Welcome, Scott E. and Blake Meredith. You are the final two. Brett, you’ve done some excellent work on this, but sadly, you have been eliminated. You’ve done famously, and you are awarded the (purely symbolic and virtual) Bronze Helm de Minionis. We’ll miss you, and great job.
Now, for the other two of you. One of you will live forever in immortality. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you will get the hat. The other, just gets the virtual Silver hat.
As I’m sure you’re aware, The final challenge consists of a full write-up of your park. For length expectations, I would suggest you read the previous winning entries.
For this challenge, we will allow 10 photos per land, plus one opening and closing each land. You will also be allowed one opening and one closing picture for your entire park. If you choose to give an overview, you will be given 5 images for that, to be used for park maps, etc.
How to Win
The prize will be awarded to the winner, and the winner will be based solely on this entry, NOT based on cumulative scores. All entries will be due 2 weeks from today. April 6, at midnight site time, as before.
Good Luck to everyone, and I look forward to reading your entries!Tweet
A couple questions just so I'm 100% clear on what the judges expect:
-In regards to the 5 images for the overview, are these in addition to the 10 pictures per land? Or do they count towards the photo total? I am not very good with laying out lands digitally, would scans of Hand Drawn maps be sufficient? Also in regards to the overview, should we include things such as transportation 'attractions', park stats, etc.?
-In regards to deviation from the initial proposal, will alterations to the original proposal be viewed negatively? I don't have any major changes in mind but I am considering removing the 'sub-land' idea I proposed in the initial audition proposal and either making those sub-lands entirely separate lands or otherwise have them integrated into existing lands. Also, will attractions proposed in the audition round be expected to be of the same general description initially given in the audition proposal? While I doubt many will change, there are some that I want to alter or otherwise change completely or even possibly remove.
-As we have already proposed one complete land for the previous challenge, do we present it again as part of the complete proposal? If so, can we make alterations or otherwise add attractions/restaurants/retail locations? The biggest knock against my land in the last round was the lack of attractions and I planned to incorporate more but ran out of time! I would love to take this opportunity to correct those mistakes.
-Will infrastructure and guest service issues need to be addressed? i my initial proposal, Chad H indicated that I would need to address the parking challenges associated with my park being the third gate at the DLR. Is this something I need to address? Will I also need to address transportation and pricing issues?
I think that's all the major questions I have for now. I look forward to presenting my final proposal and regardless of if I win or lose, this has been a blast!
>>>In regards to the 5 images for the overview, are these in addition to the 10 pictures per land? Or do they count towards the photo total?
>>>> I am not very good with laying out lands digitally, would scans of Hand Drawn maps be sufficient?
Mine were very rough jobs done in paint, so that is fine. Just enough so we can get a general idea of the lay of the land.
>>>>Also in regards to the overview, should we include things such as transportation 'attractions'
I would include transportation attractions if you have them in mind. If there is a "Grand" station in a land, then I would mention it in that land, and mention which lands can be directly accessed via it.
>>>> park stats
Include everything that will prove to us yours is the better proposal. In mine I included transportation and parking policy, ticket prices (With a comparison to market competitors) and the "Fast Pass" like system.
>>>>In regards to deviation from the initial proposal, will alterations to the original proposal be viewed negatively?
Speaking for myself, I see no point in giving you feedback if you're prevented from using that feedback to make things better, so I will not view that negatively.
>>>>>I am considering removing the 'sub-land' idea I proposed in the initial audition proposal and either making those sub-lands entirely separate lands or otherwise have them integrated into existing lands
Speaking for myself, I would "acknowledge" the change you've done, and tell us were the derivative ideas have gone if they have been redeployed, and I would do this at the start of the proposal
>>>>>As we have already proposed one complete land for the previous challenge, do we present it again as part of the complete proposal?
I would not expect you to present it in full again, but make sure you integrate it into your proposal - tell us where it is, any crossing attractions (transportation) etc.
>>>>> If so, can we make alterations or otherwise add attractions/restaurants/retail locations?
With the land, I think the remit in that challenge was that the land should be more or less complete, but again what is the point of feedback if it cannot be used? In this section I would be more cautious than any other of any significant changes.
>>>>>-Will infrastructure and guest service issues need to be addressed? i my initial proposal, Chad H indicated that I would need to address the parking challenges associated with my park being the third gate at the DLR. Is this something I need to address? Will I also need to address transportation and pricing issues?
These are issues I included in my finale. I wouldn't say they're strictly required as its not written in the challenge itself, but I would smile more favourably if they are there. If I was a Disney Park Executive and you were proposing building a park over my car park, my first question is going to be "Where are all the cars going to go?".
Blake, I'd mostly agree with Chad. A few additional comments...
1. Ten images per land plus five overview images. Maps are encouraged, and as long as it is legible it's fine. If you have a transport attraction that goes around the whole park, mention it in the overview and make note of the stations when talking about lands. If a transport attraction connects only two lands, just mention it in the respective lands. For statistics, it is at your discretion what you choose to include, but I'd recommend giving at least an approximate park size, average daily attendance, and ticket price.
2. Minor alterations to the audition proposal are acceptable, but major alterations (such as replacing several lands) are not. Removing or redoing sub-lands would be fine, just mention the changes. Attractions presented in the audition may be modified or removed, but attractions proposed in the challenges must be present in your park.
3. Mention your previously proposed land in your final proposal, but you do not need to include a full description for anything presented previously. However, if you choose to make changes they must be documented in the final proposal. As with the overall park, minor alterations are acceptable but major alterations are not. For the land, I would say that adding one or two new features would be acceptable, but redoing it or making a large number of additions would not. Also, I can't speak for the other judges, but for this round I will not be judging the quality of previous proposals and will only take into account modifications done to them.
4. Briefly discuss the external factors of your park, but you do not need to go into extensive detail. You should include any aspects that will be relevant to your park, but no more than that. For example, if you decide to add a new parking garage or hotels, mention them and their approximate size, but don't go into detail over the theme of the property or their locations within the resort. For transportation, just mention how the park is connected to the rest of the resort.
I have a request to make. Can we please have a one day extension and not have to post until Tuesday, April 7th at midnight site time (before the clock strikes Wednesday)? I work 60+ hours a week, and with the Easter weekend coming up and some family drama occurring I need that one more day to be ready. If not, I will have to do one of three things: 1) post in less than a week, and I would be posting a substandard (for me) proposal, 2) I would have to skip sleep for several days, or 3)I would have to withdraw and concede. I don't want to have to do any of those things. One more day would give me Tuesday, April 7th, my next day off work, to be sure that everything is done to my satisfaction.
I appreciate the judges consideration in this and hope you will give me that one more day to get my proposal right.
I think consensus is that the extra day is ok.
Thank you! I greatly appreciate this. This might be the first time I post after Blake!
Two (hopefully final) questions...Firstly, is there a maximum proposal length you are looking for? I know for the previous challenges there have been maximum lengths enforced and as I'm working through this challenge I'm finding that each overview of my 'realms' is coming in at around 2-3 pages per realm. This doesn't factor in my park overview and other details (such as an overview of the 'heroic spirit' system). I just want to make sure I don't put in TOO much as I have a tendency to get carried away when writing these proposals. Ha!
Secondly, would it be better to post all of my proposal at one single time rather than in pieces?
Blake, we discussed length limits and decided not to have one for this challenge. Personally, I'd probably shoot for 10-15 pages of text, but there is no official limit so write as much or as little as you want. As long as you are not inflating the length of your proposal by including irrelevant information you will not be marked down for having a longer proposal. In regards to your second question, you may use multiple posts if it is more convenient but please post your entire proposal together so that the pieces don't get mixed up.
Scott, we will do whatever is necessary (within reason, of course) to allow you to compete. A win by default would be the worst possible outcome of the final round. If you need additional extensions, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you.
I'll be posting Tuesday evening. Once again, thanks for the extension. I'm afraid my proposal is turning into a guidebook, no matter how much I edit out. I always seem to find something I need to add.
Also requesting to be able to submit within the extra day extension. A sick family coupled with work and the Easter Holiday has set me back a few more hours.
Scott and Blake, if either of you find yourself unable to post tomorrow as currently planned, please let us know. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to reading a couple outstanding proposals on Wednesday.
I don't see myself running into any more issues and I may actually be able to post tonight, though I fear it may be well past the 12:00AM site time deadline.
I think it would be perfectly fine for you to post tomorrow. Unless the other judges disagree, just plan on it.
I'd rather read a high quality entry a day later than a lesser one a day earlier.
North of Birmingham, Alabama, with easy access via Interstate from many of the largest cities in the beautiful American South stands our nation's newest and most beautiful theme park, Americana 1900, a place where the elegance of our nation's historic past meets the entertainment demands and capabilities of today and tomorrow. This is a highly-themed amusement park that fuses modern technology with the charm, sophistication and fun of what is romantically remembered as our nation's most elegant era. Six themed Townships transport guests back to that bygone era when automobiles were the latest fad, when most of America was rural and most Americans lived on farms, and when the Industrial Revolution was just starting to make our great-grandparents' lives a little bit easier.
Americana 1900 is not a dry, boring history lesson, but a place of fun, excitement and visual beauty, and is designed for families to explore and experience together. The basic theme is from the years 1890-1910, but we should remember that structures from before that time still existed, and most guests are very forgiving if a little bit of the future should intrude. Safety will never be sacrificed for period or political correctness.
-------------The Townships of Americana 1900-------------
Maple Grove, the main entrance to the park, is where the simple, rustic homes and shops of a small farming community provide guest services, shopping and dining opportunities, and transportation to the rest of the park. The Gulf Coast & Santa Fe Railroad, the train that provides one form of transportation throughout the park, has a station here, providing easy access to other Townships in the park. Also located here are several operating craft shops where skilled crafters produce goods for purchase here and at several shops throughout the park.
Morrison Farm is a working farm with animals to be petted, crops growing in the fields, and rides themed to be appropriate to the rural feeling of this relaxing yet fun place. Morrison Farm is more than a large petting zoo, however. As a working farm, it is a major component of part of the mission statement of Americana 1900. It demonstrates agricultural techniques of the past, techniques being rediscovered by modern society as so many people try to eat healthy, organic and eco-friendly. Much of the food supply for the restaurants of Americana 1900 comes from the fields and gardens of Morrison Farm.
Green Springs, the water park area, is themed to the popular hot springs and mineral water resorts that many people of that era visited to enjoy the "health benefits of taking the waters". This is an area to both relax and be thrilled by the water slides, wave pools and lazy rivers that our great-grandparents would not have recognized but would undoubtedly have quickly learned to enjoy. The most thrilling attraction in Green Springs is Over the Falls: The Great Niagara River Run, a dark ride/water ride combination carrying riders over Niagara Falls and into the Niagara Whirlpool.
Courthouse Square recreates the heart of the prosperous county seat of Americana County, where the Courthouse was the largest and most elegant building in town. The Americana County Courthouse acts as both an attraction in itself and as the iconic structure for the entire park. A magnificent Beaux-Arts structure of three stories surmounted by an elegant clock tower and dome, the Courthouse stands in the center of the Square, and is surrounded by the shops, businesses and entertainment facilities of this lovely town of 1900. Also here is one of the entrances to the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel, where guests can enjoy the elegance of the past with the full-service comforts and family friendliness of the present. The hotel rooms occupy the upper floors of some of the buildings surrounding Courthouse Square, bringing guests right into the fun, excitement and beauty of Americana 1900.
State Fair. The name says it all. Amusement rides, carnival games, horse shows and prize-winning foods are just a few of the features to be found in this quintessential part of American life. Visitors to the fairgrounds will find a collection of traditional and historic rides offering thrills and fun for the entire family. Featured here is one of the landmark rides of Americana 1900, The Steeplechase, a ride once popular throughout the world but hard to find today- but not here. A cross between a roller coaster and a derby racer, the Steeplechase is the star attraction at this State Fair.
The Pike. Named after and inspired by the amusement area of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, held in St. Louis, Mo., this Township is an eclectic collection of rides, attractions, restaurants and shops. Like the original Pike, this area is laid-out like a long, wide boulevard with a sunken floral garden running down the center of it. Unlike the original one, though, where most of the attractions were private concessions recreating exotic lands from around the world, every ride, restaurant and attraction on the Americana Pike is based on the history and culture of America.
There are several transportation systems serving visitors to Americana 1900. The Gulf Coast & Santa Fe Railroad circumnavigates the park, with stations servicing Maple Grove, The Pike, and Courthouse Square/Green Springs, and horse-drawn trolleys carry guests at a leisurely pace throughout the park. Both are free of charge to guests. With advanced reservations (and a charge of $50/person) guests can take a guided hour-long horse-drawn carriage tour of the park. The most popular method, though, is just to walk, exploring the lanes through the fields of Morrison Farm, the sunken gardens of The Pike and the sidewalks of Courthouse Square.
------------Admission and Special Tickets----------------
Admission prices at the gate are $62.99/day for adults, $49.99/day for children 3-9, no charge under age 3. Season tickets (called the Heritage Pass) are $145.99/adults and $109.99/children 3-9. Parking fees are $10/vehicle. An additional ticketing feature that guests can benefit from is the All Aboard Pass, a $50/adult, $40/child fast pass-type passport that allows maximum amount of "ride time" to guest while limiting intrusion on ride wait time for other guests. Each attraction offering "All Aboard Pass" admission has a separate entrance for Pass holders. Use of the Pass allows a one-time short line admission to the attraction. If the rider wants to ride the attraction again, the Pass is stamped with the return time based on the official wait time for that attraction. Passholders can then enjoy other attractions in the park and return at or after the stamped time and use the All Aboard Pass line. They may use this option as often as they want. In essence, it holds their place in line for them and does not have a major impact on non-pass holders' ride wait time. Attractions offering this feature will be marked in the proposal with the designation AAP.
The operating schedule for Americana 1900 varies throughout the year. It is open daily from late May through Labor Day, Thanksgiving week, from two weeks before Christmas until New Years Day, and for two weeks during Spring Break. Americana 1900 is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, and from Jan. 2 until Spring Break week, Green Springs is closed from Labor Day through Memorial Day, and the Morrison Farm Tours are not offered from November 1 until Spring Break. Most other weeks of the year the park is open Thursday through Sunday. Hours during the summer season are 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight Friday and Saturday. Closing times during the rest of the year vary. Heritage Pass (season pass) holders and guests at the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel are admitted one hour early for Dawn of History early ride time of select attractions, and on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings during the summer season they are also allowed to remain in the park until midnight for History Repeats extra ride time. Maple Grove opens at 9 a.m. to the general public for early shopping, exploring the working craft shops and for breakfast at the Harvey House Restaurant. The daily opening ceremony of the raising of the American flag accompanied by the Americana Brass Band is held here starting at 9:50 a.m. daily.
Americana 1900 is the ideal family theme park. It has attractions for the entire family; it is a visual beautiful park, with historically designed structures and magnificent landscaping; it has remarkable thrill rides, heavily themed to the period of the park yet utilizing the most modern technology. Entertainment, dining, shopping and areas for relaxing are all to be found throughout the park. Americana 1900 is a new destination park for Americans to come to and discover their history, and for guests from around the world to come and discover America.
After parking their vehicles in one of the spacious and well-marked parking lots that serve Americana 1900, guests proceed to the welcoming Heritage Plaza outside the Main Entrance to the park. Here are found the usual expected amenities: ticket booths, group sales facilities, restrooms, a shop for those last-minute purchases, and a purchase pick-up station where guests who purchase bulky souvenirs or some of the many hand-crafted items at the craft shops inside the park may have them brought here for guests to pick-up on their way back to their vehicle, rather than carry them around the park. This service is also available to guests at the on-site Theodore Roosevelt Hotel.
Passing under the railroad tracks of the Gulf Coast & Santa Fe Railroad, (the GC&SF for short), guests enter the first Township of Americana 1900, but this is not a land of spectacle, of soaring iconic structures or huge fountains. This is Maple Grove, where guests find themselves in a small town in America of 1900.
Straight ahead in the center of the town is a simple white frame bandstand, surrounded by the Village Green. The Village Green is decorated with flower-lined paths and bushes, the walks are lined with comfortable park benches, and several Civil War cannons and military monuments to other conflicts stand as guard for the three flagpoles that are used for the Opening Ceremony of Americana 1900 every morning. Visiting Boy and Girl Scouts wearing period appropriate uniforms are invited each day to raise the flags of Americana 1900, the State of Alabama and the Stars and Stripes of the United States, accompanied by the Americana Brass Band performing the National Anthem.
Guests who look to the left will first see the Maple Grove Train Station of the GC&SF Railroad, where they can catch a train to other parts of Americana 1900, or return back to Maple Grove after a tour of the park. Proceeding up the west (left) side of the Village Square, guests come across Niles General Store where a huge variety of goods are available for purchase, including hand-crafted items created in the shops of Maple Grove, stone-ground flours from the Old Mill found in Morrison Farm, souvenirs of their visit to Americana 1900 and even modern convenience items that might not be period-appropriate but would make the guest's visit more enjoyable, such as sunscreen or a new pair of sunglasses.
Next is Hummel's Bake Shop, where delicious baked goods such as pastries, cookies, and corn meal muffins are available for a quick breakfast, a mid-day treat or a snack for the drive home.
The J.D. Elliott and Son, Printers Shop demonstrates both early hand-pressed printing methods and the more "modern" systems of 1900. Many of the menus used in the Harvey House Restaurants are printed here, as are posters, newsletters, and other decorative items available for purchase.
The last structure on this side of the Village Green is the Clinton School, a traditional frame one-room school house sitting in the middle of a school yard. Children of all ages are invited to explore the school, sit at the wooden desks, draw on the black slate blackboard with real chalk, and play outside on the swings, slides and in the sandbox. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and several "schoolmarms" will be on hand to "keep discipline"- but not too much. The purpose is to let children be children and play.
Passing the road leading towards The Pike on the north end of the Green are two structures, Dr. Q.B. Smith's Home and Doctor's Office and the Opperman Wood Working Shop. Dr. Q.B. Smith's Home and Office is the main first aid station for this part of Americana 1900 (others are found in State Fair and Green Springs). While the house and office contain the modern first aid station and are not open as an exhibit, the medicinal herbal garden located next to the house contains such medicinal plants as meadow saffron, foxglove and glycyrrhiza. Guided tours of this and other specialty gardens throughout Americana 1900 can be arranged at the Morrison Farm Tour Center for $25/person.
The Opperman Wood Working Shop and adjacent lumber yard houses trained woodworkers creating hand-crafted furniture and other useful objects from such fine woods as oak, cherry and walnut. These skilled artists use period-appropriate tools and techniques to create beautiful tables, chairs and decorative accents, and special commissions are accepted.
Continuing down the east (right) side of the Village Green is a complex of structures vital to the transportation of goods, services and people throughout the Americana 1900 grounds. First is Grabert's Blacksmith and Farrier Shop, where blacksmiths create horseshoes, nails, and household goods from wrought iron and steel, and where a farrier keeps the hard-working horses that pull so many of Americana's carriages, trolley cars and wagons properly shoed.
Attached to the blacksmith shop is the John C. Howard Livery Stable. This shop is not open to the public, but is where the horses, wagons, carriages and trolleys that make up such an important part of Americana 1900's transportation system are housed and maintained. A large corral located next to the livery stable is where the final preparations are made for the horses and their vehicles to begin their work day.
It is important to note that all animals at Americana 1900 are cared for under supervision of veterinarians and highly-experienced experts in animal care. Adequate rest, careful diet and sanitary conditions make the horses used at Americana 1900 some of the best cared for work animals at any such facility in America. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and the Alabama Equine Enthusiasts (a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation) all make regular inspections of the horses and their facilities to ensure that the horses are cared for at the highest standards possible.
A sanitation crew is always on duty to clean up after the horses that are such an important addition to the historic ambience of the entire park. Special bags are used to catch animal waste as it occurs, but these clean-up crews work to clean up any spillage and prevent visitors from accidentally stepping in any "history".
Adjacent to the corral is the Carriage Ticket Office where guests can arrange for horse-drawn carriage rides through Americana 1900. These hour-long tours ($50/person, minimum of two guests/carriage) take guests through all six Townships of Americana 1900 with a knowledgeable driver who serves their passengers as a tour guide while keeping them entertained with fun facts and trivia about the park. A carriage ride through Americana 1900, with a stop in front of the Tunnel of Love in State Fair has become an extremely popular marriage proposal idea.
The final structure in Maple Grove is the Harvey House Restaurant adjacent to the GC&SF Railroad line. During the "Golden Age" of passenger railroads, Harvey House Restaurants were found throughout the nation, providing high-quality meals at reasonable prices to millions of passengers. The Harvey House Restaurant in Maple Grove is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and serves basic, simple meals appropriate for a small town such as Maple Grove. There is no better way to start a full day at Americana 1900 than with a hearty breakfast at the Harvey House Restaurant Maple Grove.
Maple Grove might be a laid-back small town of 1900, but it is far from boring. Regular concerts are performed in the central Bandstand by the Americana Brass Band and other musical groups throughout the day to entertain guests. Every day is Farmer's Market Day at Maple Grove, and sales wagons often join the several permanent shelters found throughout the plaza surrounding the Village Green. Garden-fresh produce, fresh-baked pastries, ice-cold bottles of root beer, ginger beer and sarsaparilla, and bins of candies can all be found here for guests to examine and purchase. Maple Grove is not a museum, but a living village of 1900, a village that invites guests to Americana 1900 to both journey back in time and to begin their journey of discovery of the rest of Americana 1900: America's Grand New Theme Park!
From a spot marked in the plaza just north of the village green guests can stand and look down the three roads leading away from Maple Grove and towards three of the most iconic landmarks in Americana 1900. To the left, looking towards The Pike, guests can see the towering Great Ferris Wheel of 1893; to the right, the beautiful Winter Garden is seen in the distance, gleaming in the sun over Green Springs; straight ahead can be seen The Americana County Courthouse, standing proud and elegant in the center of Courthouse Square. Which fork in the road to history do we take? Let's start by heading straight ahead, towards the Courthouse.
Leaving Maple Grove on the road leading towards Courthouse Square, guests first enter Morrison Farm, the largest township in Americana 1900. In many ways, Morrison Farm is the heart and soul of Americana 1900. Our nation in 1900 was primarily a rural nation, with most Americans living on farms and working in agriculture, and in this expansive Township agricultural life is rediscovered and celebrated- with some modern amusements thrown in. Our rural predecessors needed to have fun also, and though they wouldn't recognize many of our modern amusement rides they certainly would recognize the fun that they bring to our modern lives.
Morrison Farm is divided into three sections, the Mill Pond and Old Mill, the Barnyard, and the Back Forty Acres. The Mill Pond and Old Mill are found appropriately in the very center of Americana 1900, and almost all other Townships are directly connected to it via roads lined with split rail or stone fences. The Old Mill Stream meanders through the fields from Green Springs to the undershot water wheel that powers the Old Mill , then empties into the Mill Pond before the stream continues its path through the fields of Morrison Farm. The fields surrounding the Mill Pond are planted with a variety of crops including heirloom varieties of vegetables, wheat and other grains, or perhaps clover to allow the soil to renew itself, using time honored agricultural methods and non-genetically modified plants. It is not unusual to see farmers working the fields using horse-drawn plows, bailing hay with a steam-powered hay bailer, or harvesting vegetables by hand. The Old Mill is a wooden grist mill originally constructed in 1874, moved to and carefully restored on the banks of the Mill Pond, and now used to grind wheat, oats and corn into meal for use in the restaurants of Americana 1900 and for sale to park visitors. Guests can watch the massive stones grind the grains into different forms of flour, from course to fine, and see the complicated machinery required to run this important part of America's history.
The Barnyard is entered from one of three roads: one directly from Maple Grove via a covered bridge over the Old Mill Stream, one from Green Springs, and one from the Mill Pond. Several farm buildings around the Barnyard house rides and attractions for the whole family. They include:
The Barn Cat, (AAP), a wild mouse-type coaster located both inside and outside a traditional wooden red and white barn. The cars, designed to look like cats, race through the barn from the haymow to the corn crib and eventually out of the barn and over the field next door, when the "cats" chase after the:
Field Mouse, (AAP), where guests riding in "rodentmobiles" (similar to guest-driven automobiles) drive through a maze of giant grasses, avoiding mouse traps, and are occasionally buzzed overhead by a barn cat. The cat never catches the mouse, the mouse never gets caught in the trap, but every family member has a wonderful time in this game of cat and mouse!
The Hay Baler (originally called the "Barn Burner") is an indoor Matterhorn-type spinner ride.
Petting Zoos are often popular wherever families come together to spend time with each other, and the Critter Corral petting zoo in Morrison Farm is one of the best. Sheep, goats, calves and rabbits are just some of the traditional farm animals available to be petted and fed by visitors of all ages. These animals are expertly cared-for by trained "farmhands" and the Corral is designed to maximize safety for both animals and guests.
Grandma Morrison's Homestead Restaurant offers a unique dining experience for guests to Morrison Farms. Every meal is served family style with diners offered two entrée choices per table as well as various side dishes and salads, a loaf of fresh baked bread, and dessert. The entrees are traditional Sunday dinner items such as a platter of fried chicken, pot roast, catfish and pork chops; sides could include a bowl of green beans with ham hocks, corn-on-the-cob or steaming hot spoonbread served from a cast-iron skillet; desserts could be a cherry pie, angel food cake or hot bread pudding. Each meal, regardless of what choice is made by the family, is $21.99/adult, $14.99/child under twelve (beverage not included) and additional choices can be made for an extra charge depending on the item.
The last attraction, and possibly the most important one, is the Morrison Farm Wagon Tours. An overhead sign guides guests down a farm lane between Grandma Morrison's and the Critter Corral to the Back Forty Acres and the Farm Tours building. Here guests can either wait in queue for the next available wagon or make reservations for a tour later in the day (reservations can also be made in several other locations throughout the park). These free tours, lasting between 1/2 and 1 hour depending on weather and season, are conducted from park opening until one hour before dusk. They take visitors on wagon tours through just a small portion of the 600 acres of fields and pasture that make up the majority of Morrison Farm. Through a unique partnership with the State of Alabama and United States Department of Agriculture, Morrison Farm has become a national center for the preservation and production of heirloom crops, fruits and vegetables and livestock. Many of the varieties of grains, vegetables and livestock have all but disappeared in the American agricultural scene, replaced by genetically-modified breeds, specially bred species and strains of crops no longer grown- that is, no longer grown anywhere but at Morrison Farm. The value of preserving these "heirloom" crops and species of livestock is becoming more and more appreciated as the importance of genetic diversity is being discovered. The farm tours are educational in nature, but every attempt is made to make them enjoyable as well as informative. Questions are always encouraged, and the farmers conducting these tours are known to throw in a farmer joke or two at times- always in good taste. Specialized farm tours featuring livestock and grains are available for $10/person (minimum of ten) with advanced reservations, and some walking tours through the herbal, fruit, vegetable and floral gardens of Americana 1900 can be arranged for $25/person.
Exciting rides, delicious foods, animals to pet and feed, and a farm wagon tour through the fields and pastures of a working farm. No other theme park in America offers such a wide variety of entertainment and educational experiences to its guests, yet Americana 1900 offers it all in just one of its Townships! Jump on the wagon- it's time to get down on the farm!
Green Springs, the Township just north of Morrison Farm, is one of the largest water parks in any amusement and theme park, especially one where admission is included in park admission. This collection of the usual water attractions and some of the most unusual water rides ever conceived is themed as a health spa resort of the early 1900s where guests would come to "take the waters" and soak in warm (or hot) mineral springs. There are several entrances to Green Springs: from roads leading from the Mill Pond and Morrison Farm; from Courthouse Square; via the GC&SF Railroad Station; and from its own park entrance from the Green Springs parking lot. Two guest services buildings, one at the park entrance and one near the road from Morrison Farm, provide changing rooms and lockers, shops and rest room facilities, and a first aid station in the Morrison Road facility.
The structures found in Green Springs are a mixture of brick industrial buildings and delicate glass pavilions in a lushly landscaped garden setting. The site was originally occupied by a large iron factory, the Northern Alabama Iron Works, and for several years it was one of the South's major producers of iron and steel. Unfortunately, the factory relied on wells to provide the large amounts of water needed for steel production, and the water began to be contaminated with high levels of minerals. These minerals made the steel produced here unusable, and after only ten years of production the factory was forced to close. The factory buildings sat empty until 1890, when an enterprising entrepreneur heard about the mineral-laden water, toured the site and decided that it would be the perfect place to open a health spa, where wealthy
suckers patients from across the South could come, relax, drink the water and soak in its "restorative properties." He remodeled the brick factory buildings into hotel rooms and added a variety of pools and streams in which his guests could soak away their infirmities. To keep the Spa open year-round, he constructed the Winter Garden, a beautiful glass pavilion housing indoor pools, spas and exercise areas. The health spa was a hit, attracting the rich and famous from throughout the South.
Soon, though, the minerals in the water disappeared- it only was contaminated because of the large amount of water being pumped out by the factory. Once the factory ceased operating and the water underground returned to its original levels, it also returned to its original crystal clear quality. By this time, though, the spa was so popular for its enjoyable facilities that it continued to operate as a recreation center, and people came not to drink the water but to swim in it, to play in the streams and enjoy the remarkable water attractions that were constructed in the old factory buildings.
Incorporated into Americana 1900, Green Springs now offers guests several dozen water rides and attractions to enjoy, many utilizing the old factory structures or the Winter Garden, while others are in newer facilities built specially for them. The water attractions found in Green Springs include:
The Old Swimmin' Hole- known in the industry as a "pro bowl" but more commonly known as a "toilet bowl".
The Water-Go-Round- a carousel-type ride that gets riders totally soaked.
The Mill Race- racing slides.
The Erie Canal- a lazy river.
Storm Surge-wave pool.
The Rivers of America Slides- partly housed in one of the original brick factory buildings, seven American rivers are honored with a variety of water slides, each different but each thrilling. The longest is, of course, the Mississippi.
The Valley of Ten Thousand Soaks -a play area where water fountains randomly shoot from sprayers, making it impossible to know where or when you will get soaked.
Battle Creek- there is nothing "lazy" about this lazy river experience. Rough, choppy waters, unpredictable water falls and sudden downpours make staying dry on this ride a battle!
The Winter Garden- one of the most beautiful structures in Americana 1900 contains an indoor wet play area with slides, tipping water buckets and all sorts of water play areas for families to enjoy together.
Gully Washer (AAP)-this indoor dark ride takes riders on rafts into a "gully washer" of a storm, with sudden downpours of rain, blasts of wind, flashes of lightning and a once-gentle stream turning into cascading rapids!
The Old Mill Scream- a water tube ride carrying riders down a spiraling plunge in total darkness.
Shoot the Chutes- a combination of a traditional flume ride and a shoot the chutes soaking plunge.
The most innovative water ride in Green Springs is Over the Falls: The Great Niagara River Run (AAP). (note: this is labeled "The Great Johnstown Flood of 1889" on the map) Housed in the main foundry building of the old factory, this highly-themed dark ride/ water ride combination carries thrill seekers on the crazy adventure of going over Niagara Fall in a barrel (actually a round raft with seats facing the center). After floating down a gentle portion of the Niagara River, the raft is caught in the rapids approaching the Falls, and suddenly plunges over the Falls (actually down a steep chute surrounded by a deluge of cascading water pouring down along either side). After surviving this plunge the totally-soaked riders are swept downstream and soon are caught in the famous Niagara Whirlpool and find themselves careening down a series of steep downward spirals, finally escaping the Whirlpool totally soaked and totally exhilarated! Detailed theming, projections of the actual scenery of the Niagara Gorge and thousands of gallons of raging, cascading water makes this the gold standard for indoor water thrill rides.
There are several dining facilities in Green Springs. The Water Works restaurant, overlooking the Storm Surge wave pool, is an open-air counter service restaurant serving hot and cold sandwiches and salads, and a variety of flavored waters and other beverages. Food and beverage stands are found in several other locations throughout this Township. The Harvey House Restaurant-Courthouse Square is located directly adjacent to Green Springs but is considered part of Courthouse Square Township and will be discussed in that portion of the proposal.
Summers in Alabama can get hot- very hot- and spending the hottest part of the day cooling off in one of the dozens of water rides, pools and features found in Green Springs is a great way to beat the heat! From diving into the Old Swimmin' Hole to racing down the Mississippi Speed Slide in the Rivers of America to gently floating around the Winter Garden on the Erie Canal, an afternoon or even a full day spent at Green Springs is sure to be a highlight of a visit to Americana 1900.
Every theme park seems to have an iconic structure that comes to mind when guests think of the park. Americana 1900 has several that could be considered "iconic" but the one that probably best fits this description is the majestic Americana County Courthouse , standing in the center of Courthouse Square. This soaring stone edifice, three stories high and surmounted by a clock tower and majestic dome, is based on the design of the 1884 Seneca County Courthouse in Seneca County, Ohio, designed by architect Elijah Myers, who also designed the Michigan, Colorado and Texas State Capitol buildings. Surrounding the square are four streets: Main, Washington, Jefferson and Davis Streets, each lined with two and three story structures based on actual buildings found in historic downtowns throughout the nation. On each building is a small commemorative plaque telling a brief history of the original building on which it is based and where it stands today. Visitors might find a familiar-looking structure from their own hometown standing on Courthouse Square.
Like in any prosperous county seat, the buildings surrounding the county courthouse contain a mixture of retail, dining and entertainment, and government services. There is even a church on one corner, reflecting the importance of religion in the development and history of our nation. Many downtown buildings contained retail shops on the first floor and residences on the floors above where the owner of the shop lived with his or her family. Other times the upper floors were occupied by offices of lawyers and other professionals, or even fraternal organizations such as the Masons and the Odd Fellows. The windows on the upper floors are decorated to reflect this historic trend, and might have the carefully stenciled name of a law firm partnership or a savings & loan on the window, or even lacy curtains and a vase of flowers in the window of a residence apartment.
While not large in number, the attractions found in Courthouse Square are among the most entertaining and important ones to be found in all of Americana 1900. The largest, and most important, is found in the courthouse itself. Upon entering the courthouse, visitors first find themselves in the elegant Rotunda, a three-story high open space surrounded by balconies and covered by a beautifully-painted interior dome. Entrances on either side of the Rotunda lead guests to the two attractions found in the courthouse, the Halls of Our History and An American Journey.
The Halls of Our History is a walk-through attraction occupying the upper two floors of the courthouse, and is accessible by stair and elevator. Each American state and territory, including Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, has a display featuring the history of that state or territory. Historic artifacts, photos and reproductions of historic locations in each state's display make a walk through the Halls of Our History an enjoyable and educational discovery of our nation's rich heritage.
An American Journey is an Omnimover-style attraction carrying guests through some of the most important events of our nation's rich history from the arrival of our earliest European settlers to the "current" year of 1900. This attraction is actually located below ground level, occupying the entire space under the courthouse lawn. Guests view the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the printing of Common Sense (the political pamphlet that convinced so many American colonists to support independence from Great Britain), the Stars and Stripes flying over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 and the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox Court House (which ended the Civil War) among a dozen other important events in our history. The carefully researched recreations of these scenes, including the sounds and even smells of the location, make this twelve-minute excursion into our history an inspirational and memorable American Journey.
Across Davis Street from the courthouse stand a solid brick three-story structure with bars on the windows- most of them. One of the windows is open and a rope of bed sheets tied together hangs down from it. A sign over the front door announces in flashing lights "County Jail- Open 24 Hours" and signs along the front of the jail announce that this is the location of a wacky 4D show called The Keystone Cops in "The Grate Escape! (AAP) based on the famous silent movie comedy troupe the Keystone Cops. Guests enter the jail building and put on 3D goggles, then proceed into a theater containing three hundred motion seats. The movie starts with a group of seven burglars, dressed identically in the traditional burglar outfit of black and white striped shirt and black eye mask, being hauled into jail by the Keystone Cops and locked up in a cell with barred windows. As soon as the cops leave, one of the robbers reaches into his pocket and pulls out a screw driver. The other burglars form a human pyramid beneath the window and the one with the screw driver climbs to the top, unscrews the bars from the window and tosses it to the floor. The audience feels the bang through their seats as it hits the floor. He then climbs back down. The burglars grab the sheets off of the bunks and tie them together into a rope, tie one end to a bunk and toss the other out the window (remember the bed sheet rope hanging out the window of the real jail outside?). All the burglars climb up the rope and out the window. The movie then shifts to outside the jail- it is the actual County Jail where the movie is being seen! The burglars are climbing down the bed sheet rope to freedom. As they attempt to sneak away, they sneak right past the window where one of the Keystone Cops happens to look outside, sees them and raises the alarm to the other cops. The burglars see that they've been spotted, jump into a car sitting on the street and take off, with the Keystone Cops jumping into their patrol car and start to pursue the bad guys.
Here the 4D motion seats start to perform movie magic unimaginable to Mack Sennett, the director of the Keystone Cops. As the cops chase the robbers through the streets of Courthouse Square, the audience feels the wind blow in their face (from air jets in the seat ahead); it feels the patrol car lean left and right as it speeds around corners trying to keep up with the burglars; the bumping of the patrol car as it hits a pothole, and the sudden stop of the car as they watch the burglars crash into a fruit stand, sending apples, oranges and bunches of grapes flying everywhere, especially over the heads of the audience. The audience can actually smell the fruit as it virtually flies past them. The burglars pile out of the wrecked car and begin a madcap chase across the street to the courthouse, where they race up the stairs with the cops in hot pursuit. The seats lean backwards and forwards as the cops and robbers run up and down the stairs inside and out of the courthouse. The cops finally have the robbers cornered, but one of the robbers points behind the cops and says (using the film dialogue shot) "Look over there!" All the cops turn and look, and the robbers use this diversion to make their escape out the door, across the street and into a bakery. The cops chase them into the bakery, and here begins the ultimate silent movie slapstick routine- the cream pie fight! Cream pies start to fly all over the place, especially over the heads of the audience. They can smell the lemon in the lemon pie, the breeze blow on them as a cherry pie sails just past them, and even an occasional splat of something (water) as a pie meets a burglar's face. Finally, though, the cops capture the burglars and haul the pie-covered criminals back to the County Jail, where they put them back in a cell- the very same cell they escaped from just a few minutes earlier! The burglars see the bed sheet rope still hanging out the open window, smile to each other, and it all starts over again!
Continuing down Davis Street visitors pass several shops. The first is the Keystone Studios Store which also is the exit for the Grate Escape ride. Books, DVDs and Blu-ray discs of hundreds of movies (including many silent films not available before), and all sorts of movie memorabilia and gifts can be found here. The next shop, Courthouse Couture sells a variety of clothing, from Americana 1900 shirts to brand-name clothing apparel for all ages.
Turning onto Jefferson Street, the marquee for the Americana Theater announces its current feature film, A Trip to the Moon (AAP), the 1902 silent movie recognized as the first science fiction film ever produced. It is now a dark ride adventure where visiting "astronomers" become part of the adventure of being shot to the moon by a cannon, battling attacking Selenites (moon creatures) and escaping back to Earth by falling off the moon and landing in the ocean.
Next to the Americana Theater is the City National Bank building, which houses a financial services center with ATMs, a AAA Tourism Center to assist guests with discovering more of the great American Southeast, and the IAAPA Hall of Fame. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Amusements Hall of Fame was established in 1990 "to celebrate outstanding achievement and contributions to the growth and development of the amusement park and attractions industry, an industry that, like few others, depends on the imaginations, talents and vision of its dream builders." Nearly one hundred men and women have been inducted into the Hall since its inception, including such current industry leaders as Dick Knoebel (Knoebel's Amusement Resort) and John Wood (Sally Corporation) and leaders from the past whose innovations still have a powerful influence on the amusement industry of today, leaders with such well-known names as P.T. Barnum, George Ferris and Walt Disney. The Hall of Fame has commemorative plaques featuring each member, highlighting their contributions and achievements, and other historic displays of the rich past of the amusement and theme park industry.
Passing the entrance to Courthouse Square from Morrison Farm, the next structure is the elegant Mary Mac's Tea Room, a landmark dining institution and the oldest tea room in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, now opening its first location outside of its original location. Many of Mary Mac's Tea Room original menu items are still on the menu and are still served up with a healthy dose of Southern hospitality. Along with the menu, another original feature of Mary Mac's that is continued at the Courthouse Square location is the way that the guest writes their order up themselves using pencils and order forms on the table. The idea was that the guest would always get what they ordered, and that the server would never make a mistake with their order. This idea may seem unusual, but it has worked for decades in Atlanta and continues to do so in Americana 1900.
The menu is pure Southern cooking: appetizers such as Brunswick stew, fried green tomatoes and spicy deep-fried "mudbugs" (Louisiana crawfish); entrees like fried, baked or grilled chicken, barbequed ribs, catfish and braised ox tails, and desserts like peach cobbler, banana and bread pudding, and strawberry shortcake. Per an agreement with Americana 1900, prices are the same as at the Atlanta location, with entrees averaging between $12 and $16, side dishes are $3.50 each and desserts between $3.50 and $6.50. The servings are plentiful, the service is Southern hospitality at its best, and the setting with a magnificent view of the Courthouse is a benefit without price, making a meal at Mary Mac's a highlight of a visit to Courthouse Square and Americana 1900.
Turning onto Washington Street, visitors will pass several false store fronts masking the side wall of the beautiful Orpheum Theater whose marquee is just ahead. These false store fronts are for businesses that would be appropriate for a downtown business district of the era but would not really be needed in a theme park, businesses such as Bazley's Meats and Jacob's Piano Sales- Tuning Done While You Wait. The marquee of the Orpheum Theater, though, draws visitors to enter and catch a performance of Vaudeville!, a recreation of the live theatrical entertainments that were hugely popular during the late 1800's through early 1900's. This "Dazzling Display of Theatrical Splendor, Designed to Educate, Edify, Amaze and Uplift" (to use the over inflated language of the era and the publicist) packs the one-thousand seat theater for every performance with its mixture of music, comedy, dance and nostalgia, ending with a rousing patriotic finale that brings the audience to its feet every time.
Few if any town squares of the era would not have at least one church facing it. Religion was and still is a powerful force on public and private life, and the stately Unity Chapel on the corner of Washington and Main Street stands as a symbol of that power. This is a non-denominational chapel, not actually an attraction in that there is no ride or entertainment found inside. It is a chapel, a place of quiet that is open to the public most of the time, and is often used by visiting church groups for services. The only times it is not open is during one of the weddings that are held here every weekend, and sometimes several times a weekend. This brick and stone church, with a slender wooden steeple covering the bell tower over its entrance, can seat two hundred in its simple sanctuary. A variety of wedding services and packages are offered to couples who chose to marry here, including a carriage ride through the streets of Americana 1900 and various reception venues and options throughout the park. The most important value, though, of being married in the Unity Chapel of Americana 1900 is the sheer romance of the era, the elegance of the setting and the knowledge that the wedding planners of Americana 1900 will make every wedding as perfect and stress-free as possible.
Looking east down Main Street visitors see the Harvey House Restaurant Courthouse Square, a stately two-story brick structure that was once the offices of the Northern Alabama Iron Works. It was converted into the home of the health spa owner, and now houses the Courthouse Square/Green Springs location of the famous restaurant chain. The interior decor is elegant yet comfortable and the menu features fish and other dishes aimed at a "more refined palate", but the atmosphere is never stuffy and the extensive menu options make it easy for everyone, regardless of their appetite or taste preferences, to find a delicious, satisfying meal at the Harvey House Restaurant Courthouse Square.
Just north of the Harvey House, down a short, beautifully landscaped street, is the Courthouse/Green Springs Station of the Gulf Coast & Santa Fe Railroad.
The entire north third of Courthouse Square is occupied by The Theodore Roosevelt Hotel, a four-star, three hundred fifty room resort located inside Americana 1900. A curved drive leads arriving hotel guests to the Main Entrance of this elegant three-storied masterpiece of Victorian architecture. Valet parking is complimentary and there is no charge for parking for registered hotel guests.
There is a variety of room sizes and suites available, from a basic two double bed room up to the President Roosevelt Suite with its stunning view of the Courthouse from its private balcony overlooking the hotel courtyard. Prices vary seasonally, ranging from $282 to $385/night for a basic room sleeping four up to $899 to $1099/night for the three bedroom President Roosevelt Suite that can sleep eight not just comfortably but elegantly.
Hotels and park guests can chose from several hotel dining establishments. Sagamore Hill, named after President Roosevelt's home in Cove Neck, New York, is the finest restaurant in Americana 1900. The design is inspired by the rustic elegance of his estate; the menu features classic American ingredients, focusing on native fish and game such as salmon, venison, rabbit and buffalo, along with more traditional ingredients. Fresh ingredients, much of which is grown in the fields of Morrison Farm, expert preparation and the finest service make a lunch or dinner at Sagamore Hill a memorable experience. The Rough Riders Lounge is themed as a gentlemen's club of 1900, with dark woods, leather upholstery, plenty of brass, and a selection of artisan beverages that recreate the taste of pre-Prohibition beers and ciders. More modern drinks are also available, and a wide choice of "bar foods" such as wings, sliders and other non-period but still delicious treats complete the menu of this relaxed but still classy tavern. For guests who want a more family-oriented setting, Alices' serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a restaurant decorated with family photos of the Roosevelt family, featuring the two Alices for whom the restaurant is named. Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt was his first wife, but died two days after giving birth to his first child, a daughter he also named Alice (Lee Roosevelt Longworth). The menu is a classic mixture of traditional coffee shop foods, with a breakfast buffet, salad bar for lunch and dinner, hot and cold sandwiches, soups and simple entrees such as fried chicken and meatloaf. A complete selection of desserts completes a family meal or ends a busy day of exploring Americana 1900.
Hotel guests at the Theodore Roosevelt have a private entrance into Americana 1900. While they still have to purchase admission, they have a variety of discount packages available, and all guests receive the benefits of the Heritage Pass including Dawn of History and History Repeats ride times. The hotel entrance is only for registered hotel guests and visitors that the guest has registered in advance, and observes the same park hours as all other park entrances. The hotel entrance opens onto a pleasantly-landscaped and shaded courtyard formed by the projecting wings of the hotel, and leads guests straight onto Main Street and into the heart of Courthouse Square. The Main Street facade of the hotel doesn't look like a hotel at all, but like a series of three-storied commercial structures that compliment the rest of the downtown buildings of Courthouse Square.
The elegant decor of the public spaces, the spacious and well-appointed guest rooms, the luxury amenities (including indoor pool, complete fitness center, Dawn of History and History Repeats ride times and free valet parking), the friendly, professional and attentive staff and the prime location inside the park with a private entrance makes The Theodore Roosevelt Hotel at Americana 1900 THE place to stay at Americana 1900!
The storefronts from the east end of Main Street by the Harvey House to the west end where it meets State Fair contain:
Chad's Iron Horse Shop -selling railroad-themed books, games, model trains and toys.
Filigree Fashions -featuring ladies' fashions and accessories with a Victorian flare.
Nicholas and Elfs -one of the largest stores in Courthouse Square, where it is a turn-of-the-19th Century Christmas every day.
Gillies Rexall Store -In 1902 the precursor of the Rexall chain of drug store franchises was founded, and for decades it was nearly impossible to not find a Rexall Drug Store on a busy downtown street corner in every American town. Times changed, big chains took domination of the drug store business, and the Rexall name faded into the past except for some proprietary items sold under that name by some discount stores. Here on Courthouse Square, though the Rexall name still is displayed proudly over the entrance to this large shop which sells a variety of goods. Not a licensed pharmacy, it still sells a variety of otc medications and health care needs for guests who rode one-too-many coasters or didn't reapply their sunscreen and got toasted by the Alabama sun. A licensed health care professional is on duty to advise visitors, and a beautifully-restored pharmacy of 1903, with all of its hundreds of glass bottles, marble slabs and scales is on display along one wall, making the Rexall both a customer service and a historic attraction. There is even an ice-cream counter, where ice cream sundaes, floats, and banana splits can be enjoyed in a setting that our great-grandparents would have known well.
Hummel's Main Street Photography provides period costumes and settings for sepia photographs of visitors who want a period-appropriate memoir photograph of their visit to Americana 1900. Some of these photos might even appear in the Faces of America show that evening (to be discussed later in the proposal).
O'Donnell's Barber Shop is a three-seater, old-fashioned barber shop with three old-fashioned barbers providing haircuts to guests in need of a trim. Adult haircuts cost $15.00, children 12 and under $12.00, and children two and under getting their first haircut here receive a certificate and a coupon for 20% off a photo at Hummel's Main Street Photography studio next door. Appointments can be made through the Americana 1900 website, by using Mr. Bell's new-fangled telephone, in person, or guests can just sit and wait. Comfortable wooden chairs provide a place for gentlemen (and perhaps their sons) to sit and wait, relax, read a copy of the Police Gazette and perhaps be entertained by a barbershop quartet.
These storefronts only occupy the ground floor of the hotel building. The second and third floors above them are hotel rooms.
A stroll around Courthouse Square is a stroll through the heart of our nation's history. Theatre, shopping, fine food, and perhaps just some time to sit on the courthouse lawn and listen to a band play ragtime songs in the bandstand make a visit to Courthouse Square an important, fun and exciting part of any visit to Americana 1900.
Note from the park designer: "The proposal for State Fair that was presented in the earlier challenge included a schematic map of the Township. While creating the final map of the entire park, I discovered that the rectangular shape of the schematic map would not fit into the space available for the final design. I was forced to alter the shape of the Township from rectangular to wedge-shaped. This minor change forced the relocation of some of the attractions within the Township (the Whip, the Caterpillar, the Grange Hall Barbeque and the carnival games) but none were eliminated. The "Model T Test Track" was renamed "Ford's Model T Road Rally" in response to a judge's suggestion.
Say to most Americans the words "state fair" and a wide range of thoughts and memories come to mind: The sights of spinning carnival rides and flags waving from the racetrack cupolas; the smells of prize-winning floral arrangements and prize-winning farm animals: the sounds of screams, laughter or both from the roller coaster and the dodgems: the taste of freshly-spun cotton candy and hot-off-the-grill chicken: the feel of a cool summer breeze as the sun goes down and thousands of twinkling lights illumine the fair grounds. All of this and more can be experienced in the most adrenaline-filled Township in Americana 1900- State Fair!
In this Township can be found one of the most complete collections of historic amusement rides ever assembled in one place. Some have never lost their popularity and appeal, while others have been forgotten by all but the most devoted amusement park historians, but they all share a few common traits: they are appropriate to the era and theme of Americana 1900; they are in many cases important to the development of many of the high-tech experiences that "modern" theme and amusement parks offer; but most importantly, they are fun to ride. These rides, along with the dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities found here, make State Fair one of the most popular and well-loved Townships in Americana 1900.
Since all attractions have been discussed in an earlier proposal, a short recap of them will serve to refresh the memory of those who have already read the State Fair proposal, and perhaps will encourage those who have not yet read it to go back and share the experience. It will be time well-spent.
The north side of State Fair is dominated by three major rides:
The Tunnel of Love- a recreation of the original amusement park dark ride.
Thunderbolt and Lightning (AAP)- a massive wooden "mirror" coaster where two intertwining coasters share the same location and same design, but one design is a mirror image of the other one. They don't race- they reflect each other in design- a truly unique two-of-a-kind coaster concept.
Ford's Model T Road Rally- "prospective buyers" drive one of six models of Ford's Model T automobiles through a mixture of rural and city landscapes.
The west side of State Fair has, in order from north to south:
The Grange Hall Barbeque- a cafeteria-style restaurant featuring grilled and smoked meats being prepared over large grills just outside the restaurant, and other home-made recipes that would have been served at a local Grange Hall dinner. Hearty eating at family-friendly prices.
The Steeplechase (AAP)- the signature and probably the most unusual roller coaster in State Fair, if not in the entire park. It recreates the Coney Island coaster that was so famous that an entire park, Steeplechase Park, was named for and built around it. Modern technology merges with a historic concept to make a race on the Steeplechase a winning adventure, regardless of where you place in the race!
Carnival Games- ring toss, roller ball and balloon darts and other traditional carnival games complete the west side of State Fair.
Proceeding up the east side of State Fair, guests can enjoy:
The Penny Arcade- a collection of operating entertainment devices that lets today's generation rediscover the fun of a pre-electronic game arcade. All proceeds go to support "Give Kids the World."
The State Fair Horse Arena- a nearly two thousand seat indoor arena, features a show where nearly two dozen horses and their riders perform trick riding, dressage, and other displays of equine skills, grace and intelligence.
Laff in the Dark- a legendary dark "scary" ride once found in dozens of county fairs, state fairs and amusement parks.
Blue Ribbon Restaurant and Store- blue-ribbon winning Southern cooking at it finest, and a store to help guests find the kitchen items and cookbooks they will need to create their own blue-ribbon winning meals.
Dodgems- the classic midway bumper cars experience.
Virginia Reel (AAP)- the forerunner of the modern spinning wild mouse, the Virginia Reel carries riders careening down a wild, winding mountainside, plunging into several tunnels and caves full of bats, lava and monsters, and through several steep vortices, spinning and gaining speed all the time. Not a ride for the timid- or those with a full stomach!
Teddy's Bear Fair- a delightful toy shop featuring early and traditional stuffed teddy bears, wooden toys and games, and all sorts of entertainment for the non-electronic child inside all of us.
The fun continues in the State Fair plaza. Three spinner rides provide fun and a few thrills in the northern section:
The Whip- a classic still found in a few parks around the country.
The Wright Flyers- an aerial carousel with sixteen aeroplanes based on early Wright Brother's designs.
The Caterpillar- a spinning train carries riders around a gently undulating track. Rather sedate, until a green painted canopy is pulled over the riders, turning the ride into a giant caterpillar from the outside and a pitch black spinning, surging tunnel on the inside.
In the center of the State Fair midway stands a magnificent 180 foot tall eccentric Ferris wheel, The Wonder Wheel of the South (AAP) based on the Coney Island Wonder Wheel. Fixed cars on the hub and "slider" cars that slide on tracks between the rim and the hub give riders a choice of thrills on this breathtakingly beautiful ride.
The final attraction in State Fair is the 1895 Looff Carousel, one of the largest and most beautiful carousels built by Charles Looff, the most important carousel builder of the late 1800's in America. Its 78 hand-carved horses circle the fifty-five foot diameter of the carousel accompanied by a 1925 Wurlitzer carousel organ.
As stated in the conclusion of the earlier proposal, "Our State Fair is a great State Fair!" is the first line that Oscar Hammerstein II wrote for the opening song of his 1945 movie musical "State Fair", and no phrase is more true about State Fair at Americana 1900. The sight of dozens of forty-six star American flags and colorful banners flapping in the breeze, the floral smells of the decorative gardens along with the mouth-watering aromas of roasting meats at the Grange Hall, the sounds of the organ music from the Looff Carousel, the happy squeals, screams and laughter coming from the historic rides, and the thousands of lights that turn State Fair at night into a sparkling fairyland all combine to make a visit to this Township at Americana 1900 a memorable experience to be treasured for a lifetime. State Fair is truly "A Great State Fair"!
The Midway. The Zone. The Isthmus. The Trail. Every world's fair held in America in the late 19th and early 20th Century (and there were a lot of them) had a name for the entertainment zone of the fair, the place where a scenic railway could be found next to a Japanese Village and across the street from a recreation of the Galveston flood and the Streets of Cairo. The largest of the international expositions held in America during this era, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 in St. Louis, Mo. was no exception. Its entertainment zone was call The Pike and it was spectacular. A mile in length and lined with dozens of private concessions (each charging admission to get in) the Pike could take fairgoers to the Tyrolean Alps, Ancient Rome, down a ride called the Water Chutes, on a boat ride to witness "Creation" and, after that, across the street to view "The Here After". It was enormously popular, and a welcome relief from the miles of stuffy, boring displays in the "official" exposition buildings. In a time when few people would travel outside of their own state, or even their own county, the chance to explore foreign lands in these international villages and shows was irresistible.
The Pike at Americana 1900 is not a mile long, but at over one thousand feet in length and over three hundred wide it is a huge space. It is not lined with created villages of far-distant lands or displays designed for "religious or moral edification", but is rather lined with unusual amusement rides and buildings housing such diverse attractions as a chocolate factory, an earthquake, and a train robbery. This is Americana 1900, and the rides and attractions found on The Pike are as American as, well, as the apple pie served in the Harvey House Restaurant on The Pike
Dominating the entire north end of The Pike is the massive log "temple" loading structure of the Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway (AAP), one of the largest and most expensive themed roller coasters in the world. Massive in size and scope, much of the coaster is not visible from The Pike due to careful landscaping and ride placement. The loading structure, modeled on the Forestries Building at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909 held in Seattle, gives riders an idea of the remarkable ride experience awaiting them as they take a ride on the "Great Pacific".
Directly adjacent to the "Great Pacific" exit building is the outdoor amphitheater where The Great Lumberjack War show is presented several times a day. This demonstration of lumberjack skills such as birling (log rolling), chopping and speed climbing is a fun, fast-paced show for the entire family. The major difference between this lumberjack show and others is that no power tools are used, befitting the era of the park. It's all done by muscle.
Proceeding down the east side of the Pike, an elegant three-story brick and stone building with ornate decorative details stands solidly on the corner. But looking at it more closely, guests will see that it is perhaps not that solid. There are some cracks in the walls, and a portion of the elaborate cornice has broken off and fallen to the sidewalk below. The sign over the entrance is crooked, and has cracked in two. This attraction is The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 (AAP) and it looks like the building housing this scary, intense dark ride has been damaged by a preliminary tremor. Riders board Model T-styled vehicles and begin a pleasant trip through the streets of San Francisco on the morning of April 18th, 1906, and then it hits, one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States- a tremendous earthquake estimated to be from 7.7 to 8.2 on today's Richter Scale- and the automobiles begin a desperate race to escape from the city as the streets heave and crack, the buildings begin to collapse around them, and the fires begin to break out. Will they escape alive?
Next we come to a bizarrely beautiful round steel tower surmounted by an open framework dome with a long lift hill leading to the top of the tower. This eye-catching attraction is Bisby's Spiral Airship (AAP), the only one of its kind remaining in the world. The original was build in 1902 in Long Beach, California (appropriately at an amusement park called "The Pike") and is considered the first suspended roller coaster. Riders board gondolas that are suspended under the track, which carries them up the lift hill to the top of the round tower, where gravity pulls the gondola into an ever-faster spin as it descends down the spiral track around the tower. Centrifugal force causes the gondola to swing out away from the tower as it approaches the bottom.
The last building on this side of The Pike is modeled on the Transportation Building at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. The original building was designed by the noted architect Louis Sullivan, with the assistance of a young man named Frank Lloyd Wright. Entering through the magnificent recreation of that remarkable building's multichromatic main entrance, visitors board ride vehicles and enter the largest dark ride in Americana 1900, The World Came to America: the International Expositions of the Gilded Age. Five International Expositions that were held in America (the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 (Chicago), the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 (Buffalo, N.Y.), the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 (St. Louis), the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909 (Seattle) and the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915 (San Francisco) are featured in life-like recreations of sights and scenes from these influential world's fairs. Guests will smell the salt water as they visit the San Francisco fair, built on the shore of the Golden Gate. They will almost feel the spray coming off of the magnificent Cascades in St. Louis. The way the University of Washington campus was built using the left-over buildings of the Seattle fair will be shown using before-and-after photos and displays, and the highlight of this trip will be a breathtaking view of the Great Ferris Wheel of 1893, recreated in the center of The Pike and viewed through huge windows by riders. Both educational and entertaining, this trip through a forgotten but influential part of America's history will give guests a feeling of pride in our past and a better appreciation of what our future could bring.
The south end of The Pike, facing the "Great Pacific" building a thousand feet away, is a massive Civil War fort fronted by a pool of water. Crossing a bridge into the fort, guests prepare themselves to experience The Battle of the Ironclads: the Monitor and the Merrimack (AAP). This motion simulator adventure offers visitors a chance to join the crew of either of the famous ironclad ships that battled to a draw in the Battle of Hampton Roads, the first sea battle between ironclad vessels. Many riders will chose to ride twice, since each "ship" was totally different in shape and the movements of the ships were different. This simulator is not a historically accurate recreation either of the ship designs or battle movements (the battle lasted over three hours) but "crewmembers" will feel as if they were on board one of the ships while it was being shelled by the other; they will feel the ship riding the waves and turning to fire their cannons: dents will form in the walls as cannonballs strike the iron plating covering each ship. It is the goal of this experience to bring to life the thrills, bravery and fear that the crew of these two historic vessels must have felt during this important historic battle.
Heading northward on the west side of The Pike we come to a strange sight- an elephant. Not just any elephant, but a very large elephant named Lucy, a recreation of the National Historic Landmark that stands in Margate City, New Jersey. The original Lucy, built in 1881 as an advertising gimmick by a real estate salesman, stands six stories high- the Americana 1900 version is a more manageable three stories high and is the centerpiece of the Lucy the Elephant Play Area. This is a place for children and their families to enjoy that most important job that any child has- to play. Spiral stairs in Lucy's legs let visitors climb up into Lucy and discover the secret path to her trunk, which contains a slide back down to the ground. Lucy is surrounded by play areas containing swings, ball pits, climbing walls and rope bridges, all designed with children's safety and adults enjoyment in mind. This is a play area for the entire family, not just for children (although if Mom or Dad get a bit worn out there are plenty of benches and only one entrance or exit so parents can rest easy and let their children run"free").
The next two attractions are a joint venture between Americana 1900 and the Hershey Company, makers and distributors of such American favorites as the Hershey Bar, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and the ever-popular Hershey's Kiss. Hershey's Chocolate World, Hershey's Chocolate Factory and the Hershey's Chocolate Restaurant and Chocolate Bar complex fill this part of The Pike with the enticing aroma of chocolate. The Hershey Company was founded by Milton Hershey on Feb.9th, 1894, making it one of the oldest chocolate companies in America. He sold his first milk chocolate bar in 1900, and since that time his company has grown into the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America.
The first part of the complex visitors come to as they head north on The Pike is Hershey's Chocolate World, a ten-minute Omnimover-type dark ride inspired by the popular ride of the same name found at Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and several other tourist locations throughout North America. Three animated cows, Gabby, Harmony and Olympia escort riders through the manufacturing process of creating Hershey chocolate, from harvesting and importation of the cocoa beans to the final production of the dozens of Hershey products. After the ride, guests can enter the neighboring Hershey Chocolate Factory where they can watch (no charge) and possibly even participate ($14.95/person with advance reservations strongly recommended due to limited space) in the Create Your Own Candy Bar experience, where guests dressed in hairnet and apron enter an actual manufacturing line and choose what ingredients to add to their own person chocolate bar, and even can design their own personalized wrapper. This 45 minute long experience lets visitors take home both a delicious Hershey Chocolate Bar of their own creation and lots of sweet memories.
Also found in the Hershey Chocolate Factory is Hershey's Great Chocolate Factory Mystery in 4D, a collaboration with Jim Hensen's Creature Shop and The Hensen Digital Puppetry Group. This show is a delightful interactive experience with the Hershey product characters through the magic of Jim Hensen. After enjoying these chocolate-filled experiences, guests can spend time in the Hershey Store, similar to the world famous Hershey Store in Times Square, New York City. Every imaginable type of Hershey product is available here, many wrapped in their original package designs. Candies, collectables and decorative items can all be found in this irresistible store.
The final part of the Hershey Chocolate Complex is the Hershey Restaurant and Chocolate Bar, a dining establishment that shows how chocolate can be used for more than just desserts. Many of the menu items contain cocoa powder in such ways as added to the rubs on ribs and pork chops, the gravy in beef stew, and the hearty flavor of Russian Black Bread...but of course there are plenty of chocolate desserts and drinks available also. After all, this is Hershey's Chocolate World!
The Flying Turns (AAP) is a once-popular style of roller coaster that was pushed aside by the taller, faster, more high-tech coasters of today. Here on The Pike, the fun and excitement of racing down a trackless wooden chute in a wheeled bobsled is being rediscovered by countless riders on this classic wooden coaster. Based on an improved version of the "Flying Turns" at Knoebel's Amusement Park in Pennsylvania, the Americana Flying Turns stands as the thrilling centerpiece of the west side of The Pike.
Next up guests will encounter a three-story brick industrial building topped with a steel and glass skylight housing The Great Train Robbery, a racing derby carousel based on the landmark 1903 silent film of the same name. This adventure is based on the true story of Butch Cassidy's "Hole in the Wall" gang holding up a Union Pacific train near Table Rock, Wyoming, blowing up the safe and getting away with $5000 in cold, hard currency. The attraction is located inside a round chamber, two stories high, open above to the skylight. The walls of the chamber are actually film screens where scenes of the terrain along the train tracks is projected during the ride. Riders mount one of the horses or trains that circle the ride, with one train in the middle and two horses on each side. As the ride begins, the train attempts to escape from the robbers riding the horses flanking it- the train and horses change speeds, moving forward and backward and the horses also move slightly up and down to simulate running. The film projected on the walls adds to the feeling of speed, and the random forward and back movements of the train and horses makes it anyone's guess who will win.
The silent movie based on it, though only a single reel running about ten minutes, was the first film to tell a narrative using such techniques as film editing, camera movement and location filming. A small theater next to the ride shows the film continuously, to allow riders or those just curious about it to see what inspired this attraction.
The GC&SF Railroad Station at The Pike is to the north of the Great Train Robbery building, and is the most elegant of all the train stations in Americana 1900. The wide passageway leading to the station gate is roofed over with a steel-and-glass canopy. Standing in the center of the passageway is displayed a authentic steam locomotive of 1897, beautifully restored and shined, and a caboose from the same era, open to visitors for their inspection.
Next to the station is the Harvey House Restaurant at The Pike, the most elegant and unusual restaurant in the Harvey Houses of Americana 1900. Diners enter what appears to be the comfortable waiting room of a rather elegant train station. From there they are escorted to their table, which is located in one of six dining cars connected to the station (two rows of cars, three cars per row). These dining cars are paneled in dark woods, decorated with stain glass in the transom windows and have comfortable leather seats on the chairs and booths. The featured menu items here are the most elegant of any Harvey House restaurant in Americana, and include prime rib, salmon and chicken in pastry. Service, like in all the Harvey House locations, is attentive and professional, and a dinner at the Harvey House Restaurant on The Pike will compare favorably with any fine dining restaurant anywhere in the South.
In the center of The Pike, rising 264 feet into the sky, is The Great Ferris Wheel of 1893 (AAP). The original, for decades the tallest Ferris Wheel ever built, stood in the center of the Midway at the Chicago World's Fair, and was then moved to St. Louis where it repeated its popularity at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Demolished after that fair, it took over a century for it to be reborn at Americana 1900. Not an exact replica, the cabins that on the original wheel held sixty riders each seated on plush velvet swivel seats have been replaced with more conventional-style seating, still seating eight comfortably and designed to be reminiscent of the boxy design of the original. Several stops are made to load the cabins, then several non-stop revolutions are taken before the process is started again. This spectacular tribute to the engineering genius of George Ferris is so iconic that it is used in the official logo design of Americana 1900. A ride on the Great Ferris Wheel of 1893 is a ride never to be forgotten.
The Great Ferris Wheel is flanked by two spectacular sunken gardens, recreations of the sunken gardens that graced the grounds of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Broad stairways and gentle ramps lead guests down to the bottom of the gardens, where boxwood borders and beds of colorful flowers capture the horticultural beauty of that magnificent fair. These tranquil gardens provide a place to relax and decompress from the crowds and excitement of the surrounding Pike, just a few feet away.
Each attraction on The Pike is a remarkable experience- fun, educational, exciting, inspiring- but when taken together, they prove the old saying that, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." The Pike is a spectacular achievement unlike anything seen at any theme park in America since 1904, when the original Pike existed in St. Louis. That Pike, however, was a hodgepodge of experiences with no connecting theme. The Pike at Americana 1900 is an American experience, a celebration of American history and American dreams, and a place to rediscover our pride as Americans.
----------------------The End of Day Festivities-----------------
As the sun goes down and the stars begin to come out, Americana 1900 begins to take on a different feeling. The Morrison Farm Tours end an hour before sunset, and the animals of the Critter Coral are put to bed for the night; Green Springs closes all but the three water thrill rides adjacent to Morrison Farm (the Gully Washer, Old Mill Scream and Shoot the Chutes) and the gas lights of Maple Grove are lit, bathing the village square in a soft, warm glow. These gas lights have been extended out to line the walks and roads connecting the Townships to each other through Morrison Farm and the Mill Pond. The lights in the windows from the upper floors of Courthouse Square show that lives are being led upstairs above the stores, and the clock in the courthouse tower is gently lit from within. Not all of the lighting in Americana 1900 is soft and gentle- in some places the lights are bright and beckoning. The marquees of the Orpheum and Americana Theaters are lined with tracer lights to attract the attention of the general public, and the lights that glow from the merchants' signs and spills out from their shop windows show that they are open and willing to take care of their customers regardless of the approaching evening. On The Pike floodlights bathe the elegant structures with a stately glow, while in State Fair the gaudy flashing, spinning lights on the rides and the brilliant floodlights on the dozens of flags and banners breathe new life into guests a bit worn out from an entire day of adventure in Americana 1900.
Just because night has come and the lights are on does not mean that Americana 1900 is closing down for the night. On the contrary, one or sometimes even two spectacular night time shows are presented to bring the festivities of the day to a powerful, emotional conclusion. Every evening at dusk, except on those off-season nights when the park closes especially early, or due to inclement weather, the Americana Courthouse becomes the backdrop for The Faces of America, a quarter-hour long spectacle of light and sound where the music of our nation's past and the faces of our historic ancestors combine to show us that we are not that much different from each other.
Projected on all four sides of the courthouse structure are photographs of Civil War soldiers, school children from the 1880s, factory workers from 1900, American Presidents, native Americans, immigrants just off the boats on Ellis Island, farmwives, cowboys and slaves, all accompanied by music from the period. Interspersed with these historic images are sepia photographs of guests of Americana 1900 taken that day in the photography studio, photos showing that we are the same people, people separated by years but not by the hopes and dreams we have, hopes and dream of happiness, peace and freedom. "The Faces of America" shows that from many people we truly are one nation- America.
On select nights when Americana 1900 is open until 10 p.m. or later (excluding History Revisited hours), especially during the busy summer and holiday weeks, The Pike is the location for One Nation, a huge spectacle of music and sound, lights and projected images and films, and fireworks. The buildings of The Pike become the screens, and the thousands that will gather to experience "One Nation" will find themselves surrounded by a theatrical experience unlike anything they have ever experienced. There is no bad seat for this show. It tells the story of our nation's history from the earliest settlers through the establishment of the American colonies, the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and finally the "single most defining event of our history", the Civil War. Through powerful narration, often using the very words written by our forefathers, we are shown the landing of the Jamestown settlers in 1607; the battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775 and the surrender of the British troops to General Washington at Yorktown in 1781. The Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 is shown as the Stars and Strips flies proudly from a tall flagpole over the fort housing the "Battle of the Ironclads" as fireworks recreate the "bombs bursting in air" of the National Anthem. Finally, the Civil War breaks out, as Union troops projected on one side of The Pike and Confederate troops on the other side surround the audience in The Pike, prepare to fire at each other, take aim, and as the command "Fire!" is heard a massive blast of gunshot from both sides, echoing across the countryside and suddenly...
The Pike is plunged into darkness, with just the silence left behind. Then the voice of Abraham Lincoln is heard reading the words he wrote in his Gettysburg Address. The images on the buildings gradually reappear, but this time they are of tombstones, rows and rows of tombstones, showing the terrible loss our nation suffered in this war. But then the graves slowly start to fade and disappear, and as the stirring words of Lincoln continue, the music of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" starts to be heard in the background, growing in sound and intensity as the graves are replaced with flags, hundreds of flags, changing from the sepia tones used throughout the show to the brilliant red, white and blue of today. The music soars to a dazzling, stirring finale as fireworks erupt from every building surrounding The Pike.
This celebration of light, music and fireworks will leave every guest bursting with pride in our nation, in what we had to endure to unite and change from a collection of independent states into what we are now, One Nation.
If Americana 1900 is a history book, it will never be closed. New pages will continue to be added to it, new rides and attractions developed, old rides reimagined, and new Townships created. Plans are already in place for the large space between Maple Grove and The Pike, a new Township dedicated to the burgeoning silent film industry of the early 1900's, a township to be called Keystone Studios where the Keystone Cops, the Mack Sennett Bathing Beauties and a little tramp named Charlie Chaplin will create a new form of entertainment that will revolutionize the world...but that part of history is for the future. For now, Americana 1900 is alive and waiting to take guests for a ride on a steam locomotive, to dinner at the Grange Hall, to discover our nation's rich cultural heritage in an elegant courthouse, to soak in the cool waters of a refreshing health spa, and to scream with delight on a wooden roller coaster, just like our great-grandparents did.
The history of Americana 1900 has just begun.
Well done, Scott, well done - I am standing and applauding. Americana 1900 is a brilliantly and lovingly realized park and one that I would not hesitate to spend a small fortune to visit. The Rao Family would love, love, love your park.
DISNEY’S REALMS OF IMAGINATION
Disney’s Realms of Imagination focuses on the traditions of epic struggle and sacrifice. Featuring heroes and villains from the past, present, and future, the park’s theme focuses on the concept of realms of imagination in conflict. Inside, guests will be able to participate in a never-ending struggle of good vs. evil as heroes from the world of imagination do battle for the heart of the Realms of Imagination. Furthermore, Disney’s Realms of Imagination is dedicated to providing guests an opportunity to interact and discover some of Disney’s more unique and eclectic properties such as Narnia, Marvel, and Kingdom Hearts. This emphasis on action and adventure offers guests new and unique experiences which adventure-seekers and Disney fans everywhere have been craving to see in the parks for generations.
Park Overview :
Disney’s Realms of Imagination is divided into six distinct ‘realms’, each offering a plethora of rich, immersive, and entertaining experiences. As a departure from my initial proposal, I’ve decided to do away with the idea of ‘sub-lands’, either incorporating their themed elements into the realms themselves or otherwise breaking them off into their own separate ‘realm’. The six realms include: Hero’s Causeway, The Shadowlands, Kingdom Hearts, Courage Cove, New Carthage and The Enchanted Forest. Detailed descriptions of each realm, including geography, layout, aesthetics, and number of attractions, restaurants, and retail locations will be given in proceeding posts, each detailing a specific land in detail.
Realms of Imagination is also the first park in the world to incorporate a park-wide interactive experience and game. The nuances of the interactive elements will be detailed below.
General Park Information and Infrastructure :
Park Hours : Disney’s Realms of Imagination is open from 9AM-9PM on weekdays and off-season’s. The operation hours shift to 8AM-11PM on weekends and in-season times.
Ticket Prices : Ticket prices for Disney’s Realms of Imagination follow that of the standard ticketing prices for the other parks at DLR. A Single-park, Single-day ticket is $99 for adults and $93 for children ages 3-9. Adding the Park Hopper option increases the ticket price by $40/ticket. Multi-Day Tickets and Annual Passport options follow the DLR pricing module. There is one major additional and optional charge for guests to choose from. As Realms of Imagination is the first park to utilize park-wide interactive elements, guests have the option of adding a heroic spirit to their purchased ticket for an additional $10/per ticket (details to follow below). This heroic spirit acts as the guest’s key to interfacing with the various interactive elements which the Realms of Imagination offers. Detailed descriptions of the Heroic Spirit system will be detailed below.
Parking and Transportation : With the addition of a third gate at the DLR, new parking and transportation solutions have been developed. Three new large parking structures have been erected to accommodate the additional guests and staff.
The first parking structure, whose proper name will be the Heroes and Villains lot, will be located on the current staff lot just north of Disney Way, behind the Ramada Anaheim and Anaheim Desert inn. These two properties themselves would need to be bought out and leveled to achieve the stated goals of improving parking as well as increasing the footprint of the Downtown Disney district. The Heroes and Villains parking structure would house approximately 20,000 additional vehicles and would act as the main parking structure for guests wishing to visit Realms of Imagination.
The second additional parking structure would be an expansion of the current Mickey and Friends Parking lot, adding another garage structure on the currently open air parking space for buses and R.V.’s(the bottom floor would still be dedicated to large vehicles, with one floor being sacrificed to accommodate the additional needed head space). This new addition would also expand into the Disneyland Hotel parking lot, increasing the Mickey and Friends parking garage capacity by another 10k (approximate estimate).
The final parking structure addition would be to again add a multi-leveled parking garage on the current Simba open air parking lot. The increased parking capacity would add another additional 7k-10k parking spots for those visiting either Downtown Disney, Disneyland proper, or DCA.
In order to accommodate so much additional expansion, new transportation methods would have to be implemented. The monorail system would be expanded to include a stop at the front gates of Realms of Imagination. Additional bus shuttles would also be available from the Heroes and Villains parking structure to the current shuttle drop off point just east of the DLR Esplanade.
Map detailing the infrastructure improvements which will facilitate the addition of a third gate at the DLR. The red line indicates the new monorail track design.
Park Capacity (Approximation) : Disney’s Realms of Imagination has a maximum capacity of 100,000 guests. Crowd density varies by season and day, with off-season or weekday crowds drawing an average of 20-30k visitors and in-season or weekend crowds averaging between 40k-70k visitors. Only the most busy times of year would see the park pushed to near-capacity crowd levels. Being such a large park allows for much larger park capacity.
Park Geography (Approximation) : The Park itself is one of the largest parks in the continental U.S., spanning over a massive 200 acres of land. Even with this large footprint, guests will have a relatively easy time navigating the massive park, as show buildings and backstage areas eat up a significant portion of the land, typically located beyond the berm. The main pathway through Realms of Imagination follows a rough “wheelspoke” pathway, with a main pathway passing through all the major realms as well as cross pathways which allow guests to go through middle sections of the park to access other realms (The middle realm of Kingdom Hearts acts as the park’s main ‘hub’, and has easy access to all of the other Realms located throughout the park). A large berm acts as the park’s ‘border’ with many attraction and show buildings laying beyond the berm, in a similar manner to Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom.
In-Park Transportation :
Being the largest park on the DLR property, Disney’s Realms of Imagination has some unique and important in-park transportation options. I have decided to present them here, as opposed to in the realm breakdowns, as their attraction description and function transcend realm-specific details. The two major transportation attractions are as follows:
Realm Flyer : This is a classic gondola/ski-lift style transportation system that will take guests from one far end of the park to the opposite end above many of the realms of imagination. The gondolas are lightly themed after various exciting or iconic flying vehicles such as star ships, dirigibles, air ships, planes, and even giant birds. The Realm Flyer has three stations, each one being able to transport guests from one side of the park to the other. There is a station located at the very north end of the park, in the Hero’s Causeway, near the entrance to the park proper. The second location is located in the very center of the park, in the Kingdom Hearts realm. The last station is located towards the very south end of the park, in Courage Cove, near the rear of the park. This allows guests an opportunity to conveniently access all major areas of the park while resting their feet and enjoying a nice and relaxing ride over the skyline of the Realms themselves.
The Imagination Express : This high-tech, steam-punk themed train will offer guests the opportunity to travel to the various realms of imagination with ease as it makes its way around the perimeter and berm of the park itself. The Imagination Express is also equipped with technology which will allow the windows in the train itself to project high definition images, very similar to the Hogwarts Express attraction at Universal Studios Orlando. The Express has a total four stations (referred to as Imagination Stations), with each station dropping off and picking up guests at strategic locations which will allow guests to easily access two realms. The four stations are as follows: Hero’s Causeway, near the front of the park; Kingdom Hearts, on the western end, bordering the Shadowlands and Kingdom Hearts; Courage Cove, on the southern end, bordering Courage Cove and New Carthage; and New Carthage, towards the middle eastern end, bordering New Carthage and The Enchanted Forest. The Imagination Express traverses its pathway in a counter-clockwise fashion. A total of four trains will be able to be on the track at any one time, with each station having a drop-off/pick-up at approximately 15 minute intervals.
General park layout, detailing the six distinct realms. The red line indicates the berm/Imagination Express track, with the yellow rectangles indicating station stops. The yellow line indicates the Realm Flyer pathway, with the orange boxes representing the stations.
Park Design, Philosophy, and General Theme :
The general theme of Realms of Imagination is one of epic heroism, bravery, and courage. To this end, Realms of Imagination is the first park in the world to be designed from the ground up with the intent of guest interaction and immersion. One of the primary goals with Realms of Imagination is to make the theme park experience active rather than passive. Many elements, attractions, restaurants, and stores will not only encourage guest exploration and interaction, but actually reward the guest for participating. The idea is to immerse guests into the park itself—to the point where they feel like their presence and participation in the park-wide interactive experience actually has weight and value. To this end, many realms feature elaborate and sprawling interactive ‘walk-through’ attractions. These attractions are designed and envisioned to be the next generation of the classic walk-through attraction. Whereas classic walk-through attractions took guests through a set of scenes or experiences, these new walk-through attractions feature elaborate, sophisticated, and high-tech interactive elements; all of which effect a guests heroic spirit and the general park experience itself, with the intent goal of making the guest feel as though they are part of the park itself.
I’m weary to call Realms of Imagination a real-life video game, but this seems like a good metaphor to use when attempting to convey the experience of the park itself. Nonetheless, the park can be fully enjoyed without the need to participate in the Heroic Spirit interactive system should a guest choose to forgo that option. One of the great challenges when designing a park with this approach is to make the interactive elements simple enough for a young child to understand yet still provide a subtle complexity which older and more interested guests may enjoy. The idea behind the interactive park experience is to encourage multiple visits, either to the park itself or certain elements, attractions, or realms of the park, in order to keep guests in the park longer and achieve a sense of accomplishment which each
Realms of Imagination also heavily emphasizes exploration. Guests are encouraged to take their time and discover all of the little details and thematic components that make the park so immersive and unique. As a new discovery or spirit-stone opportunity may present itself anywhere, and at any time, guests are encouraged to explore and investigate every last detail of the park itself. This allows guests something to do other than eat, wait in line for an attraction, or otherwise remain a passive observer of the material presented to them.
This approach to attraction and park design also heavily emphasizes innovation. For this reason, cutting edge technology in both attraction design and thematic designs are utilized throughout the park. Being a park of the 21st century, the opportunity to utilize technologies perfected and improved upon from the last generation of park design is an opportunity previously unattainable for ANY Disney Theme Park (with the exception of DisneySea perhaps). Thus, while Disneyland was built on the back of Pretzel-style dark rides, in the 21st century LPS technology offers attraction and park designers a sure-fire, tested, and far more expansive method of creating what has now become known as the classic Disney style dark ride. I still utilize some classic technology in some parts of the park. Yet where I could, I opted for more technologically advanced and intricate attraction and ride systems. With these newer and more elaborate ride and attraction systems, the need for larger show buildings is necessary, thus much of the over 200 acre property is utilized for show buildings beyond the berm.
Lastly, I’ve tried to choose properties, characters, and thematic elements which differ from what is offered by DLR’s other two resorts. The aim here is really two-fold. Firstly, it offers Disney the opportunity to show case some of their other beloved properties which are not currently present at the DLR or have a very limited presence in the other parks. Secondly, it offers guests the chance to explore more exciting and interesting thematic elements. So while some realms may be similar to what a guest may see at Disneyland or DCA, it’s never truly the same. It’s for this reason that you don’t see a heavy jungle/Adventureland realm, western/Frontierland realm, or even a realm meant to represent a real-life locale (such as is the case with New Orleans Square). The main goal is to have Realms of Imagination offer guests such a unique and eclectic array of thematic motifs and elements that the park itself will serve as a multi-day draw for visitors of all sorts.
A Note on General Dining and Retail Options :
I feel that detailed descriptions of food carts and merchandise carts do not warrant full descriptions and thus I will not include them as part of the retail and dining options descriptions for each land unless they otherwise warrant description. To this end, it must be known that various food carts and merchandise carts will be available throughout the realms, offering the standard cart vendor options such as popcorn, churros, lemonade, ice cream, etc. Furthermore, in regards to retail options, each E-Ticket attraction will feature an adjacent shop which will sell merchandise specific to the given attraction. These shops will also not be given full descriptions as I consider them part of the attraction itself. When tallying the number of retail locations for each realm, I will not include these retail shops in the total count.
Heroic Spirit System :
Disney’s Realms of Imagination will be the first park in the world to employ a park-wide multimedia interactive system where guests “heroic spirit” participate in a park-wide struggle for control over the park. Almost all of the rides and attractions will feature an advanced tracking and scoring system which keeps a total tally of victories, defeats, accomplishments, and general character progress. Furthermore, guests can earn items and other rewards to unlock in Disney Infinity. This feature is completely optional and guests who do not wish to participate can still experience all the park has to offer without the need to participate if they choose not to.
The Way it Works in a Nutshell :
Guests who wish to participate in the system will be issued a unique, wearer-specific RFID chip. This chip is contained in a small, circular disc (approximately the size of a half-dollar coin). The chip (referred to as a Heroic Spirit) can be used and stored in a variety of different devices and props, including everything from the mundane (wristbands, lanyards, keychains, plastic cards, etc.) to the fantastic (swords, axes, guns, shields, wands etc.). Each RFID chip is linked to an online, web-based profile. This profile can be fully customized by the user either via the Disney Infinity smartphone app or the free Disney Infinity computer app. Each profile has access to a free avatar management function which will allow guests to modify the appearance of their heroic spirit as well as establish their own “Realm of Imagination”—a customizable home which can be accessed via the Disney Infinity community toy box. Guests can use their heroic spirit in Disney Infinity 3.0 (detailed below). As guests go through the park the RFID chip interacts with various elements throughout the park, often syncing a user’s heroic spirit with a “spirit stone” (This is simply an artistic base where guests can scan their chip. Visual aesthetics can range from looking like an ancient cairn to a futuristic data-port). For example, on certain attractions the RFID chip will load the wearer’s avatar onto an on-board screen and insert the avatar into certain ride scenes. Some attractions may simply require the guest to scan their RFID chip at various points throughout the park such as ride queues, ride exits, restaurants, or park landmarks. The scanning system will also allow wearers to achieve different achievements and will unlock customizable items and trinkets to be used with the avatar management system. The system will even allow guests to unlock weapons and abilities to be used in the aforementioned game.
Completing achievements, challenges, and quests throughout the park will unlock lucrative rewards, and encourages guests to return the park or stay in the park longer. Most rewards are digitally based, with an emphasis on improving a guests heroic spirit, though some rare and difficult to complete quests or challenges will reward guests with real world benefits such as coupons, special pins, special attire, front of the passes, fastpasses, and even free admission to a select Disney Park for incredibly difficult quests. Some examples of quests and their respective rewards are as follows:
Too Much Courage For the Cove--Complete all the quests and challenges in Courage Cove to Receive 5 %15 off coupons to use at any restaurant or retail location in Courage Cove.
Bad guys have more fun!--Complete all the quests and challenges in The Shadowlands to unlock the Villainous Spirit power in Disney Infinity as well as receive a limited edition Shadowlands pin.
This is how I roll--Stop at all Imagination Stations while riding the Imagination Express. In addition, stop at all three Realm Flyer Stations to receive the Imagination Express set piece for use in the Disney Infinity Toy Box.
Realm Traveler--Visit all 6 realms of the Realms of Imagination to receive an exclusive pin and button.
Master of all Realms--Complete all the quests and challenges in the Realms of Imagination park to receive an exclusive replica of the Ultima Keyblade and a one-day, one-park ticket to any Disney Park in the world!
These are just a few examples of the rewards which guests can collect. The park will initially open with an estimated 200 quests and 300 challenges to complete, with the number increasing as more attractions are added and revised.
Disney Infinity 3.0 : To coincide with the opening of the Realms of Imagination, Disney Infinity will be rebuilt from the ground up to include the Heroic Spirit sytem as well as migrate and integrate many new game design changes such as a shift to a persistent MMO (Massively Multi-Player Online) game system to complement the already solid gameplay of the current iteration of Disney Infinity. Disney Infinity 3.0 would also allow guest to create, manage, and upgrade their personal heroic spirit, including individual stat allocation, ability, spell, and power selection, elaborate equipment management, and an enhanced toy box system.
It has been said that legends never die and that heroes are remembered forever. From noble knights to wise wizards to humble men accomplishing amazing feats of bravery and honor, the cosmic spirit of imagination imprints these heroic deeds onto the fabric of reality itself. When a mighty or humble hero accomplishes something extraordinary, the universe takes notice. The Hero’s Causeway is the place where heroes are remembered and enshrined forever. It is at the Hero’s Causeway that great memorials of heroes from around the universe rise above the skyline in titanic proportions. Heroic spirits from across the world of imagination congregate and gather here to interact with each other and guests. The Hero’s Causeway functions as the entrance realm to the Realms of Imagination.
Approximate Size : The Hero’s Causeway occupies approximately 26 acres of land.
Number of Attractions : 6
Number of Dining Locations : 4
Number of Retail Locations : 4
Location, Geography, Layout and Aesthetics :
The Hero’s Causeway acts as Realms of Imagination’s ‘entry’ realm. All guests who come through the gates will enter the Hero’s Causeway first and foremost. It borders three other realms, with The Shadowlands residing to the west, Kingdom Hearts directly centered south, and The Enchanted Forest on the southeast region of the realm. It is laid out in a simple rectangle shape, with the main thoroughfare running directly south, west, and east, for easy access to the other realms.
Aesthetically, the Hero’s Causeway resembles a large and monolithic canyon. Shops, attractions, and other aesthetic details appear to be carved right out of the canyon face. The main thematic element of the realm is the inverse of the traditional Disney-style ‘opening land’—where guests’ views of the interior of the park are actually blocked and prevented by the gigantic canyon and rockwork. This is in contrast with most theme park design schemes, which use the opening land to allow guests to view a significant portion of the park or otherwise provide a panoramic/picturesque view of the park. As discussed in my initial proposal, a good reference point for the visual aesthetic which the Hero’s Causeway employs is similar to the ancient city of Petra or the Dwarven kingdoms of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Below are some concept art images of the Causeway itself:
The ancient city of Petra, one of the aesthetic inspirations for the Hero’s Causeway
Attractions, retail, and dining locations are labeled with numbers. Match the according number with the attraction or shop, as indicated in brackets. Attractions are in Blue, Retail locations are in Green, and Dining locations are in Orange. Please note that the map is NOT to scale.
Attractions : The Hero’s Causeway is unique from other parks 'entry' lands in that it actually contains a number of attractions—a sharp departure from such popular park designs such as all the Magic Kingdoms Main Street lands, which have very few, if any, proper attractions at all. While the main focus is on setting the theme and atmosphere for the park, as well as retail and dining options, the land still has an impressive line-up of attractions. Perhaps most notably is the Hero Academy (detailed below), which acts as a guests main hub for all things relating to heroic spirits and spirit-stone opportunities. The attractions are as follows:
Epic Mickey (1) : Join Mickey as he defends the Realm of Imagination from the villains who seek to control imagination and creativity itself! This is an interactive dark ride based upon the video game series, Epic Mickey, as well as Fantasia, where Mickey must use his magic brush to bring color and characters to life, erase or blot out villains or anomalies, and defeat various Disney Villains. This would utilize technology similar to Toy Story Midway Mania but would implement many more physical set elements, projections, and animatronics. The vehicle system would be a KUKA arm system where riders would be able to wield magic brushes that interact with the ride itself. The ride would also incorporate many characters and scenes from classic Silly Symphonies sketches and Fantasia. Riders would follow Mickey as he receives training from his master Yen Sid, who explains that the world of imagination is in danger and it’s up to Mickey and the riders to save it. Riders would be taken through scenes from the Skeleton Dance, Steamboat Willie, Clock Cleaners, Night on Bald Mountain, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The finale would see Mickey and the riders face off against the infamous Shadow Blot—a being of pure darkness who wants nothing more than to blot out all of imagination.
Concept art for Epic Mickey as Mickey battles the Shadow Blot
Hero Academy (2): Heroic Spirits from across the Realms of Imagination require discipline, dedication, and the proper equipment to take on all the adventures and thrills that the Realms may throw at them. The Hero Academy offers guests the opportunity to personalize their heroic spirit, train and advance their spirit, and take on unique challenges to earn fantastic rewards. This is a multi-layered interactive walk-through attraction that offers guests the opportunity to fully customize, train, and develop their unique heroic spirit. The Academy is a large structure and is composed of several different and distinct areas or rooms, each which offer guests an opportunity to take part of and interact with the attraction itself.
In The Barracks heroes will be quickly and swiftly introduced to the heroic spirit system by a live actor who’s goal is to ‘train’ the new heroes. Guests will be given a crash course in all things heroic and even have the opportunity to select a unique and special set of beginner equipment to start their journey. The final portion of this show would see our new heroes do battle with a randomized villain.
In The Armory guests will have the opportunity to equip their heroic spirit with a plethora of unique equipment including armor sets, weapons, and other fun accessories which have been unlocked either via completing quests and challenges throughout the park or by playing Disney Infinity 3.0
The Training Grounds offers guests the chance to test their skills as they take on a number of unique quests and challenges in large interactive and immersive training rooms (think DisneyQuest only far more advanced and fine-tuned).
Hero's Battlefield (3) : After equipping and training your heroic spirit at the Hero Academy bring them to battle at the Hero's Battlefield. This unique, procedural walk-through attraction will offer guests the opportunity to take on unique challenges, fight both heroes and villains, and effect the world of imagination itself. Guests would be able to select from a veritable cornucopia of challenges and quests (some quests would be multi-layered, requiring completion of different quests and challenges in order to complete the quest). For example, one quest line would require guests to take on Sora, Mickey, Donald, Riku, and others in the Battlefield before being sent to the Kingdom Hearts realm to retrieve a certain artifact before completing the quest line. The Battlefield acts as the central hub for the park-wide interactive overall game and story of the park itself. Guests would also be able to reap unique and sometimes very desirable rewards. In-park rewards would include things such as coupons for various retail and dining locations, front-of-the-line passes for certain attractions, unique trinkets, pins, and other accessories and even the coveted Ultima Keyblade for completion of all major quest lines in the park. In-game (Disney Infinity 3.0) rewards would include item and equipment unlocks, free play time, unique Disney Infinity power discs or characters, and unique powers, abilities, park-exclusive play sets or stat upgrades.
Realm Flyer-Hero’s Causeway Station (4) : This transportation attraction, as detailed in the Park Overview portion above, would see its first station here in the causeway. Details of the attraction itself can be found in the Park Overview section above. The flyers would enter and exit directly out of the canyon face itself.
The Power of Imagination (5) : Join Figment as he takes riders through the imaginative and creative process! This is a slow-moving Omnimover ‘edutainment’ attraction will allow guests to encounter some of the great imaginative minds of the world such as Homer, Virgil, Walt Disney, Dante Aligheri, C.S. Lewis, Sir Thomas Malory, Hans Christen Anderson, and many more as guest are taken for a delightful and relaxing journey through the history, importance, and power of imagination. Guest will encounter familiar faces and exciting, sometime scary scenes as Figment guides them on a tour through the world of imagination itself. Guest would encounter familiar characters such as Mickey, Donald, Minnie, and others while also being presented with interesting and unique scenes such as a trip through Mount Purgatory and the epic battle between King Arthur and Mordred,
Walt Disney: A Hero For All Time (6) : The vision and courage of one man has been at the forefront of the American imaginative conscience for generations now—Walt Disney. Enjoy this short but touching film which documents Walt's unique and inspiring life story; including his rough childhood, his courageous and innovative approaches to entertainment and art, and his enduring message of hope and bravery to all people of the world. The film will also feature testimonies from great visionaries such as George Lucas, James Cameron, Neil Gaiman, and John Lasseter. Lastly, in an homage to Walt's most beloved attraction, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, a highly advanced animatronic of Walt would stand up, walk around!, and give a speech on the power of imagination and the need for courage, hope, and faith in the modern world. The speech will be compiled from some of Walt's most memorable quotes and phrases.
Imagination Station—Hero’s Causeway Station : A station for the Imagination Express transportation ride system as detailed above in the Park Overview section.
Dining Locations :
Causeway Concoctions (14) : Enjoy hearty dishes meant to nourish the hero in all of us! This quick-service option offers guests standard American meals throughout the day and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast meals include classics such as Steak and Eggs, Pancakes, Waffles, and Fruit Parfait's. Lunch and Dinner menus are identical, featuring such American staples as Juicy Lucy cheeseburgers, Sloppy Joes, Fried Chicken and Gravy, Chicken Fried Steak, Jumbo Baked Potatoes, etc. Prices are moderate and range from $9-15.
Goofy's Delectable Desserts (7): Goofy has turned his culinary expertise to the world of desserts! Come in for an overload of succulent hand-made sweets which are sure to satisfy the sweetooth in anyone! Traditional, home-made dessert dishes are served here, including such classics as home made apple pie, cheesecake, banana's foster, hot fudge sundae's, ice cream cookies (complete with fresh hot cookies), and many more! Prices are fair to moderate and range from $7-15
Legends (8) : Dine on the finest food the Realms have to offer in this ornate and beautiful restaurant which offers stunning sight lines of the Causeway and other Realms. This is a fine-dining restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, and offers a menu which boasts fine Italian cuisine including a variety of gourmet pastas, fine cuts of steak, veal and fish, indulgent appetizers, and alcoholic beverages. Prices are high and dishes range from $15-30.
Merlin’s Kitchen (9) : The wily wizard has turned his magical hand to the culinary arts and is offering guests an opportunity to sample some of his delicious creations! A quick service dining option which offers guests interesting and hearty quick meals such as Yorkshire pudding, beef wellington, and Cornish splits. Prices are moderate and range from $8-15.
Retail Locations :
King Mickey's Manufactorium (10): King Mickey has opened his personal Manufactorium to all heroes in need of equipment and gear in order to face anything the Realms can throw at them! At the Manufactorium, guests will have the opportunity to purchase a dazzling array of unique weapons and armor pieces, each with the ability to hold heroic spirits. The Manufactorium is unique in the fact that any piece of equipment will have a code attached to it which will allow guests to unlock the equipment for their heroic spirit counterpart in Disney Infinity 3.0.
Donald and Co. (11) : Donald and Goofy have opened their very own shop in the Causeway. Here, guests can shop for all park branded clothing and accessories. Everything from t-shirts to sweaters, jackets, shorts and pants. Accessories sold include cups, mugs, photo frames, and plush dolls.
Realm Imports (12): Browse a selection of precious and unique products from across the realms of imagination. Here, guests will have an opportunity to purchase items and accessories unique to the Realms of Imagination park itself, including plenty of merchandise pertaining to some of the parks most iconic attractions, characters, and locations as well as select weapons and equipment for heroic spirit storage.
Sora's Spirit Store (13): Want to upgrade your heroic spirit? Come in to browse a vast selection of digital and real upgrades for your heroic spirit, including the opportunity to print and paint your very own heroic spirit using the latest in 3D printing technology. This is a unique store that allows guest to purchase unique upgrades and equipment for their heroic spirit which they can scan instantly and use throughout Disney Infinity 3.0 and the Realms of Imagination park itself.
The world of imagination is fraught with villains and nefarious characters of all sorts. From wicked sorcerers to brutal despots, imagination is never truly safe from the reach of a number of malicious characters. Outcast from the rest of the world of imagination, they have banded together to forge their own realm—the Shadowlands. The realm reflects their twisted souls, the landscape and architecture displaying a disturbing marriage of the elegant and the deranged. From his violent mountain, the demon Chernabog summons spirits and demons to do his dark bidding. Behind perverse bramble patches and forests, Maleficient shields herself from the world, plotting and waiting for her revenge and from far in the sand-scorched deserts of the east, the dark vizier Jafar seeks power and eternal life. The Shadowlands is a dark realm, ruled by villains and ne’er-do-wells of all sorts. In The Shadowlands, guests will come face-to-face with some of the most notorious villains in the world of Imagination and explore their dark realm.
Approximate Size : The Shadowlands occupy approximately 32 acres of land
Number of Attractions : 8
Number of Dining Locations : 3
Number of Retail Locations : 3
Location, Geography, Layout and Aesthetics :
The Shadowlands is located in the Northwestern section of the park and borders two lands; Hero’s Causeway to the east, and Kingdom Hearts to the south. The Shadowlands main thoroughfare runs through heart of the land and leads both to the east towards Hero’s Causeway and south towards Kingdom Hearts. Small alleyways and pathways break off from the main path, some leading to distinct attractions while others lead to seedy back alleys where villainous characters lie in wait.
Aesthetically, the Shadowlands is a realm of darkness and corruption. The color palette of realm emphasis dark and threatening colors—black, dirty browns, eerie greens, deep reds, menacing purples, and soulless grays. The general theme of the land is that of a corrupted and malevolent—perhaps even haunted—forest hamlet town. Being a land which hosts the many villains of the world of Imagination, each villain is given its own small pocket of the Shadowlands to terrorize. Passing through the entrance to the Cave of Wonders, one will enter the dark desert of the realm of Jafar. Through twisted and malevolent brambles and brush guests will encounter Maleficient’s moors. In the north end of the Shadowlands, Chernabog’s imposing mountain home of Bald Mountain towers over the rest of the realms. The thematic elements are varied based upon an attraction’s unique villain character but the general aesthetic is all tied together by a consistent color palette and the general aesthetic look of a decaying and haunted forest hamlet. Below are some pieces of concept art for The Shadowlands:
Attractions, retail, and dining locations are labeled with numbers. Match the according number with the attraction or shop, as indicated in brackets. Attractions are in Blue, Retail locations are in Green, and Dining locations are in Orange. The Yellow Line represents the berm. The blank white area is reserved for elaborate facades, landmarks, and thematic elements. Please note that the map is NOT to scale.
Escape from Bald Mountain (1) : Previously proposed for the themed roller coaster round. A high-speed wing coaster themed after the Fantasia! sequence, Night on Bald Mountain.
A miniature mock-up of the Escape from Bald Mountain facade, queue, and mountain.
The Tyranny of Sultan Jafar (2) : Jafar has once again found a genie lamp and is using it to terrorize the world of Imagination. It’s up to Aladdin and Genie to once again stop his evil reign in another classic Disney dark ride experience. This ride features a unique suspended EMV ride system which takes guest on a ‘magic-carpet ride’ through the mean streets of Agrabah, now under the thrall of the wicked Sultan Jafar.
Disenchanted (3) : The haughty and vengeful Maleficient has enchanted her forested realm into a dark, twisted, and malignant shadow of its true beauty. The good fairies are in dire need of assistance, and are asking for a helping hands from any heroic spirits willing to help. This is a unique ride experience, featuring a fun but relaxing suspended seat dark ride experience as guests fly in, around, and through the dark forest, attempting to stop Malieficient’s corrupting curse. For an idea of the ride system utilized in this ride, have a look at the Arthur and the Invisibles ride at EuropaPark (Linked below):
The Gauntlet (4) : The villains are tired of meddlesome heroes and have devised an elaborate and sophisticated plot to lure gullible heroes into a trap before finally finishing them off once and for all! Foolish heroes are lured into the trap when the villains capture and hold hostage Mickey and Minnie Mouse! The heroic spirits rush headlong into the fray before realizing it’s too late, as the villains have trapped them in a dark and dangerous dungeon! This is a fresh approach to the interactive dark ride systems, which utilizes technology similar to Toy Story: Midway Mania. Guests board a chained chariot and must escape the dungeon gauntlet that the villains have laid for them! Guests proceed through the ride, consisting of different sets and mini-games, where they may upload their heroic spirit to participate in the fight! The different games (themed after fights) are randomized every ride through, each rider experiencing 6 games per ride through. Each game features a different Disney Villain which offers a unique challenging mini-game. With well over 30+ villains, each ride through is unique and exciting. The ride is procedural, as guests make their way through the dungeon until they ultimately defeat the final villain (typically one of the major villains such as Chernabog, Scar, Jafar, Etc.) and save Mickey and Minnie from captivity.
Ursula’s Grasp (5) : The sea witch returns to claim her vengeance! Dare to board her tentacles as they lift guests high into the air and spin them wildly about! A classic scrambler ride with a unique twist, as the vehicles are lifted and suspended by a gigantic Ursula, who spins guests wildly above a large pool of water complete with shooting water jets and ambient lighting effects!
Hade’s Underworld Explorations (6): Hades invites you to take a cruise down the rivers of Styx, Acheron, and Cocytus in this slightly-scary, sometimes funny, and always exciting adventure through his underworld empire. A classic Disney style high-capacity boat ride (in vein of Pirates of the Carribean) through the underworld featuring high tech and large scale animatronics such as that of Cerberus, Minos, and Harpies coupled with dazzling and mystifying special effects.
Rogue’s Gallery (7) : Have a bit of a bad streak in you? Enter the Rogue’s Gallery to meet and chat with your favorite villains! An enhanced meet-and-greet, where guests will be able to visit villains in their own small rooms in an elaborate complex. Spirit stone opportunities will abound within every room and even some unique spirit-stone challenges will only be unlockable via the villains actually carrying around ‘spirit-synch stones’.
The Voodoo Shuffle (8) : Doctor Facilier is out to place a Voodoo Curse upon you and the only way to escape his grasp is through the haunted swamps of the Shadowland Bayou. Jump on board your ‘Airboat’ in this LPS dark ride adventure which features vehicles that are able to traverse both land and water!
Doctor Facilier’s dark voodoo realm.
Dining Locations :
The Sultan’s Palace (9) : Enjoy the exotic and fresh flavors and dishes from the Mediterranean and Middle east in this beautifully themed dining restaurant! Guests will enjoy an opulent atmosphere of grandeur and elegance fit for a Sultan. Dishes are heavily middle-eastern themed, with traditional dishes such as beef and chicken koobideh, Saffron infused Lamb Chops, fresh wedge salad with dates and figs, fresh pita and hummus of many varieties, and an olive and cheese platter. This is a sit-down dining option with dishes ranging between $12-30
The Alchemists Lab (10) : Do you trust the magical dishes created from the alchemical experiments some of imaginations wickedest sorcerers and witches? You may be surprised at the delectable concoctions they can come up with! This is a unique quick-service dining option that offers guests to taste and experience one-of-a-kind fusion dishes. Guests will have the opportunity to try such unique dishes like Maleficient’s Stew (Beef-Brisket infused Vietnamese-style Pho), Hades Roll (an oversized spicy sushi roll with gyro meat, Sriracha Sauce, rice, orzo pasta, wrapped in seaweed), and Grimhilde’s Apples (Ice-cream infused apples, deep fried with doughnut batter, and drizzled with hot caramel). These are just a few of the creative and unique dishes guests will be able to enjoy at The Alchemists Lab. Prices are moderate and range from $8-15
Facilier’s Spirit Feast (11) : Located next to the Doctor Facilier’s Voodoo Shuffle attraction, this ornately themed ‘Voodoo Hut’ offers quick service, Cajun inspired meals such as Po’ Boys, Cajun shrimp pasta, Shrimp Gumbo, and Jambalaya. Prices are fair and range from $9-14
Retail Locations :
Vile Vestments (15) : Attached to the Rogue’s Gallery attraction, this apparel focused store sells all manner of fun and interesting villain-themed clothing, including sweaters, shirts, bags and backpacks, hats, and many other accessories.
The Forbidden Library (12) : In the heart of the Shadowlands lies an ancient library, filled with books, grimoires, and tomes of ancient arcane gnostic knowledge. Here guests will have the opportunity to purchase villain inspired heroic spirit accessories, including both digital and real life items. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase such items like Maleficient’s evil tome, The Evil Queen’s magic mirror, Chernabog’s essence, and many more. It’s here that guests will be able to call upon the powers and characters of darkness, should they dare to go down that road!
Evil Emporium (14) : Get in touch with your bad side at this shop which features an enormous collection of Disney Villain inspired merchandise! The merchandise here is park exclusive and includes everything from apparel, accessories, dinnerware, limited edition board games, and unique souvenirs. This is the ultimate shop for the all things Villains!
THE ENCHANTED FOREST
The universe of imagination is often wild and whimsy. Heroes and villains have long sought to harness the mighty power of nature itself. Nowhere is the primal magic of nature most potent than in the wild forests of imagination. The Enchanted Forest is a realm of exotic and mysterious beauty. Small pockets of civilization are nestled deep within this secluded and mysterious forest where heroes both large and small live in relative peace and guard their majestic wooded realm from threats both inside and beyond.
Realm Stats :
Approximate Size : The Enchanted Forest occupies approximately 18 acres of land.
Number of Attractions : 9
Number of Dining Locations : 3
Number of Retail Locations : 3
Location, Geography, Layout and Aesthetics :
Attractions, retail, and dining locations are labeled with numbers. Match the according number with the attraction or shop, as indicated in brackets. Attractions are in Blue, Retail locations are in Green, and Dining locations are in Orange. Please note that the map is NOT to scale.
The Enchanted Forest is located on in the middle-eastern portion of the park and is sandwiched between the Hero’s Causeway to the north, New Carthage to the south, and Kingdom Hearts to the West. Guests can access The Enchanted Forest in one of three ways; from the north, through Hero’s Causeway, from the south through New Carthage and from the west through Kingdom Hearts. The main pathway through The Enchanted Forest again follows the general flow of the overall park path structure, forming a rough “T” shape from which guests can access The Enchanted Forest’s attractions, dining options, and retail locations.
Aesthetically, The Enchanted Forest resembles a dense, lush, and magical woods. Real Oaks, Firs, Pines, and other large trees dot the whole realm. Mixed in with the real trees are handcrafted trees meant to convey a magical and mystical sense of imagination. These man-made trees make the forest appear to be more fantastical than a ‘real-life’ forest would look as branches and leaves are magnified, stumps the size of small cars hold up gigantic trees which reach towards the heavens. Some of the trees even have life-like qualities such as bark patterns which make trees appear to have faces and animatronic effects such as having branches ‘reach’ for visitors and guests. Gentle brooks, streams, and ponds dot the forest, as animals both animatronic and real frolic throughout the forest. Below are some concept images of The Enchanted Forest:
Attractions : The Enchanted Forest features a wide variety of family friendly attractions for guests to enjoy. Though geared towards the younger audience, guests who seek thrills and high adventure won’t be disappointed! The Enchanted Forest attractions are as follows.
Brave: Return of Mordu (6): The dread were-bear Mordu has returned and it’s up to Merida and the brave heroes of the realm to stop him! Guests are taken for a wild journey through the majestic Scottish Highland forests as they team up with Merida, King Fergus, and Merida’s mischievous brothers to face and take down Mordu once and for all. Utilizing KUKA technology, this E-ticket attraction is a high-action interactive ride with large set pieces, animatronics and liberal use of map projection technology.
Dare you face the dreaded Mordu?
Rupunzel’s Tower Drop (1): In the heart of the Enchanted Forest, Rapunzel awaits in her tower to let down her hair to all of the friendly guests who would visit her. Young guests are invited to board a small ‘basket’ suspended and held by Rapunzel’s beautiful long locks. Guests are pulled to the top of the tower by a large animatronic Rapunzel before her grip slips and the guests plummeted back down to the forest floor! A small version of the classic tower drop ride meant for young visitors, this highly themed tower drop rises 40 feet in the air before the little riders are dropped, gently, back to the ground floor. The Tower also features a classic Helter Skelter style slide which wraps around the tower.
Merlin’s Magical Carousel (2): At the heart of the Forest, the legendary wizard, Merlin, has summoned a magical carousel for the denizens of the forest to enjoy! This beautiful carousel features a multi-tiered structure. The animals and creatures which guests ride on are themed after classic Disney woodland creatures such as Thumper, Bambi, Flower, Meeko, Flit, and many others.
The Enchanted Theatre (3): Deep in the heart of the forest lies this quaint open-air theatre, where retellings of some of the most cherished tales of heroism, bravery, courage, and love in the forest are retold! Actors and puppets re-enact shortened versions of some of Disney’s classic films such as Robin Hood, Bambi, and Pocahontas.
Bambi and Friends Enchanted Exploration Trail (4):Bambi and his friends invite guests to explore and experience the natural beauty and wonder of The Enchanted Forest in this expansive and exciting adventure trail! Guests will have the opportunity to explore hidden and secret pockets of the forest, encounter the many friendly woodland creatures who inhabit the forest, and even get a bird’s eye view of the forest with treetop exploration! This is a very large adventure trail with a plethora of spirit-stone opportunities and plenty of beautiful and quiet corners for guests to relax and enjoy the beauty of the forest.
Thumper’s Adventure (5) : Join Thumper and his friends as they seek shelter from the hunt of man in this classic Pretzel-style Disney Dark ride for guests of all ages!
The Saga of Robin Hood (7): Join Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck, and Maid Marian as they save the small hamlet of Nottingham from the tyrannical dictatorship of the Prince John, Sir Hiss, and the Sheriff of Nottingham! A slow-moving dark ride utilizing new and advanced Omnimover technology which allows for vertical movement in addition to the traditional horizontal movement.
Around the Riverbend (8) : Pocahontas and the Powhatan tribe invite guests to paint with all the colors of the wind in this thrilling log flume ride! Guests board their own canoe and are taken for a tour of the forest, encountering wildlife, rapids, waterfalls, and the rest of the Powhatan tribe as they try to fend off the evil Governor Ratcliffe.
Rider’s splash down in their canoes
Mad Madam Mim’s Hut (9) : Enter the eccentric witch’s hut but be sure not to awaken the sleeping sorceress, lest she unleash her terrible magic on snooping interlopers! Guests enter a large hut structure where they’ll encounter the dastardly witch and try to escape without a curse! This is an interactive effects experience where guests will have to work together to defeat Mad Madam Mim, the dastardly witch from Disney’s animated classic, The Sword and the Stone. The attraction itself mixes elements of the much mourned extraTERRORestial Encounter with new interactive technology and a unique and personalized experience every visit (This is achieved via having a hidden actor manipulate the Mad Madam Mim animatronic and voice, much akin to Turtle Talk with Crush but with an animatronic rather than a projection).
Waking the vile witch is never a good idea!
Dining Locations :
Fergus’s Feast Hall (10) : Join Fergus and the rest of the cast from Brave in his castle hall for a hearty feast! Intricately themed to resemble a large Scottish Castle dining hall, this sit-down dining experience offers guests the chance to dine in a unique setting complete with projections and animatronics of various characters and set-pieces from Brave. The menu offers unique and hearty meals from inspired from the regional culinary tradition of Ireland and Scotland. Traditional dishes include Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Lorne Sausage, and Lamb stew. Desserts include warm Scottish Shortbread with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, Classic Clootie Dumplings, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and warm pudding. Prices are moderate to high, with entrees costing between $12-20 and Desserts ranging from $5-15.
Friar Tuck’s Forest Picnic (11) : This outdoor, quick-service dining option is themed after a quaint forest picnic (inspired by the forest festival scene in Disney’s Animated Classic Robin Hood). Large tarpaulins stretch between the many trees which dot the land, providing shade for diners. The menu offers a plethora of quick-service staples such as hot and cold Paninis and sandwiches, Rotissire chicken and red-skin potatoes, and fresh apple fritters! A casual dining experience with moderate prices which range from $7-13.
The Ugly Duckling (12) : The notorious Flynn Ryder has opened his own tavern and Inn in the heart of the Enchanted Forest! Guests are invited to dine in this charming and highly themed medieval style tavern. This is a casual dining option, with quick service. Dishes are generally hearty and standard quick-service fare, including Beef and Veggie Stew, Fried Catfish, Chicken Tenders. Select alcoholic beverages are served for adults.
Retail Locations :
Powhatan Tribe Traders (13) : Guest will have the opportunity to browse and purchase beautiful Native American inspired attire and accessories, including satchels, purses, moccasins, jackets and much more. Various heroic spirit holding weapons such as tomahawks, slings, and small spears are available for purchase as well.
Lady Kluck’s Creations (14) : Lady Kluck has been busy working on beautiful and elegant dresses for Maid Marian and all her court! Come in and browse her stunning pieces! Guests will be able to purchase beautiful dresses, corsets, hats, tunics, and more!
The Huntsman (15) : Life in the forest is anything but easy! Creatures of all sorts must be ready to face the trials and tribulations the forest can throw at them! Arm yourself with the equipment necessary to survive in the forest! The Huntsman offers guests a veritable armory of heroic spirit holding weapons, including muskets, bows, crossbows, axes, and much more! Guests may also purchase outdoors attire including thick jackets, sweaters, boots, belts, weapon sheaths, quivers and more!
In the not-so-distant future space travel is as common as air travel, and species from across the galaxy trade and communicate freely. The star-port city of New Carthage acts as Earth’s largest interstellar trading post and melting pot. But beneath the veneer of the sleek and clean city, an ominous underbelly of corruption and danger awaits. Smugglers from across the galaxy rule the back alleys and powerful and mysterious beings of unknown origin seek to obtain rare esoteric artifacts of eldritch power. New Carthage allows guests to travel forward in time, to a new golden age of human civilization.
Approximate Size : New Carthage occupies approximately 26 acres of land.
Number of Attractions : 10
Number of Dining Locations : 5 (2 located within the Avenger’s Tower Dining Experience)
Number of Retail Locations : 2
Location, Geography, Layout and Aesthetics :
New Carthage rests in the parks south eastern portion of the park and borders three separate realms; Courage Cove and Kingdom Hearts to the west and The Enchanted Forest to the north. The main pathway through New Carthage winds through the realm in a quarter circle fashion, again with small alleyways and other pathways which lead to attractions, dining, and retail locations.
Aesthetically New Carthage resembles a marriage of the elegantly ancient and the fantastic future. Enclosed and suspended Peoplemovers allow guest to travel through the many-tiered New Carthage. Corinthian columns stand like sentinels guarding starships awaiting departure to the skies above. The color palette of New Carthage emphasizes kinetic energy and cleanliness. Bright Greens, bleached white, dark oranges, and bright blues permeate the skyline. To provide readers with a mental visual aid, picture a seamless marriage of Ancient Rome with Tomorrowland and you’ll have a better idea of what New Carthage would look like. Below are some concept images visualizing the aesthetic of New Carthage:
New Carthage is also unique due to the fact that it is the only land that incorporates an official 'sub-land'. This 'land-within-a-land' is themed after Game Central Station from Disney's Wreck-It Ralph and contains its own set of appropriately themed attractions, shops, and dining options.
Attractions, retail, and dining locations are labeled with numbers. Match the according number with the attraction or shop, as indicated in brackets. Attractions are in Blue, Retail locations are in Green, and Dining locations are in Orange. The gray area represents the major pathway. The blank white areas are reserved for attraction, dining, and retail facades, other pathways, and general themeing. Please note that the map is NOT to scale.
Attractions : New Carthage features a plethora of unique and exciting attractions for guests to enjoy. They are as follows:
Guardians of New Carthage (1) : New Carthage is appealing to people of all types, including many who grew up on the wrong side of the asteroid belt. Being one of the galaxy's major trade cities, it has become a mecca of black market activity and smuggling operations. Join Star Lord, Kroot, Rocket Racoon, Gamora, and Drax as they fend off greedy cartels and seedy black market traders from the streets of New Carthage and the open twilight above. This is a KUKA/simulator hybrid ride, in vein of the various Transformers rides. Guests are placed within their own unique star ship and taken for a wild ride through the streets of New Carthage, into space itself, and across the galaxy, as they help Star Lord and the rest of the Guardians in stopping the many villainous smugglers and black market dealers who pollute the streets of New Carthage itself.
The climatic battle of the thrilling Guardians of New Carthage attraction
S.H.I.E.L.D. Special Ops Testing Facility (2) : S.H.I.E.L.D. is looking for new recruits to join their Special Ops team and is accepting all applicants from across the world of imagination. This interactive walk-through attraction offers guests the opportunity to test some of the world’s most unique, high-tech, and innovative new technology in fighting interstellar threats. Guest will have the opportunity to train and test a variety of weaponry and gadgets and even come face to face with some of the meanest enemies the galaxy has to offer! Become a S.H.I.E.L.D. certified defender of New Carthage.
Imagination Station—New Carthage Station (3): A station for the proposed Imagination Express transportation attraction.
Avengers Ascendant (4): Join the Avengers as they take some of the universe's most dangerous villains and threats such as Thanos, Loki, and Galactus in this high-speed and intense indoor coaster/dark ride experience! This is a launched coaster experience with a few very innovative design features. Firstly, each train consists of four individual trains, which separate and break off into four distinct shuttles before the coaster portion of the ride begins. This separation happens before the coasters major launch portion and allows each shuttle to assume the role of a specific Avenger. The trains will separate into four individual shuttles, each assigned to a specific track themed after a different Avenger; Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man. This allows riders a unique opportunity to ride one of four tracks each time. The coaster itself is a high-speed thrill ride, incorporating loops, zero-g drops, and many other exciting elements. The dark ride portions take place mainly before the coaster proper itself and after the coaster ends, though high-tech projections, set pieces, and controlled blasts of air and fog give the coaster a dark ride element rarely seen in most coasters. The major dark ride portions take place in large projection tunnels and set pieces, which set the stage for the intense coaster experience which follows.
Peoplemover 2.0 (5) : The iconic attraction returns in a new and exciting way as guests board their own personal transportation pod which glides gracefully around New Carthage. This new Peoplemover will also have the capability to travel vertically in addition to horizontally as it suspends riders and guests safely above the streets of New Carthage for a relaxing and scenic ride around the realm itself.
Prototype of the new Peoplemover 2.0 attraction vehicle
Hiro’s Battle Bot Arena (6): The tech boy genius, Hiro, has opened his personal robot lab for guests to try their hand at assembling, testing, and battling robots! Design your very own battle bot and bring it to the arena to compete for prizes, rewards, and the glory of victory! A high-tech interactive attraction which incorporates dazzling new projection and holographic technology.
New Carthage Street Sweeping with Wall-E (7) : Join Wall-E in his never ending quest to keep the busy streets of New Carthage clean! A charming and informative omnimover dark ride based on Disney/Pixar’s iconic film, Wall-E.
Wall-E cleans up the messy streets of New Carthage
Game Central Station (Sub-Land, Shaded Gray) : Enter the world of Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph as guests are invited to explore the unique and charming Game Central Station from the film. In Game Central Station, guests will have the opportunity to explore the world of Wreck-It Ralph, including some of the beloved games and characters seen in the film. Game Central Station’s attractions are as follows:
Heroes Call with Wreck-It Ralph (8): When Mr. Litwak plugs in his laptop to test a brand new online game—Heroes Call—a new virus finds its way from Litwak's laptop into the rest of the arcade. It's up to Ralph and the crew to stop it! Join Wreck-It Ralph, Fix-It Felix, Vannelope Von Schweetz, and the rest of the gang as they find the root of the virus and snuff it out across the arcade! An exciting and interactive 4-D show which incorporates new technology which allows the audience to participate in the on-screen action. In front of each guests seat is touch screen pad which will allow guests to participate in various mini-games throughout the show. These mini-games have an effect on the on-screen action and are quick riffs on such famous and popular games like Angry Birds, World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, Dance Dance Revolution, and even Fix-it Felix!
Sugar Rush Remix (9) : Vanellope Von Schweetz has opened her legendary race track for all who think they can compete for the cup! Board your own candy kart and race to the finish in this exciting and high-speed race for the gold! An elaborate, multi-laned racing attraction utilizing new Test Track technology.
A concept scene for the exhilarating Sugar Rush Remix attraction
Litwak’s Arcade (10) : Litwak’s legendary arcade has reopened in New Carthage! Come in to enjoy gaming of the past, present, and future! This is an extensive arcade that features many arcade and pinball classics (including a judicious number of Fix-It Felix machines) as well as modern arcade games. It will also feature a section dedicated to new VR gaming technology through the likes of Oculus Rift consoles which guests will have the opportunity to experience for themselves.
Dining Locations :
Avenger’s Tower Dining Experience (11): Previously proposed for the Restaurant Challenge round.
The Avenger's Tower rising above the New Carthage skyline
Vanellope’s Candy Castle (12) : Got a sweet tooth? Satisfy your decadent cravings in the ultimate candy shop! Princess Vanellope has opened her Candy Castle to all citizens of Game Central Station! Indulge in hand-crafted candies, pastries, and desserts of all types! Prices are fair and range from $4-10.
The Carthaginian (13): Take some time to relax in this chic and stylish metropolitan diner! This restaurant features a number of Asian influenced dishes such as an assortment of sushi, chow mein and lo mein noodles, Pad Thai of all types, and delicious soy and coconut Edemame. Prices are fair to moderate and range from $7-14
Retail Locations :
Stark Industries Warehouse (14): It’s a warehouse blow-out at Stark Industries! Come on in for reduced prices on all of the latest and greatest weapon and equipment technology available from Stark Industries. Guests will be able to purchase a gigantic selection of Marvel themed apparel, accessories, toys, and trinkets.
Interstellar Apparel (15): Get in touch with the latest fashion trends from across the galaxy! A clothing store which features eclectic fashion sensibilities.
Previously proposed as part of the Semi-Final challenge. A large realm with a heavy emphasis on water and water attractions.
While most of Courage Cove is intended to remain the same, I have decided to add three additional attractions as part of the land. They are as follows:
A Journey Through Earthsea : Join the Archmage Ged as he seeks to restore balance to Earthsea after rouge wizards conjure up Shadows and control dragons to do their dark bidding. This is a next gen E-ticket attraction which combines traditional POTC-style boats modified with a new submerged version of test track technology which allows unprecedented speed and agility never before seen in water ride technology.
Courage Cove Street Stage : Enjoy the exotic sights and sounds of Courage Cove at the Street Stage! This quaint open-air, acoustically sound stage hosts a number of different street musicians and performers throughout the day including belly dancers, fire-breathers, and a number of different street bands which perform music from the Mediterranean and middle-east.
Triton's Return : A Shoot-the-Chutes ride themed after The Little Mermaid.
Like all sentient things, every world has a heart which gives the world life and meaning. Each and every world in the realm of imagination is connected by the Kingdom Hearts—the heart of all worlds. Through Kingdom Hearts, all realms of imagination can be accessed, for both good and ill purposes. Aesthetically, the realm of Kingdom Hearts appears to be more of a surrealist rendition of traditional fantasy beauty. Castle spires twist and curve like writhing serpents, Clock towers are absurdly large, and a touch of the magical permeates the land. It is here that Hollow Bastion, a large and imposing castle, resides and functions as the icon of the park.
Approximate Size : Kingdom Hearts occupies approximately 40 acres of land.
Number of Attractions : 13
Number of Dining Locations : 4
Number of Retail Locations : 4
Location, Geography, Layout and Aesthetics :
Kingdom Hearts resides at the very center of the park. From Kingdom Hearts, guests will be able to access all other realms throughout the park. The main path way runs straight through the center of the realm and park itself, running north to south. The pathway then breaks away in the center to allow for the classic 'wheelspoke' design made famous by Disneyland, as separate pathways break away from the central hub. Kingdom Hearts borders and connects with all major realms of the park: The Shadowlands lies due west, the Hero's Causeway resides to the north, the Enchanted Forest lies to the east, Courage Cove to the south, and finally New Carthage to the southeast.
Aesthetically, Kingdom Hearts is a unique design as the main idea behind Kingdom Hearts is that it acts as the heart of all worlds, thus allowing access to a variety of other worlds and realms. To this end, Kingdom Hearts offers guests the opportunity to explore and experience a number of classic Disney properties in a relatively small portion of land. While not 'sub-lands', each 'kingdom' which is part of Kingdom Hearts offers a distinct landmark and aesthetic which gives guests visual clues as to which Kingdom they have entered or are currently in. Each Kingdom within Kingdom Hearts is separated and entered via large Keyhole engraved doors, which guests pass through in Traverse Town. These Keyholes act as a sort of visual and aesthetic cohesive glue which ties the whole realm together with one aesthetic vision.
Each separate kingdom within Kingdom Hearts features a landmark structure and one or two attractions. 'Micro-lands' would be an apt description, and the kingdoms themselves are roughly the size of some of the World Pavilions located at EPCOT. First and foremost of these sub-lands is Hollow Bastion, where resides the literal Kingdom Heart, the Heart of all worlds. This is a large castle structure, indeed the largest Castle Disney has ever built in the continental U.S.
Acting as a visual and geographic heart of the Realm is Traverse Town, the sleepy, mystical town featured in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games. From Traverse Town, guests will have the opportunity to branch out and wander between a number of distinct kingdoms. The kingdom's are themed to classic Disney properties and break out thusly, with corresponding iconic landmark indicated in brackets; The Pridelands (from The Lion King, featuring a large replica of Pride Rock), Narnia (featuring a facade of Castle Cair Paravel), Arendelle (from Frozen, featuring another forced perspective replica of Elsa's Ice Palace) and Pixie Hollow (from the Tinkerbell series of home movies, featuring an elaborate walk-through version of the charming Pixie Holow from the films).
3-d model for Traverse Town
Attractions : Kingdom Hearts features a number of interesting and varied attractions. They are as follows:
Conflict Castle: Fight for Hollow Bastion : The fight for Hollow Bastion, the castle which controls all realms of imagination, is in full swing in this exciting ride through Hollow Bastion itself! Guest will have a chance to choose to fight and side with Sora and Mickey or join Roxas and Ansem as they fight off heartless, the infamous Shadow Blot, and each other! This is an LPS dark ride experience in which guests will have the opportunity to pick a side to fight for (similar in concept to the Battle for the Black Pearl attraction proposed in the previous semi-final round). The ride will take riders on a perilous journey through the heart of Hollow Bastion castle itself as they attempt to secure Hollow Bastion for their respective goals. The ride is unique in that the castle itself is the show building, and certain portions of the ride take place outdoors, which offers a kinetic energy to the castle proper.
Hollow Bastion Castle, visual icon of the Realms of Imagination and home to two of the parks marquee attractions
Hollow Bastion Adventures : Explore the many secrets, surprises, and dangers of Hollow Bastion in this interactive walk-through experience! Team up with Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Beast, Sora, and many more as you fight to reclaim the Kingdom Heart itself, which resides at the center of Hollow Bastion itself! Temper your spirit as you prepare to face off against hordes of Heartless, numerous villains, and even the darkness within yourself!
A view from within Hollow Bastion Adventures
Reepicheep's Quest : Previously proposed for the Dark Ride challenge.
Castle Cair Paravel, the visual landmark of Narnia.
Through the Keyhole : Sora and King Mickey have invited riders to travel the Realms of Imagination with them in their quest to secure all the realms of imagination. Through Sora's and Mickey's magic, guests will be able to fly along with the two heroes as they travel from realm to realm in an effort to secure each realms heart from the heartless and other villains which inhabit the various realms. This ride will be the first ride in the continental U.S. to utilize Vekoma's ecletic “Pandora's Box” dark ride design. The way it works is similar to DCA's Soarin' Over California though the system is affixed to a series of tracks which allow the vehicles to traverse a unique dark ride environment. Additionally, the ride system allows for tri-axis movement, resulting in intense barrel roll movements, dips, and weaves. Lastly, the ride features a free-fall function, which adds one final layer to the fun. A demo video of the ride system is linked below:
Through the Keyhole will take riders on a randomized selection of various fantastical locales such as Agrabah, Narnia, Arendelle, Atlantica (home of Ariel and The Little Mermaid), the Underworld, Bald Mountain, Halloween Town, and many more!
Elsa and Olaf's Magic Sleigh Rides : Trackless in design, this attraction takes riders on a magic sleigh ride through Arendelle as Elsa and Olaf bring winter fun to everyone. Riders would board an enchanted sleigh, where they would encounter fierce snowmen, a slippery ice pond where other sleighs would ‘skate’ with each other, an escape from an avalanche, an adventure through Elsa’s now melting Ice Castle, a visit to Wandering Oakens Trading Post, and a ride on the frozen Arendelle harbor and into Arendelle castle. Throughout it all, Elsa and Olaf would be following the sleighs, ensuring frozen magic keeps the riders in a fun and safe environment. Located in Arendelle.
Elsa's Frozen Palace
Traverse Town Inn : An elaborately themed meet-and-greet attraction which will allow guests to meet and interact with seminal characters such as Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Sora, Kairi, most of the Disney Princesses, and many more.
Traverse Town Trolley : Board this slow moving but charming trolley as it slowly makes its way through Traverse Town.
The Circle of Life : Simba, Timon, Pumbaa, and Rafiki guide guests through a touching and emotional journey which depicts the beauty, suffering, wonder, and joy of life. Along the way, guests will learn the importance of bravery, courage, and sacrifice in a slow moving revolving carousel attraction (similar to America Sings! Or Carousel of Progress) based on one of Disney's most beloved classics, The Lion King. Located in the Pridelands.
Timon and Pumbaa’s Swinging Symphony : Hakuna Matata! Timon and Pumbaa invite guests to sing along to some of their favorite Disney song! This attraction, which uses technology similar to the always fun Turtle Talk with Crush, features Timon and Pumbaa as they lead the audience through a fun sing-a-long marathon of various classic Disney tunes. The show would be unique in the sense that songs could be changed throughout the day, so guests may get a unique set-list of songs each time they visit. Due to the adaptable nature of the attraction, songs and set-lists could be tailored for seasons and holidays, having Halloween, Christmas, 4th of July, etc. anthems cycled through the show during the appropriate time. Located in the Pridelands
Imagination Station-Kingdom Hearts Station : A transportation station for the Imagination Express train. For general information about the attraction itself, see the Park Overview section.
Kingdom Hearts Coliseum : Previously proposed for the Live Show round. In the day time, the Kingdom Hearts Coliseum will feature a live action show with Sora, Mickey, and more in which lucky guests will be able to become part of the show and fight the Heartless out of the Coliseum.
Concept art for the Kingdom Hearts Coliseum
Realm Flyer—Kingdom Hearts Station : A station for the gondola transportation attraction. Located in Traverse Town. For general information on the attraction itself, see the Park Overview section.
Pixie Hollow Playground : Guests of all ages are encouraged to explore the majestic and enchanting realm of Disney fairies in Pixie Hollow! This is an interactive walk-through attraction with many spirit-stone opportunities, mini-games, and playground elements. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with the many fairies which inhabit Pixie Hollow such as Zarina, Rosetta, Silvermist, Vidia, and Tinkerbell herself!
Tink's Tinkered Train : Tinkerbell has completed her masterpiece creation and is inviting all visitors to Pixie Hollow for a trip on this fun and safe kid-friendly coaster experience which weaves and winds its way around the Pixie Hollow.
Dining Locations :
Traverse Town Tavern : Take a load off and relax your feet in the comfy and cozy environment of the Traverse Town Tavern, where guests will be able to whet their appetite and sate their thirst. This is a quick-service dining option with dishes that offer standard lunch and dinner quick service fare such as Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers, Minestrone Soup, Grillled Chicken Sandwiches, and Chicken Tenders. The Traverse Town Tavern also offers a small selection of craft beer and wine for adults. Prices are fair and range from $8-12.
Be Our Guest Restaurant : A near identical restaurant experience to that which is currently present at WDW's Magic Kindgom. Located in Traverse Town.
Tumnus' Tea House : The ever lovable Mr. Tumnus has opened his small tea house for sons of Adam and daughters of Eve to enjoy his fine selection of all natural teas and coffee's. Here guests will have the opportunity to enjoy craft teas, coffees, and other unique beverage options along with a small selection of tea-time classic such as scones, cumpets, and croissants. Be sure to try the Turkish Delight! Prices are fair and range from $5-10. Located in Narnia.
Zazu's : Enjoy the tastes of the pridelands in this delightful small thatch and wood hut which serves various meats, churrascaria style (Brazilian BBQ), fresh fruit plates, and fresh flat bread and hummus plates. A quick service dining option with fair prices ranging from $7-14. Located in the Pridelands.
Retail Locations :
Aerith's Accessories: Aerith, the innocent and pure princess from Final Fantasy 7, has opened her own shop in Traverse Town, selling beautiful dresses, blouses, and beauty accessories of all kinds
Bobble and Clank’s Workshop : Come into Bobble and Clank’s workshop to grab some of fairy technologies greatest inventions! This is an accessory and trinket shop which also offers apparel exclusive to the Disney Fairie’s brand.
Wandering Oakens Trading Post : Come on in to the coziest Trading Post in Arendelle, with the most luxurious sauna in the North mountain! Both cold and warm weather gear is available here, including a plethora of Frozen inspired apparel and accessories.
Huey, Dewy, and Loey’s Toy Shop : Donald’s nephew’s know what makes a toy special! This two-story toy shop offers a mountain of toys of all sorts to kids of all ages!
That concludes my proposal! Best of luck to Scott and may the judges have mercy on our souls!
P.S.-Unfortunately, my Kingdom Hearts map decided to crash and die before I saved it! If I have time, I will redo it and repost it tomorrow!
Blake, I think it's the judges who need mercy. We both gave them a lot to digest. All you and I need right now is some sleep! Well done, my friend, well done!
Tremendous work, Blake. You developed a rich tapestry of technology and immersion in a way only Disney can afford and implement. Your park is a triumph of imagination and a spellbinding addition to the Disneyland Resort. It makes me want to brave the 24 hour drive once again to visit. Good show.
Blake and Scott -> Perhaps we can launch a kickstarter to get both parks built? We probably need to ask for about $4B, but in the end it will be worth it to see your parks brought to life!
I'm only speaking for myself and not for Blake, but I suspect he is also wondering what is going on with the judging of our final proposals. Other than James Rao, we don't even know if anyone has read them. I don't think it was ever announced how the judging would be done, if there would be critiques posted, really anything other than that we are starting out with a clean slate and our work in the past was not going to be considered, just the final proposals. Please let us know what is going on.
I think we're working it out ourselves at the moment. Don't panic, I've had a quick glance, but not time for a full critique yet (They are Gi-Normous after all).
Thanks for the response. Yes, they are a bit lengthy- and you should see how much I edited out, including an entire section on the Special Events and Holidays at Americana 1900! You gave me extra time- I guess we should do the same for you.
Apologies to the competitors...I should have posted this yesterday. Blake and Scott, I did read both of your proposals and intended to do critiques last night, but I had no idea I would spend over 3 hours just reading and thinking about everything. You have both gone above and beyond with your proposals, and I'm going to have 1-2 pages of comments each about them. Expect my critiques to be posted either late tonight or early tomorrow.
I can't speak for when the other judges will have time to get their critiques up, but since you both wrote such monster proposals and weekdays are busier than weekends for many people it may be a couple days. I'm going to tentatively say you should expect the winner to be announced Sunday, and if not we'll try to determine what is causing delays.
Like before, thank you for your patience. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
Okay, FINALLY done. I was expecting long proposals, probably something in the 20-30 page range. Both of you have written a proposal OVER 50 pages long! They are both outstanding, but I think we may be needing some length limits next time.
For this challenge, you each have about three pages worth of comments. I have broken them up by land for easy navigation. Most of this is general comments about each land with a sentence or so for each attraction. I then included a final paragraph of comments at the end. Now, let's get to it.
Scott: Americana 1900
General: From the beginning, I've thought you had a great theme for your park, and after reading the final proposal I am sure it would be a draw. The location of your park is excellent, as you only have one serious competitor (Six Flags Over Georgia) and you are really going after a different demographic with your park. All six townships fit the theme of your park nicely, and each is different enough that there is minimal overlap. The layout of your park is familiar and easy to navigate, though it does seem a bit unbalanced with the two ride-heavy areas adjacent to each other. A circumferential railroad is just as familiar and is an excellent transportation method, but I'm not so sure that running horse-drawn trolleys all over the park is a great idea. Admission prices and season passes are very reasonable. I like your All Aboard Pass, as it sounds like a great hybrid of the currently existing options and is an excellent value as long as sales are limited. Lastly, your operating dates and hours sound reasonable.
Maple Grove: Maple Grove is a nice entrance area for your park, as it immediately lets guests know that they have taken a step back in time. As everything here will be available prior to official opening time, a square shape is good to prevent clustered guests from blocking access elsewhere. The various shops located around the area are all appropriate for the theme and provide a variety of interesting things for guests to examine. The Village Green at the center is a nice touch, as while it will go unnoticed for most of the day it completes the small town feeling. Although the horse-drawn carriages do add to the atmosphere and the stable would be a good care facility, I'm not sure it's the greatest idea to have them all over the park. Perhaps rides could be restricted to a set area outside of upcharge tours. Fortunately you have solved the issue of horses covering your park with road apples.
Morrison Farm: I've been curious how you would make a farm appealing in your park, and I must say you've done a pretty good job of it. While not the most exciting area of the park, this is the largest and is an area even those who have no interest in the rural life can appreciate. The Mill Pond and Old Mill are decent centerpieces to your park, but I have a feeling few visitors will visit them as there is little to draw guests in that direction. Most visitors aren't going to care about seeing a 1900's farm in action. The Barnyard, on the other hand, will likely be very popular with families. I like your combination of the Barn Cat and Field Mouse rides, and you have cleverly reversed the roles from what is seen at most parks. Hay Bailer is another fun family ride, and the many kids that love animals will keep Critter Corral full for most of the day. Grandma Morrison's Homestead Restaurant sounds appealing, but with the size of Morrison Farm it would be nice to have additional dining options as well. Lastly, Morrison Farm Wagon Tours is definitely something different that can't be found in other theme parks, but would likely be more popular than capacity allows. Perhaps all the horses drawing carriages around the park should be used here instead and everyone should just queue instead of making reservations for a specific tour time.
Green Springs: It is quite common for amusement parks to include attached waterparks these days, and at some parks the waterpark is the main draw. That said, I've been a little skeptical of including one in your park, as theming a waterpark is a lot more difficult to do. You have managed to do a good job with that, but the theme of your waterpark does seem a bit incongruous with the rest of the park. I was hoping for something a little more nature themed, as waterparks are a relatively modern invention. I would have liked a little more description on your slides, such as whether they are tube slides or body slides, open or enclosed, etc. I also think you could have done without the wave pool, as it is a bit too modern for your park. That said, the more traditional water rides in your park (Gully Washer, Old Mill Scream and Shoot the Chutes) all sound like a lot of fun, though it's hard to tell whether they are part of Green Springs or Morrison Farm (or both). In addition, Over the Falls is an outstanding take on the classic river rapids ride and is definitely a headliner attraction in your park.
Courthouse Square: Any park themed to historical America needs a town square, and while Maple Grove could serve that purpose Courthouse Square is a much better version. A park's iconic structure does not have to be its largest, so choosing the Americana County Courthouse is smart due to the historical importance of courthouses. The description of Courthouse Square's facades doesn't sound all that different from Main Street USA in the Disney parks, but is your town is based on a similar idea that is a good thing. The two attractions found within the courthouse are excellent for showcasing the history of America, though An American Journey may be a tad too long for those who aren't interested in the material. The Grate Escape is an excellent family-friendly 4-D show, though I almost wonder if it would be better to make it an old silent movie (I guess A Trip to the Moon covers that area pretty well). I'm glad you put a church in the park, as all old towns had churches and it would feel incomplete otherwise. The various shops around this area are great and fit the theme of Courthouse Square. Mary Mac's and Harvey House are good dining options, though it would be nice to include one or two quick service offerings as well for those not interested in a full meal. The main thing that doesn't really fit is the IAAPA Hall of Fame, as the modern concept of an amusement park is somewhat anachronistic with the 1900's setting of Americana and it is likely most non-enthusiasts would ignore this attraction. Lastly, I really like the Theodore Roosevelt Hotel, but I worry you may be out of your typical visitor's price range. As your park is not clearly a multi-day experience and Birmingham is likely no more than 30 minutes away, a hotel starting around $300 per night would be a pretty tough sell.
State Fair: While the wedge shape is a little strange, this area still works fine. I have no further comments from what I said before.
The Pike: Redoing the originally proposed Boardwalk area was a smart decision, especially with the previously proposed Great Pacific Northwest Scenic Railway, though I'm not sure you picked the greatest location to use this theme. To the casual visitor, this area could blend with the State Fair a little too much. The Great Lumberjack War compliments the other two in your live show trio nicely and also fits with the Pacific Northwest theme of that section of the Pike. The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 sounds like a nice old-school dark ride and is a great representation of one of the most important events of the time period. Bisby's Spiral Airship looks like an archaic version of the suspended single rail coaster and fits your park nicely. The World Came to America is another great dark ride, but I feel like it would be dull and boring to those who aren't all that interested in the subject matter. I really don't know what to think about the Battle of the Ironclads, as while the attraction sounds interesting it seems like a naval battle would be difficult to portray well using a motion simulator. Using two different ride programs is a great way to encourage repeat ridership, however. Having a Hershey's Chocolate World in your park is a great idea, though simply dropping in the version that exists in Pennsylvania is not. Although I like the existing dark ride, for your version it would be much better to have a ride through the original factory and allow guests to see how the candy bars their great-grandparents enjoyed were manufactured instead of how it is today. Now that Knoebels has worked out the Flying Turns design, including one in your park is perfect as wooden bobsleds are on the greatest lost coaster types. The Great Train Robbery is yet another excellent use of an old attraction that has become rare in today's parks. Lastly, the Great Ferris Wheel of 1893 is a must-have for any area based on a World's Fair. However, you already have the Wonder Wheel of the South in neighboring State Fair and having two giant Ferris Wheels in one park, even of different designs, is a bit redundant, especially when they are practically right next to each other.
End of Day Festivities: Outside of Disney parks, it is relatively rare for a park to employ a nighttime spectacular. That said, it is a nice way to end the day and will add appeal to your park. The Faces of America sounds more like a diversion than a show people would wait for, similar to the castle projection shows at the Magic Kingdom. One Nation, however, is a great finale to the day. While it may cause some crowd flow issues, the show itself is great. I just worry about the cost of pulling off a firework show on a regular basis, as they aren't cheap (estimates place Disney's shows at $30,000-$40,000 per night).
Final Thoughts: Americana 1900 is a pretty neat park with a theme that distinguishes it from most other current theme parks. The park offers a great collection of attractions suitable for all members of the family, and a visit would be affordable for most families. The park is large enough that two days can be spent here, yet small enough that a one day visitor could see most attractions. However, the park has two big issues. The first is balance: Since a majority of the park's attractions are located in two adjacent areas (State Fair and The Pike), I worry that those sections of the park would be overcrowded while the rest would be underutilized. More attractions are needed elsewhere to help maintain balance, especially in the Morrison Farms section. The second problem is a lack of dining and retail locations, particularly quick service dining. Morrison Farms is especially lacking in these two areas. Other than these issues, Americana 1900 is a great park that I could definitely see becoming a reality. While it would likely need to start small, over a couple decades the park could develop into this form and at that point I would definitely travel to the park for a visit.
Blake: Disney's Realms of Imagination
General: In the audition round, your park was my top pick. In this round, you have presented an amazing park. The theme of your park is very appealing and compliments the two existing Disneyland Resort parks nicely. I do think you made a smart choice by eliminating sub-lands, as too many divisions can cause confusion. Your hours are a little odd based on the hours of the other parks at the Disneyland Resort. While it is not uncommon for closing times to vary, I'd think you'd want to keep the opening time the same as that of Disneyland and DCA. Ticket prices are mostly good, but I have an issue with one thing: Upcharging for the Heroic Spirit system. Disney tends to avoid upcharges for attractions, so as this will be a major component of your park it should be included in the ticket price. Also, considering this will likely be one of the marketed features of the park, a lot of guests would not be very happy if they had to pay extra for it. I'm glad to see you considered the resort's limited parking, but I think you went overboard. 40,000 additional spaces? Even if your park holds 100,000 visitors that is far too many. The location of your park is good, but I have a feeling you'd have difficulty finding 200 acres of land for the project. The overall layout is simple and easy to navigate, which is very important for a large park so guests don't get worn out by backtracking. Both the Realm Flyer and Imagination Express are great transportation options for the park.
Hero's Causeway: Entry areas should give an excellent first impression, and yours does an excellent job of that. Including rides in the entrance area is not a bad choice, but it means the traditional rope drop would be difficult to employ in your park. Epic Mickey is a great attraction and fits the idea of Hero's Causeway, but locating a big E-Ticket right at the entrance isn't the greatest idea as crowds may inhibit guest flow into your park. Hero's Academy and Hero's Battlefield are a good introduction the Heroic Sprit concept of your park, though if you're going to charge extra for that service locating two exclusive attractions right at the entrance is a major disappointment. You don't want guests to feel ripped off the second they enter your park. The Power of Imagination is a nice ride for everyone, and is probably the best fit for this area of the park. Same thing with your Walt Disney documentary...it really compliments your park's theme and is a great attraction to have at the park entrance. Your dining and retail options for this area are good, with a variety of options to suit many different visitors. However, I have to wonder why it is necessary to visit a physical store to purchase digital items.
The Shadowlands: The villains need a place to call home and you have given them one. While the idea of clustering all the villains together is a bit strange, it is somewhat of a necessity for this park. At 32 acres, this area over twice the size of DCA, but it has enough attractions to spend several hours of a day here. I'm not going to go mechanical engineer on you this time, but there are several attractions in your park that would probably be more expensive than they are worth. The Tyranny of Sultan Jafar is the first of these, as the ride itself sounds like a great Fantasyland-esque attraction but the ride system is E-ticket worthy. Disenchanted is a nice family attraction that could offer mild thrills while delivering a dark ride experience. The Gauntlet is a great interactive dark ride, and with multiple scene possibilities it is one that could be enjoyed again and again. Ursula's Grasp fits the need for a Dumbo-type spinner, a staple flat ride of many Disney parks. Hade's Underworld Explorations is yet another high quality dark ride with the perfect ride system for the theme. I'm glad that you stuck Rogue's Gallery in the middle of the area, as it allows for meet-and-greets with various characters in one spot instead of numerous separate meet-and-greet areas in each Villain's corner. The last attraction, Voodoo Shuffle, sounds like fun, but it is probably the weakest of this area's dark rides. Your three dining options are all good, though I fear some offerings may be a little to exotic for the average visitor. Retail locations are good as well, though I worry that having a store attached to each E-ticket in addition to the three you listed here would be overkill. Again, is a store selling digital heroic spirit upgrades really necessary?
The Enchanted Forest: This seems to be the hero equivalent to the Shadowlands, and other than being much smaller (despite containing more attractions) it is really well done. I am glad to see you have focused on properties that have limited representation elsewhere at the resort instead of just creating another attraction from the same source material. Brave: Return of Mordu is probably the biggest attraction in the area, though I would have liked to see something more creative than another KUKA robotic arm ride. Rapunzel's Tower Drop sounds very similar to Jumpin' Jellyfish at DCA, a fun ride for families with smaller children. I'm not sure how well a slide on the tower would work, however. Walt Disney loved carousels, so Merlin's Magic Carousel is an excellent centerpiece of the Enchanted Forest. Enchanted Theater is a nice short show, similar to the Fantasy Faire Royal Theater over at Disneyland. Bambi and Friends Enchanted Exploration Trail is a nice walk-through attraction, and based on its location I'm guessing Thumper's Adventure as the reward for getting to the end. I'm really glad you didn't make this one an interactive shooter. The Saga of Robin Hood is yet another great dark ride with some new technology, though without more detail it's hard to say if it improves the attraction significantly. Pocahontas shouldn't be represented by anything other than a log flume, so Around the Riverbend is a great way of bringing that story to life in an attraction. While the concept is intriguing, I must admit that Mad Madam Mim's Hut sounds a bit out of place, as it is focused on a villain. All the retail and dining locations in this section of the park are excellent.
New Carthage: Adventure, fantasy, and horror are commonly represented in theme parks, but sci-fi tends to be much more limited. Although your area shares a theme with Tomorrowland (the most well-known Sci-Fi theme park land), I'm glad to see that you have tried to differentiate it as much as possible. With how big Marvel is, I expected it to dominate this area and it does, with four attractions in New Carthage. Guardians of New Carthage is the marquee attraction of the area, and although I can't tell whether it is yet another KUKA robotic arm ride or a more conventional simulator on a track it sounds like an outstanding attraction. S.H.I.E.L.D. Special Ops Testing Facility would likely be the most popular of your walk-through attractions, as it is the closest visitors can get to becoming a superhero. Avengers Ascendant is a very unique roller coaster, though again this would be a very expensive attraction that may not be worth the price. I also question whether Disney would want two high-intensity roller coasters in the same park (this and Escape from Bald Mountain). While only marginally Marvel, Hiro's Battle Bot Arena is in the same vein and would likely be nearly as popular as the larger rides, especially with younger children. I am really, really happy to see that you have resurrected the Peoplemover, and you have done so in a form that fits the theme of New Carthage. New Carthage Street Sweeping might be cute, but at the same time I've got a feeling many would find it boring unless they specifically like Wall-E. I am not that familiar with Wreck-It Ralph, but the attractions you have put in Game Central Station all sound appealing to both fans and non-fans. You mentioned five dining locations, including two in the Avengers Dining Experience, yet only four are listed in your proposal. However, those four seem satisfactory for your area. The two retail locations are also a good fit.
Courage Cove: Of the three new attractions for Courage Cove, only the Courage Cove Street Stage seems like a great addition. I'm sure Journey Through Earthsea would be a great ride, but it has the excessive technology issue present. Splash boats are fun, but Triton's Revenge just seems unnecessary for your park. Everything I've said before still applies to this area as well.
Kingdom Hearts: The centerpiece of your park, Kingdom Hearts must be one of the largest areas in any theme park. The idea of creating several micro-lands is definitely unique, though your entry method to each land could lead to bottlenecks and crowd flow issues. Conflict Castle is an excellent attraction, though the concept is a little too close to Battle for the Black Pearl. While difficult to pull off, Hollow Bastion Adventures sounds like the more interesting experience as guests will be able to essentially enter a real-life video game. Through the Keyhole is another very interesting attraction using a ride system that (to my knowledge) doesn't exist yet. I figured a Frozen attraction would be a must for this park, and you've filled that with Elsa and Olaf's Magic Sleigh Rides. While this sounds like a good family attraction, I worry what omitting Anna could do to the fanbase. Traverse Town Inn is a great idea for a centralized meet and greet for similar reasons to Rogue's Gallery. Without seeing a map, I can't say much about Traverse Town Trolley, but to me it sounds unnecessary. The Circle of Life doesn't really seem to fit the theme of the area too well, and there are better ways to incorporate the Lion King. However, using the rotating theater is a nice touch. Timon and Pumbaa's Swinging Symphony is another attraction that seems more filler than anything. Lastly, Pixie Hollow Playground sounds like a fun place to allow kids to let off steam and Tink's Tinkered Train is a nice family coaster. The dining locations in this area are all good, as are the retail locations. With the number of attractions present, however, I feel the shopping could get out of hand if attractions have additional shops located at their exits.
Final Thoughts: In my audition critique, I stated that your park could rival Tokyo DisneySea as the best park in the world. With all the detail that this park contains, I definitely think that is still the case. You have a lot of excellent attractions in the park, many of which would be unlikely to ever be duplicated. You also have some excellent themed areas, and the interactive elements throughout the park totally immerse visitors in the experience. However, I worry that you may have gone a little overboard with the technology. Due to the number of highly sophisticated attractions present along with the detailed environments and interactive features (plus various external factors relating to the location), Disney's Realms of Imagination would likely be so expensive to build that it could never see the light of day. Your park is also so large that doing it in one day would be difficult for the average visitor, which could be detrimental to business (and would likely minimize park hopping, significantly reducing the need of the monorail extension). Lastly, while your park contains a lot of great attractions, it seems that there isn't all that much variety. Yes, Disney is known for dark rides, but your park seems to offer so many that they would get old, especially with several trackless rides, several omnimovers, and several KUKA arms. You also lack very many bridge attractions, as there is a big step up from the slow omnimovers to the high intensity motion-based dark rides and inverting roller coasters. Overall, this makes your park difficult to judge. There are tons of really good components in your park, but when everything is stuck together a fair number of issues arise. For me, I would love to visit the park (and it would definitely convince me to invest in a Disneyland Resort Annual Pass), but I could see the average visitor enjoying a day at the park but preferring the original Magic Kingdom instead.
Blake and Scott, you both have done an excellent job throughout this competition. While both of you have had missteps along the way, you've survived until the end and have created outstanding theme park concepts. As James mentioned, if kickstarting a theme park was a viable option both of these would be worth backing. However, there can be only one winner of Theme Park Apprentice 6.1. While I have decided who I feel deserves that title, I will not cast my vote at this time to avoid influencing any of the other judges. All I will say is that it was really, really close in my opinion and there is no clear winner.
Best of luck to both of you with the other judges, and hopefully the winner is crowned by the end of this weekend (after which we'll be making an announcement about TPA 7).
AJ, it is obvious that you put a huge amount of thought into your critiques, and I can't really argue with anything significant. I understand your concerns about not having enough quick service dining and retail locations. I had lots of ideas for locations for both, but was so concerned about the length of the proposal that I decided to focus on the attractions and major facilities, and hoped you would assume that there would be more locations than just those mentioned. I also would have restrooms and trash cans throughout the park, but didn't mention them either (that is meant strictly tongue-in-cheek).
I suspect that Blake had the same problem I had- we tried to keep so many ideas straight in our heads that some things we knew ourselves and thought were obvious were not obvious to readers. I didn't mention that The Grate Escape was a silent movie because I thought that everyone knew that the Keystone Cops were all silent movies and this would be a silent movie, with just the appropriate music accompaniment. One Nation would not be a fireworks show the size of a Disney nighttime show, but would mostly be a series of films projected on the buildings of the Pike, with fireworks used in certain places and as the finale of the show. I hoped that the backstory for Green Springs would justify its existence in the park, and once again I was so worried about the length of the proposal that I thought going into too much detail would be detrimental to the proposal without adding much important information. Mostly, though, I understand your concerns and appreciate your kind words. I had so much fun creating Americana 1900 that I'm almost sorry that it's over- almost.
Thanks for the honest and thoughtful critique, AJ. I've always enjoyed hearing your reasoning's for both your praise and your criticism. A couple of responses in regard to your critical points (I know you've already made up your mind and that my proposal must be taken as is, but for the sake of clarification, I'd like to address a couple points. Please don't mistake this as debate or otherwise disagreement with your assessment as I firmly believe you have been fair, honest, and magnanimous throughout this whole process.)
Firstly, in regards for the upcharge for the heroic spirit, the upcharge would only occur once, on a guests first visit. Once a guest already has a heroic spirit, said guest would be able to continue using the same one. The heroic spirit which they would be issued would also be fully usable with Disney Infinity 3.0, and are available for online purchase as well as select stores in the SoCal area. If a guest loses their spirit for whatever reason, they will be able to purchase a replacement spirit for only $4. After a data retrieval and account link occurred, the replacement heroic spirit would have complete functionality and would sync seamlessly with the old, broken, or lost spirit.
In regards to shops that specialize in 'digital' goods, perhaps I should have made it clear that these digital goods are attached to cosmetic trinkets. In fact they are the same small figures and trinkets a person receives when they purchase a current Disney Infinity character or power disc (if you're unfamiliar with the system, essentially every hero or power in Disney Infinity is itself attached to an RFID chip which is located in a figurine or trinket).
I never really envisioned The Enchanted Forest being the hero equivalent of The Shadowlands, but I can see how you would think that. The idea behind the Enchanted Forest was to allow a realm that is more geared towards family friendly/kid friendly attractions (I've tried to intersperse kiddie rides in most of the realms, but The Enchanted Forest was designed with children in mind specifically, with only Around the Riverbend, Rapunzel's Tower, and the Brave ride having height requirements. A Fantasyland 2.0 if you will.)
Guardians of New Carthage is meant to be a traditional simulator ride, in vein of Star Tours, not a KUKA or Scoop system. I incorrectly labelled only 2 dining options available in Avengers Tower Dining Experience. I should have listed three (the quick service cafeteria option, to the base sit-down restaurant, located on the ground level, and Tony's Penthouse, the high-end, reservation only restaurant.)
I gave Courage Cove a Shoot-the-Chutes for two reasons. Firstly, NO Disney park has a shoot-the-Chutes type of ride, despite the fact that it was one of the original rides planned for Disneyland, with many of Walt's original Imagineers wishing it was a ride they had included. So it would be a spiritual and symbolic homage to the original plans of Disneyland. Secondly, I wanted to stick with the theme of water rides for Courage Cove and felt that adding yet another log flume or rapids ride would be redundant (DLR already has Splash Mountain and, now, Around the Riverbend. DCA has Grizzly River Rapids). Triton's Return would fill that 'big splash' attraction gap that is quite frankly almost necessary in a realm/land themed around water.
It's really a shame about my Kingdom Hearts map, I may still complete it and present it for completion sake, even though I'm well aware that it shouldn't be considered as part of the final proposal. Perhaps I'll wait for the final judgement before posting it. It's hard to envision the location and layout of the land without a map, so I could see how this would seem a redundant addition (as a side note, Traverse Town in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games acts as a 'hub' of sorts, where players can access all other kingdoms from traverse town).
These are just a few things I wanted to clarify. Again, I understand the deadline has passed and my proposal must be judged as is. Thank you again for your time and insightful commentary as always.
AJ, far be it from me to judge a judge (as an outsider looking in I really have no right - that fact won't stop me!), but I have one minor beef (well, maybe two minor beefs) with your otherwise very fair and intelligent finale reviews.
WRT Scott E's in-park hotel you wrote: "As your park is not clearly a multi-day experience and Birmingham is likely no more than 30 minutes away, a hotel starting around $300 per night would be a pretty tough sell."
First off, I believe both of the parks amazingly detailed by Scott and Blake cannot be experienced in a single day unless you are just riding rides and short changing the overall experience. There is simply too much to see and do in a day. No way.
Secondly, in regard to the price of a room, it is a luxury hotel, with only 350 rooms, INSIDE a top notch theme park - not a Comfort Inn on the strip (FYI - I happen to like Comfort Inns...just needed an example). Disney and Universal would charge $700 to $1000 a night for a far lesser room without giving it a second thought! Even if you look at regional parks, the renovated Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point which is not actually in the park like Scott's hotel has room only prices that range from $215 - $1000/night mid week in June, with most prices in the $500/night range.
I think the quality, exclusivity, and location of this in-park hotel warrants a higher price tag - if only to ensure they keep the "riff raff" out! You don't want just any schmoes staying at this in-park property - you want serious vacationers who are willing to invest a little extra for the immersion that comes with being "in the action". Besides, at a higher price point the park can always run specials to keep occupancy rates up, just like Disney does with their usual 25% - 35% off pricing.
Just my two cents as a casual observer who really should learn to keep his big mouth shut! And no - I do not want to put my money where my mouth is and be a judge for TPA 7! I like being the heckler in the crowd who runs away at the first sign of trouble MUCH MUCH more! ;) Besides, there is no way I could make the tough decisions you guys have to make - I admire your intestinal fortitude to be sure.
Okay, reply time...
Scott, I would never have expected every restroom and trash can to be detailed in a proposal, nor would I have expected for mobile carts and street entertainers to be discussed. However, any permanent attraction, dining location, or retail location should be included. My general rule of thumb is that if something would be named on a park map, it should be mentioned in the proposal. In regards to The Grate Escape, I think it was the 4D aspect that threw me off, as I associate 3D with newer films and not old black-and-white silent movies. I just checked again and you did indeed mention that it's a silent film, so apologies for my mistake. I did not expect One Nation would be on the scale of a Disney firework show and just put those numbers in as an example of how much a nightly show could cost, hence why few parks do it. If you think your park would get the attendance to support one, however, it adds a lot of draw to your park. As for Green Springs, I think I just had a very different image of what it would be like and was surprised by the reveal. You originally pitched it as a hot spring resort, so I was thinking more of a natural setting and not an old steel factory. The backstory does help, and steel was an important industry in America, so it does fit the theme of your park, I'm just not sure it's the best theme for a waterpark. Writing a full park proposal is a very difficult task, but you have done an excellent job with it. I believe I was the only judge who didn't rank your park in the bottom three initially, yet here your are with a proposal on par with the original favorite of this season. Regardless of who wins this season, you are definitely one of the best competitors that this game has had and if the sorrow of the game's absence gets to you, there will be future seasons for you to try again.
Blake, for some reason I completely missed the fact that you're essentially purchasing a Disney Infinity character and was thinking the Heroic Spirit was more like the cards in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, where usefulness outside the park is limited. The upcharge now makes more sense. The digital goods also make sense when attached to a physical token of some sort (again, no familiarity with Disney Infinity). I don't think I would have noticed the Shadowlands/Enchanted Forest comparison if I didn't read the two areas one right after the other, but I definitely agree with you that it is also somewhat of a modern reimagining of Fantasyland. I'm still confused by Guardians of New Carthage as your proposal described it as "a KUKA/simulator hybrid ride, in vein of the various Transformers rides," yet you're now calling it a standard simulator. Which of the three ride systems is it? I wasn't sure whether you were counting Tony's Penthouse as a separate dining location from the standard sit-down restaurant or not...it makes more sense now. As for Triton's Return, is it meant to be a standard shoot-the-chute or a highly themed version of the ride? If it's something like those found at the Busch parks (ex: Escape from Pompeii), then it does fit the area, but based on your brief description it sounded more like a basic lift, turn, drop model, which really isn't up to the quality of Disney. While I do know a little more about it than Disney Infinity, I'm not extremely familiar with Kingdom Hearts either so it is a little difficult to visualize the land. My mental picture was something like Main Street, but with buildings replaced by micro-lands. In any event, your park is overall outstanding and, like Scott, you have proven that you are among the best TPA competitors over all six seasons so far. It's a shame Disney would be unlikely to front the billions this park would require as it would make the Disneyland Resort an international tourist destination.
James, I've found that different people have different ways of touring parks, so what may be a multi-day park to one person could be as little as a half-day park for another. For me, I've visited over 70 parks and there are only two I would consider to require two days: Disneyland and Cedar Point. To me, Scott's park seems like a place that could be done in one day (especially if you invest in the All Aboard Pass), but also contains enough for two days of fun without getting bored. I know you tend to prefer longer, slower paced park visits, so for you it would be a two day park for sure. For a coaster enthusiast, it would be a half-day park since there are only seven roller coasters. As for the hotel, I admittedly have little experience with theme park hotels as I've only used them on my trips to Cedar Point. My price comment is based on the assumption that a majority of visitors to Americana 1900 will be from Alabama, Georgia, or Tennessee, all of which are of below average for wealth, as well as the fact that Dollywood's new DreamMore resort (which is next to the park, not inside it, but is probably similar in quality) is around $200 per night. Perhaps I'm off a bit on that front. If so, just know that it didn't really make any difference in my judging and was more of a comment than anything.
AJ, if you want I would be glad to write an appendix to the proposal listing retail and casual dining locations through out the park...like anyone wants to read MORE in my proposal! Thanks for your response to our comments, and personally I think that James Rao would make an outstanding judge, and an even better competitor!
AJ, I did check out the DreamMore resort as well, but since the only dates I could find were in the late summer and early fall, I think the jury is still out on what pricing will be during busier seasons and once the resort actually opens. I bet prices will inch up closer to that $250 - $300 a night when all is said and done. And, like you said, the DreamMore really isn't that close to the park - certainly not IN-property. In fact its not even within walking distance. But you make good points, AJ, and neither of us are wrong or right - as it is all just speculation anyway.
For the record, though, I can tour a park quickly! You should see me blitz through Worlds of Fun and Six Flags Saint Louis - and, if I could afford FastLane at Cedar Point it could easily be a one day park: Force, Maverick, Top Thrill, Gatekeeper, Magnum, Gemini, Blue Streak, Raptor, Wicked Twister,and maybe Rogoogoo (or whatever they are calling it these days). What else is there to do? But for some parks it is better to let the immersion take over so you can really soak in the theme. Scott's park feels like that kind of a destination to me.
And no, Scott, I'm not creative enough nor do I have enough time to be a participant, and as for judging, I've seen AJ's job and I don't want it. You writers are such touchy people - who'd want to deal with you???? =)
James, first of all-"Rougarou"- although how much better or worse than Mantis will be decided in a month or two. Second, yes, if all you want to do is run with your Fast Lane wristband from coaster to coaster and do nothing else at Cedar Point then yes, it is a one-day park. But you would miss so much, and would have if I hadn't made you ride Cedar Downs, all of the water rides, stroll on the beach (twice), ride Matterhorn, watch "Luminosity", explore the Frontier Trail, cool off in the Town Hall Museum, watch Lusty Lil (who I understand is not coming back this year, much to CP's loss),scare the crap out of me on Skyhawk, discover Toft's Ice Cream and Elephant Ears, and best of all, introduce you to that Ohio favorite, Fried Lake Erie Perch Sandwiches!
And a note to Blake and Scott E.- yes, I did read through your proposals, both of them, and I really hope that many others did so also. It did take quite some time, but they were both remarkable. How to compare them to each other? Glad I'm not judging this one. It's like trying to compare Silicon Valley to Colonial Williamsburg!
Jim, Rogoogoo is a better name. All your friends agree with me.
And, yes, you can lollygag around Cedar Point if you desire, but as long as you skip the perch (which you should as it is just plain gross and overly expensive), avoid the sweets, focus on the good coasters, mortgage your house for FastLane+, and jettison the nerdy, kilt-wearing tour guide, it is easily a one day park. ;)
All things people should not do, of course, if they truly want to experience a high quality park like Cedar Point, American 1900, or Disney Realms of Imagination.
Not to sound like a Devil's Advocate, but did Scott's "A Trip to the Moon" dark ride draw any inspiration from this?
Christopher, I have never seen this before you posted this link. I can certainly understand your questioning this, but I honestly did not copy anything from it and I think my proposal was different enough from it to make that obvious. They say that everything old is new again, and it is obvious that somebody had the idea before me. It was a really amazing video to watch, and I thank you for posting this so that I could see it, and thank you for asking your question in a polite, sportsmanlike way. I was inspired by the movie, not by this dark ride version of it.
Just wondering because it looked very similar (movie theater queue, similar story).
I understand. I was stunned with the movie theater queue also. As far as the story, the story is the movie story. You can't expect me to have a ride called "A Trip to the Moon" then have it set in Nebraska. The entire point of the ride was a recreation of the movie, and since it was a movie ride having the queue in the theater lobby is kind of a no-brainer, such as "The Great Movie Ride" at DHS (or whatever it will be called).
If you are questioning my integrity, that is a different story that perhaps should be referred to the judges. I hope that is not the case.
I would suggest we drop this line of conversation completely.
I would suggest we drop this line of conversation completely.
Hear, hear, Chad H, I agree with you and with...uh...you. Doubly so! ;)
I hate to sound pushy, but is there any way we can get an update as to the status of the overall judging?
Great parks Scott and Blake! It would be nice for an update.
Thanks, Keith! I agree with you and Blake about the update. I would appreciate hearing how things are progressing with the judging.
I have sent an email to the other judges asking for a status update. I'm guessing everybody is busy and hasn't had time to do critiques, but it would be nice to know when they can be expected. If the judges don't post here first, I'll let you know when I hear anything.
Thanks, AJ. If we don't hear something soon, it might be time for Blake and I to start doing some renovation to our parks! I did say that plans are being made to add another Township to Americana 1900 (Keystone Studios) and I said that old attractions will be reinvented and new ones added...but I'll wait a little bit longer I suppose.
I'm facing exam pressure at the moment, I'll try to get something this week.
Blake and Scott,
As of 1 P.M. today, I still have not heard anything from DPCC or Anthony. While I expected this to be a long one to judge, the fact that they have pretty much disappeared is troubling. I know both have been on here in the past few days, so I do not know why neither posted an update on their status. I am hopeful we will hear something this weekend, and if not we will need to discuss an alternate resolution method.
I am sorry that you have been forced to wait this long for results. If either of you have input on the situation, please share. Also know that measures will be taken next time to hopefully prevent this situation from occurring again.
Chad, I know you posted a few days ago, but thank you for being responsible and providing a status update. Good luck with your exams.
Thanks for the update, AJ.
Okay, another update. Chad has a project due on Monday but he is hoping to get critiques done this weekend. If he cannot, he will submit his vote without critiques. DPCC has been extremely busy over the last couple weeks, but will cast his vote ASAP and post critiques if time allows. I have not yet heard from Anthony, but I asked him to cast a vote if he will not be able to submit critiques by Monday so that we can declare a winner. Hopefully we will not have any more delays and can wrap up the competition in the next few days.
I'm sorry to disaplear on all of you. I arrived in Orlando a few days ago, soI was very busy with packing and planning, etc. I plan to put together some critiques, but for now I will just cast my vote
I vote Blake Meredith to win TPA6.1
In a nutshell, I think both of you had attractions and theming that were equally good, but the interactivity of Blake's park simply pushed it over the edge and made it a groundbreaking park. In my opinion, you should wear the Helm de Minionis. And with Pride
Scott E - Americana 1900
I got to ask Scott, do you work in Marketing or Branding? If not, I think that may be your calling. Your choices of colours and consistent use of them in your maps and logos looked really professional - the use of the “Sketch” filter for the lands I think is a masterstroke.
I’m not sure about Alabama as a location, speaking as someone who isn’t in the US, when it comes to Holidays in the US (and I do insist on using the Australian/UK definition of the term rather than vacation), Alabama really isn’t on the radar. But, when it comes to the domestic market, I fall to your local knowledge.
Sometimes I must admit to feeling a bit confused as to whether this is a theme park, or a historical re-creation. I’m not sure which one its trying to be.
Looking at the few Alabama parks I can find, your ticket price seems to be twice that of the local competition; however those appear to be smaller scale parks. It may be worthwhile looking at a “Locals Discount” - not only do I see the Florida parks do this, but it also fits in with the small town theme. Some of you upsells seem strange and overpriced - the reserved hour tour, and specialty tours don’t quite work for me - I thought maybe the guided tour should be free, and the smaller ones seem very niche as to be unlikely to attract many people to make it worthwhile, especially at the extra cost (whereas they might be more likely to experience it if there and free).
The hotel, I see its need been debated so I’ll say nothing about that. Prices seem High though. Expedia will tonight put me in the Hyatt for $109 (3 star) Hilton for $118 (3.5 Star) and in the 4 star Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf club for $239; there are plenty of options below $100 a nigh also. You want $282 to $385 and you’re not including park admission. Yes, convenience is nice, but I’m staying in the Hyatt instead. For the money I save I could probably charter a helicopter to the front gate.
Maple Grove. I’m not sure what to say on this part. On one hand, its Main Street USA, on the other hand, its perhaps a more true to the source version of it. I’d have liked to see something that broke away from the concept entirely as the entrance.
Morrison farm to me seems a bit disjointed… Barn Cat, Field mouse, hay bailer and the homestead restaurants are good fits, but the actual farm thing… I know I said it before but petting zoos are in every zoo and farm tourist trap in the western world… and I cant see myself spending 30-60 mins going around looking at crops. On one hand, it adds to the authenticity of the place, but I can’t see it being a big enough draw to financially justify its existence 5-10-20 years down the track. I do love the picture of the calf though.
Green springs seems to have a lot of attractions, and I worry about this perhaps adding to the confusion further… Theme Park, Historical recreation, or water park? You’ve packed in so much here (and it is all good) that I think this might just be big enough to stand alone on its own as a second gate… White Water world, the second gate to Australia’s Dreamworld opened with 10 slides/attractions, and I think you have just a few more than that.
Courthouse Square. The map proportions seem a bit odd for a 3 story building with dome to be sitting in the middle, I’ll presume that the map isn’t to scale. Halls of our history I don’t like, it seems like you’re trying to sell America there too much, I’d suggest a more local version of the attraction might be appropriate rather than trying to fit in 50 states, tell the story about how the area was settled maybe… or an attraction about frontier justice might be better. I do like the addition of the Keystone Kops… I think that this is classic Americana that belongs there. The wedding chapel is a nice touch and surely would generate event revenue.
Things like the Barbershop go back to what I was mentioning before about being confused as to what the park is trying to be. Is it truthful to the source? Yes, but who wants to go to a theme park for a haircut? I think the space could be better used.
State fair we’ve examined in detail before. I still think it defeated my expectations.
The Pike, There’s some good stuff here, I like the Spiral Airship, it seems like a great “First roller coaster” for the family to go on. Hershey’s chocolate factory seems a weird choice, as I’m not sure Hershey would want to be a part of it, given they have their factory at the eponymous Hershey Park/Hershey Chocolate World, However, I see they do also have a spot in a Vegas Casino, so maybe there is a price that can be paid. The Ferris wheel I would have said was a good inclusion, if you didn’t already have the Wonder Wheel in State Fair.
Faces of America, its nice from an artistic point of view, but I cant see it being a drawcard. One nation I do like however, making history come alive, which I think is your goal with a lot of the park.
Yes, I’ve been poking holes, but you have a very good park, although I think its a bit confused sometimes as to wether it is a theme park, or whether it is a historical centre. I think some of the pricing and commercialisation needs to be re-examined, but for a theme park written and designed by just the guy off the street, I think its a really good one.
Chad, thank you for your obviously well thought out and researched critique. There are a few things that I would like to comment on but will wait until this is all wrapped up. Most of what you say makes sense to me, and is especially interesting to hear from an Australian who is (I presume) only familiar with America from taking Holidays here. One thing I must say, though. Please tell me that you are not a country boy, but a city boy. That calf is actually a goat. :+)
Blake Meredith - Realms of Imagination
I’m sorry to start on a downer, but I hate the logo. It doesn’t really tell me anything about the park and seems unclear as to what it is (although from context later I presume it would make more sense to me if I was familiar with Kingdom hearts). Logos are best when simple, clear, and when a child can draw an approximation of the logo easy
I wont go into your pricing for the park. Being Disneyland’s new gate, your pricing is pretty much fixed already as having to be on par with the other gates. Heroic Spirit is a nice upsell, and will likely drive up locals returning to the park to get all the achievements; since you’re carrying this RFID thing anyway, I’d suggest tying that into any fastpass system.
Kudos for telling us about how you’re going to solve the transportation/parking problems. I do wish Monorails would hurry up and take off, the future’s been waiting forever. In park transportation I felt the Realm Flyer was an odd choice, given Disneyland’s chairlift has long gone to Yesterland.
However, I do like your philosophy of being different from the park next door and how specific you are in the sizing, its very professional.
On one hand, there’s a reason why “things have always been done that way”, on the other hand, Walt broke all of the rules when he designed Disneyland. Having the opening as a closed area might be a harder sell to the conservative-corporate types who try to “minimise risk” by giving us more of the same, but it does allow you to have something more “epic” as the final memory of the park. None of the attractions really stood out, except for Walt… I was kinda longing for something more fitting the scenery to be here.
Shadowlands I like the idea of a magic carpet ride… Aladin strikes me as an under-utilised IP of Disneys… the other rides and attractions seem solid. Can’t find anything to fault, I love it.
If you're going for a forest theme in the enchanted forest, I’d avoid the T shape, or any straight line. In my mind Forests are twisty places where foliage makes walking in a straight line impossible, and your concept art reflects that. I would suggest having two lines/modes, one with the gentle drop, and one a more grown up drop, from the same tower. Your other attractions are solid family favourites. I would have suggested haggis in Fergus’s Feast hall, but for some reason US regulations prohibit the sale of some of the key ingredients.
I love the look of New Carthage, futuristic yet classical. The Peoplemover 2.0 promises to be a monorail for the new century.
?Courage Cove - I’d have liked to know a little more about Triton’s return.
Kingdom Hearts - I worry about the mixing of themes here - Narnia/Lion King/Travers town/pixie hollow, all of this might make it seem a little confused and cluttered. Not sure about including Be Our Guest here, but I understand its highly popular so trying to meet the demand that the other park can’t fill may be a good way to get people to try the park who might otherwise be cautious or visit next door anyway.
You've really "gone hard" rather than gone home, and stepped it up a gear. I think this is a park Walt would be proud to have bear his name.
Had the decision been based on performance thorought the game, I'd give the award to Americana, however, based on the final round, and that alone, I think the winner is Realms Of Imaginination.
Both parks are really well proposed and presented, but Realms I think edges it out.
>>>>One thing I must say, though. Please tell me that you are not a country boy, but a city boy.
Well, every Australian in his heart is a Country boy. I live in the UK at the moment opposite a childrens farm, you'd think I'd be able to tell a calf from a goat... Guess not.
I guess now would be a good time to submit my vote. Of all the challenges in this competition, this one was by far the toughest for me to judge. Americana 1900 and Disney's Realms of Imagination are so different it is difficult to compare them. It's like comparing Disneyland and Dollywood...both are excellent parks, and depending on your preference you may be more inclined to prefer one over the other.
In order to fairly judge these radically different parks, I have opted to apply my scorecard system to the two. This is the method I use to rank real parks. Basically, I give a numeric score (1-10) for each of the eleven categories, then drop the lowest category and sum the rest for a total out of 100. These categories are compared to every park I have visited and represent how strong or weak I feel your park is in each particular area. For this challenge, I have chosen to replace the "Employees and Operations" category with "Realism." If you have any questions about your score in a particular area, I am happy to explain. Okay, here we go...
Scott E.: Americana 1900
Roller Coasters: 8/10
Dark Rides: 7/10
Water Rides (not including waterpark): 7/10
Other Thrill Rides: 6/10
Other Family Rides: 6/10
Non-Ride Attractions (including waterpark): 10/10
Dining and Retail: 9/10
Landscaping and Theming: 9/10
Value (not including hotel or upcharges): 10/10
Final Score: 86/100
Blake Meredith: Disney's Realms of Imagination
Roller Coasters: 7/10
Dark Rides: 10/10
Water Rides: 7/10
Other Thrill Rides: 4/10
Other Family Rides: 10/10
Non-Ride Attractions (including interactive elements): 10/10
Dining and Retail: 8/10
Landscaping and Theming: 10/10
Value (not including upcharges): 10/10
Final Score: 90/100
It's very close, and I wish I could call it a draw, but I must cast a vote. I vote for Blake Meredith as winner of Theme Park Apprentice 6.1. I agree with Chad, however...had this been a cumulative competition, I would definitely have voted for Scott.
Thank you to both of you for playing. It has been a pleasure to judge your creative talents, and I hope both of you will consider joining us again next time.
Let me be the first to congratulate Blake Meredith. I knew from the beginning that he was the guy to beat, and I didn't think I had a chance to do so. I've gotten some really great compliments from the judges over this competition, and both Chad and AJ mentioned that if the winner was based on the overall competition I would have done so and won, but I guess in this situation the "whole was not greater than the sum of its parts". Blake's park is the park of the future. Blake and I have been in contact while waiting for the results, and actually since we both knew we'd be in the finals. He is a really great person, and I couldn't be happier that he is the winner of TPA6.1.
Now it is time for a confession. I am especially happy for Blake because I know how satisfying it is to win Theme Park Apprentice. I have done so twice. I won Water Park Apprentice in 2010 and the Tournament of Champions in 2012. I've been working under a pseudonym for this competition- only DPCC knew who I was and he was the only judge that I had not either competed against or judged in past competitions. I also told Blake before we started working on our final proposal because I thought he should know. My real name is James Koehl.
Yep, I am Scott E. Why the pseudonym? I wanted to compete again, but wanted to do so with no preconceived notions from anybody. I didn't want to be judged either too harshly because I've done this so often, so successfully and for so long, or too leniently because "I must know what I'm doing." I started out feeling pretty cocky, and I got spanked hard in the audition round. I realized that I would have to work especially hard because I have rarely seen such a talented set of contestants. It was absolutely an honor and privilege to compete against each of you. I just wanted to compete and present my final park, the park I have always had in the back of my mind, and I got to do that. There are lots of things about Americana 1900 that I would do differently, but mostly I am extremely proud of how it turned out. I will probably always be redesigning it in my mind, and there is so much that I wish I could have had a bit more time on to rework and rethink, but mostly I am happy with the park I was allowed to create.
I don't think I will ever compete again- too much work! I get extremely obsessed when I do these competitions- I forgot how involved I get, but personally it was a great time for me. It came at a time in my life that I needed something like this to distract me from hard times in my personal life, and having each competitor in here make me work so hard to stay in the game was the best therapy I could have asked for. Thank you, each of you.
I would not be surprised if you see me in some way in a future TPA competition- and notice I don't "think" I'll compete again. No promise there, but I will never again do so under a different persona- frankly I'm surprised nobody guessed it was me! So if you ever do see a competitor names James Koehl, get ready. I will never again not bring my "A" game- I won't get spanked as hard as I did in the audition round, and I did deserve it.
Blake, congratulations! You were a formidable competitor. To all the other competitors and judges, thank you for letting me play with you these past few months.
Ah, that explains a few things. Was wondering why your entries seemed so polished compared to the others along the way.
I hope nobody's upset. I worked extremely hard on my proposals, probably harder than I ever had to before. I lost a lot of sleep staying up late working on them. I knew that, if I didn't, I'd be going home early. The strangest thing was that I really didn't want to win- I just wanted to write and create my park. I wanted Blake- or really anyone else- to win, and he did, fair and square.
Chad, now that the "barn cat" is out of the bag, I'll just respond to your comments as me. There are just a few things that I want to talk about, maybe to clarify. One is about Courthouse Square. I modeled it so closely to my home town courthouse square that I even used pictures of our courthouse as the one for Americana 1900. It was not unusual for a county courthouse in this area of northwest Ohio, and probably just about anywhere in the American Midwest, to have the courthouse look similar to this, with a clock tower and dome, and surrounded by two and three story buildings. That is exactly what our Courthouse Square looks like, and it works visually and efficiently. The courthouse holds more than just courts, but also all county offices.
You questioned if Americana 1900 was a theme park or a historic park/center. Why can't it be both? It's a historic theme park. The two are not mutually exclusive.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about having a water park as part of the entire park. This is really not all that unusual, for example Kings Island, Canada's Wonderland, Holiday World...there was a question if some of the water rides were part of Green Springs or Morrison Farm, and the answer is "yes". They act as a buffer, a unifying space between two dramatically different townships.
There is an operating barber shop on Main Street U.S.A. in Disneyland and that is what gave me the inspiration for one on Courthouse Square. There is nothing more quintessential to a small-town downtown than a barber shop. If it doesn't pay its way then it could be repurposed, but I think it would be a loss if it wasn't there.
I admit I overcharged for the private garden tours. Blake and I critiqued each others parks after we had posted and when we realized that we were going to have a lot of time to kill while waiting for the judging to happen, and he hit that nail right on the head. I overcharged. So don't take the tour and eventually I would have to drop the charge or eliminate it altogether. The same with the farm tours. There is so many ideas that I had that I didn't get into the proposal, so many details that might have explained things better, and still the proposal was so very long. Frustrating. I suspect that Blake feels the same.
Pricing for park admission. There was no way to include every pricing option, including local discounts, special prices at local stores, etc. There is simply not enough room and- as a former judge- not really a need to go that in-depth. Like I told AJ, I also didn't include locations of restrooms and trash cans. In a proposal like this, some things just have to be inferred or ignored.
The two Ferris wheels were important, and I would not have cut either one of them. The Wonder Wheel is such a unique type of wheel, and the Great Wheel of 1893 was so important, that both deserved a place in this park.
You've written proposals before- you know how frustrating it is to try and get what you see transferred into the written word and shared with others. I can see Americana 1900 in my mind as if it really exists, and I wish I could share that vision exactly how I see it. It would be spectacular. And I am not saying that to infer in any way that you or the other judges made the wrong decision. Realms of Imagination would be just as spectacular, just like I told Blake.
So I will now get off my soapbox- another old phrase that many people have no idea what it really means- and will settle into my mundane life. I really do miss the experience of participating and writing. The sleep deprivation? Not so much!
And thank you to the judges and my fellow competitors for making this such a fun experience, and for all your hard work.
Gratz, Blake. Technology wins out again, though I must confess, I was partial to the old fashioned charm of Americana 1900 even though E. Scott turned out to be my good buddy/Cedar Point tour guide in disguise (good thing I never said anything bad about him!) Regardless, both of the finalists' parks would be swell to visit.
Wow, that's a pretty epic plot twist! James "Scott" Koehl, having never competed against you I was fooled, but that would explain how someone I've never seen on the site who seemed to be struggling at first suddenly became a top contender. I was half thinking that perhaps Scott was a retired industry professional or something (now watch Blake reveal he's a Disney Imagineer...I'm joking, I think).
Anyway, the amount of effort you put into this competition is amazing. I think I said it takes 3-5 hours per week to create a solid proposal, but I bet you spent far more than that working on Americana 1900. Your park is truly a great one, and if it were real it would fall right behind the Florida parks on my theme park priority list. No park is perfect, but without current IP and the bankroll of Disney yours is pretty close. If your park is ever complete (which I'm guessing it won't be), I'd love to see what its final form is.
James, if this was indeed your final time competing, I am glad you enjoyed it. However, in the event that there is a Tournament of Champions 2 down the road (no plans at the moment, but who knows what the future holds), I hope you'll reconsider. Until then, you're always welcome to return as a judge or, if time does not allow, as a spectator. Thanks for playing, and one last time...Outstanding Job!
Blake, while I do not know if DPCC will make an official announcement or not I want to congratulate you on your victory in TPA 6.1. From the beginning, you have been the favorite to win, and although it wasn't smooth the whole way through you pulled it off. While I'm not sure we're quite there yet, in 10 years I wouldn't be surprised to see development of a fully interactive theme park like yours. Disney's Realms of Imagination is truly a park of the future and, if built, could potentially become the best park in the world.
Once again, congratulations! If you don't hear anything else in the next couple days, please contact Robert Niles to discuss delivery of your prize.
Congratulations Blake! You did it! It looks like all of your hours of work writing and rewriting proposals paid off.
I'd also like to congratulate James "Scott" Koehl for making it this far. You've done well. And all the other competitors. It was incredibly hard to judge some of these rounds due to the quality of the proposals.
Congratulations to all of you, and I hope to compete against you next season!
Wow! Let me first say that I am personally SHOCKED that the decision has been unanimous! To be honest, I thought that perhaps my park was a little too far fetched and 'pie in the sky' whereas Americana 1900 was incredibly realized, efficient, and immersive! I didn't expect to win by unanimous decision!
Firstly, I'm sorry for not responding to this thread earlier. I had been working the Long Beach Gran Prix for the last week and have had very little off-time to sit in front of a computer and type out a proper, well articulated and thorough response.
To my fellow competitors, thank you for your participation, insight, and imaginations! You have pushed me to deliver my best week in and week out. Every single one of you is an enormous talent and inspiration.
To James, again, thank you for your honesty, creativity, and perseverance. I know we have been chatting privately, but I just want everyone to know that James is an incredibly honest, passionate, and driven individual who sincerely wants the best, not only for TPA, but TPI and theme park fans in general. A true gentleman and wonderful person through and through.
I would also like to thank the judges for their honest, insightful, and thorough critiques and judging. I know it's not an easy process and requires just as much dedication and time from you guys as it does from the competitors. There's a great deal more I'd like to say and respond to, but for now I just want to express how honored, flattered, and shocked I am to have won TPA. I had been following the competition for years now but have never had the opportunity to participate due to other things going on in my personal life. I am delighted and thrilled to have been given the opportunity to compete and win this fun, challenging, and fantastic competition. Thank you all again!
AJ-I'm just curious as to why i got an 8/10 for dining and retail while 'Scott' received a 9/10. Again, I know Scott/James had some great dining and retail options, but one of your main criticisms of Americana 1900 is that there is a lack of retail and dining options. Again, not trying to start anything, I'm just curious as to why it was scored that way.
Yea, right Blake- you wanna start something? Huh? You wanna take this out back and settle it, right here, right now? Huh HUH?! Yes, I'm just kidding. but to be honest I also had some questions about AJ's scoring. Frankly it seemed like we were being judged on specifics that were not specified in advance, but judging is subjective and if that is the way he felt then that is the way he felt. There are some areas where I felt that I should have scored higher than I did, and to be honest in some areas higher than you, but all that can really be done is learn from this for the future. We have both expressed interest in judging in the future, and I can see some strengths in his format. That being said, I think that if this format is something judges will be using then it should be announced before competition starts. I hate to say that competitors need to write for the judging form- that sounds so much like teachers teaching to pass aptitude tests rather than to educate- but if not knowing what we are going to be judged on hurts a competitors chances of winning then yes, competitors need to know this ahead of time. I saw my park as drop-dead gorgeous, with acres of crops, multiple gardens everywhere, careful landscaping throughout, and I had a rock-solid theme throughout the entire park that I researched in depth for hours, yet you were scored higher than I in Landscaping and Theming.
No, I am not trying to start anything either, with you or with AJ. Blake and I have created a bit of a mutual admiration society, and we critiqued each others parks honestly and in depth. I understand his question about dining and retail, and I suspect he understands my questions also. If we do indeed judge in the future, I think that competitors need to know ahead of time what they are going to be judged on. Judging will always be subjective in a competition like this, but competitors need to know what those subjective decisions will be based on.
I figured there would be some explanation necessary, and I did say I was happy to explain my scores. I just didn't want to clutter the original post too much. First off, note the following...
1. I was not originally planning to use this method and only did so because it was too close to call otherwise. This is how I rank real parks and is the most fair way I've come up with to compare vastly different parks.
2. These scores were based on the description provided in the proposal. No matter how well you can write, it is often impossible to describe what you envision perfectly, and the reader will likely picture something a little different. It is likely these scores would be a bit different if I were to actually visit these two parks.
3. Both of you scored high enough to place your parks in my top five. Regardless of what I may say, both of these would be among the best parks in North America without a doubt.
4. No park can get a perfect score in every area. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Now for the reasoning. I'll just list this by category and discuss both parks together.
Roller Coasters: James, your park had seven roller coasters with a good mix of family and thrill coasters. Many of the rides were also quite unique. However, you didn't have anything I would consider an extreme roller coaster, which was probably a good decision for your park but prevents getting a top score for roller coasters. Blake, your park had a couple of pretty intense thrill rides and a couple family coasters, but there wasn't anything in between. In general, this is not a good idea, and at a Disney park you definitely need a bridge coaster in there.
Dark Rides: James, you had several good dark rides in your park, most notably A Trip to the Moon and the San Francisco Earthquake. However, you did not have anything I would consider a travel-worthy dark ride, and I felt that a couple of the history themed dark rides, while good, could be a bit boring for the casual visitor. I also took off a point for what sounded like a carbon-copy of the Hershey's Chocolate World dark ride (if it is an original attraction and not a carbon copy, your score should be 8/10). Blake, your park has a ton of dark rides, and even though you have reused ride systems I have to give you a perfect score because I don't think any other park could beat this for a dark ride fan.
Water Rides: James, I probably should have given you an 8/10 here, but due to the limited description for a couple of your water rides (Old Mill Scream and Shoot the Chutes) I assumed they were fairly basic and thus not unique to your park. It also sounded like you have two indoor river rapids rides (Over the Falls and Gully Washer), which was a bit redundant. Blake, Around the Riverbend is a nice water ride to for your park, but Triton's Return seemed like a last minute addition and with lack of description just a basic splash boat ride, something that shouldn't exist at a Disney park.
Other Thrill Rides: James, you had a few classic thrill rides in the State Fair area and a couple thrill rides elsewhere, but I would have liked to see a bit more. Blake, this maybe should have been a little higher, but the only thrill ride I saw in your park that didn't fit the previous categories was Sugar Rush Remix.
Other Family Rides: James, this is another one that may have been an underrate. However, I didn't see a whole lot of family rides that don't fit into the other categories (note: I was not including transportation attractions in this category). You've got Field Mouse, a few attractions in State Fair, and the Ferris Wheels. I'll also be honest: While having both Ferris Wheels in your park makes sense from a thematic perspective, it is pretty much pointless from a practicality perspective, and I doubt many visitors would bother to experience both. I took off a point for this. Blake, your park has a good number of family rides spread throughout the park. Admittedly I was on the fence between a 9 and a 10, and ultimately went with the higher score because every area of your park (other than the entrance) seemed to have something in this category.
Non-Ride Attractions: Both of you did an excellent job here, so you both got a top score.
Dining and Retail: Confession here...I gave James an extra point after he stated that he deliberately left out the non-major eateries due to the length of the proposal. This is the only score I changed after reading responses to my critiques, and it did not affect my final vote in any way. Blake, the main reason I gave you an 8 instead of a 9 was because I was worried about retail overkill. You stated that in addition to the shops mentioned, each E-ticket would also have an exit gift shop that wasn't mentioned in the proposal. Based on the number of E-tickets, it just sounded like there was too much shopping.
Layout: James, your park has a great layout and each area is good. Blake, your park has a good layout but a couple of the areas were a bit too basic for the theme (a T in Enchanted Forest, for example) and I was confused by Kingdom Hearts without the map.
Landscaping and Theming: James, your park has beautiful landscaping and could potentially take the Golden Ticket away from Busch Gardens Williamsburg. However, I felt that your park lacked the wow factor that Blake's environments had, and this is why you got a 9 and he got a 10. It's like this...no matter how god Busch Gardens Williamsburg looks, most visitors would probably be more impressed walking into Tokyo DisneySea.
Value: I feel like I would get my money's worth at either park. Some of the extras may be a bit too pricey, but since they're not required to enjoy the park I chose to ignore them when rating value.
Realism: James, your park could absolutely exist in the real world. I doubt you'd be able to build it to what you proposed immediately (without a lot of investors willing to bet on a risky project, that is), but over a couple decades it could definitely get there. Blake, while your park could technically exist the reason I took off a point is because I don't think Disney would be willing to drop the $4 billion or so that would be required for it to exist as you envision it. Even over several decades I don't think there would be enough investment to realize every attraction you proposed.
Hopefully that helps to clear everything up. Like I've said, the system isn't perfect, and I would never try to force it as evaluation criteria in this competition or expect someone to design a park with the goal of maxing out every category. This is just my way of attempting to compare radically different parks fairly. The final this time was ultimately like comparing Disneyland and Dollywood, and that is not an easy thing to do.
Lastly, I will say that I was leaning toward Blake's park after the initial read-through. I applied my system only because it was really too close to call and I was curious what the results would be. If these two parks were placed next to each other and I could only visit one, I'd probably toss a coin to decide which one to visit.
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Just something to add. All previously proposed concepts MUST appear in your final proposal. A full description isn't necessary, but they must be mentioned.