Tomorrowland

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Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland Entrance.jpg
The entrance to Tomorowland.
Magic Kingdom
Theme Early 20th century view of the future.
Opening date October 1, 1971
Number of Attractions Eight

Tomorrowland is a land inside the Magic Kingdom

Overview

Although Tomorrowland opened with the rest of the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971, the land that opened was far from complete. More so than the other lands of the Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland was in a state of flux, even as construction on the park itself was well underway [1]. During the initial planning of the land there had been plans for an indoor rollercoaster attraction, and even a Monorail station that would have connected to the planned Persian resort[1]. Ultimately, these ideas were put on hold as Disney realized that only a portion of the land would be ready for the park's opening day. Now scheduled to open in phases, when Tomorrowland opened it only featured two operating attractions, the Skyway to Fantasyland and the Grand Prix Raceway [2]. These attractions would shortly be joined by the Circle-Vision 360 film America the Beautiful (on November 25, 1971 [3]) and Flight to the Moon on December 24, 1971 [4]. In addition to these attractions the original incarnation of Tomorrowland also featured the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant and the iconic entrances spires which featured cascading waterfalls.

Phase II of Tomorrowland finally began to open to guests in 1973 with the addition of Space Mountain. Walt Disney World’s first indoor rollercoaster, the attraction would become such a hit that it would later be added to the rest of the Disney Parks. Following the opening of Space Mountain came the additions of the Star Jets (November 28, 1974), the Carousel of Progress (January 15, 1975) and the WEDWay PeopleMover (July 1, 1975). Now a complete land, with its white color scheme and Googie architecture, Tomorrowland was firmly rooted in the tomorrow of the Space Age.

Between 1975 and 1994 Tomorrowland experienced mostly relatively “minor” renovations. In 1975, due to the fact that Flight to the Moon was becoming dated, the attraction was re-branded Mission to Mars[5]. The attraction If You Had Wings also went through a series of sponsor and name changes- Becoming If You Could Fly, Delta Dreamflight, and Take Flight as it changed sponsors from Eastern Airlines to Delta Airlines, before finally becoming sponsorless. [6]

In 1994 Tomorrowland was completely “re-imagined” and changed to resemble an intergalactic metropolis. Taking inspiration from the sci-fi pulp fiction of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, as well as the Discoveryland concept created for Disneyland Paris, the color scheme of Tomorrowland was changed from its classic blue and white, to a more metallic darker looking land. In conjunction with the retheming, two new attractions were added. The first was the Timekeeper. Housed in the Tomorrowland Metropolis Science Center, this new film housed in the Circle-Vision 360 Theater, invited guests to travel through time with the Timekeeper and his droid “9-Eye”. The second attraction added was the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, which was housed in the Interplanetary Convention Center.[7] The new attraction was a “theater-in-the-round” attraction where guests were placed in the dark along with an escaped alien. ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was much darker in its tone then most Disney Rides, and a sign outside the building stated that it was not intended for children under the age of 12. Also changing in 1994 were the names of a lot of popular Tomorrowland attractions. The Grand Prix Raceway was renamed the “Tomorrowland Indy Speedway”, Star Jets was renamed “Astro Orbiter”, and the WEDway People Mover was renamed the “Tomorrowland Transit Authority”. The “new” Tomorrowland, was billed as “the future that never was”.[8]

Further changes came to Tomorrowland beginning in 1998 when Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin replaced Disney's Take Flight (formally If You Had Wings). The new attraction allowed guests to go on an adventure to defend the universe from the evil Emperor Zurg. To do this, guests collect points by shooting orange targets with their “laser cannon”. Another new attraction opened in 2004 when Stitch's Great Escape! replaced the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. Based on the 2002 Disney movie Lilo and Stitch, the ride was a “theater-in-the-round” type attraction like its predecessor. Unlike the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter however, Stitch was lighter in tone and more kid friendly. [9]

The next major change to Tomorrowland came in 2007 with the opening of the Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor. The new attraction, based on the Disney-Pixar movie Monsters, Inc replaced the Timekeeper. This change ended a streak of Circle Vision 360 attractions being housed in that location, since the park opened. Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor is an interactive show which utilizes the “digital puppetry” technology that allows the characters on the screen to interact with the audience.[10]

On July 15, 2017, Disney announced that a version of The TRON Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster from Shanghai Disneyland would also be built in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland [11]. The attraction is expected to be completed in time for Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary in 2021.

Beginning May 25, 2018, Tomorrowland became the home of the temporary Incredible Tomorrowland Expo. This celebration of the Disney-Pixar Incredibles franchise features the Super Party Time dance party, Jack-Jack Diaper Dash (a baby racing contest that guests can participate in), Incredibles photo backdrops near the Carousel of Progress, Space Mountain and the Cool Ship [12]. An new Super Super Fans walk around characters. In addition to these offerings, the expo also features Incredibles themed food and drinks at many of Tomorrowland's dining locations.

Attractions

Space Mountain in Tomorrowland

Astro Orbiter- This attraction allows guests to pilot their own spacecraft for a tame ride through space.

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin- This attraction based on Disney-Pixar film Toy Story allows guest to help fight the evil Emperor Zurg by shooting targets with their laser cannon and racking up points.

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor- This interactive show transports guests to Monstropolis where Mike Wizowski and company are putting on a comedy show. This attraction is based on the Disney-Pixar film Monsters, Inc.

Space Mountain-This classic roller coaster takes guests on a high-speed adventure through space.

Stitch's Great Escape!- Based on the 2002 Disney movie Lilo and Stitch, on this attraction guests find themselves alone with escaped experiment 626!

Tomorrowland Speedway- This classic Disney attraction allows guests (including kids) to board their own “race car” and drive around Tomorrowland on a track.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover- This train ride lets guests take a relaxing tour around Tomorrowland, including a trip inside Space Mountain.

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress- Created by Walt Disney himself for the 1964 World's Fair, this attraction allows guests to experience 100 years of progress with the “typical American family”.

Past Attractions

Skyway to Fantasyland- This Gondola lift transported passengers from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland from 1971-1995.

The Circle Vision 360 Theater- This Theater housed a series of attractions all of which were Circle Vision 360 films, from 1971-2006. The attractions housed here included:

  • America the Beautiful- A 360 degree tour of America. Included in the film were scenes from New Salem, Illinois, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Hawaii. America the Beautiful ran from 1971-1974 and then 1975-1979.
  • Magic Carpet 'Round the World'- A 360 tour of the world, featuring over 20 countries. This film was shown for a brief period during 1974 and 1975 while America the Beautiful was being updated. It was then brought back and permanently stayed in the Circle Vision 360 Theater from 1979-1984.
Rockettower Plaza in Tomorrowland
  • American Journeys- A 360 tour of America. American Journeys featured more diversity then America the Beautiful. It opened on September 15th, 1984 and closed on January 9th, 1994.
  • The Timekeeper- A 360 trip through time with the Timekeeper and his droid 9-eye. The ride opened in 1994 and closed in 2006. When it opened the Timekeeper was a part of the “New Tomorrowland”.

If You Had Wings- An Omnimover dark ride which took guests on a “trip” around the world . The ride was sponsored by Eastern Air Lines and was clearly a large promotion for the company. It opened in 1972 and closed June 11987.

If You Could Fly- After Eastern Air Lines dropped its sponsorship of If You Had Wings, all references to Eastern were removed and the ride was renamed If You Could Fly. Although the music was different, the scenes and sets remained the same. If You Had Wings opened June 6, 1987 and closed January 4, 1989.

Delta Dreamflight- This attraction was a pop-up book version of the history of flight. The ride used simplistic sets, Audio Animatronics, and projection effects. Riders passed through scenes of barnstormers, an M-130, Tokyo, and Paris in the 1930s. They also traveled through the jet age, and the future of air travel, before finally entering a working jet engine. Delta Dreamflight Opened in 1989 and closed in 1996 after Delta dropped its sponsorship.

Take Flight- When Delta dropped its sponsorship of Delta Dreamflight all references to Delta were removed and the ride was renamed Take Flight. This incarnation lasted from 1996-1998 before closing for good.

Flight to the Moon- On this attraction guests boarded a “spacecraft” and flew to the moon. The ride was already outdated by the time it was opened in 1971 and was replaced by Mission to Mars in 1975.

Mission to Mars- This attraction was similar to Flight to the Moon, however now guests were traveling to Mars, something that humans have never done. On this attraction guests could then look out their windows as the spacecraft “traveled” to Mars. Mission to Mars opened in 1975 and closed in 1993.

ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter- This attraction was a “theater-in-the-round” attraction where guests were placed in the dark along with an escaped alien. Although the attraction was scary for younger children and thus unpopular with some adults, it gained a cult following. The attraction opened in 1995 as part of the “New Tomorrowland” and closed in 2003.

Tomorrowland Arcade- This video game arcade was located at the exit of Space Mountain from 1995 until 2015.

Restaurants

Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies- Located across from the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway, Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies serves ice cream and assorted snacks.

Cool Ship- Located near Space Mountain, the Cool Ship is a refreshment stand.

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe- Located near the entrance of Tomorrowland, Cosmic Ray’s is a counter service restaurant. Guests are able to eat burgers, chicken and salad while listening to Sonny Eclipse and his backup singers The Space Angles.

The Lunching Pad- Located at RocketTower Plaza, The Lunching Pad is a quick service restaurant specializing in hot dogs.

Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant- Located on the border of Main Street USA and Tomorrowland, the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant sells burgers, sandwiches and salads. The Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant is also home to the Wishes Dessert Party.

Shopping

Mickey's Star Traders is the largest store in Tomorrowland. Photo by Theme Park Tourist

Buzz Lightyear's Shop- A store located at the exit of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. The store sells predominantly Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear merchandise.

Geiger's Counter- A shop offering hats and other merchandise. Also used for Disney Vacation Club information.

Merchant of Venus- A store located at the end of Stitch's Great Escape! Merchant of Venus sells a large amount of Stitch merchandise as well as other Tomorrowland merchandise.

Mickey's Star Traders- A large store located near Space Mountain. Mickey's Star Traders sells all kinds of Disney merchandise and is the biggest store in Tomorrowland.

Space Mountain Shop- A shop located at the exit of Space Mountain. Specializes in Space Mountain merchandise.

Ursa's Major Minor Mart- A smaller shop selling Disney merchandise.

Entertainment

Incredibles Super Dance Party- Located on the Tomorrowland Stage, the Incredibles Super Dance Party features characters from the Disney Pixar film The Incredibles dancing along to top 40 hits. The dance party takes place nightly beginning at 5 o'clock pm.

Temporary Entertainment

As part of the Incredible Tomorrowland Expo, Tomorrowland is now how to a number of temporary entertainment offerings. It is unknown how long the Expo will continue for.

Super Party Time- This daily dance party features characters from the Disney-Pixar Incredibles franchise. Performed at the Rockettower Plaza Stage, the Super Party Time dance party allows guests to interact with Edna Mode for the first time ever.

Jack-Jack Diaper Dash- Guests can register their baby to participate in a crawling race.

Super Super Fans- These Incredibles themed walk around characters interact with guests from 10am to 6:30p, daily.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • For a time, Push the talking trashcan could be found in Tomorrowland. He looked like the other Tomorrowland trash cans and would surprise guests by suddenly talking and moving. In 2014 Push was "retired".[13]
  • According to the signs near the Tomorrowland Terrace, Leonard Burnedstar will be conducting the Martian Pops Orchestra concert.
  • Tomorrowland is designed to be like a city. The Avenue of the Planets leads to Rockettower Plaza and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority provides transportation. There is also a Interplanetary Convention Center.
  • Space Mountain is the second highest structure in Walt Disney World at 183 feet.
  • Tomorrowland is headquarters to the fictional League of Planets. The back story states that because it is the headquarters it is a bustling metropolis. The "locals" could travel on the Blue Line (Tomorrowland Transit Authority) if they needed to get somewhere in Tomorrowland. The Red line would take them off planet, and the Green Line would take them to the “hover burbs”. They could also read about anything noteworthy by picking up a copy of the "Tomorrowland Times" from a robotic newsboy in Rocket Tower Plaza.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.martinsvids.net/?p=281
  2. http://www.thisdayindisneyhistory.com/DisneyWorldGrandOpening.html
  3. https://d23.com/a-to-z/america-the-beautiful-film/
  4. https://d23.com/a-to-z/flight-to-the-moon/
  5. https://www.waltdatedworld.com/id88.htm
  6. https://www.waltdatedworld.com/id97.htm
  7. http://wedwayradio.squarespace.com/wwr/2013/7/22/tomorrowland-94-show-notes-for-season-5-episode-11.html
  8. http://wedwayradio.squarespace.com/wwr/2013/7/22/tomorrowland-94-show-notes-for-season-5-episode-11.html
  9. http://passport2dreams.blogspot.com/2014/11/stitchs-great-escape-ten-years.html
  10. http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/guides/magickingdom/tom-laugh.htm
  11. http://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/tron/news/16jul2017-tron-coaster-coming-to-magic-kingdoms-tomorrowland.htm
  12. https://www.wdwmagic.com/attractions/tomorrowland/news/24may2018-details-of-incredible-tomorrowland-expo-beginning-tomorrow-at-the-magic-kingdom.htm
  13. http://www.insidethemagic.net/2014/02/push-the-talking-trash-can-could-get-canned-at-magic-kingdom-fans-rise-against-walt-disney-world-entertainment-cut/