Thursday, February 23, 2012

Disneyland Paris that never was : The first DLP Site Map

Today's document is fascinating as it is the very first site map envisioned by WDI Imagineers for Disneyland Paris. As you will see below Frontierland is the only land which almost didn't had changes between this first map and the final result. All the other lands had big differences and we're going to have a look to these in details.

On this map, which was done in the late 80's and called "Plan X", everything in purple color are attractions buildings. Entertainment and merchandise locations are in blue, covered walkways in orange and transportation systems in light yellow or so. The red lines are park and lands limits.

The Main Street USA that we can see on this map was the first 1920's version envisioned by Eddie Sotto. In this version Main Street had a big attraction - number T 900 on the map - and it was the "Hollywood Theater" or "Circlevision meets Main Street Cinema". The Disneyland Hotel had not been thought of yet that's why it's not on this map. The elevated tramway moving outside and inside what is now Main Street Discovery arcade had a station on Town Square - T 400 - and another one on Central Plaza - T 100.

Frontierland, as i've said, is quite similar with the one we know. On this map Phantom Manor - W 1100 - is already at its current location, so is Big Thunder Mountain - W 800 - and the Riverboat landing - W 1000 - or the River Rogue Keelboats - W 700 . But there is also on this map something which don't currently exist, it's the attraction building W 400, near the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue location. This was supposed to be a kind of rodeo show. Considering that this is the Cottonwood Creek Ranch area the idea was to have a kind of stunt show which could exist in this kind of place. Later, when they decided to add the Buffalo Bill Wild West show to the Disney Village, this rodeo/stunt show in the back of Frontierland was unfortunately cancelled.

Let's have a look now at Adventureland as a big surprise awaits us. Adventure Isle and the Swiss Robinson Tree - A 300 - are already there as well as Pirates of Caribbean - A 1700. But the main surprise is the attraction A 500 as it seems that WDI Imagineers had envisioned to build a Jungle Cruise attractin at DLP Adventureland. Building A 400 was probably the indoor section of the Jungle Cruise.

Among the reasons why the attraction was not built there is the official one which is that the ride has been copied in many European theme parks, beginning by Europa Park. But another and may be more important reason could be the technical difficulties to have outdoor Jungle Cruise Audio-Animatronics during winter time. If you've read my previous report on DLP "under a blanket of snow and ice" you will easily understand that it was technically impossible to have outdoor sophisticated Audio-animatronics during this season which can be really cold. Audio-animatronics Maintenance would have been a nightmare, not to mention the frozen rivers, etc... So, for these reasons and although that i like a lot Jungle Cruise, i think that WDI Imagineers did the good choice when they cancelled the attraction. However, there is not a lot of artwork available about it but at least these two John Horny renderings...

And this other one showing another scene of the cruise in a more "cartoon" style.

Fantasyland looks quite similar to the current version. Peter Pan - F 900 - and Dumbo, the Tea Cups or the Carousel are almost at their current location, and same for It's a Small World - F 300. But Snow White and Pinnochio - F 1000 and F 200 - are not together on the same side, like they are now. Also, Story Book Land or Casey Jr are not on the map although "future expansion" is indicated on their location. Note also the other "future expansion" area in front of where is now the Pizzeria Bella Notte. It's the famous "reserved" location for the Little Mermaid ride.

Discoveryland is very interesting on this map for many reasons. First Videopolis, Star Tours, or the now extinct Visionarium are not on the map. The Orbitron - D 800 - and Space Mountain - D 400 - are already there as well as the Nautilus - D 650 - but Nemo's Submarine is on the left of Space Mountain and its lagoon was located where is now Videopolis! D 200 and D 300 seems to be two others big attractions but unfortunately i couldn't find what it was supposed to be.

But one of the major surprise from this map is the itinerary of the Disneyland Paris railroad. In this version the train station was not located in the back of Discoveryland, but at the entrance of the land! Better than that, it was a major transportation hub as both Disneyland Paris railroad AND the Main Street elevated tramway were supposed to share the same station. In this kind of "ventureport" idea all transports would have be there and it was a kind of gateway to the future, at the entrance of Discoveryland. But the idea did not last very long and artworks of this amazing train station are very rare. However you can see above and below two Tim Delaney renderings showing it. On the night view above you see clearly that the train station is at the entrance of the land as the Orbitron and Space Mountain structures appears behind the train station. On the picture below you can see that the Discoveryland train station was supposed to have two floors and a great architecture to mark the entrance of the land.

I've promised you at the beginning of this article a fascinating document and for sure it was one. If we look at it with objectivity, i think it's fair to say that WDI Imagineers did the right choices. They've kept the best and improved a lot the park since this first site map. Still, i regret the 1920's version of Main Street. I think DLP have the best of all Main Streets but something more radically different would have been interesting, too.

You'll find many others concept arts of the DLP that never was in my DLP book and this is what makes "From Sketch to Reality" a great book! I also remind you that the pre-order period will end soon and with it the 20% discount that anyone have when you place a pre-order. So, go ahead and place your pre-order now for your collector's edition copy! To know how to order and send your payment please go HERE. Paypal or bank wire transfer payments are welcome.

All pictures: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc.


Anonymous said...

That cartoony Jungle Cruise artwork shows Tantor from Tarzan, a 1999 film. Clearly this wasn't part of ELD/DLP's early planning.

Anonymous said...

I don't think so, why would have WDI drawn Disneyland Paris a whole other way like already existed for 7 years.

I think it is Junior, the baby elephant from The Jungle Book. That would explain why the snake Kaa is there too.

spajadigit said...

I really like the idea of the Tomorrowland railway station out in front of the land- it's like a gateway to the future, something that is missing from other Tomorrowlands. I also love the idea of it serving both the train and the 1920's tram... Totally cool.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

I believe that Imagineers did a really great job at Disneyland Paris, opening the most beautiful MK, with most of the best available attractions, in their best versions, and some great original ones, like Alice's labyrinth and the timekeeper (how I miss that attraction!).

The Jungle Cruise is nice, but very outdated and a big waste of space, I'm glad they didn't build it, because there are some many much better Adventureland style attractions that can be built with it's money and space, like Indiana Jones. I also don't miss the Tiki room in Paris.

By the way Alain; has the new Pirate ship opened? Is the Nautilus under maintenance?

Anonymous said...

That A-400 building was probably partly a Cambodian temple akin to the one in Florida, but the length of it along the railroad probably points to something like Disneyland's Primeval World diorama or maybe even a new experience.

Anonymous said...

To Marco Antonio Garcia: the Pirate ship is still under refurbishment, but I think it will not be long before it reoppens, I think it will before April because of the 20th anniversary.
I also do not think that it is planned for the Nautilus to go under maintenance unfortunately.

Thanks for this article, it very interesting. I am glad we now have a Discoveryland with a unique Space Mountain and not a copy of the other ones as we can see on one of these pictures.

It would be interesting to share aerial photos of the different Disney resorts as you did for HKDL few weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

Nope sorry that's Tantor. Google him, and the baby element from Jungle book and you'll see they're distinctly different. As to why the artwork would have been created so late after DLP's opening- who knows. WDI rethinks things all the time. Perhaps someone was still considering adding a jungle cruise, maybe a cartoony one (I'm sure Lion King would have been in there too). Far more likely, perhaps the image just was mislabeled, and had nothing to do with DLP. That happens all the time at WDI. It's surprising how often they don't even know who the artist is on a particular piece, much less what it was actually intended for.

Anonymous said...

Also, it appears that the cartoony jungle boat they are in is actually more of a Kali River Rapids/Grizzly River Run, type raft, inflatable around the edge and seats around the perimeter, but with a jungle cruise style smokestack and canvas. That would explain the turbulent water.

3d health animation said...

Amazing!I want to collect the book!I think that Disney must be better and better in the future.

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

Thanks Anonymous!