Disney fans come in all stripes. Some love the animated movies, some are fans of live-action, and some are devoted to the theme parks. It was the latter group that seems to have walked away from this year’s D23 Expo the most disappointed. Disney had publicized the fact that there was a huge “mystery announcement” coming out of the festival, and speculation ran wild among Disney fans. One segment of theme park fans hoped that the big surprise would be the announcement of a new park, or at the very least, a facelift for the most antiquated section of Anaheim, California’s Disneyland, Tomorrowland. But alas that didn’t happen.
(For the record, the “surprise announcement” was a Disney+ “day in the life” documentary and coffee table book about Disney employees, which infuriated fans on the internet upon its unveiling. Some speculate that this wasn’t supposed to be the real “surprise announcement,” and was only passed off as such because something bigger fell apart behind-the-scenes at the last minute. Seriously, no one gives a crap about this.)
Right after the Expo, on August 29, a blog on Nerdits, written by Eric Diaz, entitled “Why a New Tomorrowland Is Long Overdue at Disneyland” read:
“With this most recent D23 Expo, rumors were swirling that we would finally get news of a new Tomorrowland coming to the U.S. theme parks, specifically to Disneyland. But just as we were in 2015 and 2017, fans were left very disappointed as nothing was revealed. Those hoping for the announcement that even just the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster would be coming to Anaheim were left with zilch, yet again.”
(Isn’t a TRON ride already hopelessly out of date?)
When it was unveiled in 1959, Tomorrowland lived up to its name, by presenting hypothetical speculation of what technological marvels might be commonplace in the distant future… of 1986. Tomorrowland has only been updated twice, in 1967 and 1998. Think about how rapidly the world has changed in that time! We have self-driving cars, drones, smartphones, and devices that let us control everything in our homes with our voices! Meanwhile in Tomorrowland, hey look! A conveyor belt you can stand on to move from one place to another place a few feet away!
As unofficial Disney author and historian David Koenig told the Orange County Register:
“It’s the biggest hole in Disneyland, except for Toontown, but at least they’re working on that. Tomorrowland is the obvious next move.”
As for why Disney isn’t investing in updating Tomorrowland at this time, the company pointed at their sprawling new (and very futuristic) Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and the upcoming Avengers Campus. Galaxy’s Edge has already proven to be a huge draw, even though there are reports that it isn’t as profitable as Disney had hoped. As Koenig pointed out, Toontown is also an outdated feature, but they are adding Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which is set to open in 2020. Disney also recently renovated the Paradise Pier section of Disney California Adventure, turning it into the new Pixar Pier.
Todd Regan, of the MiceChat.com fan blog, said:
“The last update of Tomorrowland in 1998 was a restrained-budget dud from the get-go. Most of the attractions have already slid into Yesterland — Honey I Shrunk The Audience, Innoventions, the NASA exhibit. And the big E-Ticket Rocket Rods didn’t even last the first year. In their place are a hodgepodge of themes, styles and color schemes. There is no single place in the Disneyland Resort more in need of intensive care.”
The Rocket Rods employed the tracks that were once used by the famed PeopleMover attraction. Despite the fact that both rides have been shut down for decades at this point, the tracks remain, and some view them as a taunt. As Koenig puts it, “It’s like they’re saying, ‘All you old people with memories of the PeopleMover, just look at the bones.’”
It is believed that Disney WILL revamp Tomorrowland at some point, but with the millions being spent on other areas like Galaxy’s Edge and Avengers Campus, it’s a matter of having the funds to allocate and time. They can’t just shut down a huge area of the park without an alternative in place first. But with Galaxy’s Edge open, and Avengers Campus coming soon, that could allow them the room to shut down Tomorrowland for a new revamp.
Are you a Disney park fan? How do you feel about the archaic Tomorrowland?