Tuesday, April 13, 2010

" Back to the Dinosaurs " Attraction Concept

I'm revealing today the Dinosaurs attraction concept that i've designed seven years ago with Jeff Burke, who was the Frontierland show-producer at Disneyland Paris. This was not developed to be a WDI project so don't expect to see it one day in a Disney theme park. For many reasons, beginning by the cost of the project the attraction is not yet built but who knows what the future is made of, so anything can happen!

Before i introduce you to the concept itself i'd like to explain you why i choose this dinosaurs theme. Please don't rush to see the artwork - and we have beautiful renderings done by four different artists - because you will not understand the concept if you don't read the text too.

So, as it happens sometime in life the birth of this concept came from a frustration, and in this case the frustration was to have never found the dinosaurs attraction i was hoping for. It's not that i don't like Animal Kingdom's Dinosaurs ride - although it would have been much better if Eisner hasn't done some cuts in it - and on a "thrill" point of view the ride is real fun, but, hey, we're supposed to be here to see dinosaurs, and it's a bit too dark for that. The Jurassic Park ride at Universal is another problem: this time it's not dark, there is plenty of Dinosaurs, but still, something doesn't "work", may be it's because of the motion of the flume ride which is really slow...

Anyway, what i always expected from a dinosaur ride is to send me back in time 60 millions years ago, and to see Dinosaurs on a big scale. In two words to have the illusion i'm really back to the Jurassic or Cretaceous era. This means huge decor, real size dinos, etc... but as you will see there is nothing impossible to achieve, it's only a matter of money - as usual - and of course you need a huge facility, in our case around 8000 square meters which, i admit, is really a big "box".

The other thing that Jeff and I tried to do was to create a "classic", i.e a ride that guests will be always happy to ride and ride again, forever. To do this it's important to understand what makes a good attraction. If someone was asking me the question i will answer that a good attraction is a ride where guests will experience different kind of emotions and not only one. Let's take the example of Pirates of Caribbean, the "classic of all classics": There is not a lot of thrill moments in POTC, only two falls, but the story telling, the AA animation, the lighting, the decor and the humor of each scenes makes a ride which is as successful now as it was more than 40 years ago.

The POTC ride at Disneyland begin peacefully with the blue bayou scene which is almost contemplative, then the boat enter the caves scenes, more scary and with the two falls, and then you gently arrive to the fort and all the scenes in the town. From that point it's the humor of each scene along with the magic of the AA technology and the great sets and lighting which creates the magic. I also add an important point: Pirates are so much part of our childhood collective subconscious that the theme find an unconscious resonance in each of us.

All this is important because generally executives always claim that guests want only thrill rides with lot of "sensations", and i think it's a lie. Guests for sure DO like thrill rides but the lie is in the "only". If they were true, POTC , It's a Small World, or the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland or Spaceship Earth at Epcot will be empty all year long and we know it's not the case. What i think is important is that guests experience in an attraction different kind of emotions which have a meaning with what life really is, and if the ride find a resonance in the collective subconscious, it's even better. If you succeed to create a ride where guests experience this, then you got it, you have a "classic" attraction.

The attraction project that Jeff and I designed in 2003 was called "Back to the Dinosaurs". It was a project title and this one could change but at least it says clearly what the ride will be: guests will be back to the Dinosaurs era. As you will see below two different beginning were envisioned: in the first version guests would enter inside a pavilion with a design like the one you could find at Epcot and a time travel company send them back to the Jurassic era. There was a pre-show scene before that and during the ride itself "time tunnels" were there from a scene to another one to keep historically correct the transition from a kind of dinos species to another one, as all were not living at the same era. I was also happy to found a new species of dino never used before for the "villain" part. Generally the T-Rex is the "bad guy" - and he also appears in our ride - but this one, a Therizinausaurus who really existed, was not bad at all with his giant claws.

Then i began to thought that the Time Travel company idea was a bit too easy and also has been used in other dinosaurs ride. So i found a new way more complicated and more "hard to swallow" to send guests back in time. I will explain it in details below but
let's have a look first at the first opening version. With each rendering you have the script which depicts precisely what guests would experience in each scene. If you want to feel exactly what the ride would be - and also understand what's happening - you must read the script!

There we go for the ride decription, click on each artwork to see it in big size, and don't miss Friday the part two of this article as i will explain for each scene how Jeff and I would have done it, technically speaking.

Opening first version :

A building with a futuristic look. The whiteness of the façade lights up the space and provides a contrasting background for the colorful logo of Chronos Time Travel, Inc.

Alongside the route that guests take to enter the building are stylized posters that offer visitors trips back in time from Roman Antiquity to Ancient Egypt and up to 150 million years in the past, to a time before man’s existence, when dinosaurs ruled the earth: "Discover the wonders of the Egyptian pharaohs!" "Experience the fall of the Roman Empire!" "Encounter the 60-foot-long Brachiosaurs!" "Come face to face with T.Rex in a fight to the death!" "See the giant meteor from outer space that will kill them all!"

Opening first version queue decor:

Showcased in window displays along the route leading up to the load area, visitors glimpse dinosaur fossils brought in from excavation sites.

On plasma screens, a hostess explains why the Chronos Time Travel expedition has settled at this particular location: a large deposit of dinosaur fossils was found just several hundred yards from here. By stationing themselves at this spot, Chronos Time Travel can promise time travelers that they will find themselves in a valley inhabited by many different species 100 million years ago. A paleontologist working at the dig site appears on screen to announce his latest find: a rare Therizinausaurus skeleton. Only one other such specimen was found in Mongolia in 1948.
Holding up what appears to be the creature’s arm, the paleontologist explains that this animal had claws that measured more than 23 inches long and must have been a formidable predator to its prey…

The hostess reappears on screen to announce that a time link has been established with the Jurassic period and that the time travel shuttle for this destination is expected to depart in about 5 minutes.

Opening first version Pre-show:

The moment of departure for the guests has arrived. They board the shuttle and a state-of-the-art automated figure welcomes them. “Welcome, welcome time travellers! Please take your seats. Our shuttle will be traveling back in time and space in just a few moments…” and while pushing buttons and working at the control panel in front of it, the automated figure continues: “Just a few more seconds, while I repair a few glitches from our last flight and…voila, we’re ready! Is everyone here? Good!

First of all, here are the precise instructions that the Jurassic Time Travel company asks you to follow to the letter:
You are going on a trip today that will take you back in time 150 million years to the Jurassic era. But don’t worry time travellers…it will not take us that long to get there! The shuttle onto which you have just embarked is known as Time Shuttle Five. Yes, regrettably, our first four models never returned. They didn’t survive the transit through the great meteor shower at the end of the cretaceous period 60 million years ago! Well, we’ll certainly try to do better this time!”
“Oh yes, and here is the most important information…when we arrive safe and sound at our dock…or should I say at our jungle…my goodness, you wouldn’t believe the plant life that existed back then…now, where was I? Oh yes! As soon as we arrive, you will be instructed to disembark our lovely shuttle so you can enjoy the wonders of the Jurassic period! The Time Travel company has developed a unique mode of transportation for you, known as the Time Buggy, inside of which you will be asked to take a seat. With the aid of “temporal rings,” you will travel, at the speed of light, through different time periods of the past. But here is the most important thing to remember: We ask you to please keep your hands and arms inside the Time Buggy throughout your trip. Yes, I know, some of you probably feel as though you’ve heard this all before somewhere else, but you see, in this case, there could be considerable repercussions… tragic… catastrophic even!
If one of you should happen to interfere with even the smallest animal or microscopic living species from this long-ago time…well, you see, the whole chain…the incredible chain of the evolution of terrestrial life would be disturbed, modified… wiped out even! From the very first amphibians up to the most recent mammals, this process of evolution is precisely what led to the appearance of humans!”

Speaking to a young man seated in front of him/her: “Do you see what I’m getting at young man? Just try to catch the smallest insect with a few swipes of your hand and…pfft…the evolutionary chain will be irreversibly broken! And you may never be able to return to the present. ‘But how so,’ you say? Well, my fine young man, because man may no longer exist in the present day! This modification of the evolutionary process could render mankind’s appearance in the future inalterably impossible!
And no human species, my friend, means you would no longer exist. No chance of a return to our peaceful place in time! Well, I think the lesson has been understood, so enough talking! All aboard for a great leap into the past!”

At this point, the lights slowly dim in the cabin and we see the automated host pushing buttons and levers at the console. The roof of the cabin, which seemed opaque up to this point, reveals itself to be a sort of “window on time” on which we see numbers rolling rapidly in reverse, and a parade of images from times past: from the Middle Ages back to ancient Egypt, then from the first appearance of man back to the first terrestrial mammals.
At last we arrive at the turning point in the history of humanity: the time when a great meteor shower battered our planet and put an end to the era of the dinosaurs! The robot resumes speaking: “Good heavens! We’re going to have to pass through that cursed meteor shower yet again!” Just then, the travelers look up to see a huge meteor headed straight for the shuttle.
It hits and shakes the entire cabin! The electrical system short-circuits, the walls to the left and the front are hit, an alarm sounds in the cabin and a red light bathes the control panel. Despite all of this, the shuttle continues its journey back in time!
The robot: “Mayday! Mayday! We’ve been hit! Heavens, we’ll never make it! We still have 60 million years to go back! We’ll never make it!!” A grating noise mixes in with the sirens, and the knocked about shuttle finally arrives in the Jurassic period and comes to a crashing stop.

Then all the lights go out, and the cabin is plunged into darkness. The robot host’s face lights up, as if illuminated by a flashlight, and he announces: “Well, as amazing as it seems ladies and gentlemen, I believe we’ve arrived! Unfortunately, I’m afraid Time Shuttle 5 has just joined its predecessors in that great time shuttle cemetery in the sky. It seems our return trip has been compromised, but don’t panic! The Time Travel company prepares for everything and has a new invention at its disposal:
the Time Vortex! It’s a teleportation system that we have just developed that will allow us to transport you back to your time in less time than it has taken me to tell you about it!… Please proceed to your right, where one of our agents, transported during a previous mission, awaits to lead you to the Time Buggy… And thank you for having traveled with us!”

And while people are exiting the shuttle, they hear the robot host grumble: “Oh heavens, what will become of me stuck here! With all this humidity, my circuits won’t function for long! I knew I never should have accepted this job… What ever possessed me to want to travel through time! When I think about RX10, who is warm and comfortably cleaning house back in 2012!…”

End of opening first version.

Before you discover the second version of the opening, some important notes. As you will see this other opening is more complex as we've mixed the Mayan civilisation with a dinosaurs theme. On a certain point of view it's "Indiana Jones meets Countdown to Extinction"! But the concept stands on historical facts.

If you ask someone what was responsible of the dinosaurs extinction chances are that he answers "a huge meteor hit the Earth and provoked a kind of "nuclear winter" or "volcanos blasts all over the world". These are the two explanations that scientists aggreed to be responsible of the end of the dinosaurs and most of us already know about this. Now, let's take the first reason, the "meteor", where did it fall? It's a bit less known but the meteor impact was in the gulf of Mexico, not far from the Yucatan Peninsula, where Mayas will live 60 millions years later.

So i took these two facts and imagined that Mayas, 60 millions years later, discovered the meteor impact site and leftovers rocks from the meteor, a mineral with amazing powers. I add the fact - also true - that Mayas had a great knowledge in astronomy and the whole thing gives you the second opening that you will read below. I KNOW that some of you will find the script of this second opening a bit hard to swallow, and it is, but that's why we had a pre-pre show where guests were "stopped" inside an archeological tent where this important introduction to the story was explain to them. It's important as guests can believe to any story from the moment you provide to them the explanations that will help them to understand what is going to happen and why it will happen.

Opening second version:

An Archeological site lost in a Central American Jungle. Visitors find their way through the lush vegetation and discover the ruins of an extinct civilization.

Near a lagoon stands a Mayan pyramid recently discovered by a team of archeologists. On the top of the monumental staircase and on the stone porch, which marks the entrance, visitors stare in wonder at strange sculptures of prehistoric animals and continue their walk through the archeological base camp.

Scene two: Queue decor and pre-pre show:

Moving more deeply inside the base camp set in the heart of the jungle, visitors are stopped under an archeological tent by the team’s assistant. On the table and ground the beauty of recently discovered Mayan antiques dazzle the visitors. A map of the inside of the pyramid can also be seen, as well as video monitors.

On the screens appears now the archeological mission's chief, live from the inside of the pyramid : « Welcome everyone. One year ago, when our team discovered this pyramid, lost for six hundred years in the jungle, we didn’t expect the amazing discovery which awaited us... Some of you might have noticed these strange sculpted dinosaurs heads on the front porch. Well, time has come, dear visitors, to reveal why this Mayan site is so extraordinary.
Sixty millions years ago a huge meteor hit the Earth at this location, precisely where you’re standing now, in a place known since as the Yucatan peninsula. The explosion was so huge that it started earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, creating a kind of "nuclear winter" responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Texts engraved inside the pyramid reveal that sixty million years later, Mayan scientists discovered the meteor crash site, and on this location the pyramid was erected.
Deep down the meteor crater they discovered a strange and unknown mineral, leftovers of the meteor, coming from a far away galaxy! What this extra-terrestrial mineral could do appears to be fantastic: Mayan astronomers discovered that the mineral, as translucent as crystal, could create, on specific astronomical conjunctions, some kind of "gravitational fields." Once activated, these could alter space time, and teleport through time anyone who stands at the center of these field of forces…

Scenes engraved inside the pyramid revealed to our team other frightening signs. They depict a hunt scene showing Mayans warriors facing an unknown dinosaur species. Our recent excavation confirmed this monstrous dinosaur was real: his gigantic claws were able to pull any opponent to pieces…

The heart of the temple seems to hide a secret chamber which we hardly understand the meaning of.... As you enter the temple, we ask you to be extremely cautious! Good luck to all and may the ancient Mayan god Quetzalcoatl protect you!

Scene three: Temple queue decor:

When visitors enter the first room of the temple, lit with torches, they are stunned by the sight of a huge Mayan bas-relief. Engraved and painted on hundred-years-old stones, the scene shows ancient Mayans fighting a threatening dinosaur with huge claws. Upon them a twirling sun adds to the scene a dramatic tension.

Obviously the scene shows an event that happened a hundred years ago… Could it be that some dinosaurs species succeeded in escaping extinction 60 millions years ago ? Or did the Mayas found a way to go back in time?

Scene 4: Temple pre-show:

The visitors are now invited to step inside the secret chamber of the pyramid. One of the archeologist warns them : « Strange phenomenons happened this morning. A solar eclipse is planned later this afternoon and we hope it won’t have any effects on the strange powers hidden in this room. Please stand at the center of the room and remain calm under any circumstances »

As soon as the hundred-years-old stone door is closed a eerie light invades the room. The huge Mayan statues placed at each corner of the room begin to luminate from the inside. These statues were in fact made from the 60 million years old meteor mineral and their brown color slowly turns to a translucent green.

The giant skull head engraved on the secret chamber wall also begins to light and the whole atmosphere of the room is now threatening. The ceiling – which previously appeared to be made of ancient stones – seems to disappear and a huge vortex is now appearing over the visitors' heads. A frightening sound fill the room and the climax is reached when laser beams comes out of the statues and skull head eyes. Almost instantly the room seems to disappear in flashes of light followed for a few seconds by total darkness!

Scene 5: Temple Pre-show exit:

When the « light » comes back, the scene which appears to the visitors eyes is stunning. Not only has the secret chamber disappeared, but the whole temple has vanished! Instead, the visitors are surrounded by lush vegetation, and far away terrifying animals scream. The archeologist, who realizes they have been teleported through time, invites them to walk along a jungle path.

End of opening second version.

From that point whether guests would have experience the first or second opening versions the ride is the same. With one exception, the "time tunnels" would be used only with the first opening version as they are supposed to have been placed by the guys of the Time Travel company. I choose to let this part in the text below so just remember that the ride description below was written to match with the first opening version. As you'll see the ride beginning is more quiet and "contemplative" and then it becomes more and more thrilling but remains is a "family ride" for all ages.

Scene One:

The travelers are now at the boarding area and seated in the Time Buggy. Inside the vehicle, the audio system allows for a choice of languages that provide narration throughout the journey. The boarding area, located right in the middle of a Jurassic jungle, is a sort of futuristic oasis. So striking is the surrounding vegetation that it looks as though it has been teleported from the future. Forest noises and a distant roaring can be heard everywhere, and the air seems permeated by a marshy odor characteristic of the Jurassic period.

At the first bend in this invasive jungle, visitors find themselves face to face with a stupefying sight: in the middle of a forest of bald cypress—the roots submerged in the swamp water—stands a Mamenchisaurus, measuring more than 36 feet long, and a disproportionate neck that blends easily into this landscape of another world.
Further on, an Apatosaurus mother and her baby head for the swampy water to quench their thirst, while an Apatosaurus father uses his neck to clear a path through the branches. Curiosity brings him closer to investigate these new visitors who have entered his territory.

Fireflies move about in the shadows of the jungle. A chain of volcanoes, risen from the beginning of time, appear in the distance. Smoke and rumbling emanate from one of the volcanoes, suggesting an imminent and menacing eruption…

Scene Two:

Then the vehicle turns into the jungle and ventures right into the middle of the swamp, where the travelers find an amazing sight: two enormous Brachiosaurus, with their feet resting in the swamp, stand before their astounded eyes. On the right, one of the two creatures—its forefeet pushing against a tree trunk—stretches its neck to reach the topmost branches and feed on the leaves of the bald cypress.

While at the edge of the water, three Muttaburrasaurus satisfy their thirst, and a Baryonyx has caught a fish, which it holds firmly between its teeth. On the left, oddly enough, bubbles can be seen bursting at the surface of the swamp, indicating that some water-dwelling creatures are moving about in there.
To the complete surprise of the travelers, a Cryptoclidus - one of the Plesiosaurs that occupied large bodies of water - emerges from the water all at once. As was the habit of this monster of the deep, it uses speed and surprise to attack its prey, which is none other than the second Brachiosaur!

Taken by surprise, the Brachiosaur rears up on its hindfeet in an attempt to evade the attack, stretches its neck straight toward the sky, and lets out a frightening roar of terror. The startled Cryptoclidus recoils and returns to its abyss, while the Brachiosaur falls back into the water, setting off a huge splash… that soaks the travelers!

Note: The artist painted the above rendering in two parts. Here, i've "stick" them together and that's why you have a slightly color difference between the left and right parts of the artwork. Definitely click on the picture to see it in big size.

Scene Three:

The Time Buggy continues on its way and passes through one of the temporal rings that propels the vehicle forward in time to the cretaceous era. (off-camera voice: “High speed time evolution...Time Buggy transferring to the cretaceous era!”) The travelers find themselves directly in front of a mother Maiasaura watching over her nest of eggs.

Inside the nest, the babies are beginning to hatch, while in the vicinity some young Maiasaura—offspring of an earlier brood) move about in the landscape of gymnosperm and cycadophytes that was typical of that long-ago time.
On the right, resting comfortably on a rock, an Oviraptor jealously guards some eggs that it stole from another nest.

Scene Four:

Another temporal ring now brings the travelers to the Upper Cretaceous period, several million years into the future. (offstage voice: “Time Buggy transferred 10 million years into the future! Watch out for predators!”)

The pine forest that stands at the front of a large mountain range and the pine scent filling the air do not alleviate the menacing feel of the surroundings. To the left, three Deinonychus have begun devouring their prey: a Tenontausaurus which, despite its wounds, is still alive.

...And to the right, some terrified Gallimimus are surrounded by two Velociraptors on the verge of sweeping down on them…

Scene Five:

Turning to the right, the vehicle takes the travelers deeper into the forest.

Just then a 20 feet Stegosaur, with its familiar razor-sharp bony carapace. Angered by this intrusion, the Stegosaur makes a strong swipe of its tail, which strikes a tree and causes it to sag in the direction of the Time Buggy. The travelers hold back a cry of alarm upon seeing this tree that seems it will fall on them at any moment.
The only thing keeping them from being crushed are the branches of another pinetree, which have stopped the first tree in its fall and the swerve of their vehicle to avoid it…

Scene Six:

Just when the sky grows dark and lightening strikes to announce the onset of a storm, the Time Buggy continues on its way towards a route bordered by high grasses. The sound of footsteps hints at the presence of creatures hiding in the vegetation.

Suddenly, the grass parts to reveal the head of a velociraptor licking its chops, allowing a glimpse of the impressive teeth of this predator. As the vehicle proceeds on its route, the velociraptor disappears back into the high grass, but the sound of footsteps and the movement of the grass leave little doubt as to what is taking place:
the chase is on and the travelers are the game! Just as the noise of footsteps increases, we hear more footsteps coming from the right!

And all of a sudden, the inevitable happens: literally jumping over the high grass, coming from the right and left at the same time, two velociraptors sweep down on the terrified travelers…

Note: In fact, i did changes from this first description of the scene and the rendering above don't show precisely what would happen in that scene. One of the velociraptor would "jump" on the guests vehicle from a 10 foot high rock on the left side of the track. Then to avoid it, the vehicle while still moving will spin at 90 degrees looking towards the right side of the track and the high grasses from where the other velociraptor would "jump" on the vehicle. So it is one velociraptor after another who "attack" the guests, and not both together.

Scene Seven:

Turning abruptly into the forest, the Time buggy brings visitors face to face with yet another formidable predator: the THERIZINAUSAURUS mentioned by the paleontologist during the pre-show, with its huge razor-sharp claws. The storm has just broken and the creature’s silhouette - seen in relief against a curtain of rain and the lightening-striped sky - presents a frightening image at the end of the path.

The Time buggy moves inexorably towards the Therizinausaurus and a confrontation seems inevitable.Opposite them, the creature appears to be walking in their direction. The creature extends its right arm, and when the Time buggy comes close, makes an angry motion with it in the direction of the visitors. Having just barely escaped the formidable claws, the visitors owe their survival to the appearance of another time ring that pulls them several million years into the future. (Voice off: "Red alert! Therizinausaurus attack! Immediate time transfer to the Upper Cretaceous period!")

Scene Eight:

And now they find themselves face to face with the most frightening predator that ever existed on earth: the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex!

It is nighttime and the monster is preparing to make a snack of a family of Triceratops. In a one-sided battle, the mother tries to protect her children, who cry in terror at her side. In the distance, a volcano has just erupted and the lava flowing down its sides further increases the drama of the scene. The starry sky is partially hidden by clouds from the eruption, which are blocking out more and more of the sky…

Perched on a rocky ridge to the right, two Pterodactyls study this tragic situation, just waiting for the right opportunity to take advantage of any leftovers from the feast. Just then, the travelers in their Time Buggy witness the approach, from far off in the sky, of an enormous meteor that is getting progressively larger and is headed in the direction of the earth. It is none other than THE meteor that will later enter into history as the cause of the cataclysm responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs!

Suddenly, the T. Rex notices the presence of the travelers. Its enormous head turns towards them, its red eyes light up, and its body leans forward in the direction of the vehicle. And as it opens wide its mouth to reveal its sharp teeth, one of the most horrific roars that human ear ever heard fills the air…

Note: I've also imagined another version for that scene. Instead of Triceratops the T-Rex was threatening Mayan chiefs! In this case it was explained to the guests in the pre-pre show that bodies of Mayan chiefs were never found on the archeological site and nobody knows what happened to them. Then the guests would see the painting inside the temple showing them fighting dinosaurs and finally find back the Mayan chiefs in this volcano scene, understanding that they were trapped in time and could never come back. Jeff Burke thought that this was "a bit too much" and i think he's right! But i still like the insanity of the idea! Here is the artwork showing this crazy scene.

Scene Nine:

Note: The artist who painted the above rendering did a cave much much bigger than what it would be in real, so don't pay attention to that.

Then, the Time Buggy turns into a rocky crevice that leads to a cave, which has already been invaded by smoke and lava. Suddenly, coming from outside, travelers hear a horrible whistle followed by a frightening shock: the meteor has just collided with Earth and the impact is unprecedented!

On their left, the travelers are terrified to see an entire portion of the rockface heading straight towards them: a piece of the meteor that, having just struck the exterior of the rockface, is burying itself in the direction of the vehicle!
Under impact the rockface takes on a fire-red tint transmitted by the million-degree temperatures of the meteorite. It continues to advance and stops mere inches from the vehicle… which holds its course as well as can be expected… and now must try to escape from the massive earthquake caused by the impact of this celestial body from the ends of the universe!

Scene Ten:

Rocks start to shake to the right and the left; lava erupts; sprays of volcanic steam shoot out; from the bowels of the earth rocky peaks rise straight up!

The Time Buggy zigzags continually in an effort to avoid rockslides. The end seems near for our travelers! They owe their survival to a piece of rock that, having fallen victim to the earthquake, falls away and opens an escape route to the outside!

Scene Eleven:

The scene now before their eyes constitutes one of the most incredible sights ever scene by a human being: stretching out to the horizon, a wounded and desolate earth covered in sand, on which lie the carcasses and skeletons of dinosaurs.

A strange fluorescent light and a light fog lend this nighttime scene an unreal aspect. No more roars; the only noise is the sound of the wind blowing along this desolate place. The dinosaurs have disappeared from the face of the earth!

And all of a sudden, from all the skeletons of these former giants that once roamed our planet, the spirits of these large beasts rise up into the sky and to infinite space. Their spirits undertake a final voyage, perhaps to take a new form on some far-off planet…

With one final roar, the spirits of the dinosaurs leave the Earth forever!

End Scene:

At long last it is time for the travelers to return. As the Time Buggy sets its course, passing over the skeleton of a dinosaur, the Jurassic Time Travel company engages the temporal vortex that will bring the travelers back to their present time. (voice offcamera: “Immediate return to the future! Prepare to enter the time vortex!”)
The spiral effect of the vortex creates a captivating optical illusion for the travelers: the circular movement of the vortex and the way their brains interpret this movement gives them the impression that they are moving to one side and leads them to frantically grip their seats. A cloud of fiber optics and a thick “temporal” fog complete their transportation through time, and returns them at last to the futuristic base and bright lights…

As visitors approach the unload area, on the overhead plasma screens, the robot host appears one last time: “Ladies and gentlemen, time travelers, it seems we have a small problem… One of you just couldn’t resist breaking the rules of the trip to the past!” An image supposed to have been filmed only minutes before appears onscreen.
It shows a person about 20 years old, seated in the rear of the vehicle, who rises up suddenly and grabs one of the eggs that had been stolen by the oviraptor. The film continues to show the person hiding the stolen egg inside his/her jacket, hoping not to have been seen. Onscreen the robot host continues: “Thanks to this crafty little person, the entire evolutionary process has been modified! Heaven knows what surprises await you at your return, provided the human race even still exists!”

At this point, a welcome hostess appears on the monitor wearing a hat with the Jurassic Time Travel company initials on it. In the Time Buggy, visitors let out a sigh of relief; human beings still exist! Then the hostess says: “Time travelers, welcome to your present time. We hope your trip back in time was a pleasant one and we ask you to please remain seated until the vehicle has come to a complete stop.” And with a salutary gesture, the hostess removes her hat, revealing a third eye in the center of her forehead. The evolution of humans has been altered after all by the careless young man!

At the unload area, visitors smile, believing the third eye to have been a clever special effect. But as they head to the shop located at the exit of the attraction, imagine their surprise when they see all the shopkeepers, in person, with a third eye in the middle of their foreheads! They are seized with a doubt: what if all of this had REALLY happened?

End of the ride.

As you've seen the beginning of the ride put the guests in a contemplative mood and it's becoming more and more thrilling up to the climax scene in the cave. Looking back to the project seven years later i wouldn't change a lot of it. Personally i prefer the second opening version, and if i had to delete something i will probably delete the scene three of the ride part, and i also find the scene with the Stegosaur a little weak. But i think that all other scenes and the order of them still works pretty well. People to whom this project was shown also liked a lot the last and eerie scene with the spirits - or souls - of the dinosaurs leaving the Earth, and i'm happy with that as i always thought that animals do have souls - anyone who ever had a cat could confirms you that. This last scene is also the "calm that follows the storm" and it suddenly put the guests in a total different kind of emotion after the thrilling scenes inside the cave.

If you look back you'll see that the "different kind of emotions" principle is at work here. From a scary pre-show to a contemplative ride start to the amazement of the second scene, to scary scenes and a eerie and poetic ending guests would experience "physically" different kind of emotions and i think it should make the ride more memorable.

In the next article that you can read HERE i talk about the technical part of the ride as i suppose some of you would be happy to know how we could achieve some of the effects.

Just let me know in the comments which opening you prefer and of course if you like the ride concept, or not! Thanks a lot for your attention.

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Copyright: "BACK TO THE DINOSAURS" is a theme park attraction concept by Alain Littaye and Jeff Burke. The scenario and the illustrations, including the ideas contained in this article are copyright Alain Littaye and Jeff Burke 2003. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without prior written approval.

All uses of this text, illustrations and the ideas contained in this article for any purpose whatsoever is prohibited without prior written approval.


Valéran said...

C'est vraiment très intéressant de voir la conception d'un scénario pour une attraction, les différents axes envisagés pour le pre-show, les détails...
J'ai un penchant pour l'idée du bâtiment futuriste plus que pour le temple maya mais bon j'imagine la pyramide ça aurait pu être très sympa !

Owen said...

Good idea - but I 100% prefer the first idea as to me it seems more interesting and fit with the story a bit more.

Matt W said...

I love the range of emotions you built upon. I also love different aspects of both versions of the pre-shows. I believe there could be a happy middle which might relieve some of the story problems in each. What if the Chronos Time Travel set-up shop near or in the temple (it was explained in the first version that they need to be in the location they wish to visit). Also, this will allow the explanation of using the meteor fragments as the method by which we can time travel vs. generic "we have the technology." Having this "just arrived and set-up the tech" feel would give reason for why we are some of the first to embark on the journey.

I love the transportation method back in time in the second story, but it does seem a little wrong place wrong time. By having the company "recreate" the effects of the solar eclipse we can be transported using this ancient method. Or Chronos could have just discovered the new use for the meteor pieces which the Mayans knew were special and collected.

By doing this version of the time travel we alleviate the need for the two different vehicle explanations. One method is a large one way force field to transport materials (the loading dock on the other side, time buggy) and shards of the meteor back in time, so we can activate the Time Vortex before the meteor even hit by carrying part of the meteor with us.

Other advantages to combining the openings instead of just using the second (which I am sure you have explanations for in your head)include why we would be directed down the path when we first appear in the jungle and why there are vehicles in the past to begin with (if the Mayans couldn't get back, how would those of us who accidentally got sent back in time get back, yet alone have vehicles). Having some high tech and sleek gear in the transport room will also allow for a greater contrast to the jungle when the jump is made.

Just an idea that I don't think is any more complicated than the other versions and actually fills in some gaps.

Ok, I guess for the second story you could have someone from the future who has now developed the tech (maybe an older version of the archaeologist who has been looking throughout the time of the dinos to save the people and assistant he carelessly allowed to be sent back in time). Of course this future person didn't want you to be left in the past, but also didn't want to disrupt the space time continuum by stopping you before you came.

Ok, I'll stop now. Sorry for the winded post. Thank you for sharing your awesome designs with us.

Anonymous said...

The second concept was way better, so clever. I loved it all! I can't wait to see how you would manage all this! Your best article yet.

Marco Garcia. São Paulo, Brazil. said...

This would have been a really great attraction, one of the best ever in any theme park around the world. I wonder how much it would cost to make such a thing tough.
Your description of a classic attraction was the best one I've ever read, Thrill rides are nice, but they are very common place, what makes Disney unique and so successful is exactly what you described, otherwise it would be just one more park.
As for a dinossaur ride, I also agree with you, but I like the primeval world diorama at Disneyland, even if it is a little bit outdated nowadays and is not such a big thing.
Anyway you would certainly be a great imagineer Alain.

Anonymous said...

Alain and Jeff, I was hoping to see wreckage of the four ships that departed before ours in the variouse scenes and how the dinossaurs may have interacted with them. Maybe some of those guests who have been stranded would attemt to try and chase down our vehicle to get back home without getting snatched up by the Dinos. I like the idea of using a lot of scents like baby dinos, Rexs in heat etc.. I know the original Africa Pavillion with Ken Anderson developed over 100 animal smells at WED. I was hoping for the bubbling volcanic mud pools along our travels, maybe one of the time travelers ships landed in one? I can smell that hot mucky stench now. I will wait for part 2of your story but you got me going.

DisWedWay said...

If we are traveling back in time and become a part of that time if for only a brief period, and hopefully our Time machine makes it back, couldn't we influence the Myans 2012 predictions and their hieroglyphics. Should we see signs of our time travelers before us?

holloway said...

Unbelievable: Scene Two of the Maya Pyramide version is already reality. You can experience an altered version in the special effect attraction "Templo del Fuego" - developed by Thinkwell - in the Spanish theme park "Port Aventura".
Thanks for those artworks!

Dr Bitz said...

A mega E ticket for sure. Great art as well.

I like the first opening as the potential for the time travel technology could be very interesting and done in a unique way. I'd push that out even more.

I also like the idea of emotional restraint and giving the guest quiet moments as we have in Pirates where it allows us to digest what we've seen or feel another emotion. Nice work, I hope you sell it!

RandySavage said...

Great attraction & artwork! I think the melding of the Mayan & dinosaur mythologies would work very nicely in an Adventureland setting.

How I wish attractions of this scale, designed to awe, were budgeted & greenlighted.