on main street. The problem is that there one small dinky store and a huge store which has an arcade attached where hoodlums n punks hang out... deterring some from really shopping there. Inoventions is an interesting building but much like HISTA and Star Tours it is loosing its appeal. Tomorrowland Terrace has sitting areas wrapped around that goes back to the Matterhorn which just seems odd to me. Its like saying Pinocchio Village House would have seats wrapped around into the walking area between Fantasyland and Frontier land. Autotopia is just really oddly placed and SUPER dated... even with the new chevron theme.

    Take all of this and add the fact that there just isnt anywhere to sit and relax. Tomorrowland has and will always have a lot of probles, its just the nature of the beast when you have a place called "TOMORROW"land. However, I know that it could be a LOT better that what it is now.
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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist View Post
    The area with the Matterhorn and the submarine lagoon does not work. A while ago on MiceChat, I discussed in an essay, entitled "What Do Bobsleds and Submarines Have in Common?," the possibility for a fifth realm, Discoveryland, to join Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland.

    With the Matterhorn presented as part of the "mountains of the world" and the submarine lagoon presented as part of the "oceans of the world," Discoveryland would be populated by a community of explorers who are drawn to the remote and the mysterious.

    Throw in some volcanoes, glaciers, and crevasses, and Discoveryland could become a fantastic and unique place that is truly creative because it actually makes sense.
    So then would you say that Disneyland's evolution into, as you stated in another thread, "the crappiest place on earth" had its roots in Walt Disney himself?

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Quote Originally Posted by darkfairycthulu View Post
    Something I feel strongly about, and I am not sure many others do really.

    Do you feel the left side of the park (entering on Main Street, i.e., Adventureland, NoS, Criitter, Frontierland) is stronger visually and thematically than the right (Fantasyland, Tomorrowland) as a whole?







    Never gave it a thought...


    But I do enjoy the Park!

    Quite often...

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    Re: Left vs. Right Side of the Park: Visual Strength and Cohesive Design

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    So then would you say that Disneyland's evolution into, as you stated in another thread, "the crappiest place on earth" had its roots in Walt Disney himself?
    The Northeastern part of Disneyland has always been its least-developed and most confused area, creatively-speaking. But, when the Submarine Voyage opened, the lagoon was called the "Oceans of the World." When the Matterhorn opened, the Abominable Snowman was not a part of the attraction. And, the Phantom Boats/Motor Boat Cruise and the Fantasyland Autopia were filler that operated seasonally when the Tomorrowland Autopia was being overutilized. Much has also been said about the fact that nuclear-powered submarines and freeway systems don't represent futurism to modern audiences in the way that said features once did. The Matterhorn was also an elaboration of the very Swiss Skyway, which is no longer existent. So, take that all for what it's worth.

    Today, the area is so weak that it needs to be addressed. The fact that the bobsleds and the submarines work so well together, though, in a Discoveryland confguration means that there really is an underlying, however underdeveloped, theme tying those two attractions together in a potentially strong way (sans Nemo, of course).

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