The earliest example of this kind of innovative design is Harper Goff's 1955 Adventureland, which freely mixes and matches architectural styles and complex derivations thereof into an exoti
The masterpiece, or perhaps just the thesis statement, of this is a fifty-foot stretch of architectural riot in Disneyland, which sits crouched at
This short transition space is not as graceful, perhaps, as later ones found in The Magic Kingdom, but it is remarkable. As one progresses past the Jungle Cruise boathouse and the treehouse, careful examination of the Adventureland upper stories reveal balconies which grow gradually increasingly complex. The Oriental rugs slung across the railings of the earlier upper terraces slowly gives way to bamboo shades, then shortly to decorative items such as birdcages. Small cupolas appear, belonging both to
Which ultimately leads us to our adventure of this week, which is the utter failure of a transitory space, specifically, that crucial (because it is the only one) point in the Magic Kingdom where one land just ends and the other begins.It's hard to fault the designers of Tommorowland and Fantasyland that their spaces didn't integrate: after all, the only reason this same transition works at Disneyland is because there's a 20-storey mountain between the two areas. Walt Disney World was slated for such a mountain at some point (after all, why else keep the Autopia and the Submarine Lagoon side by side if you weren't also going to drag in the Matterhorn?), but without it ever materializing, Orlando's transitory space was up the creek without a paddle. The area was aesthetically primed for it, too: Tomorrowland, the most parched area in the entire Magic Kingdom, certainly would've benefited from a few distant crashing waterfalls, and there's even a huge pedestrian pathway leading to where it would've been.
least likely to bridge the gap between Fantasy and Future: The Mad Tea Party!
There's no two ways about this one: it's just a big awful mess. At least lessons were learned: when Fantasyland Anaheim was redone in the 1980's, swiping most of the conceptual and aesthetic advances which were formerly exclusive to Orlando, the teacups were relocated to alongside the icy slopes of the Matterhorn, which is of course the only reason they were ever placed where they are in Orlando anyway. And there, next to the mountain, it works perfectly. I only wish we could've seen the match as supervised by Marc Davis, Joe Fowler, Dick Irvine, John Hench and Roy Disney.