April 8, 2016

Ugly Concept Art from the Parks

Let's be honest here. I love great Imagineering concept art for the Disney parks as much as the next guy, but it's become all too common for the suits to rush through quick and dirty projects into being- and the resulting concept art can be just as ugly.

Animal Kingdom's striking blemish of a land, Dinorama, comes to mind. (I don't care how Joe Rohde tries to convince us its such a good design fit for an otherwise gorgeous park.) So does just about anything from California Adventure at opening. (Even that art for Twilight Zone Tower of Terror shows a kid facing the camera that looks like he's cursing it or saying "What the Heck is this?") The winner in ugly art, however, has to be Walt Disney Studios Paris. Hands down the ugliest of all Disney branded parks past or present. It is very telling that you don't see this kind of crap at Tokyo Disney Sea.

The concept piece above shows off the billboard like entrances for attractions passing themselves off for good design. Imagine paying full price for a park that looks like this. Yet, we do. 

I am so thankful that Universal Orlando upped the stakes by adding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Otherwise, we'd still be getting garbage like this stateside.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

4 comments:

Geoffrey RUFFENACH said...

Indeed the real thing was (and still is) much more uglier than the concept-art... The Marvel Placemaking will never come soon enough...

Peter said...

Hi Mark. Full disclosure up front: I'm a former Walt Disney Studios CM and I can tell you categorically that the concept art above is far more dynamic and attractive than what was actually built. The end result was far less detailed, less colourful. We ended up with a lot more empty space and grey, corrugated steel walls. In WDI's defence, I do think the grungy, industrial backlot concept could have been made to work, but it needed more money and confidence behind it.

Mark Taft said...

I wholeheartedly agree! Thanks for reading!

Mark Taft said...

Peter- Thank you for your thoughts on this! As a former CM, you have insights I will ever have. Than you Peter and Geoffrey for reading!