Armchair Imagineering

With Halloween right around the corner what better time to present my idea for Disney’s next Florida theme park: a Villain’s Park.

Disclaimer: as far as I know Disney doesn’t have anything like this in the works, on or off the drawing board, or even in the vault. This is my own idea. Mostly I see this as a hybrid of a few different Disney parks (mainly the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Tokyo DisneySea).

The first land you encounter, inside the turnstiles, would be a small turn of the century country village. Most of my visualization and reference for this land has come from Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom and the Sleepy Hollow feature from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Naturally, this village serves as the main retail corridor; featuring restaurants, shops, guest services, etc.

At the far end of the village would be a church and graveyard, a covered bridge, and then the buffer zone. The covered bridge is important because, according to the legend, the bridge is the point beyond which the headless horseman cannot go. This concept could be extended to include all of the inhabitants of the Villain’s park – thus putting some youngsters at ease as they exit the park.

Similar to Animal Kingdom the buffer between the entrance and the main park would be a heavily wooded area. Instead of a pristine and natural oasis the Villain’s park would have a spooky autumn wood with elaborate theming and multiple paths to explore.

Even though visitors have caught a few glimpses over the tree tops once they emerge from the wood is when they’ll finally take in the full sight of the park’s central icon: the mountain from the Night on Bald Mountain sequence from Fantasia. This mountain should also contain a signature attraction – possibly the popularly rumored Villian Mountain or Fire Mountain. Can’t you already see the awesome nightly firework display behind Chernabog’s perch? Or, better yet, imagine Disney using the 3D video mapping technology they’re currently using on Cinderella Castle to greater effect on the side of this mountain!

From here the main path would circle the mountain and branch out into different sections, or “lands” (similar to most Disney theme parks).

One section could have a spooky and decrepit European village. Host characters could be the Evil Queen, Maleficent, the Horned King, Lady Tremaine, and Frollo. This land would obviously be the antithesis of Fantasyland – and the attractions and shops could reflect that. Instead of tame kid-friendly rides this area should host some of Disney’s most intense thrill rides (something Disney parks seriously lack). However, I can also see this area being home to Walt’s original Rogue’s Gallery idea – which could be realized in the form of that rumored Great Movie Ride redo.

Another land could be a jungle/forest type area dominated by Scar, Clayton, Gaston, Shere Khan, and Governor Ratcliffe. I imagine the main attraction is some sort of dark ride hybrid – sort of like The Great Movie Ride or Dinosaur – with a jungle trek sort of story. It could be a kind of evil twist on the Jungle Cruise or the Animal Kingdom Safari (maybe at night?). This land may also support the right opportunity to import the Raging Sprits ride from Tokyo Disneyland.

A third area could serve as the home for Captain Hook, Ursula, Madame Medusa, Captain Nemo, and more. I imagine a boat ride that cleverly uses Disney’s LPS tracking system to move the boats around multiple obstacles and dangerous pitfalls; all without the use of visible guide rails. I can also see this area of the park getting its very own Sailing Ship Columbia (pirate themed, of course). This land could also mark a dramatic return of the Nautilus to central Florida. I would strongly suggest that Disney stay far away from any type of Ursula-meets-Dumbo ‘spinner’ ride (please!).

Maybe Halloweentown, from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, is too obvious; but I still think it would be a fun place to visit. This land may be the best place for some sort of NextGen movie-based attraction – something along the lines of MuppetVision and Honey, I Shrunk the Audience meets the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. This land could also support some “off-the-shelf” type attractions with a Halloweentown spin. Imagine an Oogie Boogie dark ride. How about a Doctor Finklestein interactive laboratory (Innoventions meets Haunted Mansion). What a great chance to reach into the archives and pull out some of Rolly Crump’s Museum of the Weird artwork, too!

To the excitement of many this park could host Disney’s own version of the popular and scary Halloween events. Not that there’s anything wrong with Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party over at the Magic Kingdom… but, Disney could never justify those types of scare events in the child-friendly Magic Kingdom. How much business do you suppose Disney is losing to Universal’s event (as well as other competitors)? I’m sure that autumn wood buffer area would be ideal for some excellent scare zones.



4 thoughts on “Armchair Imagineering

  1. Love your idea and your illustrations. It is a great concept. I thought I would share my post from another blog on your site as it has a similar idea as your’s. Keep up the good work.

    Well we have the magical Magic Kingdom with all the fairy and pixie theme going on. We have EPCOT with it’s futuristic side plus its World Showcase bit (which I love). Disney Hollywood Studios has the movies covered and of course the newest park Animal Kingdom gives us the animals. Each of these parks are unique in what they provide us. They seem to cover the four corners of what we’d expect to see in a theme park.

    So what now. My personal favourite idea for a new park would be something along the lines of the Haunted Mansion which is in the Magic Kingdom. I love this ride so much and I think that this whole concept could be expanded into it’s own park. In my own website I write a lot about the various rides on offer at the park’s and without any doubt this is the one that gets me excited the most.

    So then the park could be themed on the paranormal with a mix of scary rides like The Mummy Returns ride and fun rides like the above mentioned Haunted Mansion.

    Imagine if the Haunted Mansion ride was made with a more serious theme to it. Imagine if the ghosts weren’t all jolly and singing, but instead made to terrify the living daylights outa you. Now that’s my kinda ride.

    So there you go that’s my idea for a new Theme Park. I hope your reading this Mr Disney Junior.

  2. This idea is genius. I would imagine this as a smaller, nighttime park, that would give Disney some much needed edge. I especially love the idea of the villiage. I’m imagining a small town, not too crowded outside, with cast members telling tales and rumors of what goes on beyond the bridge after dark.

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