Last week I spent a few hours at Disneyland. I spend time looking for remnants of extinct attractions like Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland and some time looking for forgotten pieces of modified attractions that still stand today-- like Space Mountain.
I was thrilled to find so many great pieces of surviving 1970s architecture in the area. The experience was a far cry from walking through Tomorrowland way-back-when, but it offered its fare share of appeal.
The Speedramp has been gone for well over a decade. It closed in August, 1997 and reportedly caught fire two days later... Is that true? More disappointing is the absence of the Space Stage and seating area and Space Place Restaurant. As you see in the first photo this area had a certain energy about it that doesn't exist today. The Space Place Restaurant offered decent food and great places to relax and eat while enjoying occasional live music.
Before the stage area was enclosed for the introduction of Captain E.O. (1986) we could enjoy amazing vistas both high and low. This open area allowed you to feel like Tomorrowland was a rather large land, comparable in feeling to Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland and in some ways similar to the Future World pavilions of EPCOT Center. The bold architecture with its unique angles, shapes, lines-of-sight, and colors was a sight to behold. The emotional sensations offered by its superior aesthetic qualities, use of space, and background music was a treat to say the least. Then again we had no Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.
Now we have something very different. Tomorrowland continues on with its 12+ year identity crisis. Much of what was painted gold and copper in color is now white, blue, or silver though much of the gold remains. The 1998 version of Tomorrowland with its odd combination of Da Vinci-Vernes-Lucas influences has evolved (or devolved) to include very non-futuristic Pixar characters. But possibly worse is the decaying PeopleMover track and that satellite thing where the Rocket Jets once ran. A rocket spinner ride can still be enjoyed (to a much lesser extant than before) if you want less views of Tomorrowland and more views of the Hub- and at a much shorter height than before. Let's not even talk about how the Astro Orbiter has cluttered up what was once one of the greatest entrances to any land. At least fans of the Rocket Jets have something similar they can still enjoy. PeopleMover lovers, such as myself, have only a constant reminder every time we look up from any outside area of this confused land.
There's always that inevitable comment someone always blurts out at the beginning of every Tomorrowland discussion that "it's too hard to keep up with the future so the Tomorrowlands we have are the only way." Please. Broken rides and taking fish? Why not something along these lines??
But this was supposed to be a positive post! Ok, ok. Among the few remaining excellent attractions from past Tomorrowlands is Space Mountain. And on last week's visit I delighted in not only the well-executed Space Mountain ride refurbishments of recent years, but the remaining 70s and 80s architecture of its surrounding areas. Oh but beware of a few sad shots. A couple might fit better in our Abandoned Disney posts.
Compare to the old Space Place here.
And if you dare: Summer of 1996's Toy Story Funhouse and Hamm’s All-Doll Revue in this location. This baffled me to no end. Luckily when they said "temporary" this time, they meant it.
If only there was a way to ride on that there track again. If only that there tunnel led to something like this again.
Jurassic Park game at Disneyland, eh? Hmm. (Look closely in the above photo)
Some old soothing Space Mountain entry music
1967 "New Tomorrowland" Broadcast
THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
The Future Was Fantastic in '57
Magic Highway U.S.A... It doesn't get much better than this.