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Old Posted Apr 13, 2018, 4:01 PM
ragerunner5 ragerunner5 is offline
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The Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

My career is focused on redevelopment and placemaking for cities around the United States. I find it exciting to help a community integrate economics, public spaces, private spaces and their surrounding environments into a more cohesive space for people to live, work, create and play in. This effort includes how buildings, nature, lights, smells, sounds, landscapes, signage and other urban elements can interrelate.

I have also loved visiting theme parks, since I was a small kid, and have found that many of these parks are some of the best places to see placemaking in action, in a more controlled environment. The opportunity to take pedestrian spaces and integrate landscapes, smells, sounds, lighting, architecture and play can provide great examples for how to bring many of these elements into our built communities. So I thought I would start a thread on this subject.

One of my favorite times inside a park is right at dusk when the day time elements and night time elements are both visible and are merged together. So I thought I would kick off this thread with a look at lighting (during dusk) at one of the best theme parks in the world, WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

Lighting can accentuate architectural elements, Landscaping, signage, entry points, pedestrian space and create a sense of safety. Lighting is also used to strengthen the theme of a structure or environment. When used right it can also soften, enliven or help activate a location.

Magic Kingdom - Lighting


Inside the Tiki Tower


Liberty Square - Lighting

Fantasyland - Lighting

Tomorrowland - Lighting

To close out the Magic Kingdom lighting thread here is one of the Castle at Christmas.

Up next Universal Orlando's Island of Adventure.
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Old Posted Apr 16, 2018, 3:55 PM
ragerunner5 ragerunner5 is offline
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Posts: 59
Universal's Islands of Adventure

Next up are photos on lighting around Universal's Island of Adventure. The more you look at the park the more impressive it becomes. The lighting in this park is probably better than any other park I have visited in the US. The themed areas give it such variety and the lighting designs reflect this variety as well.

Seuss Landing - Lighting

The lighting here does a great job bring out the curvature of the unique architecture through back/spot lighting and decorative (holiday like) lighting. This strengthens the area's theme by bring out the Seuss Landing style, color and story even more after dark.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade - Lighting

The lighting in Hogsmeade does an outstanding job of creating a mysterious/old world look and feel to the village. But where it really shines is how well they have created a 'wintery glow' by illuminating the transparency (windows) of the buildings. This provides a connection between the interior and exterior of the buildings and gives a soft light glow that mimics a winter time scene.

Port of Entry - Lighting

The lighting here does a great job of highlighting the architecture of the very well done "main street" buildings. It also does a great job of making the street seem alive and vibrant, even on the upper floors of the buildings.

Lost Continent - Lighting

Lost Continent's design and architecture is large and bold. From Poseidon Fury's grand plaza and entry structure to Mythos the lighting in this area is designed to highlight large areas. Even some of the more ornate lights are larger than what you would find in Hogsmeade and other areas of the park. The more detailed lighting is also designed to create a colored light palette that adds different textures at night to the builds that would not be seen during the daytime.

Jurassic Park - Lighting

This area really has some of the best "themed" lighting at Islands. Many of the light fixtures in this area of the park bring the dinosaur theme out through there designs. But, in my opinion the real light winner in this area is Camp Jurassic. It is a visual treat of up lighting on all of the rock work.

Toon Lagoon - Lighting

This area's lighting is very diverse. From Popeye which focuses more on the river setting, Dudley which has its lighting more scaled for the grand view to the shops that have some of the most transparent store fronts, that help the indoors and outdoors feel more like one space. This area also uses a lot of 'old school' framed light box and neon signs to bring out the historic comic strip feel.

Marvel's Super Hero Island - Lighting

The lighting in this area uses neon in large quantities to bring a vibrant, high energy feel to the land. This area also uses a lot of the framed light box signage but also back lights it with neon. This brings out an overall look that is old school mixed with a futuristic vibe that feels in motion.

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