Saturday, January 26, 2013

Park Theory Hub Page

Since 2006, Passport to Dreams Old & New has been a leading voice advocating for intelligence and respect for design run the theme park community. This portal prioritizes the "meat and potatoes" of this site, the famous deep design dives and scholarly overviews of elements critical to the theme park industry of today.

It was last updated on March 1, 2021.

Lists! - Everyone loves list articles, right? Here's a few to get the conversation started!

A Personal Magic Kingdom Wish List
Ten Big Design Blunders at the Magic Kingdom
Nine Shrines of the Magic Kingdom
Eight Great Moments of Design at Walt Disney World
Five Batshit Crazy Rides

Narrative Design and Themed Spaces - how and why theme parks tell stories is a central point of contention in the fan community and industry. Here's a few looks at how other designers cracked the problem.

Harold's Lost World of Snow - Disneyland's Matterhorn and its nearly invisible narration.
Marc Davis and Pirate Gold - An update of "The Case For the Florida Pirates", with a new discussion on Marc's intentions on this ride and a new way of thinking about the story it tells.
Conflict in Theme Parks - How does the standard Western narratives of conflict play out in dimensional entertainment? How could it play out?
Nintendo's Universal Worlds - Why was Nintendo so successful, and will theme parks be able to emulate the charms of Nintendo games?
The Theme Park Trope List - An extensive taxonomy. Sarcastic.
The Branch Beyond the Window and Other Details - What effect does tiny, nearly subliminal details have on our experience of the parks?
The Awkward Transitions of Disneyland! - Close look at the areas where one theme collides with another at Walt's original theme park and how this contributes to the sensation of "charm".

Theme Parks in Cultural Context - Essays prioritizing the intersection of cultural history and art history in themed designs spaces.

Disney World's Universal Decade - All the stuff that happened between 2010 and 2020.
Meet Beverly: The Italian Connection - What the heck is that gross drink at Epcot anyway?
A Social History of Background Music - Why and how do theme parks use music to manipulate us, and where does the idea come from?
Fun House (1997) - A terrific television documentary that makes a wide-ranging look at the phenomenon of the scary theme park ride.
The Ideology of Future World, Part 1 - What was Future World about, really?
The Ideology of Future World, Part 2 - What made Future World work and how can it be repaired?
Lake Buena Vista and Shaping Orlando - Complete capsule history of Disney's abandoned planned community.
Disney Springs and Invented Florida - History and irony in Disney's new shopping complex.
Understanding the Adventureland Veranda - What does the Adventureland architecture represent? Who designed it?
The Tomorrowland Problem - Why does Tomorrowland keep fading out? And what is a Tomorrowland, anyway??
Riding the Haunted Screen - Covers details of the Haunted Mansion's antecedents in the form of popular horror films from 1915 to 1965. Begins with an expansive outline of the development of the genre, before proposing two key films as inspiration.
Start to Shriek and Harmonize - On the origin and details of the infamous "pop up ghosts" in the Haunted Mansion's attic and graveyard scenes. Also on the classic dark ride origins of the Haunted Mansion in general.
History and the Haunted Mansion - Visual and historical influences of the Haunted Mansion, placing it inside a larger American phenomenon of Spiritualism.

Design Deep Dives - Long profiles of particular case studies, some of the most famous attractions ever built.

Marc Davis' Adventure House - Extensive overview of an unbuilt attraction intended for Fort Wilderness, a sort of walk-through Haunted Mansion.
All the Lights of Main Street, U.S.A. - A deep look into the light fixtures around the greatest park entrance ever built: the Main Street of Disneyland Paris.
A Day at the Columbia Harbour House - History and extensive documentation of Magic Kingdom's best little food court.
Go Away Green: Three Years Later - A lot has changed since 2012, and it's time to give this subject a through update.
What's in a Sign? - How do signs help set expectations inside theme parks? A case study of Magic Kingdom's Adventureland.
Stitch's Great Escape: Ten Years - What does the most widely detested Walt Disney World attraction reveal about itself, about Disney, and about us?
Universal's Magnum Opus: Spider-Man - One of the best rides around that isn't a Disney ride, but just as good.
Death of a Moonwalker: Captain EO - Captain EO: the best 3D show? Or the worst? Or the best-worst?
Lightning in a Bottle? Storybook Circus - Thoughts on the Magic Kingdom's newest "Land", analysis of a surprising and unlikely success story, as well as thoughts on areas "for kids" in general.
Go Away Green - How Disney hides (or doesn't hide) its huge warehouses which contain its attractions, called "Show Buildings", in plain sight.
All the Lights of the Kingdom - Exhaustive study of the light fixtures of the Magic Kingdom, and how they contribute to theme, design, and fantasy concerns. Part One and Part Two.
Fire in the Night - Why is the original Pirates of the Caribbean so often cited, and seems to be, the greatest attraction ever built? A far-reaching analysis.
The Case for the Florida Pirates - On the Florida incarnation of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, a case for what it got right and how it has been compromised. The "flip side" of "Fire in the Night", above.
An Aesthetic Profile of Caribbean Plaza - Getting into details on Caribbean Plaza, The Magic Kingdom's most deceptively complex area.
 An Aesthetic Profile of Adventureland - How does the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland area subtly visually prepare for and reinforce the anchoring Jungle Cruise attraction?

Older Stuff - Older articles either displaced by newer approaches, or just plain not that well written. Maintained here for, uh, history. :)

A New Approach - Two of Imagineering's least loved children of the 90s - The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management and Journey Into Imagination with Figment - as a form of corporate protest.
From Paris to the Provinces - How one small store at EPCOT Center includes dozens of little details which take us on a cross-country tour.
Futures with No Future - The decay of the Tomorrowland myth.
Phantoms of Influence - Gaston LeRoux novel The Phantom of the Opera and how it was adapted into the Haunted Mansions sister attraction, Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.
Taking Apart World Showcase - Courtyards, streets, and alleys structure the most fully-formed area of EPCOT Center, and its least changed.
The Long, Lonely March - An essay covering the narrative, tone, structural and artistic successes of Disney's original fully-themed pre-boarding queue experience at the Walt Disney World Pirates of the Caribbean.
The Anti Food Court - Approaches to the most brilliantly evocative of the Magic Kingdom's interior spaces, the Columbia Harbour House Restaurant.
Walt Disney's America and Keep the Light On For Me - Disneyland and its synthesis of the "American Myth" into a realized place.
All Hail Toad. - Reflecting on ten-plus years of the closure of the Magic Kingdom's fantastic Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
Verticality - The Magic Kingdom and her curious obsession with skylights. Fake ones.
Two Shows by Marc Davis - Analysis of Marc Davis' two most fully realized projects, The Country Bear Jamboree and America Sings. Part One and Part Two.