Legendary Kingdom

Legendary Kingdom is a concept for an original theme park that brings cultural myths and legendary places to life. The theme celebrates the adventure and mystique of places that we’ve only imagined, but that we can now step right into. Each land recreates a place that has an important connection to a legendary story.

Park Site Plan

See the site plan above for reference as I walk through the concept and lands of the park, starting with the organizational theory.

Park Flow Diagram

The layout of the park is set up as a circular loop of lands around a body of water with an island in the center, acting as the hub and icon to the park. I consider this a compound loop park. The form was organized with a series of oriented sightlines that connect visual icons throughout the park in order to promote movement. Areas of compression and release were also introduced into the park to encourage flow, specifically at transition points between lands. Both of these concepts about how urban space can be shaped were studied in my college interior architecture courses and easily translate to the layout of a theme park.

Each land is one distinct location with a single setting. The lands are represented as alive and complete, not as the ruins that we so often think of these historical places as. The lands were distributed across the park to balance the scale of lands and locations of feature attractions.

The entry land of the park is the City of Troy, chosen for its mythological history and connection to the classics of legendary literature. This is an urban Greek city that is alive with activity.

The entry gate takes guests through a Greek city wall and into a town square that is surrounded by low rise buildings, holding the retail and restaurants that typically make up an entrance land. Side streets branch off into a dedicated market on the left and towards an indoor Greek theater on the right. Straight ahead is a view of the park icon across the lagoon, Mt. Olympus. The mountain rises high above our view and by force perspective seems to touch the sky.

Mt. Olympus Elevation

The land ends with a terraced amphitheater along the edge of the water for nightly shows on the lagoon, mountain, and sky above. There is also a dock for a transportation boat that takes guests around the park, stopping at two other lands.

The first land to the right is Atlantis. This take on the city presents it before it had been sunk and lost to time. A canal runs right through this city center, bordered by tree lined plazas and ornate building that have a combined Mediterranean/Middle Eastern style. There is also a “water peoplemover” that runs through streams recessed below the city center and crosses the canal on raised bridges.

Atlantis City Center Elevation
Atlantis Land Model

The central island section of the city is dominated by a grand domed structure that acts as the City Center. This building holds a table service restaurant on the second level that overlooks the land and the entrance to the “water people mover,” which loads on the underground level. The people mover gives a tour of the city and looks into underground show scenes and the other attractions of the land. Next to the central building is a covered carousel with aquatic animal vehicles. The rest of the buildings on the central island hold retail and dining.

Atlantis Land Model

On the opposite side of the canal are two major attractions. To the north is a trackless dark ride that takes guests on a musical tour of the fabled city. To the south is a suspended EMV dark ride where guests board personal submarines for an encounter with the legendary kraken and the other creatures beneath the city.

Atlantis Land Study Sketches

Following Atlantis is Pirate Bay, set in a secretive village that the most legendary pirates call home. The land is a rustic and run-down Dutch Caribbean village with a large Frigate Pirate Ship in dock. The ship and the dock area can be explored by guests, where they might find a secret treasure stash. Across the water is a rocky reef and the decaying wreckage of a smaller pirate ship, half sunk. The main Frigate ship might periodically fire cannonballs at passing boats, but always missing with a splash.

The main attraction of the land is an original boat ride into the world of Pirates, where guests are led into battle against the British Navy led by Blackbeard himself. The other significant attraction is a special effects walk through show in a pirate voodoo shop. After walking through a mysterious and effect filled shop space, a pirate master invites us into a main theater for a demonstration of pirate magic. Along the way, Davy Jones is accidentally raised from the depths, creating a chaotic flood and a water tornado that overtakes the theater.

The rest of the village contains retail and dining, including a table service restaurant and an outdoor counter service market that overlooks the water.

After an empty land left for future expansion, the next land is El Dorado, the city of gold. Inspired by Mayan architecture, this area of the city is dominated by three pyramids decorated in gold with waterfalls cascading down. The water streams across a plaza and down into the river below. Across the river is a gold mine mountain range and another golden pyramid. The land is set during a traditional Festival of Gold so the city is vibrant with activity and decoration.

El Dorado Land Elevation

The mountain holds an indoor mine car roller coaster that takes a rapid trip into the brilliant gold caverns that provide the mineral to the famous city.

Back on the main side of the land, the main attraction inside the central pyramid is a spinning dual track dark ride. Guests participate in a traditional festival day race through the city that takes them through the icons and the backstreets of the golden city. In front of the pyramids is a Disk’O flatride that slides back and forth in a water filled basin, peaking above the wall at the middle and ends to look over the land. The far left pyramid holds a counter service restaurant.

The plaza area of the city includes retail, dining, and an outdoor public stage. The last major element of the land is a large indoor theater where a Mayan inspired musical/stunt show is presented that celebrates the festival.

The Nile Valley is next along the river. This land portrays a town alongside an active pyramid excavation site that has long been though to be the focal point of an ancient curse. An archaeological team that has recently unearthed a tomb has accidentally brought the curse to life. The pyramid and excavation site sit on one side of the river, while the small town is across a bridge.

The town contains a shopping marketplace, restaurants, and an Egyptian Antiquities Museum attraction that is a haunted house style dark ride.

The excavation site area includes three more attractions that tell the story of the tomb and the curse. The main attraction is an indoor EMV coaster where guests join the archaeological team for an adventure into the depths of the pyramid. In the rocky cliff side next to the pyramid is a 360 degree dome movie. Guests enter into the active excavation of a temple atrium and gather in the center of the room, scaffolding surrounding them. A live actor archaeologist accidentally sets off the curse, causing the scaffolding to fall away in an earthquake and the power of the curse to fill the room for an exciting action adventure. Outside, along the water’s edge is an excavation play area, where guests can unearth mysterious artifacts.

Next is the land of Mount Penglai, an important site in Chinese mythology, which was thought to be the home of the Eight Immortals and the elixir of life. The land is set in a fantastic mountain range, with iconic stone spires and cascading waterfalls running down the force perspective range. The main palace courtyard is raised from the ground level path, accessed by a set of grand stairs under a central ornamental gateway and ramps on the sides.

Mt. Penglai Land Elevation

The upper courtyard includes the main attraction, set inside the palace. On an EMV dark ride, guests go on a quest for the elixir of life but encounter the ancient Chinese wizard that protects it, sending them on an exciting journey through the lost caverns and halls of the mythic mountain kingdom. The courtyard also includes retail and dining in a main counter service palace hall.

The lower level path area features two attractions, both themed to the action of flying through the mountains. Along the main path, a chain swing lets guests fly between the rocky outcroppings and over the water below. Across the path and hidden in the mountain range is an Intamin Ultra Tower attraction, a media based indoor drop tower. Guests explore the exotic and dangerous valley that surrounds the hidden kingdom while on a magical flight.

The last land of the outer loop is Camelot, where knights and dragons are in a long running battle for control of the realm. A forest and a village sit on opposite sides of the river, with the battle damaged castle rising above as the land icon.

Camelot Castle Elevation

The forest area is centered around ruins of an old castle that have been lost to time and vegetation. This area includes an outdoor family coaster through the forest, a exploration play area in the castle ruins, and an archery shooting dark ride where guests take target practice through the ruins while having close encounters with many of the mythological creatures of the forest. Riders use hand gestures to fire “arrows” that interact with physical props and digital backgrounds.

The village half of the land includes the feature attraction of the land. Inside the castle is a classic boat ride adventure into the world of knights and dragons, culminating in a battle right in the lair of the dragon that we float through. Attached to the castle is a table service restaurant in the knight’s gathering hall, where guests are entertained by both musical and sword fight entertainment shows during the meal. The rest of the village is made of retail and dining, including a traditional tavern.

Last, forming the central island of the park is the land of Olympus, the home of the gods. The land is hidden behind the mountain and is accessed from either the east or west side through mountainous portals. Inside the caldera is a beautiful garden with a Greek Temple. A vast force perspective palace is built up on the mountainside, looking over the land below.

The main attraction is a large scale flume dark ride through the mountain, entered through the base of the palace. The flume ride takes guests into the legendary stories of the Greek gods and monsters, culminating with a drop out a waterfall at the front of the mountain and a splashdown between the ruins of two giant statue feet, with the statue head nearby. The attraction ends with a float through the gardens and caverns.

The Greek Temple holds a family dark ride coaster through the legends, including Hercules. A counter service restaurant and retail are in the main building.

The gardens hold two final attractions. There is a classic spinner flat ride with Pegasus vehicles that fly above the gardens. A small elevated temple on the mountain is the entrance to a walkthrough exploration attraction where guests encounter fantastic creatures.

The park plan was created in SketchUp, Procreate, Photoshop, and Illustrator. The Atlantis model was created in SketchUp. The diagramming was created in Illustrator. All sketches were created in Procreate.