Wednesday, May 23, 2012

From the DLP Lava Lagoon Water Park That Never Was to the Villages Nature Project, at WDI a Good Idea Never Die

In a recent interview to the french news magazine L'Express, Philippe Gas DLP CEO answered to the journalist question about "a water park at DLP ?" : "For this we will have Villages Nature, a holiday destination which will include the biggest water park in Europe. It took us some years to finalize the project with Pierre & Vacances and we asked Joe Rhode, who created Animal Kingdom, to work on the project. The water park will be based on geothermal and you'll be able to bathe all year long in Icelandic geysers! The commercialization will start at the end of 2012 and the opening is scheduled for mid 2015."

That sounds good, isn't it? Now, as you may know, another famous water park project was envisioned for DLP by WDI Imagineers. It was called Lava Lagoon, was supposed to be build on a land more or less in front of the Sequoia Lodge Hotel and for years DLP fans have hoped that Lava Lagoon will be finally built. Unfortunately there won't be any Lava or Volcano rising in front of the Sequoia Lodge as it is now an extinct project. However, as we will see, some of the ideas which were included in Lava Lagoon might find a new life in the Villages Nature water park.

But, as i realized that i never did an article about this Lava Lagoon project, let's begin first by having a look at how it would have been as the concept looked great! Basically, the idea was to have a "two in one" water park, themed around a Hawaian volcano, with one part covered by a giant dome and the other one, open air which would have been open only during the spring and summer season. Originally the water park was supposed to have an access only for DLP hotel guests and Annual passport holder, and this is probably why its capacity would have been of only 1600 people for the "under dome" part with an addition of 1500 more people during the summer days when the open air part and slides would have been open. On the renderings above and below, coming for a big part from the Westcot website, you'll see clearly what would have been the open air part and the one under the giant dome.

At the center of Lava Lagoon, according to the Webcot article written by Grandmath in 2007, the giant volcano would have been called "The Big Kahuna" and all around it WDI Imagineers had planned to recreate a tropical forest, with bamboos, coconut trees, tikis dedicated to hawaian gods, and fake lava flows who would have served as slides. Apparently it would have been also possible to walk through and explore the volcano. Lots of slides, so, as well as exotic paths at the base of the volcano, with a lazy river going all a round the water park going through a bamboo, palm tree and orchids forest and even going through the "Big Kahuna".

What kind of water activities guests would have found at Lava Lagoon? Well, of course the classic wave pool called the "Great Pacific", located on the west base of the volcano and on the volcano itself guests would have climb stairs going up to the top of the Big Kahuna from where they would have found different type of slides called "Pele’s Plumett", or "Lava Loop", "The Spouting Horn", or "The Sizzling Stones"!

However Lava Lagoon guests would also have found other attractions all around the volcano, one called the Kahuku Falls, a kind of rafting slide, or another slide called "Aloha Falls". Another interesting detail: all around the Big Kahuna would have been beaches of dark "black" sand - like the one you can find near real volcanos - with other beaches of white sand in the open air part of the water park.

In this exterior part guests would have found others slides - artwork above - called "Waimea Canyon", "To a Needle", et "Waihia Falls" but also large pools with evocative names: "Hula Hula Bay", "Alakoke Pond", "Hanahuma Bay", "Koko Cove"... all linked to each others then to the others pools located in the "under dome" inside part thanks to a small river.

And where is the link in all this with the Village Nature water park, you ask? Well, what Grandmath didn't said in its 2007 Westcot article - probably because he didn't knew it - was that WDI Imagineers had also envisioned in their concepts for Lava Lagoon an area which would have been inspired by the natural hot pools that you find naturally in countries of the north of Europe, in two words a part which would have been more "geothermal", as you will see on the renderings below, and for a big part in "open air".

So, even if no "Big Kahuna" volcano or tropical forest with bamboos and orchids will be part of the Villages Nature water park, DLP fans will probably be happy to know that some of the ideas developed for this Lava Lagoon that never was will finally become reality in 2015 when the Villages Nature water park will have its opening, confirming the famous Walt Disney Imagineering quote that " At WDI, a good idea never die ".

Pictures: copyright Disney - All my thanks to the Westcot web site for the pics previously posted on their site in 2007.


Matt said...

Excellent review, Alain! This would've been amazing, as I'm sure Villages Nature will!

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

Thanks for the review! This would have been a much better addition than Disney Studios, original and much cheaper.

I think that Village Nature is going to be awesome and it is going to improve the resort.

Anonymous said...

Im sad to hear that the water park got canceled in favor of village nature :( although Village nature seems like an awesome project, the artwork I've seen from the waterpark so far look disappointing regarding fun (slides, wave pools, etc..) will it even have slides?

Marco Antonio Garcia said...

They probably have also used many of these concepts in Aulani. I still haven't been to Aulani (I have recently booked my first trip there though), but I think that they probably did use many concepts there.

And Anonymous, looking better at the Village Nature project, I think that you are right.