Our next stop is right next to the Haunted Mansion, where we can leave Liberty Square and enter Fanstasyland, and see one of the best examples of our next Imagineering principle – Transitions.
Transitions most often involve making sure that as guests make their way through the park, the changes they experience as they move from subject to subject, or area to area, are as seamless as possible. The Imagineers accomplish this through the use of what they call three-dimensional cross-dissolves that employ different sorts of sensory cues to let their audience know that they’re moving to a different area. As guests move through the park and pass from one land to another, the theming, colors, textures, walkways, and even background music around them changes subtly, and before they know it they’re in a completely different environment.
The pass-through between Liberty Square and Fantasyland is one of the best examples of this.
In The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Imagineer Alex Wright provides an excellent description of this transition.
The transitions from land to land in our parks are always carefully considered, but the one from Fantasyland to Liberty Square—or Liberty Square to Fantasyland, depending on your point of view—is one of the most successful. The transition takes its cues from the standard film cross-dissolve. In order to make your way from one land to the other, you must pass beneath an overpass, actually a seating area in the Columbia Harbour House. There are elements from each land that appear on each side of the pass-through. You’ll see stonework reminiscent of the castle wall in Liberty Square, and Tudor-style woodwork on both sides of the restaurant. Your view narrows and goes dark as you travel through the tunnel, and there is even a separate BGM track playing in this space to complete the dissolve. It’s one of the finest and subtlest moments in your walk in the Park.The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World by Alex Wright
So, let’s look at some photos of the details Alex describes. First is the “stonework reminiscent of the castle wall in Liberty Square”:
Next is the “Tudor-style woodwork on both sides”. And that Memento Mori sign (on the Fantasyland side) feels like it belongs in Liberty Square, doesn’t it?
Let’s look at how this works with something specific: the support columns holding up the overpass. As we approach from Liberty Square, we see round, wooden, Colonial-style columns holding up the overpass in the foreground. As we get closer, we also notice square stone columns in the background, directly behind them. As we walk under the overpass, the round columns fade out of view, and the stone columns become more prominent. These columns are based on the look and feel of Fantasyland and serve as a gateway for us into the land.
Click through the slideshow below to see photos of the columns as we approach from Liberty Square.
Now let’s look at the column cross-dissolve again. This time, as we approach the pass-through from Fantasyland, the column cross-dissolve works in reverse of what we saw above. We see square stone columns holding up the overpass in the foreground. As get closer, we also notice round, wooden Colonial-style columns in the background, behind them. As we walk under the overpass, the stone columns fade out of view, and the wooden Colonial-style columns become more prominent. These columns are based on Colonial style architecture of Liberty Square, and lead us into that area.
Click through the slideshow below to see photos of the columns as we approach from Fantasyland.
Want to learn more? Check out Tell Your Story the Walt Disney World Way!
“When the Imagineers tell their stories, they make sure that changes in the experience serve the story they’re telling.”
Next: “it’s a small world”!