With the recent rumours that Disney may be announcing the replacement of Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World with the Tron ride that’s taken Shanghai Disneyland by storm, of course the Disney community has been throwing round a whole bunch of opinions – some people are desperate for some newness, others are already mourning the potential loss of a ‘classic’ Tomorrowland ride. On this particular matter, I stand fairly central; I don’t particularly like change, but I did love the Tron ride at Shanghai, and I think it would be a fabulous addition to WDW. One thing I can be certain of, however, is that Tomorrowland needs SOMETHING.
Walt imagined Tomorrowland to be the ultimate step into technology, and at the time, it definitely was. Look at the Carousel of Progress. It absolutely epitomises Walt’s dreams of the future, but the final scene has now hit the 21st century – virtual reality gaming, voice controlled homes – that’s the life we’re all living now. That doesn’t take anything away from my love of the Carousel, but it does indicate that times are changing, and an update is needed.
At no point had I ever believed Tomorrowland to be dated, or at least that was until my trip to Shanghai Disneyland last year, and as soon as I laid eyes on Tomorrowland the first thought that ran through my head was ‘this is how it’s meant to be’. I appreciate that the park is newer, so of course it would have better technology and a cleaner look, but it had what I can only imagine was Walt’s desired feeling: that you had stepped into the future.
Of course, the focal point of Shanghai’s Tomorrowland is the Tron Lightcycle PowerRun ride, but even the classics like Buzz Lightyear featured better tech and just felt so much cooler. The Tron ride itself was in a league of its own; it’s not dissimilar to Test Track in Epcot, but the look and feel just comes across so much sleeker, and it’s one hell of a ride!
Tomorrowland Speedway, on the other hand, does not get me excited. It’s a ride I have quite happily skipped on my last few trips and I wouldn’t shed any tears over the loss. I saw a tweet that summed up exactly how I feel:
I don’t feel like Walt would be proud of Tomorrowland as it is right now. It’s classic, but classic always implies age; being dated. Sure, if they were gonna replace Space Mountain, or the beloved PeopleMover, I think I’d feel differently, but what’s futuristic about a little car that you can drive around a track? Now give me a lightcycle..
To be honest, I think my main concern about the change happening would be the construction affecting the rest of the park, but I don’t think I’d lose any sleep. Tomorrowland is too much like today.