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  1. #1

    • California Golden Bear
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    How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    I like Downtown Disney, but it doesn't seem very Disney-like. In fact it seems a lot like a lot of other outdoor malls. The shops and restaurants are nice, but none are unique; sure we all like the Rainforest Cafe and the House of Blues, but these can be found in many cities. With the Gardenwalk opening accoss the street from Disneyland and so many other malls in SoCal already what DtD needs is something to set it apart, and for Disney that has always meant themeing. DtD needs a single, immersive and unifying theme, and turn of the century New York would work great. For an idea of how this would look here are some pictures of the New York themed “American Waterfront” from Tokyo DisneySea

    In addition to restauarants and shops the new Downtown Disney would include the Broadway theatre, the place to see the Broadway quality Disney shows that used to be staged at the Fantasyland Theatre and DCA’s Hyperion. No need to purchase tickets to see Broadway shows at this theatre, simply present your park ticket and be admitted. Unlike the old FL this theatre would be completely enclosed (including the lobby, unlike the Hyperion). The advantage of theatre in DtD is that it would free up space in the parks for further development –perhaps an extension of FL with new darkrides in DL while the an updated version of Great Movie Ride could replace the Hyperion.

    The Disneyland Monorail would continue to serve the area, but the track and station would be remodeled to look like the electric railway

    The Disneyland Hotel, which is looking very outdated and was never really themed as anything other than a high-rise hotel would be renovated in a style like that of the Hightower Hotel (DS version of ToT, which is way more impressive looking than ours)


  2. #2

    • Rock Star Minion
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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    "American Waterfront" looks a lot like The Grove near Fairfax. So, not unique enough for SoCal.
    What I don't like about DtD is that it has too many bottlenecks. Sure, lots of people want to stroll and see everything, but I'm busting my hump down to ESPNZone. Big things right in the middle of the street, flanked by carts and such. Then there are lines of people waiting to get into restaurants and then there are the street performers who should be relegated to some dead-end alleyway (not an indictment on their ability -- strictly for functional purposes).
    On less busy days, it's very nice, though. Nice enough for free entry.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  3. #3

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    I would love it if our Downtown Disney had more of a theme like that of Tokyo Disney Sea. Right now it's the "arts & crafts" movement of California or something like that. I doubt that Disney will do anything with this area for a long long time.

    sigh... i just look at Tokyo Disney Sea photos and they always blow me away.


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  4. #4

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    I believe the design philosphy of DTD might have something to with spending the money on the "inside" the park (you know, the one they charge admission to) rather that the free retail-filler pathway into it.
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  5. #5

    • Drunk On Disney
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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    Yeah, I wish DTD looked more likt this one in Disney Seas, but one of the major problems is that DTD is much smaller. Imagine trying to drive a car down DTD like picture 2 shows!!!

  6. #6

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    i like the way DTD looks , the question is. If they did re-theme it would they go "CALIFORNIA" style to match DCA or would they fantasy style and have PeterPan statues outside of the AMC theaters?

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  7. #7

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment View Post
    "American Waterfront" looks a lot like The Grove near Fairfax. So, not unique enough for SoCal.
    I actually really love how The Grove in LA is designed and I think the Disney designers could have really "gone to town" with the concept. Even the Grove, while free, has its own red Omnibus to transport guests up and down the shopping/dining district. There's even a farmer's market with a bunch of small eateries.

    They totally could have done something like that for Orange County. It would have been amazing.

    The Grove also has some sort of water fountain show. They're playing Disney's game! It's no wonder it's a success.

    Downtown Disney while I do like it, doesn't even match the scope of Universal City Walk.


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  8. #8

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    TDS is what DCA could have been. Its so sad.

  9. #9

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    So funny you mention "The Grove". It is so much more appealing
    than what they placed in DDT. The AMC Theater looks like any
    other run of the mill multi-plex, when they should have been attempting
    to make it even more attractive than the Theaters that are at The Grove.

  10. #10

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    Very interesting....
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  11. #11

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    For now I'd just be happy if ESPN Zone put an LCD monitor outside and replaced that crap that's there now................

  12. #12

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    I really never liked the look of theme of Downtown Disney. It didn't seem to have any real theme or personality. It looks like your average outdoor shopping mall. In recent years thay have added more and more of the outdoor vending carts which really cheapens the look of the place and gives it more of a "swap meet" feel. When I walk by all those carts I keep thinking any moment now one of those employees is going to try and sell me something.

    In my opinion they could have done much, much better with the theme of the place. The only two stores which really made an effort to have a theme are the Jazz Kitchen and Rainforest cafe.

  13. #13

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    You identified the problem well, but I don't think the solution is in looking to something that already exists somewhere else.

    A few things that I would like to see are:
    • More Disney-owned businesses and fewer lessees.
    • Shops, restaurants, and other establishments that, at least, appear to be owned and operated by Disney. For example, the Jazz Kitchen might be "hosted by Ralph Brennan" while the cinemas are "presented by AMC".
    • One-of-a-kind establishments throughout the complex. Even chains like Rainforest Cafe can, working with Walt Disney Imagineering, create new concepts such as "The Wild Place, hosted by Rainforest Cafe", which might be a flagship, Disney-specific location that is as different as possible from the standard locations and, yet, is consistent with the Rainforest Cafe brand.
    • More Disney control in the design of the physical facilities of each operating participant, as well as in the operation of the establishment, itself. Most glaringly, the storefronts and signage have conflicting designs that don't complement each other and are not consistent with the ideas for the complex, as a whole.
    • By day, a timeless and larger-than-life garden that is relaxing and that builds on the idea of the "Mickey Floral" parterre in the Inner Lobby. Disneyland's horticultural show department should be allowed to unleash its creativity on the space and cover virtually every surface with vegetation. Bougainvillea might spill over all the rooftops while wisteria drapes across the pergolas and balconies of the Grand Californian. Ivy and other vines might cover all the buildings while the hardscapes are softened with shrubbery and with the Grasscrete product. Parterres and topiaries might, themselves, depict botanical imagery such as leaves and tendrils, while floral equivalents of topiaries could create works of living art that look almost like stationary Rose Parade floats. The space should be more formal, symmetrical, and Italianate, although all kinds of gardens should provide inspiration so that the complex has a timeless Postmodernist design that employs bowers, arbors, and balustrades that, themselves, look like plant life.
    • By night, a festive party filled with innovative and unique lighting concepts that are spectacular and exciting. Through the use of robot lights, a kaleidoscopic effect might recall "The Wonderful World of Color", and dedicated stages for musicians, as well as outdoor dance floors, would keep the place lively.
    • The subtle presence of Tinker Bell, who can lead guests to Disneyland in the morning and towards the Disneyland Hotel in the evening. Her trail of pixie dust might streak from place to place through the use of fiber optics, L.E.D.'s, and strobes.
    • Some vague Art Nouveau styling cues that lead to a more Baroque Disneyland entrance, which is inspired by turn-of-the-19th-Century circuses and fairs, and that also lead to a uniquely Californian interpretation of Beaux-Arts Classicism at the entrance to the California park.
    • A price charged for parking that creates another revenue stream for the resort and that helps justify these capital improvements.
    • And, a new name that truly complements The Magic Kingdom, such as: "Disneyland GateWay".
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 01-17-2007 at 01:00 PM.

  14. #14

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    Quote Originally Posted by ExJungleSkipper95 View Post
    I really never liked the look of theme of Downtown Disney. It didn't seem to have any real theme or personality. It looks like your average outdoor shopping mall. In recent years thay have added more and more of the outdoor vending carts which really cheapens the look of the place and gives it more of a "swap meet" feel. When I walk by all those carts I keep thinking any moment now one of those employees is going to try and sell me something.
    I hate those carts, too. They are especially bad along the pedestrian bridge since they make the walkway so narrow.

    That bridge should have half the number of carts and stands it has now, and they should be placed in the very middle of the pathway so that guests can enjoy the landscaping along the sides.

    Disney kept insisting that it wanted to keep Downtown Disney upscale, but the vendor carts make the place trashy. (Incidentally, they make Disneyland trashy, too.)

  15. #15

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    Re: How to make Downtown more Disney-like, and less like every other outdoor mall

    Regarding the functionality of the space, it would make more sense to design the complex, as well as any future expansions, so that guests are persuaded to walk from the parking areas to the park entrances in the same way that the Jon Jerde-designed City Walk in Universal City connects the various parts of that property. A series of moving walkways could facilitate this movement of people while also allowing guests to stop for any of the various diversions. Additionally, Jon Jerde's Horton Plaza is organized so that guests exit the parking terraces directly onto one of the floors of the shopping center; a similar configuration might be appropriate for Disneyland, as well.

    Guests should also be persuaded to leave the parks in the middle of the day to spend time in the entertainment center, as well as in the rest of the Outer Lobby. Weather protection of some sort might be helpful, as well.

    The monorail service is a unique feature of Downtown Disney currently, and replacing Tomorrowland Station with a stop in the Main Entry Plaza and between the two parks would help make the system more prominent.

    The C.N.G.-powered trams currently in use are not able to be operated near the hotels or the entertainment center because of the noise they generate, so a water-based transportation system would be a quieter and more attractive alternative that is also is able to act as another Disneyland attraction. The waterways have the potential to be integrated into future expansions of Downtown Disney. And, these canals could be combined with other water features to make a lush and pleasing environment.
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 01-16-2007 at 11:23 AM.

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