Abandoned Disney (8) Adventure Thru Inner Space (2) Adventureland (12) America Sings (1) Animal Kingdom (2) Animation (19) Animatronics (20) Area Music (7) Backyard Imagineering (6) Behind-the-Scenes (39) Big Thunder Mountain (3) California Adventure (6) Captain E.O. (1) Carousel of Progress (12) Castle (7) Characters (6) Club 33 (1) Concept (13) Construction (15) Country Bear Jamboree (2) Death (2) Disney Channel (1) Disneyland (50) Disney-MGM Studios (1) Donald Duck (3) Entertainment (5) Epcot (28) Fantasyland (16) Fess Parker (1) Film (25) Frito Kid (4) Frontierland (14) Germany (1) Hall of Presidents (4) Haunted Mansion (10) Hidden Mickeys (2) Holidays (1) Hollywood Studios (1) Horizons (3) House of the Future (1) Illustration (3) Imagineering (1) John Lasseter (4) Journey Into Imagination (2) Jungle Cruise (15) Lake Buena Vista (1) Liberty Square (3) Lillian Disney (2) Ludwig Von Drake (1) Magic Kingdom (23) Main Street U.S.A (12) Maintenance (1) Management (5) Maps (13) Marc Davis (8) Marty Sklar (3) Matterhorn (6) Monorail (4) Mr. Lincoln (3) Muppets (2) Music (3) Mystery (9) Nature's Wonderland (7) New Orleans Square (6) Orange Bird (2) Paul Frees (1) PeopleMover (10) Peter Pan (2) Photos (1) Pirates of the Caribbean (9) Pixar (5) Pleasure Island (1) Podcast (1) Progress City (1) Props (2) Railroad (2) Resorts (2) River Country (4) Rivers of America (2) Roy Disney (1) Scale Models (21) Skyway (3) Song of the South (2) Sound Effects (2) Souvenirs (3) Space (3) Space Mountain (6) Splash Mountain (1) sSpace Mountain (1) Tangled (2) The Living Seas (1) Then and Now (17) Tiki Birds (2) Tilt Shift (2) Tomorrowland (39) Tomorrowland 67 (8) Treehouse (1) Vintage Disneyland (3) Walt Disney (15) Walt Disney Family (7) Walt Disney Family Museum (1) Walt Disney World (6) Ward Kimball (1) Wonders of Life (1) World of Motion (2) World's Fair (2) Yeti (1)

Orange Bird Photo Hunt


« Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain Construction | Main | Tomorrowland '67 [Part 4] »

"As Long as There Is Imagination Left in the World": Putting the Phrase to Better Use

Recently, my buddy and I were talking about how Walt Disney (the person) is too often misquoted. There's one quote in particular that stood out in our conversation. I asked this friend to write an article about this topic.

Article by Guest Author, Stan

[Author’s Note: My intention here is not to have a “whine session”; but rather have a “wish session” where positive solutions to these current problems could be considered and “imagined” by readers. Thanks.]

Walt Disney said:

“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world. It is something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing and adding to.”

This oft-quoted statement is a good one. In context, it describes Walt Disney’s development philosophy and plan for his beloved theme park. Unfortunately, this statement is also ill-quoted all too often by many in the Disney ranks who seem to say it anytime the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts business is discussed publicly or anytime changes to the parks are announced. Whether the changes truly are imaginative additions or solutions doesn't seem to matter. The quote has been tied to announcements and discussions for not only new and revamped attractions, but also for meet and greets, time shares and radio frequency wristbands. What was once a philosophy about park additions and innovations now often seems like an excuse for mediocrity and neglect.

If there is any imagination left in the world, and I think there is, maybe it could be put to better use by solving some of these problems currently plaguing the U.S.-based Disney theme parks:

1. The Giant Sorcerer Mickey Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
I can imagine a once-gorgeous and perfectly scaled theme park entrance that could be made beautiful again with the removal of this promotional structure which has, unfortunately, overstayed its welcome by 12+ years. The Hollywood Boulevard entrance used to be a brilliant first act to the park. Scaled using the same forced perspective as Main Street, U.S.A., but with buildings and facades reflecting architectural styles found in Southern California during the golden age of Hollywood, and using the design of a classic movie palace as the park’s “castle” so to speak, it was like Disneyland dedicated to the love of movies. It sure made this movie and Disney fan very happy and inspired, at least in the year 2001 B.H. (Before Hat) and earlier. Even though all of the buildings and facades are still there, I believe that the giant hat severely detracts, if not completely erases, all of the beutiful proportions, charm, and artistry of this formerly great entrance. I can imagine that someday this wonderful entrance could return. What do you imagine?

2. Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.
I can imagine a land that embraces a cartoon alien/monster-free future and adds instead fun and truly futuristic attractions in their places. I’ve never had much of a problem with the Magic Kingdom’s 1994 Tomorrowland re-do in which “the future that never was” actually arrived in the form of metallic retro sci-fi futurism. It’s the attractions that reside inside the retro-futuristic facades that I think miss the mark. Stitch’s Great Escape (I can’t even bear to include the exclamation point) misses the quality and excellence that are the hallmarks of a well-designed Disney attraction all the way around. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is a enjoyable and well-run attraction in a wrong part of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. I can imagine that these two attractions could be replaced by experiences that are more in alignment with what the Tomorrowland dedication plaque in Disneyland states: “A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man's achievements...a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideals: the Atomic Age...the challenges of outer space...and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.” What do you imagine?

3. Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.
I can imagine a Tomorrowland that works. Whether it’s the removal of the former People Mover/Rocket Rods track (since it’s probably never coming back in any form), the returning of the Astro Orbiter/Rocket Jets to its rightful place where it was from 1967-1997, or the addition of an enjoyable and innovative ride-through attraction where the Carousel of Progress/America Sings/Innoventions building now resides, I can imagine (and truly hope), that needed aesthetic and functional changes could be coming soon to Tomorrowland. What do you imagine?

4. The Disco Yeti in Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
I can imagine this attraction closing down for a few months in order to get a better solution in place for this eternally broken audio-animatronic. I’m quite baffled why one of the best effects in a flagship ride in a park that really needs a flagship ride never gets fixed. I can understand that operationally it might not be feasible to close down the attraction for the length of time needed to make the repairs and modifications. However, wouldn’t it make sense in the long run to get things working? It all seems very short sighted to me. I might not be able to see the entire picture, but I can imagine that a solution is plausible and possible. What do you imagine?

5. All of Future World at Epcot.
I can imagine a return to beautiful, relevant, inspirational and well-maintained Future World pavilions. Of all of the current problems happening at Disney theme parks, the current state of Future World is the most heartbreaking to me. I don’t pine for a return to the 1980s (although they were awesome); what I wish for is a return to the “future” in Future World. Let me reference again a dedication plaque, this time it is Epcot’s plaque from opening day in October 1982: “EPCOT Center is inspired by Walt Disney’s creative genius. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, the wonders of enterprise, and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all. May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire. And, above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere.” What current Future World pavilion lives up what is stated in the dedication plaque? I can imagine that Disney (The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney Imagineering, Team Disney Orlando, or whoever will make this decision) would want to allocate the money and resources necessary to restore and renew this portion of the park to its intended aspirational vision and guest experience. What do you imagine?


Related posts:

That's What Walt Said
Walt Disney and the Santa Maria Railroad
My 10-Point Plan for Better Character Attraction Placement
Disney Management Apathy / Hockey Analogy
Walt's Wife Talks About EPCOT Center
Vintage Disneyland Home Movies- Meeting Walt Disney Himself
THEN AND NOW: Walt at Disneyland

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (30)

So very true. I have heard this quote spill out of way too many Disney managers, most of whom couldn't tell you the first thing about Walt Disney. It's like they do it to shut up anyone who questions poor decisions. I can understand PR trying to keep things positive but failing to understand even the most basic meaning behind their founder's statement is sad.

May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam Kendall

Thanks Stan for the great article! I love your wish list.

William- I know how you feel.

I remember a Guest Relations cast member giving a little presentation to an audience of about 200 Magic Kingdom cast members. He pretty much said everything at Walt Disney World was perfect. An audience member asked if Walt would be happy that his plans for E.P.C.O.T the city never came to be. The Guest Relations guy verbally ripped the guy's face off and of course used this quote. He said Walt would LOVE TEST TRACK and wouldn't care that the city wasn't built because "WALT NEVER LOOKED BACK". Clearly he did look back plenty. He also looked towards the future in a wonderful, optimistic, and innovative way. I'll shut up now.

May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

Hear, hear! Especially this: "What was once a philosophy about park additions and innovations now often seems like an excuse for mediocrity and neglect."

On the subject of Disco Yeti, the outlook is grim. An acquaintance of mine who was on the team that originally put fur on him says he is simply too powerful a mechanism for the platform he is on. He will never be able to operate as intended because eventually he would pull right off his moorings. They'd need to build a completely new Yeti, something I can't imagine management would ever greenlight when Expedition Everest pulls in plenty of riders in its current diminished state.

Sort of the same "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude you see toward Future World. As long as Epcot remains just popular and profitable enough, management doesn't seem to care how lackluster it is.

May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCH

The great thing about your wish list, is that it's very reasonable. I can't help but wonder why each of those things hasn't already happened. And the old argument that Tomorrowland is too hard to keep up with, honestly there have got to be a hundred ways to do it. The same goes for Future World.

May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterT.G.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Disney can't move the giant Mickey Sorcerer's hat because of some deal with Grauman's Chinese Theatre. There was some legal trouble, I believe...

May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt G.

I agree with all of these points, especially with Tomorrowland and Future World. Both of those areas need serious help, but it might not cost a crazy amount if they use the existing infrastructure. Upgrades to the Universe of Energy and Journey Into Imagination would change the game, and putting anything of value in Wonders of Life would change that side of the park.

The sad fact with Future World is that EPCOT is still drawing well, so Disney doesn't see the need to upgrade it. They should learn from the lesson of California Adventure. If you build exciting new attractions, people will come in droves.

May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan Heaton


The hat NEEDS to go so fact, the whole park (as has been stated thousands of times by others) needs a total re-boot. I foresee a DCA style remake in the future...because honestly, sadly, DCA makes more sense and now in fact looks better than DHS...It's as though the park has lost it's way... terrible...the "Chili Dog Belch" smell has been used so many times now that you can smell it well before the attraction starts...and Monsters Inc is neat...but needs to be transported to DHS to the Pixar Section of the park... Not to mention that Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom looks awful...the whole thing looks run down and worn out...the architecture is pretty much dull and smells of the 90's... I wish someone would bring back those really great spires and waterfalls from the park's opening.

Epcot's future world is in desperate need of help. Imagination is literally almost painful to behold...the Seas are now a complete joke...I'm not really sure how the heck the Imagineers thought it'd be a good idea to take what was once the biggest aquarium in the world (and probably still and expensive attraction to maintain!) and project friggin' cartoons on the sides of the tank. I know they felt they needed kiddie rides...but they could have left the seas ALONE.

Wonders of life is now a catch-all space for festivals...which, I guess is fine...or at least I'd feel better if they'd just build a new pavillion somewhere in future world West to balance out the I've always felt the positioning of WOL's dome made the park uneven looking from above...

Mission space needs an update (believe it or not) and I'd propose a Horizons tie-in using Brava Centauri as some sort of plot basis...oh, and get rid of HP as a sponsor and use SPACEX or ORBITAL SCIENCES as a sponsor...these guys are the future of commercial spaceflight...or heck...maybe even use Virgin Galactic...God knows Richard Branson loves attention.

Oh, I personally loved the original look of the Epcot entrance plaza with the giant crystal fountain and the palm trees...the first time I set foot in Epcot back in '05 I looked up at the monoliths and was like "is this it?" I was terribly confused...I thought maybe Epcot was some kind of memorial or some weird "museum park" type thingy... However, I would settle for a hybrid of the two....keep the monoliths, but bring back the crystal formation....and re-landscape the area...they could in fact work'd be kind like a sci-fi movie where there's been all of this geological upheaval...and then out of the center there's this crystal formation or something...I dunno...I've now gotten weird...

Perhaps it's not to late to borrow some of the concepts for WESTCOT to enrich Epcot...

The yeti is a damn shame...and I can't help but feel bad for Joe Rhode and the guys who put so much into this truly was impressive...and I do believe after the park gets more attractions that it will get's just a matter of time...I do hope however, that once they fix it or upgrade the ride...that it becomes an even better ride and that TDO doesn't cheap out and make it more like the Matterhorn's Yeti stock...

All-in-all...I guess I just feel like there is a lot to be done down there...and I think Disney knows this...they aren't stupid and I'm sure they get an "Ear-Full" on a daily basis from someone somewhere...I just hope that they get their priorities straight... they really ought to use this quote more...

"...quality will out"
-Walt Disney

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDustin

I agree with all of the items on your wish list. Lest we forget that at the end of the day i'is all still a business and the company's ultimate goal is profit, your concerns are still legitimate. However, I look at New Fantasyland as a hopeful example that plans are in process to update all of the parks' out-of-date environments. And, it honestly seems to me that the folks in management are now starting to listen to their guests' feedback more than ever.

With wishful thinking like yours, my friend, I believe change is in our near future.

After all, "If you can dream it, you can do it," Right? ;)

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morrow

I agree with all of this.

June 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Cropp

Nice list Stan! I admire a guy that knows and loves Disney so much that he knows and understands all of the warts as well.' Let's take just a few moments to celebrate the demise of the ugly hub cap that on e called itself a sun at the fountain in the center of DCA! A big step in the right direction!

While we are creating lists of things that must die... Duffy the Disney Bear! There is simply nothing redeaming about the creature. It is not Disney other than the hidden Mickey on the foot. If Disney wants to sell clothes for holidays and different parks like the old snoopy dolls, put it on a revised pal Mickey and promote something Disney.

June 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris Dallin

I am so glad this was brought to attention. Though I am only 17, I feel Disney needs to get back to that golden age I hear so much about. If I were to choose something that needs to go ASAP, it would be all of the unnecessary parades and shows that go on in the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. That ugly structure in front of Cinderella Castle keeps families from taking quality photos in front of it. Plus it restricts young kids from seeing how truly beautiful the castle is. And let's be honest when you were a kid and went to WDW, don't you remember seeing the true beauty in the stain glass Cinderella story inside the castle? Well kids today don't get to see it. Anyone else feel the same way?

June 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

I totally agree with all of this. My two personal favorites within WDW have always been World Showcase (which itself could use some sprucing up) and DHS (can I still call it MGM? Ok, great). A few additional aspects of MGM that could totally be revamped (besides getting rid of the hat):

(a) Muppets. I love Muppet Vision, but the whole area could really be better done, especially now that Disney owns the Muppet characters. There's no reason why there shouldn't be live shows (or at least appearances) by the Muppet gang. That whole area, where Pizza Planet and the kind-of-lame Muppet store are could be really turned into a Muppet world--maybe a restaurant where the fruits and veggies sing and the Swedish Chef makes an appearance, or a Muppets meet-and-greet.

(b) Magic of Disney Animation. As someone in the animation industry (whose also done some freelance work for WDW Imagineering), the demise of this exhibit, for me, is one of the most depressing parts of MGM/WDW. I still make sure I stop by whenever I'm there, mostly out of reverence for what it used to be. The store at the end is still cool, but the building having been turned, basically, into one big character meet-and-greet is very sad. I think that they could set it up with a multitude of rooms, like the current 'learn to draw a Disney character' thing they have, but with more of the animation pipeline included. For example, I recently was able to visit a Pixar exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art, which was really well done. They had character maquettes set up with easels all around, so people could draw characters from different angles. They had a storyboard-section, which challenged you to come up with a story and then board it (then they would display some of them). There was also a very simple computer animation setup and some 2D animation desks, so people could actually try their hands at animating and watching their creations move. All throughout, they also had videos going of interviews with different people throughout the pipeline, showing what they do and explaining why they wanted to go into the industry. With animation becoming so popular, it seems like WDW could show a bit more homage to what made the company great in the first place. Heck, the entire reason I do what I do today is because I saw someone animating Simba back in the early 90s in that very building. I bet a bunch of the incredible artists working for Disney and Pixar today have similar stories.

(c) The Pixar area should be way bigger. With so many popular characters at their disposal, there's no reason that entire 'campus' shouldn't expand. In fact, they should move/get rid of the Little Mermaid show (maybe remodel the perennially-changing "American Idol Experience" building and put it there), replacing that entire lane, all the way to the Magic of Disney Animation, with Pixar-themed items (including the Scare Floor from Tomorrowland). I mean, they could do wonderful things with Up (attractions with talking dogs or where you feel like you're flying in the house) or The Incredibles (maybe where everyone gets their own superpower to use to stop Syndrome or some other villain). I don't know, just throwing out ideas. If they were to do that, though, I'd want them to leave the "One Man's Dream" attraction. I'd love if they made it a bit more prominent. It's a wonderfully done hagiography to Disney, and I fear every time I come back to MGM that it'll be gone because it's not a show or a thrill ride.

Regarding what you wrote, Stan, I think that Tomorrowland could definitely have some reboots. For example, it's an absolute shame that they've done nothing with the Wall-E characters. An attraction with that, to replace Stitch could be great. Maybe a ride in which you're trying to help Wall-E and EVE get the plant to the center of the Axiom ship but are being thwarted by Auto (a la the carnotaur in "Dinosaur") where Auto keeps popping out when you turn a corner. Now that they've bought Star Wars, they could easily add some interesting futuristic attractions based on those properties. Both would take a bit away from Tomorrowland's original purpose, though (Wall-E fits better than Star Wars).

Future World is really depressing, except for The Land. I feel like they wasted the Seas with the Nemo ride. I love the idea of projecting the fish into the tank, but I wish they would've done it in the actual tanks instead of as a ride. They could've set it up so that Marlin and Dory swim in and tell you some facts about the fish you're watching. Something like that could be a different way to get that info across. They could totally tie in the Finding Nemo theme to Conserving the Oceans.

I have no idea what to do with WOL. A sad pavilion, it is. I'd have to think about the rest, plus this comment is getting WAY longer than I intended...sorry!

June 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

What do I imagine? Well, the 10-year-old me still harbors a bit of a grudge about the fact that YOU NEVER GET TO RIDE A RIDE WITH A COSTUMED CHARACTER! In virtually all of the old Disney World ads, you'd see families laughing with Goofy on Splash Mountain or covering their eyes with Pluto on Big Thunder Mountain. As a little kid getting ready for his first trip to WDW, I obsessed over these ads, imagining myself happily having my view blocked by a six-foot-tall dog. (Neither my current therapist nor I could tell you why, but I did.) Then, when that magic vacation finally arrived...nothing. Not once did we run into an anthropomorphic mouse on a ride. Heck, we never even passed by one in those interminably long and deceptive 'switchback' lines! (Mind you, this was pre-FastPass, but I guess a four-legged animal forced by his corporate owners to walk on only two legs *might* qualify for a handicapped line skip...)

So, yeah. While the ten-year-old me would claim to "imagine" truth in advertising, what he's REALLY imagining is a Disney park where you randomly bump into felt-and-blood cartoon celebrities whilst riding the rides.

(Note: The current, MUCH-older-than-ten-year-old me imagines world peace, an end to hunger, the eradication of racism, sexism and ageism. But I'm just incredibly deep and thoughtful, what can I say?)

June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJu-osh M.

Totally agree. If they would do these few things, it would be SO much better.

June 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWdwfan

I too remember reading something a while ago about the giant hat and legal issues regarding the Chinese Theater. I'm sure a Google search would bring something up. Anyway, in regards to the Yeti, how many average vacationers even know that the Yeti is broken? Most hardcore fans obviously know it isn't working and are mad about it. Fixing things of that magnatute also cost money. Plus, Expedition Everest also is a huge draw to a half day park and I'm sure they will maybe wait for Avatar Land or some other major E ticket ride to spring up before they shut down EE for a long refurb. I would love to see the Yeti working to full potential, as I've only seen the disco version.

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

A very well thought out and accurate list of needed improvements! Every time I visit WDW the very things you listed are what makes me sad. The WOL pavilion is just pitiful sitting back there, virtually boarded up. And while I would love Universe of Energy to be updated, I fear Disney will make the same mistake they did with Journey into Imagination. Let's face it, after that ride's "renovation" it has never been anywhere near as good as the original.

The Monsters Inc. whatever-that-is in Tomorrowland seriously needs to move. It never belonged in Tomorrowland. I feel the same for the Buzzlightyear ride. Now with Midway Mania, it seems almost redundant doesn't it? Tomorrowland in general just looks shabby and run down. It needs some serious TLC and a re-imagining of its attractions.

The hat? The hat is ugly. Always has been, always will be. DHS also needs to be updated. I agree with the above poster that an expanded Muppets area would be amazing.

What scares me most about DAK isn't the broken's the rumors of an Avatar land based off of the James Cameron movie everyone already forgot. To me, that seems like a gigantic waste of money. Avatar doesn't have the staying power or fandom that something like Star Wars has. SW has continuously proven it's marketability and profitability. Why not make an Ewok village in DAK and make it a little kid friendly zone? Or just expand the SW area of DHS and make a few more rides? It boggles my mind why Disney isn't jumping at the chance to capitalize on this franchise.

Hopefully with their new raised ticket prices, we'll start seeing some imagination being put back into WDW outside of the new Fantasyland.

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamm

This quote and "Disneyland is not a museum" being used to justify change solely for the sake of change by people who probably couldn't pick Walt out of a police line up is one of my biggest pet peeves.

June 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDan

That stinking HAT. Who does something like that?

The same entity that takes a charming little side street with old town flair and a little flower cart and just erases it from existence.

I'm glad I took pictures.

June 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJerry F.

I agree with the Yeti in Everest. I saw a tv clip on how they made him. It's massive and detailed and an incredible piece of art. I think at least shine bright lights on it so we can see it as we whip by - even if it doesn't animate. The strobe effect doesn't do the trick.

June 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersm57co

Not trying to be random, but your website email doesn't work...

June 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterZabadoo

There has been a lot of discussion about Disneyland's Tomorrowland and how it should be improved. Some of the ideas have been very imaginative though unfortunately everything seems to be focused on movie franchises. The Star Wars production has been extremely successful in creating a believable universe with it's own identifiable characteristics. Unfortunately, the only worlds in that saga that haven't been threatening or hostile are Naboo and Endor -- not exactly appropriate for Tomorrowland (though I'm sure that Disney would jump at the chance of Ewok meet-n-greets). Iron Man has some cool retro-future references but its Stark Expo revisionist take on past world's fairs knocks it out of the believability category for those in the know. Tron is an interesting realm but unfortunately resides in darkness. The Incredibles are fun and retro but I hate the thought of the Toons taking over my beloved Tomorrowland even more. And the 1998 "future that never was" turned out to be so unpopular that the blue paint started to cover it over almost immediately. So what is one to do?

I think the key to solving this is taking a serious look at what made the 1967 Tomorrowland so popular for so long. I'm not necessarily talking about the sculptural 1960's design but more the approach that they took, thus keeping it in the realm of the real world and pushing the envelope of design just enough to make things feel futuristic. If one were transported to the future, there would be things that were familiar, and others that made no sense at all -- thus adding that element of the surreal from time to time would help fulfill the futurist image. In 1967, the Atomobiles did that perfectly, (what were they anyway?), as well as the novel way the PeopleMover was boarded, and the way that Carousel of Progress rotated to change scenes. Those are all familiar now, but at the time they were almost surreal. Pushing that idea further in a new Tomorrowland could be extremely effective.

I can imagine a futuristic architecture that does not quite follow in the tradition of any past but evokes a permanance; a design that is clean and optimistic but provides enough of a difference from anything current that it can become timeless. I feel that much of Syd Mead's work (at least his non-Blade Runner creations) does a good job at this. He takes simple forms and embellishes them with is own unique ornamentation -- then combines them with sculptural spires and other-worldly elements. He also creates fantastic vehicles from personal gyroscope-balanced power-unicycles to time travel pods. Syd would make an excellent consultant.

How to keep it fresh? Keep it fresh!! Don't be limited by movie franchises that can be pinned-down to an era. Create attractions that are exploratory and have enough surrealism to allow guests to use their own imagination to expand the experience. Design elements of the land that can be updated over time while maintaining the essence of the design. Graphics are easy to update as are color schemes, lighting, and fixtures such as benches. If the buildings are done properly, they shouldn't have to change much.

Lastly, keep Tomorrowland serious -- no bad puns or annoying alliterations, please!

June 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOmnispace

I can't remember if I've posted this on this site before, but this post really gets to the heart of ideas I've had for some of those issues. I realize that these ideas use other people's money, so some may or may not be feasible, but I think they'd pay off handsomely.

1. I'd move the hat to where it was intended to go - I don't know if that's possible, but I think it's a fine (as in not great, not awful) item in and of itself, just plunked down in the worst possible spot.

2. I'd make Phineas and Ferb the hosts at Epcot. This wouldn't mean that they were characters on every ride and the whole place went cartoony - they would just be the hosts to keep the theme together. I think they would be perfect because they embody the optimism and can-do outlook that Epcot was built on. Here's an image I think perfectly captures why - Imagine you've just had a full and exciting day at Epcot, you're exhausted, but happily so. As you make your way out of the park, you look up above the exit gate and there is an image of the silhouettes of P&F amongst a crowd who are also leaving park, and Phineas is looking toward Ferb and the quote in big letters is, "Ferb, I know what we're gonna do tomorrow!"

3. I'd make the energy pavilion P&F's and it would feature the World's Coolest Roller Coaster - it could showcase the different forms of energy and how they impact your life, but also your ride. Fun AND educational. It's a tie-in to one of their episodes, if you're not familiar.

4. I'd make innoventions/communicore the imagination pavilion, I just think it makes so much sense that imagination is at the center of everything for the future. It could be a left and right side of the brain approach to the separate sides. I'd also use it as the launch pad for the fireworks show. It would start there with some sort of projection on SSE and then some sort of rocket would carry the "ideas" out into the world showcase which would then be distributed throughout the world via the fireworks there. I think that it carries the theme well into the WS. I just think Future world could use some youthful energy, but I wouldn't want it to be frenetic, but it definitely could use a boost.

5. Back to DHS - Make Star Tours a sort-of hydrolator to a fully developed Star Wars land - no brainer, right?

6. To keep from getting a cheap imitation of Cars Land and to help relieve some of the problem of not being able to use Marvel in Florida, build a unique, appropriate for the area and most importantly, kick a** imaginative The Incredibles' Nomanisan Island for Pixar land (Place just doesn't cut it if you include this).

7. I've never been in Disney Quest, but most reactions have been that it's not-so-great anymore, so I suggest taking MILF *snkr* and put it in there (with Monsters University coming out, the comedy potential there is fantastic) and above it, I think it would be fantastic to do a door attraction. I went to a place called Wonderworks in Myrtle Beach and part of it at the top (in the basement) is an area where you get in a
harness and walk/climb around high above the floor on balance beams and platforms (you're always on a safety rail), but I couldn't help but think that it would be a perfect way to make a door attraction exciting without necessarily being a roller coaster (not that I'm opposed to a roller coaster). You could chase Randall around into different rooms and stuff and end up putting Boo back in her room. There would be some pride in accomplishing it, since you had to put some effort into it more than "just" riding the ride because you likely had to overcome some level of your own fear of falling to the floor of Monsters Inc., even though you were never really in danger of doing anything but dangling.

8. I'd move the Buzz Lightyear attraction to where Stitch is now and make it more of an Academy training attraction, it would have elements of the current ride, but much more - if it were to stay. I'd be ok with a non-film based attraction here, just don't have a great idea at the moment. I'd even be for a Wall-E attraction over Buzz, but that's just me.

9. With all the space you've opened up now, put in what is so desperately wanted there - Tron - and don't scrimp. Make it so good you'll have lines for longer than than the time between when the original film came out and when the sequel came out.

10. Lastly, for Animal Kingdom, I have two ideas, neither of which address Avatar. I don't have strong feelings about Avatar, which is part of the problem for that project, I think. Anyway - Since it's kinda falling apart anyway, refurb the Tree and make it so you can go up inside of it and look around the park from above. Second, I'd take out Dino-rama, but not how you might expect. I'd still keep Chester and Hester's area, but I'd make it the roadside attraction exterior, but make it a dark ride about how when setting up shop to serve tourists visiting the Institute, they uncovered an dinosaur egg (it's just a rock because they're shysters), but because someone left a time travel hole open over at the institute, one of the dinosaurs (who currently lives in the trail area) came through it and laid an egg in a safe spot behind/under their building. As you go through the ride, it hatches near enough to the fake egg to say that the fake egg had actually hatched and wreaks fun-filled havoc on Hester and Chester's. It would be a kid-friendly ride, but so much fun for adults, too. It could be a omnimover or a boat ride, but what I like is that it would bring the theme together there. You'd have a better idea of why C&H is there and there would be ties between it and the Institute/Dinosaur ride AND the trail, if you put some cool, life-size animatronic dinos there. You'd have an adorable mascot and a reason to enjoy being in Dinoland, the cheesy aspects of C&H would be embraced rather than reviled. It could work!

Sorry this is so long, I really did intend for it to be more brief! I think these would be fun and make the themes strong and central again rather than drifting aimlessly.

June 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Great Ideas, Would love to see something fresh at HS Only reason I go there now is to see the Osborne lights at Christmas time. I bet we would be blown away by all the things that were planned and never appeared. Like more countries in Epcot a ride in Germany, Toontown at HS, The Magic resturant, etc. Like you all have said there could be so much done. Epcot and Tomorrowland could showcase all the new inventions - yes sorta like the worlds fair but future lifestyles, products, visions etc. Horizons would have been nice for that. Evolving technology for our lifestyles. Wonderworks or what they called the section after Journey into Imagination ride was a lot of fun, my son could have spent hours there going thru the rainbow and jumping on the stepping tones. Anyone remember the big lighted "pin" tables? How cool it was to put you hands under and swirl them around and make hand prints. But that and the ride changed and not for the better. Why they change some things that worked and leave things that don't always amaze me. WOF, Communicore etc. There was always a line to get in to see Journey into Imagination and now you can always breeze on in. It is just a shell of the ride it was. Love, Love soaring but could they change the movie reel from time to time. Would that really cost alot to do? Guess the next big thing will be the Disney Springs so something tells me it will be awhile be fore we see anything else new.

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoni

I just wanted to throw this everyone's way, so they don't get discouraged:

you can grumble all you want about how the company takes Walt's sayings out of context, but you have to remember that since we lost that great visionary.....they haven't exactly had at all.

The reason all the greatness that went up in the 70s and '80s did was because the imagineers that were there knew Walt--and in some cases were working under his former right hand man Ub Iwerks, as well as Marc Davis--and knew how the man thought.

The current crop....didn't, and don't.

So I'm just gonna take a stab at what their mindset is here, in the circumstance they're in:

"we can either create an original attraction which we have no idea how well it will go over with the public that might completely and utterly flop beyond words......or we can make an attraction based on a Disney property they're already familiar with, and know that they'll come see it".

Make sense?

June 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRussell Kay

I hadn't realised their was a problem with the yeti till I read this, only rode it 4 times. One of my favourite rides.

Doing the future in a timeless way is always hard, I think Jules Verne styling works quite well in that regard. Otherwise the future changes too quickly! Mostly seems defined by films and games these days.

I just came back from Florida for the first time in 14 years. I loved Future World but your point has left be wondering what I would of thought of it without having known it previously. I liked Space - it was fun if looking dated in the decor. But it didn't leave me with that sense of wonder that programs like Wonders of the Solar System or Wonders of the Universe does. As with Tomorrowland did think maybe random characters didn't need to be shoe horned in. But then I know a lot of people who just didn't get the old Epcot at all and once in a lifetime was enough.

Hopefully Harry Potter being so well done and a license to print money will give a wake up call and remind the powers that be about the needs for excellence and vision.

I hope I get to see the finished Fantasy Land, the model I saw looked promising, always disliked that area as far too much concrete to be fun in a Florida summer. All the interactive stuff that is springing up though I found really great. It blew my nephews mind that he got to be a secret agent. I thought it was great that such small touches were there that mean a lot to the audience. Also reading between the lines to do similar at the second HP land you may need to purchase a wand, maybe?

Just discovered and love the blog by the way. Please keep up the great work!

June 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathan

I love all of Dave's suggestions, and now I want to see Phineas and Ferb - I've seen the characters at DHS, but never their movie/TV show! It sounds like a good one!

July 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

I give you Disney World's Tomorrowland. While I like the Monster's inc laugh floor, I feel it would work better in DHS' Pixar section. (Which seriously needs more attractions anyway) And I won't even get into Stitch's great escape. Never done it. Never will. I have no desire to have chilly dog breath burped in my face. Didn't care for the original non-Stich version either.

I've read that one of the reasons the Yeti in Everest has yet to be fixed is because they discovered whenever it thrusts and lunges at guests, it pulls a little at it's foundation and that over time, it would tear it completely. I find this to be a valid reason but I do agree that under Walt's watch, they would've found a way around this problem instead of a strobe light.
That said though, I find you go way past the yeti way too fast to really notice unless you're riding multiple times specifically to see if the Yeti is movie and if you're doing that, then you're just looking for something to bitch about.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaptain C

Epcot certainly needs more "future" in it's Future World but it also needs to do so in a way that doesn't feel like an entire park filled with slow, boring documentaries. Sorry, that's what World of Motion and Universe of Energy were. Nothing all that exciting and futuristic about being told "Everything sucked until we came and invented the car." Mind you, nothing all that futuristic about Ellen being taught about energy by Bill Nye the Science guy either. (I mostly went on that because it was forty minutes in air conditioning and had dinosaurs. Can't go wrong with dinosaurs.)
Basically, when I was a kid I didn't find Future World all that exciting or inspiring (other than the original Imagination which I also agree is in desperate need of a re-imagine) but it's not much better today. I spend most of my time at Epcot in World Showcase now. Because Michael Jackson is cool but a 30 year old 3D movie doesn't measure up to the option of shopping for anime stuff in the Japan pavilion and listening to a live band at the U.K Pavilion

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaptain C

Well, the Sorcerer's Hat is going. Those of us who remember pre-hat views finally got our wish. It joins the slag heap where the giant wand next to Spaceship Earth was sent.
Now, with tremendous respect for knowledgeable people, I must say Tomorrowland can and never will be what it was when either US park opened. First, Epcot's Future World negated that. Obliterated it, actually. The best solution is to let go the very word Tomorrowland. It needs a new name. This leads us to Future World. As Eisner and Iger have noted, we no longer are able to keep ahead of the future in ways Walt was able to in the 1950s and 1960s. Technological advances are simply moving far too fast for even Communicore's rapidly-dated newly-installed experiences to hold our attention. That's terribly sad but true. Communicore's mission needs rethinking. Which leads us to the rest of Future World. We can lament all day about that side of the park's original mission statement and excellent theming, but those days are also behind us. We didn't know we needed Epcot Center when Walt and his Imagineers invented it. To their visionary credit we embraced it and made it part of us. Now it's time to rethink what we need next to fill us with awe and wonder, hope and imagination. I think the Imagineers are up to the task, if Disney management allows.
You didn't mention World Showcase. In quick order: a ten-year plan to take the 6 open pads and add Brazil (or Chile), Australia (or New Zealand), Sri Lanka (or India), Turkey, Greece and Poland. Then all populated continents are represented as well as a deeper, broader representation of the world's cultures and peoples, not to mention its rich history.
I can't help you with the Yeti. We all know what has to be done. We're just waiting for Joe Rhode to beat some bean-counter over the head with that earring and fix it.
There. By the way, thank you for this fascinating website.

January 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDisneyDad

great post, and unique angle for the Disneyland. Walt Disney is great for creating Disney, no matter how it runs today, disney is my favorite park. Also thanks for your express opinion on it.

January 8, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjack

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>