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.