Imagineering Explored: Great Themed Park Transitions

Imagineering Explored: Great Themed Park Transitions

We’re embarking on a new series here in Disney at Work and Play. Imagineering Explored is an opportunity to deep dive into best practices of Imagineering. We look at what works and more importantly why it works. And on occasion, we’ll even make application to life outside Disney’s gates. This first podcast in the series looks at great themed transitions that occur in the parks–particularly as you move from one setting to another. These are dramatic transitions that are often so subtle that you hardly recognize you’ve moved from one locale to another. We’ll look at some great examples across the globe and discuss how the elements support the transition. From the Magic Kingdom to Disneyland Paris; from Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge to the “Happiest Place on Earth”, we’ll look at some of the most enveloping and clever Imagineering design elements ever created. We’ll even see their application from any brick and mortar store to navigating web sites. Join us as we examine Great Themed Transitions in this Imagineering Explored podcast.

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Below is an outline of what we’re chatting about on today’s podcast:

Themed Park Examples:

Magic Kingdom: Main Street to Adventureland to Liberty Square to Fantasyland

The green and white canopy in the back ground is aligned with heavy floral design in the foreground. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Even the walls carry designs from both nature and Victorian architecture. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Adventureland moves you from comparable Spanish courtyard designs…
To rustic Spanish adobe buildings of the Southwest. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The subtle entrance of Frontierland allows you easy passage way from this land to Liberty Square. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Further subtleties are found in this small brook separating the lands. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
From the rugged frontier we move to the civilized frontier of Missouri-style clapboard buildings in Liberty Square. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
On the other side of Liberty Square colonial styles at the Harbour House evolve underneath the second story portal…
…To a more European style.
This garden area prepares you to move from Medieval Fantasyland to a more colonized experience in Liberty Square. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Even the old Fantasyland Skyway building helped you make the transition from Europe to Colonial America. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Tokyo Disneyland: World Bazaar to New Orleans Square to Adventureland

A portal leads you from Victorian-style World Bazaar to the New Orleans style found in Adventureland.
Even the Crystal Palace weaves from the Victorian on the left to a simpler Frontierland style moving to the right.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Grand Avenue into Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

This Mount Hollywood style tunnel at the end of Grand Avenue could lead you to Toon Town…
…or perhaps to a Rebel alliance encampment. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Notice the chiseled features looking back at the tunnel, as well as the built in turn. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disneyland Paris: Fantasyland to Adventureland

Exterior seating area in Pinocchio’s Village Haus bordering Adventureland. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
An entrance to Pinocchio’s Village Haus made of washed away ship and building parts. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Looking at a different view of the same dining experience. Note the changes in tables from this to the other part of the restaurant. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
The Monster room of Pinocchio’s Village Haus.

Disneyland: Entrance into Main Street

The original transition–moving you from the California Freeways into the “Happiest Place on Earth”.

Walt Disney World: TTC to Magic Kingdom

Perhaps this was the most expensive transition Disney ever created. It is a transition from a freeway passing a stopping point through Florida to ultimately an entire resort stay experience.

Arriving to Walt Disney World is a big moment for guests visiting the resort. It is the transitional point from the outside world. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Arriving at the TTC, we separate your wallet from the remainder of the experience. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Meanwhile, monorails above capture your fancy and interest as you head to the Magic Kingdom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Meanwhile ferry boats make a very subtle transition to the Magic Kingdom. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Arrival! The thrill of seeing the castle for the first time. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Transitioning from the “Inner Courtyard” to the “Theater” itself. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Elements that Support Transition:

These variables matter as much to a hospital layout, an office complex, an auto dealership and even a web site. You don’t have plants or paint in all these instances, but you have elements when combined create a transition that pulls you into the experience you are trying to provide your customers:

  • Portal
  • Architecture
  • Passageway
  • Natural Landscaping
  • Music & Sound FX
  • Color
  • Wayfinding
  • Visibility

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Ready to Visit the Disney Parks?

Hopefully this podcast has made you realize you need help and support in planning your next trip to Disney. David and Leah with Out the Door Travel know Disney in ways few do and they can make your next trip on land or sea an exciting one–or at least less stressful! Be sure to contact them as you explore your next vacation, whether it is a Disney theme park vacation, a cruise, or an Adventure by Disney. There is no charge to utilize their services, but it will save you enormous time getting all the details right, and with their insight you can be assured you’re going to experience the best trip possible. Contact them today!

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