Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dwarf's Cottage

I had come to Imagineering to work on the dark rides. Since I had so much previous experience with dark rides, in addition to Peter Pan, I was to work on the redesign of Snow White. Like Peter Pan the direction was simple: just like Disneyland, only bigger vehicles… oh, and by the way, no Dwarf’s cottage in the load unload area.

What? No Dwarf’s cottage? The first scene inside of the ride is inside of the Dwarf’s cottage. How’d we get there?

It turns out that the cottage was a bargaining chip already given away before I had arrived. Disneyland had a dimensional cottage in the loading area that was expensive to build. For Europe the cottage would be recreated in a retail store, so no cottage in the ride. I was left to figure out how to replace it.

We knew that we wanted a mural with all of the characters represented (unlike Disneyland) so that would take up quite a bit of space. But we still needed a way to get into the show. It turned out that the real problem was not one of having too many cottages represented in the park; the problem was budget. I needed to design a cottage that would cost no more than (and be as simple to construct as) set flats. I decided that the entire loading area needed to look more like a pop-up book created from layers.

The cottage could be as simple as two set flats creating a corner, and a roof on that side creating a valley. I produced drawings that showed how simple the structure would be; yet the finished product appears to be more complex thanks to minimal dimensional elements and paint.

In addition to designing the simplified cottage for the ride I was also elected to design the more elaborate cottage for the retail shop along with a number of animal characters in a clothes-washing scene.
Presented here is one of my hand drawings for the Dwarf’s cottage from the Snow White ride. In fact, this is the only drawing for the cottage. By keeping the design simple I was able to put all construction information for this piece onto a single sheet.

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