Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From Tomorrowland to Future World and Why it's Okay

If I had an awesome, catchy opening sentence or paragraph regarding Tomorrowland and Future World, it would definitely go here. But I don't. So let's just jump in!


If You Had Wings didn't even have wings!

Circle Vision 360. Mostly unnecessary.
Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland has gone through one hell of an identity crisis. When it opened in 1971, much like Disneyland's version, it was striving for realism and the wonders that the future holds. It reached far into the future to bring us such fantastical marvels like driving a car at 6 MPH on the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway (then called the Grand Prix Raceway.) Or you could go watch Circle-Vision 360 to see what the world would look like if you had eyes and the ability to turn around and look at things! Amazing! Want more? Head on over to If You Had Wings to experience flying in a mediocre airliner to outdated locales. Or skip your happy ass over to Flight to the Moon to watch televisions in the floor and ceiling...

Flight to the Moon. I wish an alien would burst out of the center
and start devouring the audience... Hey, that's a great idea!



Huh... the future in 1971 sucked.




What was Disney World to do? They were shooting for the future and ended up face-down in a steaming pile of the present. Then, in 1982, Epcot opened with two lands. Two massive, sprawling, glorious lands: Future World and World Showcase. This was a different sort of theme park. One the world wasn't really ready to accept yet. But sucks to the world! Epcot is awesome!

Spaceship Earth: Gateway to Future World


The Universe of Energy. Really long. Really fun.
Nothing says "Future!" like robot butlers on the no-longer-with-us Horizons.


 But the key here was Future World. Finally, a land that actually looked into the future, taking technology from the past and stretching it into the times beyond our grasp. Everything from marine biology, to horticulture, to energy resources, to a world on the go! Man, this place had everything, and it did not disappoint! Finally we had a real vision of a real-world future to look forward to.

Inside the Land pavilion



Concept art for the new Test Track

Tomorrowland today! Not based in reality at all!
But what about Tomorrowland back at the Magic Kingdom? What would be the point of having two lands competing for the same vision? Here's where Tomorrowland got set free. It's almost as if some bright Imagineer said "Hey, screw the real future! This is the Magic Kingdom! Let's just make a science fiction future!" And that's exactly what Tomorrowland has become today. We can go shoot the hell out of robot bad guys on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. We can take our own rocket to the stars in Space Mountain. Want to step through a wild portal to the land of monsters? You can do that! Because this is science fiction, and science fiction doesn't care about your piddly piece of reality. You can even visit a galactic prison and help contain an adorable little menace named Stitch (though most would advise against this.)
Space Mountain. What more needs to be said?

Kick Zurg butt with Buzz Lightyear!
With this change, a stubborn portion the Disney fan community has erupted. Apparently there are people that refuse to accept the fact that Tomorrowland is no longer set in reality, to which I say: Settle down. Take a deep breath, and stop holding on to your delusional thoughts. Tomorrowland is basically a futuristic Fantasyland now. And that's fine, because just down the road, Future World at Epcot is picking up the slack, and we can enjoy both.



 Although you can still drive around a boring raceway at 6 MPH... But for the sake of this post, we'll pretend that doesn't currently exist.