Library of London

This attraction concept is a dark ride through a mysterious library where guests encounter the most iconic characters from British Literature after they have escaped their stories.

Exterior Facade Model

The ride is set in a fictional branch of the Library of London, sitting on a park square. The Georgian styled building features oversized ornate entrance doors guarded by a set of bronze lions. The queue entrance to the right of the main facade leads to an outdoor wrought iron railing queue before heading inside through a side door.

Attraction Plan

The side door leads into the main atrium of the library. The atrium space includes a domed mural ceiling, a stained glass rear window, and a statue on a plinth at the center of the room, labeled as the founder of the library. Books and art line the walls, creating a space dense with visual interest. The main queue turns into a new room, labeled the North Stacks.

Atrium Queue Model
Atrium Queue Model

The North Stacks feature more books and art, but also a collection of display cases that show artifacts that are labeled as replicas of famous items from books. The paintings on the walls appear to show famous scenes from literature, except with a man that happens to look like the founder of the library in the background of them all.

Atrium and Stacks Queue Model
Stacks Queue Model

The queue then passes back through the atrium on the way to a room labeled South Stacks. This room looks similar to the last, except it has a mezzanine above and a staircase leading down to a level below. This is a large and dense section of the library. There is also a door to an external overflow queue. After the queue merge point, the combined queue leads into the load room, labeled the Private Collection Stacks, where guests load into a set of four vehicles.

Book Cart Ride Vehicle

The vehicles are meant to be some kind of book cart and are detailed with wood, wrought iron, and red plush seating. They are traditional bus bar tracked vehicles but can independently rotate 360 degrees. The group of four dispatches and the ride begins.

The vehicles pass through an arch in the bookcase and through an opening door, into the main collection. The ride starts slow to set the tone. Straight ahead, we pass a bushy tan cat sitting on a plush wingback chair, curiously watching us. We then slide by a row of book stacks that appear to go on forever, using a mirror trick to extend into the darkness. We see the cat walking between the stacks, following us. Ahead, the aisle of stacks continues in the distance with a projection extending the set. This effect is used in multiple places in the ride to suggest the scale of the library. In each case, the screens are built at the end of real bookcase sets so that it seamlessly extends the real space.

Instead of continuing straight down the assumed path, we turn right down an aisle, through a big iron gate that is labeled RESTRICTED COLLECTION. The cat continues to follow us, walking behind the books and visible through the gaps. As we travel down the aisle towards a fireplace, the books around us slowly start to shake and glow with a mysterious blue light. Suddenly the fireplace at the end begins to grow and become filled with a vortex projection effect, almost drawing us in as we move faster.

The cat sits on a chair by the fireplace, holding on as it is sucked in with us. At the end of the aisle, the vehicles spin out into a cloud of fog and rotate to face a projection surface, showing the vortex filling our vision. We see the cat and various books fly by as well. The vehicles continue on into a dark room where we see glowing books flying into place to form a bookcase wall. This is a projection mapping effect on a physical set piece.

The vehicles continue into a more well lit section of the library and rotate to face the first iconic character scene. Across from us is a bookcase wall covered in vines with a balcony half way up. The set design concept for this section of the attraction is that the architectural setting of each story has been rebuilt in bookcases, as if the library magically reformed itself in the image of its books. A huge tree with a canopy fills the space above us, but it appears that the leaves are actually made out of book pages. Romeo stands part way up a ladder, trying to get Juliet’s attention with his famous lines, but she is too distracted by the cat, who is sitting on the ledge. The cat’s presence is changing the written events of the story, and that will continue through the attraction.

The vehicles continue to slowly move around the corner to see a projection extension of an open aisle of the library. We see various characters from famous books wandering back and forth. To the left is Hamlet, standing aside the track and trying to say his famous line, but he repeatedly sneezes before he finishes. The cat is standing between his feet, and he is apparently allergic.

Continuing underneath a set of bookcase arches, guests turn to face a giant Gulliver tied down. He is surrounded by miniature Lilliputians trying to hold him down, but they are struggling because of the cat laying on Gulliver’s chest and swatting at them.

The vehicles slowly rotate left to see a projection of softly falling snow and then continue into the next scene. We arrive in Ebenezer Scrooge’s bedroom just as he is being visited by the ghost of Marley. A large fireplace is built into the rear bookcase, and paintings fill the wall, all showing Scrooge alone with his treasures. Scrooge is cowering in a chair below the massive floating ghost, suspended from the ceiling by the chains that wrap around him. The cat can be seen hiding under the bed, peaking its head out to watch. As the vehicles continue past the scene, the room darkens. In the bed curtains we the shadow of Scrooge being met by the Ghost of Christmas Past. They then start to float and fly away, but we see the cat fly away with them as well. Their shadows continue and pass across the bookcase wall to the side of the bedroom.

The vehicles move around a bend in the darkness to the next scene. They face a dark alley of bookcases, where we see a projection of the silhouette of a man stumbling in the darkness, transforming into some kind of creature. The cat walks through the darkness aside the figure. Continuing to the left, the vehicles face three windows in the bookcase wall, where the silhouette of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde can be seen again, suddenly popping into view. The cat is sitting on a chair in front of the window, hissing at the figures as they pop up.

The vehicles rotate 180 degrees as they go around the corner and face a time machine bobbing up and down in the air above a laboratory floor. The time traveler sits in the floating vehicle while the cat is holding onto the back of the vehicle, its head peeking out from above the rear circular panel. Large windows in the bookcase behind show a randomly changing background as the vehicle chaotically jumps through time.

The vehicles rotate to the right as they leave that scene to look at another projection set extension of the library. This shows the main area of the library starting to be overrun with classic characters from literature and causing true chaos. Characters such as the Red Queen and her cards, Captain Hook, Merlin, Frankenstein, Long John Silver, and Robin Hood could be included in the scene.

The scene continues on the other side with the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Watson standing by the track and another projection of the library chaos behind them. Watson is holding and petting the cat. They are calmly discussing what to do about what’s happening in the library. After consideration, Sherlock arrives at the theory that we the guests caused this when we entered the library, so the obvious solution is for us to leave. He points us away towards the exit and the vehicles continue towards it under a bookcase arch.

A force perspective set shows the aisle continuing far ahead of us, but we turn to the right and find ourselves back at the gate we started at, so we exit back into the normal section of the library. We pass a scene where it appears that books are swiftly flying back onto the shelf of a bookcase, restoring order to the library. A projection blends with a physical bookcase to create this effect.

The vehicles pass the cat once again sitting peacefully on a chair, watching us. The vehicles continue back through a hall of bookcases and arrive at unload. An exit corridor leads into a retail space on the north side of the square. Along the hall, there are a series of paintings, showing scenes from the books we encountered, but something is different about all of them. The cat is featured in all of them, and our vehicle is even visible in the background of some of them. Our adventurous journey into the library has apparently accidentally changed literature.

All plans and models were created in SketchUp and Illustrator. All sketches were created in Procreate.