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  1. #16

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Quote Originally Posted by RandySavage View Post
    Fun thread. I have a lot of thoughts, and the overall change would be drastic. I may try to draft something up, but that will take time...

    In short, I'd pick a lot up and not put a lot of it back down (i.e., gone would be all the Value resorts, all the Official Hotels at DTD, the town of Celebration, the speedway, some of the golf courses, etc.). WDW would be much less developed than it is today in order to preserve its uniqueness (the above would all go back to woods and wetlands) as opposed to suburban sprawl as typified by Orlando. While the asset of Disneyland is the proximity and convenience of being able to walk everywhere, the size of WDW is/was its asset, because, if planned well and not over-built, it can and should feel like a Place Apart.

    In this imaginary scheme, there would be five Resort Areas (MK, EPCOT, Studios, AK and DTD), each with its own themed resorts, recreation and water park (some shared). A greatly expanded monorail system (maybe powered by a clean-energy plant as a nod to Walt's utopian vision) would mean any place on property could be reached via one or fewer monorail transfers (e.g Grand Floridian to TTC North, then transfer to the AK, DHS, or EPCOT-DTD Lines) or an alternative, unique method of transport.

    Another "Seven Seas Lagoon" or larger-sized lake would go in south of EPCOT with hotels such as the Boardwalk and Y&B more spread out upon it. Maybe a Parisian hotel on the outside of International Gateway (as you mentioned it continues the theme) and a Xanadu (Hearst Castle-inspired) hotel near the Studios (Studios would be moved to where the PopCentury/AoA now sits and the nearby Waldorf and Bonnet Greek Resorts would be acquired and removed). Many WDW hotels would have special access (via boat or foot) to their home parks (e.g. AK Lodge to AK via "River boat to Harambe"). And the much faster, better Seven Seas Lagoon-style launches would replace the loud, fuming brain-jarring Friendships on the new, deeper lake.
    All great ideas, Im visualizing a map in my head.

  2. #17

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Quote Originally Posted by robbiem View Post
    I think the magic kingdom resort area is fantastic and hasn't been beaten. The whole area was designed with no need for bus or car travel once you'd arrived only monorails and various boats. I know some people don't like getting across the seven seas lagoon but I think it does help to make you feel you're entering a magical place.

    As for the rest of the resort I think it's a shame that there wasn't as much of an integrated plan so now there are fleets of buses all over the place, hotels isolated on their own & places like DHS which are hemmed in and unable to expand. My personal biggest beef is the way some places like the fantasia mini golf have no transport at all and are complicated to get to unless you drive.

    If I was redesigning I'd have a much tighter master plan. I wouldn't put hotels around the parks (can be intrusive & stops park expansion) but I would integrate some hotels at the park entrances like in Paris and Tokyo where a theme fits & I love the westcot idea of integrating hotels with world showcase maybe like Randy Savage describes above but at more places than France.

    I would rearrange the parks and DTD so that they could be connected by a resort wide monorail. Each park monorail station would connect to a wedway or PRT hub which connects to the resorts nearby and other activities. No one should have to drive or take a bus on the property to get anywhere.

    Hotels would be highly themed and more exotic than the mostly American themed resorts of today - the original Thai, Persian and Venetian themes would be joined by others such as Japanese, French, Indian to make a very exotic environment. Value hotels would follow the same themes but have less facilities as in Paris (just because someone has less money doesn't mean they have less taste). All hotels would be walkable to other hotels, parks or facilities to create shopping dining resort areas which are interconnected by monorail.

    I'd also reinstate some of the adult entertainment which has been lost. The top of the world lounge would reopen along with some of the pleasure island style venues which I'd scatter in the different resort areas. I'd also add some theatre entertainment either through hotel showrooms or venues at the entertainment centres. These venues could be mixed use like the old Polynesian luau shows and I regularly change the shows rather than have extended runs.

    Sorry for the length of post but I once I started I had a Pringles moment and couldn't stop!!!
    Maybe Randy can merge some of these great ideas into his Savage Master Plan?

  3. #18

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Quote Originally Posted by thedude76 View Post
    The bus system. Once I step onto a bus, I feel like I'm riding a city bus like I did as a kid. The buses totally take me out of the experience that is WDW, which is why I rent a car.
    Randy, no buses in DisneyWorld 2.0, please, unanimous vote.

  4. #19

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    Walt Disney World was largely not developed as a theme park resort so much as it was just developed as a real estate development. Placing is not based on maximizing land use or artistry, but price points and ease of exploitation. EPCOT/Phase I aimed for a semi-urban form, but like the country around it suburban sprawl was easier and cheaper.
    I think we can do better.

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  5. #20

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by BandM View Post
    I always get chills in my spine seeing the top of SSE sticking out above the treeline. If I could redesign the place thought, I'd built it more all towards the middle of the property in a sort of circle (apart from the resorts) with a long transit line connecting all of them.
    I was visualizing a circle with a large lake in the middle, too.

  6. #21

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    I think it really depends on the hotels and the parks involved. The Magic Kingdom area layout is brilliant. The Crescent lake layout (between Epcot and DHS) is not, though to its credit I do like how all five hotels share a seaside theme. It always did kinda annoy me how the AKL is too far away from its namesake park that you need a bus to get there. A hotel like that that's meant to be an extension of its park should be within walking distance.

    I always thought that a hotel should've been integrated into the back of Epcot where the rooms would be extensions of the countries in World Showcase. Your room would be themed to the country it's in and the most expensive rooms would be the ones that would allow you to view Illuminations. Or you could build a themed suite in each country in World Showcase and have contests where you could win a night in one.
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  7. #22

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Here's how I'd do it being a native Floridian and an Orlando resident since 1975. I'd leave MK, the Seven Seas Lagoon and the hotels as well as the Wilderness Lodge and Ft Wilderness right where they're at. The Wilderness Lodge has a National Parks theme leaning more towards Yellowstone NP which fits with the camping/camper trailer/RV aspect that Ft Wilderness is nearby. I would extend the EPCOT spur to include AK and HS and possibly make it a double track, one going clockwise and the other counterclockwise. I think you'd be asking allot to add more stops going to other hotels and DTD/DS, plus you'd really be polluting the area with all the monorail tracks. I would also get rid of some of the golf courses but I'd keep most of the value resorts. Some of the "value hotels" on US 192 and I-Drive (International Dr) are real pits so I can see why Disney was building those on property. I'd also get rid of all the non Disney brand resort hotels and let them build their own hotels off property if they want to be near WDW. I'd also make everything connected by some form of mass transit so you wouldn't have to rent a car unless you wanted to go off property.

    I believe one of the reasons why the MK is on the other side if the Seven Seas Lagoon is so you get the litteral feeling of being transported to another place and that you were leaving the normal world behind. That's why I think it's designed the way it is. You park your car, take the tram to the TTC, go through the turnstiles, and get transported to another world via the monorail or ferry to a world of fantasy and make believe, leaving the normal world behind until the end of your stay.

    By the way, this is a great thread!
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  8. #23

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Glad others see my point. I agree the MK area was well planned but I'd have maybe built it a little closer to the middle.

  9. #24

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    In my opinion, Walt Disney World has missed the mark in master planning.

    I get it. They want the resorts to be stand alone things and "away" from the real world. But the mistake in that is that... I think most people go to a Disney Resort to "get away" from the real world. As long as the world we're in 100% Disney, that would be good enough. And by good enough, I mean... exactly what people want.

    What happens currently is a bunch of lonely resorts that are nice, but largely inconvenient. If your'e not connected by Monorail or ferry, you're stuck to the bus transports. Walking isn't really an option with an exception of a few resorts.


    For me, I would prefer a sprawling Disney city as opposed to the Florida swamps. Downtown Disney should be neighbored by a handful of fine Disney resorts, enticing people to stay there for the convenience of dining and shopping. Having it as a stand alone thing is a mistake in my eyes.


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  10. #25

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    ^I agree that Downtown Disney's placement is one of the great Disney mysteries

  11. #26

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    With all due respect, I think the original poster misses a little of the point of the reason The Magic Kingdom is in a "corner" -- and that's that the theme park was only a small part of the original concept Walt Disney had for the land, as can be seen by his famous sketch:

    drawing.jpg (image)

    Walt Disney World was to encompass EPCOT, the planned city, along with a number of other recreational, business and industry elements that would support both the businesses and community at EPCOT, the needs of its residents, as well as the needs of the tourists who visited. The Magic Kingdom was, itself, the ultimate "weenie," pulling people to the back of the property, and along the way they'd see what incredible concepts Walt Disney thought were viable for the entire world. They would see this "city" (maybe even stay there), experience the way a large master-planned community could be, and spread the word that this was possible.

    Many of those concepts were at the heart of what the Irvine Company did in Southern California, and EPCOT was a concept Disney as a company struggled with for many years after Walt Disney's death.

    In the early 1980s, Michael Eisner and Frank Wells realized the Florida property was being vastly underutilized. EPCOT as a theme park only took up part of it. The park was designed to be very distant from the Magic Kingdom, sitting ROUGHLY where elements of the city might have been. Connected by Monorail, it showcased how Disney could move people around a vast property, and utilized many of the core concepts of the EPCOT city (energy re-use, transportation, waste management, telecommunications, etc.).

    So, Eisner and Wells set about transforming the property in ways that made a lot of sense, building up hubs of activity. Keep in mind that until the mid-2000s, the idea that people would need to see "all Disney all the time" wasn't commonplace. Different themes, executed with the Disney flair and magic, were important. Therefore, you had EPCOT's futurism and community themes, Disney-MGM Studio's ode to filmmaking, and the Animal Kingdom's distinct flavor, combined with a distant nighttime complex that would be far enough away so that those who didn't want to partake didn't feel left out.

    Each resort area would have its own infrastructure; guests would not need to venture far to get all the practical needs they had as well as entertainment needs taken care of.

    In the past decade or so, though, things have really gotten out of hand. Development is happening where there was never intended to be development. A single-family-home community is going up in the middle of a resort area. Timeshares continue to sprout up like weeds. The number of guests has continued to grow to the point that Disney has a hard time managing them all -- how they get around, where they go, etc. But they keep encouraging more people to come and pay for it on credit!

    If you look at the initial concepts of WDW that Walt Disney put forth, and the revisions that Frank Wells and Michael Eisner made with some BRILLIANT minds at Disney Development Company back in the late 80s and early 90s, it really all made tremendous sense.

    Now, it is increasingly a mish-mash. They're building things just to generate more revenue, not really giving major thought to the overall scheme. They are selling off land in slices, developing areas that were intended for something else, and the whole thing is feeling more and more nightmarish. (Just look at the Bay Lake Tower next to the sleek, angular simplicity of the Contemporary Resort -- the new timeshares rise above what used to be the tallest building on the horizon, a great visual testament to the need to generate time-share revenue as opposed to the need to create a great guest experience.)

    It's all ... weird.

    As for Downtown Disney, its placement makes sense when you consider it was INTENDED to be at the far end of the property, next to the partner hotels. It was a little shopping area intended to service those "outside-but-connected" hotels, since the other resorts had their own infrastructure. It's grown to become a destination in its own right ... and will continue to grow and grow and grow and grow as long as people keep spending money. Given that Disney NEEDS (from a guest standpoint) to improve its rides, but CHOOSES to improve its retail district, that should tell you something.

    They have lots of money to rebuild Downtown Disney, but claim they don't have the funds to operate pavilions at Epcot without sponsors, or to get to the heart of the problem with the never-working Yeti. If there is DIRECT REVENUE to be made, Disney will gladly spend. If it's simply "guest goodwill" and "show" for the sake of being creatively superior, forget about it.

    But I digress. The planning of WDW did make sense ... once upon a time!

  12. #27

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    With all due respect, I think the original poster misses a little of the point of the reason The Magic Kingdom is in a "corner" -- and that's that the theme park was only a small part of the original concept Walt Disney had for the land, as can be seen by his famous sketch:

    drawing.jpg (image)
    No I do get it, and it's effective. I'm just suggesting that having the Magic Kingdom a little closer in would have allowed development around the sides of the park, if not all the way in back of it.

  13. #28

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    ^I agree that Downtown Disney's placement is one of the great Disney mysteries
    You're thinking anyone who steps onto WDW property is there for a major vacation. While it is true of most, it's not true of all.

    Downtown Disney sits square in the middle between two exits off the nearest major freeway, and closer than anything besides the offbrand hotels to that freeway. People going to the parks will drive as far as they have to within reason, but Downtown Disney's placement indicates that it's the I-Drive competition - free parking, right off the freeway, etc - for the people not on a major vacation but still looking to quickly duck off the freeway for a fun evening.

    In other words, it sits exactly where someone looking to build a major shopping and entertainment complex would put one.

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  14. #29

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Downtown Disney should be neighbored by a handful of fine Disney resorts, enticing people to stay there for the convenience of dining and shopping. Having it as a stand alone thing is a mistake in my eyes.
    Quote Originally Posted by TylerDurden View Post
    ^I agree that Downtown Disney's placement is one of the great Disney mysteries
    Quote Originally Posted by EC82 View Post
    As for Downtown Disney, its placement makes sense when you consider it was INTENDED to be at the far end of the property, next to the partner hotels. It was a little shopping area intended to service those "outside-but-connected" hotels, since the other resorts had their own infrastructure.
    Downtown Disney, then the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, and Hotel Boulevard were supposed to be the anchor to Lake Buena Vista, the host community and gateway to Walt Disney World. Lake Buena Vista was supposed to expand beyond what actually was built in the first decades of Walt Disney World.

  15. #30

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    Re: The layout of Walt Disney World

    Lake Buena Vista was off the mark, as evidenced by no phase II and the mess that is DT Disney.

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