Walt Disney World (FL)

An Urban Designer Looks At Adventureland

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Cinderella Castle pulls you past Main Street’s shops and restaurants, to the Central Hub. On the right is the Crystal Palace, a grand Victorian building modeled after historic examples like New York’s Crystal Palace, San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers and England’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Imagineers make the transition from Main Street’s small town America to Adventureland’s jungles of your imagination by using the vocabulary of Victorian architecture, the dominant style in America of the time period represented by Main Street as well as 19th Century British Colonial rule.

Adventureland’s main pathway winds past the Victorian-era Swiss Family Treehouse, eventually opening onto an Arabian Bazaar containing the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. This attraction has added a strong center to the area and helps to orient you. The Jungle Cruise is below you to the left and Spanish Main beckons just ahead.

The plaza in front of Pirates of the Caribbean is a traditional element of towns created during the great age of Spanish exploration. The buildings on your left reflect the Spanish architectural style found throughout the Caribbean. On your right, the Imagineers reinterpret the same architectural vocabulary as Spanish-influenced buildings typical of the America Southwest circa 1850. This creates the equivalent of a filmmaker’s “cross-dissolve” transition from the jungles of Adventureland to the deserts of the American frontier west without creating any visual contradictions to spoil your journey.

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Sam Gennawey

Sam Gennaway is an Urban Planner who runs the fantastic SamLand’s Disney Adventures blog. Sam visits Disneyland on a frequent basis and toured with the Unofficial Guide team on our recent Disneyland Trip.

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