A recent discussion on Faceboook brought up the old chestnut with cries of “Bring back the PeopleMover to Disneyand!”
Yet after the success of Carsland across the Esplanade, I have to take the topic of this posting as a position. Why does the Future have to be the past?
Tomorrowland is one of those places in the Park that people seem to love and hate all at the same time. Yet as the future is always changing, it presents some of the biggest challenges to the folks at Imagineering. One can recall how there were plans put forth that would see Tomorrowand 2055. An exciting place with all kinds of new ideas, right? Until Michael Eisener torpedoed it all in a meeting with the line, “What if the future is a farm in Montana?”
I am one of the first to admit that Tomorrowland over the years has shown us some of the best that Disneyland had to offer. Everything from the Flying Saucers to the Rocket to the Moon to the Autopia to the Submarine Voyage to the Monorail to the PeopleMover to the House of the Future right up to Star Wars in 3D. Some of the best and brightest folks Disney could find brought these projects to life. And the clock has been good to many of these attractions. Letting the favorites be enjoyed by millions of guests.
Eventually, time catches up with many of these. Let’s be honest. They just wear out. Beyond the design lifespan. At that point, it just becomes time to move on.
So I feel with most of Tomorrowland. The footprint of the buildings is pretty much as it was in the late 60’s. Heck, some of the buildings go back to 1955.
If the folks at Imagineering really want a park that can rival what Universal Hollywood has in store with Harry Potter, Tomorrowland is the perfect real estate to work with. Frankly, I would only leave three key items in place. Space Mountain, Star Tours and Buzz Lightyear. All the rest? Time to go.
Yes, that’s what I said. All of it. Even the Monorail needs a redesign. Gone? Autopia, Submarines, Innoventions, the Tomorrowland Terrace. And especially gone, the Rocket Rods – aka the PeopleMover track.
Think about it. That is a lot of Disneyland real estate. Imagine what kick ass attractions could inhabit that space. Enough Blue Sky to make some of the best and brightest at Imagineering come up with something we really have to enjoy. Does it have to have a movie tie in? Maybe, maybe not. But it does need to be something that proves that those folks in Glendale have more waiting for us than to contract out pieces, one at a time. And how many of the favorite attractions over those 55 years had movie tie in’s?
Yes, the company needs to wisely invest for the future to insure shareholder value. And that is really what this all comes down to. Being honest, Disneyland needs something that can carry it beyond just the next few summers. It needs a vision that takes advantage of all that space and makes it over into the next “must see and do”.
Disneyland was never meant to be a museum. Standing still has never been part of the project. There are all kinds of quotes from Walt that say just that. Time to suck it up and move forward.
Sorry, folks. I really don’t see bringing back the PeopleMover as practical or positive in Tomorrowland. As a transport system from parking lots, maybe. Even that has issues of capacity and all weather operation that raise questions.
So, no. The Future does not have to be the past. It was great while it lasted. But shouldn’t it be a challenge ahead? That’s the direction I hope it’s headed.