Disney Parks continue to expand their reach around the world. Following the opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in 2005, plans were drawn up for Shanghai, which is now scheduled to open next year. Count the number of Disney resorts that are currently operating (or being built) and multiply it several times for a better understanding of how ambitious Disney has been about further developing its renowned theme parks but has not always been successful in bringing to life. Potential concept art for a Disneyland in Dubai is floating around online – whether or not we will see it come to pass, we do not know, but take a look for yourself after the break!
A user on the Theme Parx forums pointed to a post over at Insights and Sounds, a blog covering Disney and beyond (via The Explorium), which shared a number of concept art pieces apparently providing a visual representation of what Disneyland Dubai would look like. It is a fascinating, albeit questionable, look at how a Disney Park would translate to the Middle East. Mark Taft at Insights and Sounds, in a post earlier this month, alleged that the concept art was designed by Favilli Studio (which, if you take a look at their site, could be possible as the Walt Disney Company and Disney Imagineering are included in their list of clients). Given the difficult development process Disney undertakes to produce theme parks and (to a larger extent) the shaky validity of this report, it is clear that you should take the news and artwork with a grain of salt.
In the concept art, there are a number of stark differences from what we are used to seeing from a “Magic Kingdom” park – there is a Cars Land and an apparent Star Wars Land (there seems to be a Death Star spinner attraction near the center of the image above). This would deviate in a massive way from the classic Magic Kingdom park design, which debuted with the building of the classic Disneyland in California and has routinely featured themed lands including Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Cars Land is present at the Disneyland Resort, but is over at the neighboring Disney California Adventure park, which sets right next to Disneyland. For years, there have been rumors of Star Wars taking over the Tomorrowland portion of the original Disneyland, and that is what it could look like.
If you look over to the western side of the park, you will catch what appears to be Luxo, Jr. and the ball he jumps on, both symbols of Pixar. It could be where the Pixar Store in the artwork above could be located.
There is a strong Middle Eastern influence on the design of the park entrance and the castle.
The castle has cars parked out front, indicating that it could be part of a hotel located inside the park itself, although it does not match up with the design of the castle in the first image. Still, having guest rooms in the castle would capture what the lucky (and few) guests of the Cinderella Castle Suite in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom experience on a much wider scale.
An above-view concept art piece provides a look at the design of what is usually Main Street, U.S.A. (known as World Bazaar in Tokyo Disneyland and Mickey Avenue in the upcoming Shanghai Disneyland. Seemingly incorporating the design of the local area’s architecture, this street could potentially be one of the most dramatic departures from what we are used to seeing in what is essentially the first themed-land in Magic Kingdom parks.
If nothing else, these pieces of artwork are an interesting look at what a Disneyland in Dubai would look like, while at the same time presenting different ideas for a modern-day Disneyland park. The design of Magic Kingdom parks has often hinged on nostalgia, with even Tomorrowland presenting a “retro” view of the future, which has always made changing the design to the established (and beloved) parks a tough challenge for the Disney Parks team. Producing a different design for a brand new park would not only differentiate it from the already massively popular parks, but it would also allow for greater preservation of the original parks’ designs, possibly a happy medium.
We may never see Disneyland Dubai become a reality, but seeing what it could potentially look like is an interesting window into the minds of the artists and maybe even Disney. We will have to wait and see if there is any truth to the report!