Monday, October 18, 2010
Design as Conversation: Disneyland
Disneyland is magical. Disneyland is happy. Why? Because the design of it is magical and happy. What the Disney plaque above says is true. Once entering through this archway, visitors are suddenly somewhere else where one can escape into a place they never deemed imaginable. A place where "acting like a kid" is permitted for people of various ages. This past weekend I visited Disneyland for the first time and I overheard an abundance of conversation concerning the design of the entire park.
Amidst all the rides, Peter Pan's Flight will be my main focus where conversation is used in the ride's design. Riders load into miniature galleons that "lift" off to fly over rooftops, over London, through the stars, towards Neverland, and through movie scenes bought to life by audio-animatronics.
The first room riders fly into!
All Peter Pan's Flight Photos Taken by Me!
This ride greatly uses perception and perspective. The galleon is suspended from the ceiling as riders swoop over a lighted miniaturized London with the largest focal point being Big Ben. The position of the galleon and city make riders feel as if they really are high up in the sky. From there riders are bought into a galaxy surrounded by stars. I must say that I never fathomed traveling to "space" without paying Richard Bronson $250,000. After the ride was over, I overheard fellow riders converse about how amazing the ride was and inquire how certain things were accomplished by the creators.
I discussed with my own group how they made the stars appear so close to us yet we couldn't seem to touch them. How is it timed it so that each rider sees Peter battling Hook? How mini or how large is the miniaturized London? Similar questions were asked about all of the rides where holograms, projections, and audio-animatronics were skillfully and creatively used and timed.
Not only did the ride's design cause conversation, but used it. The repetition of lines from the movie, Hook and Peter arguing, Peter saying "Come on everybody, here we go!" at the start of the ride all contributes to its fantastical qualities. Using conversation in design pulls viewers in, involves them not only through sight but with their ears. Involving viewers makes design more exciting, inviting, and successful.
Great design creates conversation and uses it. Similarly, great design holds secrets and keeps an air of mystique so that the conversation is full of creative hypotheses and open-mindedness.