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Layout

How we approach the layout of a land. Copyright The Walt Disney Company.

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Video transcript

So far in this lesson, we have talked about story and theme. Now, let's take a look at how story and theme influence the layout of a land. That is where everything is located - attractions, stores, and restaurants- they all need to be placed somewhere. This placement should strongly reflect the land's story and theme, but it also needs to be efficient and functional. Making sure both the form and function of a layout work well, can be quite challenging. When you go to design a whole land around a story and a theme, and you create concept sketches that capture the essence of that. Then you go about the work of making it a real place that millions of guests will walk through. We're going to have guests in these places experiencing them all day long, everyday, and they have to be functional and they have to be comfortable. And so we take that into great consideration, how are guests going to navigate through these places, so we design to that. We don't want them knowing how hard we've worked on the invisible function of that space. We want than inside of a story. And that takes a lot of coordination. We have to always consider, "Hey, does a fire truck need to be able to get through here at some point?". Things like restrooms, you know, your imaginary land has to have a restroom. We also have to be cognizant of certain systems. Underground utilities. An attraction queue area that keeps guests comfortable. A lot of safety considerations like railings. Are we having a parade that needs to go through and how does that work. Infrastructure corridors. Guest flow. Entertainment folks. Food. Beverage. Merchandise. Pathways. Fireworks. Rides. Site lines. Very practical considerations that really challenge you to hold onto that vision. So there's a game between the physical necessity of laying out the space in a way that is rational and in the same time, still laying out the space in a way that is resonant and has poetry and is telling a story. And when the viewer looks at the space, the first thing they think about is the emotional reaction and the meaning of the story, not the underlying function that is making it work. Determining the layout is a major step toward taking your dream and making it someplace real. Let's look at a few, distinctive ex amples of layouts. For example, the layout of Disneyland where you enter into the park and you look down Main Street and there's kind of a thing that captures your attention down there which is Sleeping Beauty Castle. Radiator Springs and Cars Land is such a perfect example of that because as soon as you step into the land and look down the street, the Castle is the courthouse, behind that the radiator cap unit, and behind that the Cadillac range and ornament valley. So we knew we needed to recreate that street cause we wanted guests to feel like they have come to Radiator Springs. The layout of Cars Land had to be very carefully thought out. We are in human scale, so, let's say for example if we had designed Cars Land to be a Cars scale which it was designed to be in the movie, everything would be much larger - everything would be bigger- it would feel bigger. And so what we did to kind of enhance and celebrate the charm of Radiator Springs, was to bring that scale down all of the buildings in Cars Land - the scale came down to an inhabitable, comfortable scale for human beings. So, in contrast from Cars Land, when we went to layout Pandora, we were working with a very very different story: experiencing an alien planet and how would we go about that. Knowing that we have a theme of adventure, we wouldn't choose to lay out our space in a linear geometric grid because a linear geometric grid would be very obvious. And in an adventure, we would have to discover things. We made a very wandering layout so you're discovering one thing after another. What that does is it makes the space work like curtains. If I'm moving along a curve then the space is opening up like curtains as I move along the space. So I'm constantly revealing something new as I move. No matter where you go, you're going to get a different visual. So if you're standing on one side you might not see a waterfall. But if you go down another path, you'll see a really cool waterfall. We paid a lot of attention to discovering Pandora versus in Cars Land you're going right down that Main Street and you're dancing that street just like the cars did in the movie. To keep your guests in story as they work through a land and encounter all kinds of things like trashcans and drinking fountains, we put a lot of detail into all of that. And when you go to design something like a restroom, you can't just drop a restroom in the middle of Treasure Cove. It's an imaginary place set in 1730, so everything has to be in story. So our restroom is next to the Spanish Mansion which is part of our land, and it is the rum storage area so it looks like an old rummery. And it's got rum barrels stacked up in the entry way And it's done in beautiful Spanish tile and old stucco and it looks like it just belongs in the story. We debated that one a lot, "What are we going to do with this bathroom?" As we've heard, layout presents a challenging blend of artistry and practicality that work together to create a beautifully thematic and fully functioning land. In this next exercise, you'll have a chance to develop the layout of your land starting with a simple, map making activity.