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  1. #1

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    DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    It just hit me what makes DCA now so different from the other parks: You can see the "icon" directly from the front entrance (whether that's Carthay Circle or Grizzly Peak). The only exception is Epcot, which has an entirely different PHILOSOPHY as a theme park, so it makes sense

    At Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, everything is hidden by the railroad station, which acts sort of as a "curtain" to delay the moment of reveal. Even when you go under the railroad, you still don't see the castle until you are fully on to Main Street.

    Originally, Disney-MGM Studios, which is basically now the identical layout, obscured your full vision of the Chinese Theater with both the main entrance and the Crossroads of the World. The Sorcerer's Hat is SO ridiculously out of proportion to everything else that it kind of violates this principal now.

    At Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life effectively blends in to the canopy as you approach; yes, you can "see" it, but most people don't even realize what they're looking at because it's only a slightly different shade of green. Your moment of "reveal" is when you come out of the Oasis.

    At Tokyo Disneyland, you don't see anything at all from the main entrance, and your first vision of the castle is as it is framed beautifully in the exit of the World Bazaar enclosure.

    At Tokyo Disney Sea, until you go through the Hotel Miracosta, you don't see anything, and then it's a huge visual reveal.

    At Disneyland Paris, it's the same, but you're passing under the Hotel Disneyland, and then you see the castle.

    At Walt Disney Studios, you go through the soundstage before you see ... well, nevermind.

    But from the Disneyland Esplanade, you not only see the Carthay Circle Theater, you see Grizzly Peak and several of the soundstages.

    I'm curious ... do you think this subtle difference, of letting you "see what you get," is a positive or negative as far as design? Does it make a difference to guests? Was it a smart or bad move on behalf of Imagineering?

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    I think having it allows DCA to distinguish itself from Disneyland. Years from now when lines become more blurred and DCA really rises to the ranks, it'll be seemingly insignificant differences like these that most people won't realize (I hadn't until you mentioned it, anyway) that will make the two parks two different parks.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Well, that makes a big leap of faith that DCA WILL be seen that way. One of my friends who's an executive at Disney corporate in Burbank says the assumption is, more or less, that DCA will always be just an adjunct to Disneyland. But, hey, I think we ALL hope you're right. (I personally would like to have seen DCA grow along its original design concept.)

    EPCOT Center's Spaceship Earth, by the way, broke this rule for Disney quite intentionally. It could be seen for miles, rising above the trees (which have grown SO tall now, this doesn't quite happen anymore!) as the literal AND figurative center of Walt Disney World. In the original concept, the way it was until the mid-1990s, the entire property was "Epcot," built to those building codes and standards and with the high-tech principles in mind, and the theme park was its center. So, SSE stood out visually from EVERYTHING around it because it visually defined what Disney-back-then wanted to be.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    It's not a big deal. I don't see what is so bad about seeing the top part of the Carthay and the highest point of Grizzly Peak. Will that ruin the guest experience? Highly doubt it.

    They had to work with the limited space they have and use it to its full potential so, no, I don't think it's a bad move by WDI.
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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonob88 View Post
    It's not a big deal. I don't see what is so bad about seeing the top part of the Carthay and the highest point of Grizzly Peak. Will that ruin the guest experience? Highly doubt it.

    They had to work with the limited space they have and use it to its full potential so, no, I don't think it's a bad move by WDI.
    I don't think anyone is saying it's bad. Just different.

    I personally do love the reveal that most of the parks have, but I'm quite content with the way Carthay stands out.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Even though it's pretty similar in design, what with their own version of a Main Street and castle, I'm pleased to see the differences in design. As much as most people consider DCA 1.0 as a failure, I at least, appreciated that they didn't try to copy Disneyland's design in building it, and tried something different.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    It just hit me what makes DCA now so different from the other parks: You can see the "icon" directly from the front entrance (whether that's Carthay Circle or Grizzly Peak).
    I noticed this as well. Disneyland has a really great entrance, the train station sort of sits on a "hill" with tunnels carved to each side. There's a palpable change in atmosphere when you move under the train station into town square. Walt did this on purpose as he knew how to make movies and knew the importance of sight lines in terms of creating a believable environment.

    DCA has major sight line problems. You can see Grizzly peak and show buildings from the entrance, also the monorail zooms through BVS. If the monorail zoomed through town square on Main Street, a lot of folks would have a problem with this, obviously.

    Standing in front of the Little Mermaid attraction, you can see Grizzly Peaks, San Fran Street (or what remains of it), Paradise Pier, and who knows what else.

    The only area of DCA that seems to have been really well done is Carsland as it looks like the Cadillac Mountain range and trees will block out much of the outside world, including the rest of DCA, though I guess you can see Mickey's Fun Wheel off in the distance from some parts. Obviously, Skipper John wanted to make sure his baby was able to create a realistic environment as he, and a lot of people, love Radiator Springs.

    A decision was made when the suits were pondering how to "fix" DCA, either rip the whole thing out and start again, or try to work with what is there. Obviously, they decided to try to fix it. I think this made sense in the short term, but in the long term they are giving up having a well designed park. Plus, when they fixed BVS, they didn't go with an iconic newly designed entrance, like Disneyland.

    The entrance to DCA is improved, but the entrance was pretty much lifted from Disney Studios in Orlando, despite talk about how the imagineers were inspired by the Pan Pacific. They were . . . only they were inspired decades ago when they built what was then MGM Studios in Orlando. Nothing necessarily wrong, but . . . its is sort of recycled.

    A completely 100% fixed entrance to DCA would utilize a berm and trees to hide the industrial show buildings (or perhaps redecorating them to look like 1930s buildings), and having an entrance to DCA's town square which isolates this land from the outside world, as well as moving the monorail to coast by in front of the Entrance.

    And they should have visually isolated Grizzly River Run from BVS as having it right next to the Carthay sort of ruins the effect they were hoping for as there weren't rocky hills like that in downtown LA.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    I don't see any issues here and I'm fine with the way BVS and CCT are laid out.

    Main Street and the Castle set the standard, but it doesn't mean every new park has to be laid out the same.

    Complaints about seeing the CCT and Grizzly Peak from outside the park or from many places inside ring hollow given the fact that you can see the Matterhorn from the freeway, from the Esplanade, from Splash Mountain and from Main Street.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by chesirecat View Post
    Also the monorail zooms through BVS. If the monorail zoomed through town square on Main Street, a lot of folks would have a problem with this, obviously.
    I'm frankly shocked by the amount of love that is pouring in for the DCA redo, so I guess I'm not completely surprised but rather nonplussed by the lack of criticism over exactly this point. I can't imagine anyone being at all pleased to see the Monorail running right through Main Street, they'd cry foul if it went through Frontierland, they'd be running in terror if it went through Adventureland, but the retro-futuristic Monorail running right through the 1920s-themed Buena Vista Street isn't a problem for them.

    Fascinating. Truly!

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonob88 View Post
    It's not a big deal. I don't see what is so bad about seeing the top part of the Carthay and the highest point of Grizzly Peak. Will that ruin the guest experience? Highly doubt it.

    They had to work with the limited space they have and use it to its full potential so, no, I don't think it's a bad move by WDI.
    That's true, though the biggest problem is that you can see the Esplanade from BVS, as well as a lot of other industrial show building stuff from inside and outside of BVS. Though a lot of guests don't realize it, a lot of pains were taken to isolate Main Street, visually, from the rest of Disneyland, though you can see Space Mountain from certain areas.

    ---------- Post added 06-02-2012 at 07:20 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    I'm frankly shocked by the amount of love that is pouring in for the DCA redo, so I guess I'm not completely surprised but rather nonplussed by the lack of criticism over exactly this point. I can't imagine anyone being at all pleased to see the Monorail running right through Main Street, they'd cry foul if it went through Frontierland, they'd be running in terror if it went through Adventureland, but the retro-futuristic Monorail running right through the 1920s-themed Buena Vista Street isn't a problem for them.

    Fascinating. Truly!
    Ditto.

    Though I have to admit, I like the look of BVS a lot, I just wish the other stuff was removed from sight when you're inside this area. It's like making a really great Muppet movie, but not caring about removing the puppeters and black sticks and stuff. It's not that DCA has a different "style", its just that probably a combination of lack of money as well as a lack of internal history at Disney, or other words, people at the Mouse House not knowing why Disneyland is magical to so many and why certain construction decisions were made in the 1950s by Walt.

    Compared side by side, Disneyland's entrance is still way cooler. You have Mickey out front, guests riding in the train above, the attraction posters as the entrance is subliminally like a movie theatre entrance, and the special plaque. For anybody who's ever played with model trains, or who just likes turn of the century stuff, Disneyland's entrance is like eye candy and I don't mind loitering there for a couple minutes.

    ---------- Post added 06-02-2012 at 07:29 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojave View Post

    Complaints about seeing the CCT and Grizzly Peak from outside the park or from many places inside ring hollow given the fact that you can see the Matterhorn from the freeway, from the Esplanade, from Splash Mountain and from Main Street.
    The Matterhorn looks cool from the freeway/Harbor, surrounded by trees and lit up.

    I have more of a problem with the show building for Soarin' and other stuff plainly visible from DCA's entrance. Disneyland's entrance is sort of devilishly simple, as well as very nicely done with plants and small, cozy buildings that give a feeling of welcome. If you saw the castle right away from the entrance, it would ruin the quaintness and buildup. The train station is the weenie to get folks inside, the castle is the weenie to get people to walk down main street . . .

    ---------- Post added 06-02-2012 at 07:34 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by sbk1234 View Post
    Even though it's pretty similar in design, what with their own version of a Main Street and castle, I'm pleased to see the differences in design. As much as most people consider DCA 1.0 as a failure, I at least, appreciated that they didn't try to copy Disneyland's design in building it, and tried something different.
    DCA's entrance is pretty much exactly Disney Studio's entrance in Orlando. Same deal, IMHO, in terms of layout.

    I would have gone with the elevated building and side tunnels, like Disneyland, but would have used something else besides a train, something radical such as LPS 1930's taxicabs/car pulling up to a 1930's building, a ride you could get on right away after entering the park, and which would give a kinetic energy to the place. You've got the train and horse-drawn trolley, street cars, within 200 feet of entering Disneyland.
    Last edited by chesirecat; 06-02-2012 at 11:35 AM.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    ...At Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, everything is hidden by the railroad station, which acts sort of as a "curtain" to delay the moment of reveal. Even when you go under the railroad, you still don't see the castle until you are fully on to Main Street....

    ...But from the Disneyland Esplanade, you not only see the Carthay Circle Theater, you see Grizzly Peak and several of the soundstages.

    I'm curious ... do you think this subtle difference, of letting you "see what you get," is a positive or negative as far as design? Does it make a difference to guests? Was it a smart or bad move on behalf of Imagineering?
    I think the techniques of film storytelling and set design that Walt and the Gen1 WED Imagineers used at Disneyland -- including the hub-and-land layout, the use of the lands as acts in an overall story, and the placement of buildings to control sightlines and reveals -- are enormously superior to the meandering sprawl of DCA. The first impression many people still get when visiting DCA is how reminiscent the haphazard layout is of county fairs and carnivals.
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  12. #12

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    The redone entrance to DCA is certainaly less than perfect. A berm or visual barrier really done help to keep the illusion that you've entered a different time and place. However, it's certainly better to look out of Buena Vista Street on the esplanade than it would have been to look out of the original Disneyland's Main Street into a parking lot with thousands of cars. The imagineers have done the best they could with what they had to work with. It would love to see them eventually disguise the backsides of Soarin' and the sound stages so that they were incorporated in the look of Buena Vista Street - or at least hidden more by landscaping. Who knows? .... Maybe someday.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    When DCA was designed, those in charge decided to forgo the traditional design of the parks having the best views from the hub -- you'll notice the "face" of grizzly peak is not viewable from the center of the park as would have been normal. This is because the emphasis was to be on selling the best views of the park to those guests staying in the new hotel's priciest suites, rather than being concerned about the actual park guests. Sure enough -- if you go to the top floor of the hotel and look out a window, you'll see a fabulous view of grizzly peak's face and lush environs - - what should have been seen from within the park or from the Monorail (which has few DCA views planned out at all). Instead we se the "backside" of the mountain from DCA's hub.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by MonteJ View Post
    The redone entrance to DCA is certainaly less than perfect. A berm or visual barrier really done help to keep the illusion that you've entered a different time and place. However, it's certainly better to look out of Buena Vista Street on the esplanade than it would have been to look out of the original Disneyland's Main Street into a parking lot with thousands of cars. The imagineers have done the best they could with what they had to work with. It would love to see them eventually disguise the backsides of Soarin' and the sound stages so that they were incorporated in the look of Buena Vista Street - or at least hidden more by landscaping. Who knows? .... Maybe someday.
    Obviously, they had a budget, but they did have plenty of room to build a bermed-up entrance. Only the castle parks have this, though at least Animal Kingdom has a lot of greenery in front, sort of providing a visual barrier.

    However, they bull-dozed the front of DCA and extended the entrance out. They had the room to put in a lot of different things but just copied the entrance of Disney Studios in Orlando. I think this was a bad idea, though DCA has some similar rides to the Studios, it is a different park and supposedly is trying to flesh out its own identity, though the Studios also has a small homage to the Carthay Circle years before DCA opened.

    Hopefully, they'll redo the Esplanade, which has been hinted about before.

    ---------- Post added 06-02-2012 at 08:16 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    . . . One of my friends who's an executive at Disney corporate in Burbank says the assumption is, more or less, that DCA will always be just an adjunct to Disneyland.
    While DCA was/sorta still is, Disneyland's ugly stepsister, it is sad that Disney executives have pretty much always had small plans for this park, (outside of Carsland).

    Attendance-wise, DCA pull in about 6 million (gracias to its close location to Disneyland), Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando pulls in about 10 million, well behind Disneyland and Magic Kingdom's roughly 16-17 million. Of course, merchandise sales also matter, and I get the feeling that DCA doesn't pull in nearly as much as Disneyland in terms of merchandise.

    I am surprised that DHS in Orlando gets more visitors than DCA given that you have to ride a bus to DHS, and there are plenty more offerings in that area while DCA is directly across from Disneyland.

    I think that the executives made a big mistake by not going for a full-day amusement park across from Disneyland as the potential is huge, especially given the convenience of having the two parks across from each other. A lack of imagination and ambition.

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    Re: DCA/Buena Vista Street Visual Difference -- Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojave View Post
    Main Street and the Castle set the standard, but it doesn't mean every new park has to be laid out the same.

    Complaints about seeing the CCT and Grizzly Peak from outside the park or from many places inside ring hollow given the fact that you can see the Matterhorn from the freeway, from the Esplanade, from Splash Mountain and from Main Street.
    There's no complaint on my end, more a bemused observation. The comment about the hotel suites put it into perspective, actually, since these suites are often used by top executives when they HAVE to go to Disneyland and mingle with the unwashed masses.

    Seeing the Matterhorn from the freeway is quite different from, say, seeing Sleeping Beauty Castle from the freeway. But the point I was making was more about the way guests experience the parks when they enter.

    They were all carefully designed to have a "big reveal." Even Epcot has the reveal of not showing you Communicore/Innoventions Plaza and World Showcase until you've gone under Spaceship Earth and climbed the little rise.

    California Adventure is sort of ... just ... there.

    Oddly, when I see Buena Vista Street, I think less of Los Angeles than I do of this:

    Country Club Plaza - Kansas City Attractions - Kansas City Shopping, Restauraunts - 360kc.com

    It's also weird to me that they say this is the L.A. Walt saw when he arrived, when Carthay Circle didn't become important to Disney until 1937, and Walt lived and worked in the Los Feliz area of the city, which has (and had) a completely different look and feel.

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