Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Afterthoughts...


Just some observations/clarifications regarding the news...

I've seen a lot of comments out there regarding the Hong Kong Disneyland's expansion and wanted to give my thoughts about it.

Many people are upset with the introduction of a "Toy Story Land" because it appears too "Carny" to them. Being as how I hate "Dinoland USA" in DAK, I understand how they feel and where they're coming from. But...

I think the reaction to it is based on the preliminary artwork which is as you would expect not what you are used to. The Herbert Ryman styled designs haven't been used much of late when presenting of artwork for future attractions. I don't mean to demean the artist who did these, but the style most Disney fans look forward to are the kind of paintings you see from Byron Jowers, George McGinnis or the late great Peter Ellenshaw. It appears too cartoony, even for a cartoon land and doesn't convey the sense of wonder that these places can provide a ten year old, or someone that has a ten year old inside them. I think this type of art is one of the few things fans didn't like about the "Cars Land" artwork, alas when it's all done the results should look not only beautiful, but stunning in some places as well. I've heard from those that have seen other artwork and have commented how nice it looks, I just guess that the Walt Disney Company will want to bring out more of this slowly and at a later date. But when it comes to the new Toy Story Land, think of it as HKDL's Toon Town. Truthfully, that's essentially what it is. And when it's built it'll attract a large following of kids brought up on Woody and Buzz, not Mickey and Donald... and I'm fine with that. There are limitations to one's desires and you have to understand where they're coming from and who they're trying to appeal to.

Lastly on this, those who have wondered about this in relation to Walt Disney Studios Paris' version of this land would be correct if they thought that this was going to be what they get. It is very close to what will wind up in France with the main difference being that it's inverted. For those that are grammatically challenged to envision that concept, just look at it in a mirror and you'll get an idea of what happening in Europe.

Now, Mystic Point which houses Mystic Manor, well this is what you've been hearing rumors about all this time over the past couple of years. This is the Adventureland themed Haunted Mansion that we were all hearing about. Minus the Omni movers and plus a lot of lazers and flashy magic. This land is my favorite of what was announced. With the addition of The Adventurer's Club as a fine dining restaurant you can expect lush and detail theming around this place. I know many of you were thinking/hoping that this would be just an expansion of Adventureland with the HM should think of this in relation to New Orleans Square and Adventureland in Anaheim. They tend to blend right into one another. The same can be said of Mystic Point. Don't think of it as so much an entirely new land as it is a specialized extent ion of Adventureland.

And that area will lead you right into what will be considered "Frontierland" in Hong Kong Disneyland. Now, it's not called that, but you might as well call it that or at least think of it as such. Just like in Tokyo Disneyland they don't call Frontierland by that name, but instead go by "Westernland" because Japanese tend to not have a concept of what a frontier is. Such will be the case in China, err, scratch that, Hong Kong I mean. Don't want to say anything about the rest of that country since we'll find out soon enough about that. But Grizzly Trail will be HKDL's own unique representation of it. Again, I think the problem is the artwork. If they'd presented a design by Sam McKim then most Disney fans would have been relieved, but they've chosen to go with this simplistic, cartoon look for the presentation. Just so you know, this is not the look of the final land, but simply an artistic mock-up. Now this isn't the end of this land (only the first phase). If you look down below it on that map you'll notice a large swath of land still for construction. That part is reserved for an expanded Grizzly trail or should plans change, a Critter Country or something else. Nothing permanent has been approved, and plans/designs are always fluid, but that area is set aside based on how things happen and how attendance picks up. Or not... but I have a feeling that this plan which gets started next year and gets finished late 2014/early 2015 will make many more locals come to see what a Disney park can offer.

Of course, when it's all done, there'll most likely be competition from the mainland to deal with. But that competition will be quite a bit different than HKDL and it'll also have to be in a much later post...

22 comments:

Frenchboy said...

you gotta wonder though how many NEW attractions/E-tickets this is going to bring... From what i can see, that's "only" two and is that going to be sufficient to give a "whole day" experience to the guests? To be continued....

Anonymous said...

A Chinese paper has said that the Grizzly area and Mystic Point will be exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland (this includes the Adventurers' Club). The Toy Story Land will be their exclusive attraction for Asia. I've also read that Toy Story Land is being considered to replace the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area at DHS.

Mike Luzzi said...

I think the addition of lands themed after an individual movie is a turn in the wrong direction. "Cars Land?" or "Toy Story Land?" When has this been done in the past?

Couple this with the basic re-theming of the Living Seas to be a Nemo Land and "A Bug's Land" or whatever in DCA... I see a sad trend happening here.

I was excited to see Lasseter put in charge of parks but now I am getting a bit worried. It seems like he doesn't get the whole concept of the parks. One land should never be pigeon holed as a specific movie land. If you do that then you inherently date the land in the future. It also takes away some of the charm.

Now I am ok with the Arabian Coast in TDS. This land is pretty much an aladdin land but I am glad they didn't call it "Agrabah." By calling it "Arabian Coast" they kept the land divorced form a specific movie and have a sinbad ride which is very charming and has nothing to do with Aladdin (the movie)

Somebody please tell the imagineers (or whoever is green-lighting these developments, I assume Lasseter) to stop making lands entirely based on and named after films. Thre is no "Peter Pan Land" or "Snow White Land" If you call it "Toy Story Land" how do you ever expand?

This is getting away from what makes Disney parks special and crossing the fine line, in my opinion, into other not-so-special parks (think IOA)

Mike Luzzi said...

I think Mystic Point is just the kind of imagineering we need. Kudos on a great sounding concept.

This really makes me want to visit HKDL now. I am a big advocate of individualizing the parks.

Sea World Fan said...

again the question is what is the timeline , what do they add first? I would imagine it would be either mystic point or the grizzly area something unique....? would toy storyland go last?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that Toy Story Land is too specific, even if the theme of "Toys" is more generic.

I think some kind of "small" land would work, because there are numerous characters the size of Woody and co. in other Disney and Pixar movies that could be integrated. The land would remain as though you have been shrunk and everything is oversized. Then its only a matter of tying those themes together.

Don't like the idea of one-franchise lands. Never have. Although I've not visited any (excluding Jurassic Park at Universal). So I suppose my opinions could change.

Anonymous said...

"I've also read that Toy Story Land is being considered to replace the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area at DHS."


The new Toy Story Playland is currently being built in a new expanded area near the Tram load area.

Anonymous said...

"The new Toy Story Playland is currently being built in a new expanded area near the Tram load area."

He means DHS, not WDSP.

HT said...

Honor, is the expansion pad next to Toy Story Land for the eventual addition of TSMM? Also, you say that Toy Story Land is the answer to Toon Town, yet, there is an open space above Fantasyland, which to me seems to be the logical place for the Toy Story Land. Is the reason that it is not there because they are saving that for a real Toon Town down the road?

Anonymous said...

Honor--Since you happened to mention Carsland, I am very curious about something; do you know if WDI is set and locked to called the new land Carsland, or is there really a chance that it could still be called something else?

olegc said...

while reading the descriptions it seems they borrowed the story for Mystic Point from TDS's Tower of Terror, the Grizzly coaster sounds more like Expedition Everest (backwards and exploding out of the mountain) and Toy Story land sounds like a cross between ToonTown and Bug's Land in DCA. As stated - we will have to wait and see how this progresses...

Anonymous said...

I'm not too concerned about "Toy Story Land" I would be far more upset if it were going to be built in the original Disneyland in California. But its not, and it never will since there is clearly no room for such a land in California.

Sea World Fan said...

In an attempt to draw more international visitors, the new attractions will include two themed areas — "Grizzly Trail" and "Mystic Point" — which will be exclusive to Hong Kong's Magic Kingdom for their first five years. A third area, "Toy Story Land" — based on the Disney/Pixar Toy Story film — will be exclusive within the Asian region. The expansion will boost the total number of attractions to more than 100 and enlarge its current space by nearly a third.

Sea World Fan said...

I forgot the source is time magazine

Spokker said...

I'm just glad Toy Story Land is not the only new thing being presented. There are also two lands not based on any movie. That's fine by me!

Anonymous said...

What the heck are they thinking? Building a Toy Story CRAPPY Land in a MK-style park? NO WAY!!!!

Anonymous said...

To Mike Luzzi and all the doom-and-gloom-sayers...STOP WORRYING, STOP DISSING LASSETTER, ETC.!!!

GO GET LIVES, YOU GUYS!!!

Anonymous said...

/\ Agreed. Especially with the
"Go get Lives" part.
I usually don't make comments because of all the arguing and drama, but this time I just had to say that agree with that last comment.

Spokker said...

Wouldn't "getting a life" constitute not following Disney's every move on a blog regardless of whether you are generally positive or negative about those moves?

Dizgirl said...

We're all here to discuss Disney's every move. This blog exists for that reason. Cheap attacks like "get a life" really have no place here.

Anonymous said...

Also I agree. Disney thrives on being timeless. Fantasyland--for example-- will continue to grow with new franchises and maintain a nostalgic feeling for the old ones. Therein lies the genius, and Walt's original idea of always growing, always changing. Tying a land to a singular franchise will cause it to date itself. Jurassic Park anyone? A movie meant for a theme park land we all thought...look at it now. We all know how much money it costs to re-do mistakes, and Disney doesn't like to cough up the cash. Once a specific franchise is stamped on something, it'll be there forever. Or worse, be colored over or retrofit. Lasseter is a genius in his own way, but one must be careful when given such freedom.

Anonymous said...

Honor Hunter, maybe if you would 2719 Hyperion's articles about Dinoland and listen to the WDW Radio Show podcast's episode with the Dinoland Disney Scene Investigation segment, you'll learn to love the Dino-Rama and stop being as hateful of it as the other mindless Disney-hating jerks running amok.

It's all required (yes, REQUIRED) reading and listening!