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  1. #1

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    Disneyland from Scratch

    What do you think Disneyland (or the other Magic Kingdoms derived from it) would like like if someone like Walt were alive today and building the park from scratch now in 2007?

    For example, Disneyland's original five lands very much reflected the times of the 1950s: Cowboys and Indians were hugely popular, so Frontierland was a good choice. Adventureland visited exotic lands (primarily Africa when it opened), which was also very much in the public's mind then. Tomorrowland reflected the tremendous interest in space and The Future!. Fantasyland is perhaps the most timeless land, focusing as it does on bringing Disney animated adventures to life. Main Street USA is not only the "opening" of the show, but also a patently nostalgic look at a time that many people of the Fifties were nostalgic for - a simpler time uncomplicated by the issues of the day.

    Regardless of the continued popularity of these lands today, what do you think Disneyland would contain if it were just being planned today? Frontierland is obviously out (I think), since "the West" has lost most of its popularity and nostalgia value for today's audiences. Tomorrowland suffers from the fact that, today, there is no "tomorrow;" the future arrives daily, faster and in larger doses that anyone can even keep up with. We're not as invigorated by the future. Adventureland? I'd argue that deepest, darkest Africa is no longer an "exotic" draw in our shrinking world, but perhaps there are other "adventures" to experience? And what would open the show in 2007? Main Street USA seems a dated and naive concept to much of the audience today, and it's out of touch with what they are nostalgic for. Would we stroll down "Suburbia, USA" to get to Fantasyland's iconic castle?

    Also, Disney itself has a richer library to draw upon after 51 years, including more characters, more locales features in films and television shows, and so forth - surely these would affect a "from scratch" design in some way, no?

    The one time the Imagineers have really had an opportunity to do this was Tomorrowland at Disneyland Paris, which became Discoveryland - a nostalgic look at a future that never was. It's interesting to see what they did, there, and recognizes that some (well, one) of the original five lands was difficult to keep relavent over time.

    So what do you think? If you were building Disneyland today, what five lands would you include, and what are some of the attractions you'd design? Keeping in mind that Disneyland's "mission," as outlined in Walt's dedication, was to relive fond memories of the past, experience new adventures, and promote hope for tomorrow.

    Obviously, this is entirely a fantasy exercise - we're not talking about "fixing" the current Disneyland; this is just for fun. I'm curious to see what everyone thinks!

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    Today's theme parks seem to be predominately tech savvy kid-share market driven. Here's the way I think it would go:

    "Wii" Land--no rides, just free "wii" access
    "Text" Land--no rides, just free text messaging zones
    "Access" Land--no rides, just free WIFI
    "i"Land--no rides, just free MP3/iPod music-file sharing
    and of course,
    "eBay" Area--no actual stores, just a large distribution site for the merchandise auctions that are being posted. Of course, all transactions via Paypal...

    We'd never have to complain about our favorite rides being taken out again!!

  3. #3

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    ROFL... it'd be more easily expanded, too - you could set up one in a large store in nearly any mall.

  4. #4

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    Oh, I forgot: Welcome to MiceChat!!

  5. #5

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    Quite an interesting question:

    I suppose one way to answer this hypothetical is to figure out what has replaced what in real life.


    MAIN ST USA: Wouldn't have to change much here except forward the time by 50 years.....in other words instead of the Main St. of 1905 make it the Main St. of 1957. Electric St. Cars instead of Horse Drawn; Diesal Locomotives instead of Steam, etc.

    DINOLAND(Adventureland): I think our interest in dinosaurs, although it may have peaked a few years ago, is the moedern day incarnation of dreaming of jungle adventures. We could still have a Jungle Cruise type ride but this time with 65 million year old reptiles instead of hippos and elephants. Countdown to extinction would be the logical replacement for Indy I suppose.

    SPACELAND(Frontierland): That's right.....in 1955, we were less than a 70 years distant from the age of indian wars, forts, riverboats, and dance halls......but 50 - 70 years ago from now the frontier was Space. Similar to Tomorrowland(without subs, innerspace etc.) this land could still have Space Mountain, Mission to the Moon, and maybe even a lunar rover over a simulated Moonscape instead of autopia.

    FANTASYLAND: No name change required here either. Many attractions would be based on the more recent Disney "classics" such as a Little Mermaide ride instead of Peter Pan; A Beauty and the Beast Ride instead of Snow White; Lion King attracion instead of Pinnochio; King Tritons Carousel instead of King Arthur; Hercules instead of Mr. Toad; but some of the old classics would still be included like Alice and the teacups and Dumbo too.

    TVLAND(Tomorrowland): Our interests, as a nation, in pop culture especially that culture which appears to us on TV has, in my opinion, replaced our optimistic visions of tomorrow. This land would be dedicated to the constant, neverending circus that is popular culture on TV. Like the Tomorrowland in the real life Disneyland, it would be difficult to keep fresh due to a constantly changing definition of what is popular and what is so last week
    Waiting for Godot Micechat.com

  6. #6

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    What an excellent thread.

    It is mentioned in Bob Thomas' biography of Walt that the four lands of Disneyland were based on popular TV genres of the day, which was part of the persuading proposal put to ABC for funding.

    Frontierland was based on the astonishingly popular Westerns, Adventureland on the motion pictures of the time such as The African Queen, Tomorrowland on the thrilling space documentaries and emerging sci-fi shows like Star Trek, and of course, Fantasyland, on the animation of Walt Disney and tieing in with the forthcoming Disneyland TV show - to be aired on ABC.

    What are the popular themes in cinema and television today? I mean ones which could viably be themes in an amusement park.
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  7. #7

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    CSI-land? Survivor-land?

    Cinderella IV: The Bloodening

    "It's okay, Beaker, we're scientists. We get paid to fail."

  8. #8

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    The four cardinal realms of the imagination are just that. They are quintessential, absolutely perfect, and, for the most part, they cannot be improved upon. They are as relevant and vital today as they ever were. And, all immortal, timeless stories use, at least, one of these themes.

    In many ways, the themes spring forth from Walt Disney's own formative years in middle America.

    Adventure and fantasy are broad genres. Stories about frontiers are necessarily about the past, while stories about tomorrows are necessarily about the future. Science-fiction and fairy tales were in existence long before Walt Disney ever brought them to film. So, Discoveryland is probably the only concept for Disneyland that truly makes sense, but I'm not referring to Disneyland Paris' Tomorrowland.

    Discoveryland should really be about explorers making discoveries in remote and mysterious places, from the highest heights of the Mountains of the World to the deepest depths of the Oceans of the World. Abominable snowmen, sea serpents, and mermaids capture the imagination, and the Matterhorn and the Submarine Voyage have been allowing Disneyland guests to make these discoveries for decades. So, Discoveryland has actually been right before us this entire time as I explained in the following thread: What Do Bobsleds and Submarines Have in Common?.

  9. #9

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    Disneyland would never be "Unique" if it were built today. Disneyland started all of the other trends and parks out there. It made history.

  10. #10

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    Re: Disneyland from Scratch

    Agreed. The main concepts are pretty much the same (you want Fantasy and Adventure), but
    IMHO, what's in them might be different.

    So this becomes, what are the big themes going on today.

    Let's look at movies first (this is easy): what's popular? PotC, so in Adventureland, you build
    a Pirates Lair and within it a pirates themed ride and show (sounds familar?) Pixar movies are
    popular so you build a "pixar" land.

    Let's look at TV... Reality shows and Crime dramas are in. For reality shows (which were
    also popular during 50s), you can't do much, but you can have one such show on site
    (any land).... Crime dramas are tough.... too "real" and crime is always the bad stuff that
    happens. I would choose to ignore it.

    So here are my lands:

    Main Street Circa 1948 (Right after the WWII)
    Adventureland (Everest ride & Water rapids ride)
    Fantasyland (Pretty much what's there now + Toons)
    Pixarland

    To replace Tomorrowland, although there's no logic for it, I would have SciFi land.
    Since it's Science Fiction, it wouldn't ever really get "old".

    Hmmm. maybe I'll put a separate Pirates Lair.

    Just my two cents...

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