Saturday, October 31, 2009
In this part two of my tribute to Tim Delaney, we will have a look on his great work for Disneyland Paris Discoveryland, and more specifically the Discovery Mountain project. When Tim Delaney and his team of imagineers decided to built Disneyland Paris Discoveryland they wanted to design a whole different concept than the usual tomorrowland. Discoveryland was going to be a land in tribute to great visionaries like Jules Verne or Leonardo da Vinci. On the picture below, an early concept for Discoveryland’s entrance.
On this next rendering, by Tim Delaney, you can see another view of the land, including what was then Discovery mountain. It's difficult to imagine something more huge than this Discovery mountain project. Not only the building was going to be 100 meters in diameter (instead of the 61 meters of the current Space mountain).
Many different designs were produced for the exterior of this huge building as you can see on these next pictures.
But the closer design to the final Discovery Mountain version would have been this artwork by Tim Delaney.
Inside, you will have found inside a large version of the Nautilus, an underwater restaurant themed on the Nemo's "grand salon", an atttraction named “Horizons” , a café, the Disneyland railroad station, and the roller-coaster itself, of course...
Not to mention aerial tubes that linked to “Cine Magique” and Videopolis.
One of the reasons of this all-in-one-building attraction concept was to keep the guests as dry as possible . Because of the global warming it’s now less raining than it was before, but 18 years ago, when the imagineers worked on the concept, the rainy season in Paris could have been pretty long. So, the guests with this concept could have stay undercover. And, talking about water, one of the other great idea was that Discovery Mountain's entire interior was supposed to be lit from lights that were under water, which would have created this incredible atmosphere.
Once inside, the guests would have the choice between take the line to ride the roller coaster...
...or go all the way around the lagoon to enter the Nautilus. At that point , guests with reservation would have been able to dine in the fantastic “Nemo grand salon” restaurant , and through the Nautilus windows , one would have seen the ruins of Atlantis! Part of this idea was coming from Tony Baxter’s Discovery bay concept.
This huge inside volcano where you can see a track going out of it was probably the first free-fall concept imagined by the imagineers, another tribute to Jules Verne and his “Journey to the center of the Earth" story. The guests were supposed to be blow up to the top of the building - just like in Verne’s story when they escape the center of the Earth through a volcano chimney - and have a brief look outside to the park before falling down again. We know the rest of the story: this “Journey to the center of the Earth” was not build, another "Journey" exist now at Tokyo Disney Sea, and the Tower of Terror was finally the first free fall attraction to be built by WDI.
Of course the cost of this Discovery mountain project was really expensive and some cuts became inevitable. DLP finally have this Victorian version of Space Mountain - always with the huge cannon and the Nautilus is now outside, unfortunately without the Nemo restaurant and this one is probably the one i miss the most.
Below a rendering by Tim Delaney of the Space Mountain that was finally built.
The theme of this "final" version of Space Mountain was inspired by Jules Verne "From the Earth to the Moon".
The pictures below will show you WDI Imaginners at work on the models of the two versions.
Other pictures of the model...
The beautiful Columbiad cannon was kept from the original concept, and even some reminiscences of the “volcano” first concept with these rocks emerging from the Discoveryland lagoon that you still can see today.
The “Columbiad “ canon is not only perfectly themed in a victorian way, but it's doing too a lot of things. The Imagineers could have design this 22 meters long canon only as an element of the decor but they did better than that. In fact, when the train is “catapulted” out of it, steam is projected in the front, and, too, in the back, like it does with a real canon.
The upper part of the canon goes forward, and when the train enter it, before the launch, a door open allowing the guests outside to see the arrival of the train inside the Columbiad. At the same time a stylized sun on the side of the cannon turn right and left and when all these elements work together the whole show is fantastic to look at.
Mind you, the title “Discovery mountain” was still use until two months before the opening in 1995. Officially the change was done for marketing reason, DLP executives thought that the word “Space “ would be more immediately understood as a “space roller coaster” by the visitors than “Discovery Mountain”. This is why the initials “D.M” were still on the side of the trains at the 1995 opening as it was too late to change them...and for the imagineers it was also a way to keep secretly a bit of the ride's history.
This next picture with Tim Delaney (front row on the right) and many WDI Imagineers was shoot on the top of Space Mountain to celebrate the end of the works. Top of the world!
Space Mountain first adventure “from the earth to the moon” was a huge hit from opening day. Great story and solid theming by Tim Delaney and his team of Imagineers. For the first time riders could directly walk in through inside a Space Mountain right in the middle of the attraction and watch the trains going at high speeds between the meteorites.
The boarding room was designed as a victorian station which celebrates the “Gun club” first flight to the moon ( the name come from the Jules Verne novel ) and the “bronze” colour of the trains was perfectly chosen. For almost the first time the trains had on-board audio - I say "almost" because the first time WDI utilized this unique on-board audio system was one year before, in 1994, on DLP Fantasyland Casey Jr. Train.
The launching with the cannon worked perfectly and the ride was, back in 1995, the fastest ride in a Disney theme park, with loops, etc, all that at 70 km per hour...
The theming in the ride itself was totally inspired by Verne’s novel: the train enter at high speed the “Lunar mining co”, then enter a huge meteorite, before he approach the moon which was designed as a tribute to Georges Melies famous silent movie.
After a race through meteorites the train comes back to the station, passing through the “electro-de-velocitor”, another decor inspired by the novel.
And of course there is outside the gorgeous night lighting. Designed by Michael Valentino, one of the best lighting expert of WDI, his work is stunning. It is so beautiful that it is “hypnotic”, you can’t take your eyes out of it. The mix of theatrical lighting and neon transforms Space Mountain at night in a kind of huge “space ship” and it's a wonder, really!
It is time to meet Tim Delaney in person in this great BBC documentary probably one of the best "making-of" ever done for a Disney theme park attraction - if not THE best. "Shoot for the Moon" was filmed in 1994-1995 during the building of the Disneyland Paris version of Space Mountain and Tim Delaney, show producer of the land, appears in person, with many others WDI imagineers.
Those of you who've already watch it will be pleased to see it again, but for those of you who have never seen this documentary i strongly recommand you to take the time to watch it because it's reaaally a perfect documentary!
A last rendering of Space Mountain. In the part three of this Tim Delaney tribute, coming soon, an exclusive interview with Tim on his work for Hong Kong Disneyland. Don't miss it!
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Photos and Artwork: copyright Disney
Daily Motion videos: copyright BBC and Disney. All my thanks to Zn00p1