Posts Tagged ‘Design’

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

September 2, 2019

Disney has created a lot of parks since they launched their first park, Disneyland in California. Eventually, they wanted to follow the lead of quite a few parks around the world and decided to create a park dedicated to animals. Thus Disney’s Animal Kingdom was born and was populated with zoo animals. It was the fourth park built in Orlando and it was dedicated to animal conservation and the natural environment. When they decided to expand the park later, they had a plan for two expansions. They were going to create an attraction called Countdown to Extinction (a dinosaur area) and Beastly Kingdom (a land dedicated to magical creatures). When Disney’s Paris crisis happened, one of the two had to be axed and they decided to stick with dinosaurs.

I still think that this was a complete mistake. Countdown to Extinction was designed as an attraction to teach people about the extinction of the dinosaurs (I mean, obviously). It was later reworked to be themed to the Disney movie Dinosaur which was not as big of a hit as the company expected it to be. It was also opened up two years after Universal Studio’s Jurrasic Park: The Ride which was doing great especially since Spielberg was involved in its creation. The ride is a dark ride full of audio-animatronics. I like dark rides, I am just not as interested in dinosaurs unless there is some cool theming to it.

Beastly Kingdom, on the other hand, was designed as an outdoor river ride much like Jungle Cruise. The trip would have taken people on a trip full of mythical creatures (similar to the earlier Maelstrom). It was actually pretty interesting and some of it was installed but was never fully realized. Some remnants existed for a long time including impaled and roasted knights as part of a dragon attack section. Because of budgeting issues from the fallout of Euro Disney, Beastly Kingdom never came to be. It was unfair and it should not have happened.

Obviously, Disney never wanted to be put in the position of deciding between dinosaurs and dragons. That is a really hard choice unless you are a creationist who believes the two coexisted. Since they did not currently have a dragon movie coming out, they instead picked the DinoLand based on Dinosaur. The thing is, I am not sure I know anybody who saw Dinosaur which I hear has lovely animation. When it came time to expand again, Disney decided to create a land dedicated to Pandora from Avatar. I know Avatar has its fans but at the time Disney did not own the film so it was a weird decision. However, I think it is the kind of direction that they should have gone in the first place.

I believe that the concept of Animal Kingdom was flawed from the start. Disney basically created a high tech zoo but with apparently little experience in maintaining animals. This is a problem that many parks have when they decide to exhibit animals. It leads to a lot of animal injuries and death. This seems kind of pointless to me because there are already zoos which are usually maintained by people who were properly trained in how to care for animals. Animal Kingdom actually had about 31 animal deaths due to animals interacting with other animals or plants they should not have encountered.

I think Disney missed their chance to really do Animal Kingdom right based on their usual recipes. Their mission statement was to teach people about nature and conservation but they are Disneyworld. Disneyworld is devoted to creating real moments in a fake environment. I am not sure why they did not just create fake animatronic animals. The main problem people have with zoos is that you never know if you are going to see the animals in their enclosure because they hide from the sun or the heat. Disney had the opportunity to create animal enclosures or a fake safari through animatronic animal habitats. They could use the opportunity to teach while having more reliable and arguably less complicated subjects.

The park was created in 1998. What came out in 1994? The Lion King. They could have easily done some theming involving The Lion King, using kids’ connection with those characters to teach them about nature and conservation. Of course, that might bring up some unfortunate sociological truths about that movie but it is a thought. There is also The Jungle Book that the park could have been themed on. Of course, the park is starting to trend that way now. They seem to be moving away from focusing on the real animals and instead have attractions based on Lion King, Avatar and A Bug’s Life.

Of course, none of what I said makes Animal Kingdom wrong or bad. It just makes it uninteresting to me. Animal Kingdom is the third most-visited theme park in North America and the sixth most-visited theme park in the world. Obviously, the park has its fans and I cannot call all of those people wrong. They like what they like. My opinion comes from a place of design and a love of fiction. Also, I just really wanted there to be a land of dragons, trolls, and fairies. You know what? I am going to create my own right here just like I created a prison for Disney villains.

Yensid Containment Facility

August 19, 2019

(After studying so many dark rides through YouTube, I decided to try my hand at designing my own. This is a ride narrative of sorts and if I could draw well, I would probably provide imagery. The concept for ride combines my love of Disney with my love of the horror genre. I was inspired both by the older Disney dark rides and the haunted houses in Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal parks. However, this is intended to be no scarier than my experience on Snow White’s Adventures.)

Queue Area:

People step into a large cold, concrete room with a queue set up by chrome railings. There are conspicuous security cameras everywhere and accouterments suitable to a high-tech prison. There are wanted posters up for Disney Villains that have not been caught or are missing in action. Madame Mim, Chernabog, The Horned King, Shan Yu, Shere Khan, Yzma, Prince Hans, Turbo, and Frollo among others. Speakers detail various security rules “Please Remain Orderly”, “Please Report Any Magical Items to Security”, “This Yensid Facility Thanks You for Your Patronage”. At the end of the line, castmembers dressed as “security” waive people through magic detectors instead of metal detectors.


Riders sit on benches in a small theater. It is the same concrete as the queue area but somewhat warmer even before the lights dim. A movie starts up and on-screen is the Duke of Weselton (from Frozen).

Duke: Welcome to the Yensid Containment Facility. I am the Duke of Weselton and I have graciously stepped in to act as warden for this facility. As you well know, all of our worlds have been damaged or threatened at one point or another by villains. While our worlds share the core belief that there is good inside of everyone, some individuals refuse to embrace their good side. They fall into the shadows and never return. This facility was built for the capture and containment of those who would threaten our worlds. A place where they can safely go through the process of rehabilitation but cannot hurt those around them.

We here at Yensid strive to do our absolute best to keep the worlds safe from these rapscallions. I made an error of judgment once and helped hurt innocent people but my eyes have been opened to who the true villains are. This building suppresses the magical abilities of some of our more volatile residents. This is why you were searched for any magical items or effects. While we trust our very important visitors, we do not want to take any chances that would result in the villains getting released or you harmed. Otherwise, enjoy the tour and try to remain calm. You are in no danger. Repeat, no danger. Don’t panic.

The doors open and castmembers usher people into the ride vehicles.

The Ride Itself:

The ride takes people down a winding black stone corridor. That corridor is lined with thick, clear plastic panels. Next to each panel is a computer readout that blinks on as the vehicles approach. These readouts display the name of the villain and a specific warning.

The vehicles approach a line of three cells on the left.

Duke: Some of our villains are relatively harmless, mere humans. However, they are still dangerous. Do not underestimate them.

The first cell holds Cruella De Vil with the Warning: “Do not mention dogs”. Cruella sits on her bed, smoking her trademark cigarette. She looks at the riders and cackles and then sighs.

The second cell holds Stromboli with the Warning: “Watch for Strings”. Stromboli sits on the floor of his cell playing with two marionettes and paying no mind to the riders. Several marionettes dangle from the ceiling of his cell. He looks up and glares at the riders.

The third cell holds Gaston with the Warning: “Requires Five Dozen Eggs Per Day”. Gaston grunts as he does chin-ups on a bar from the ceiling of his cell.

Duke: See? Completely harmless.

There is suddenly a large sound from the right as Captain James Hook slams himself up against the glass of his cell with a shout of “Avast!”. He scratches his hook down the surface, making a squeaking sound. He laughs bitterly as he leers at the riders. “No Ticking Clocks Please”

Duke: Of course, some of them are more dangerous than others.

Immediately after that, The Queen of Hearts slams against the glass on the left. She repeatedly pounds her fists against the glass. She shouts “Off With Their Heads!” over and over. “Warning: Violent Temper”

Duke: Unfortunately, we are finding it hard to keep them from making new friends inside. Some people should not be friends.

The next two cells on the left are Doctor Facilier and Mother Gothel. “No Shadows” and “No Flowers”. Facilier extends his hand and his shadow appears in Gothel’s cell and extends a shadowy flower toward her. She touches her chest in surprise and emotion.

Duke: Others are busy making new enemies.

The next two cells on the right hold Scar and Clayton. Clayton sits on his bed and points his hand like a gun at Scar in the next cell. Scar growls and pounces at the wall and growls. Clayton laughs. Warnings: “Killer Lion” and “Great Shot’.

Duke: Now onto the more magical members of our little prison.

The next cell on the left contains The Evil Queen Grimhilde (from Snow White). Warning: “Do Not Take Food From Inmate”. The Queen, stuck in her Old Witch disguise, stares in her magic mirror. She holds a hand mirror limply in her right hand. The mirror signals toward the riders with his eyes. She touches her face and then abruptly turns from her mirror and smashes the hand mirror against the glass. She cackles and shouts “Don’t Turn Away, My Pretties!”

Duke: This place is so strong it can hold a god.

The next cell on the right contains Hades. Warning: “Talks Too Much”. Hades is chained to the floor with a device across his mouth, preventing his speech. As he sees the riders, his flaming hair turns red and he struggles. The chains tremble but do not break. A blast of hot air hits the riders.

Duke: The next two villains kind of defeated themselves but are still dangerous if released.

Two very small cells on the left each hold a single pedestal. They are for Oogie Boogie and Jafar.

A jar of luminescent bugs wriggles and shakes on a pedestal. Warning: “Do Not Open Jar”

An onyx lamp shakes on its pedestal and falls over and the lid opens to reveal Jafar’s angry eye which blinks and then narrows.

Duke: Don’t worry. They’re all under wraps. I’ll get somebody to pick that up.

On the right, Ursula’s tentacles slam against the glass repeatedly as she laughs. She is underwater. “Poor unfortunate souls!” she shouts. Her tentacles pulsate against the glass but it holds. Warning: “Do Not Tap on Glass”

Finally, the last cell on the left holds Maleficent. She stands in the middle of her cell and glares threateningly at the riders. She then raises her hands and starts to transform into a dragon, spewing smoke and green fire into her chamber. Once again, the riders feel the heat. Alarms start to go off.

Duke: Get them out of there! Do something!

The vehicles speed away from the cells and to the exit as riders hear a last echoing roar of a dragon. As they disembark, the Duke appears on a screen.

Duke: Thank you for taking our VIP tour, I assure you I have everything in hand.

The riders exit into, of course, a gift shop where they can buy Yensid Facility apparel and souvenirs.

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