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FUTURE MATTERS - Transportation in Tomorrowland

When you visit Disneyland in California, how do you feel when you walk down Main Street, U.S.A. and turn right to enter Tomorrowland? I mostly feel a combination sadness and  frustration when I walk through Tomorrowland–primarily due to the misplaced and pathway– clogging Astro Orbiter and the vacant, rotting PeopleMover track. And while fantasy space travel is well represented in Tomorrowland (Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Star Tours, and Space  Mountain), any semblance of tangible ways of pondering, dreaming about, and honoring humankind's achievements and the wonders of the future are long gone. It's as if Disneyland, like seemingly so much of the world, gave up on an optimistic view of the future, too.

Wouldn't it be great if a positive, enjoyable, and aspirational look towards tomorrow returned to Tomorrowland? I believe one of the key elements to this turnaround would be the re-design and re-invention of Tomorrowland's past and present transportation rides, namely Autopia, PeopleMover, Submarine Voyage, Motor Boat Cruise, and Monorail. Here are some thoughts on  how a significant update to these transportation attractions could make Tomorrowland an  inspiring land once more.


The automobile industry is undergoing a huge revolution right now with electrified vehicles, autonomous and driverless vehicles, ride sharing services, and bicycle sharing changing the way the world thinks about mobility. Wouldn't it be fun if Disneyland's Autopia attraction reflected  some of these changes? What about using electric cars (maybe the ones from the now-defunct  Autopia at Hong Kong Disneyland)? What if all of the cars had a touchscreen controller and you could decide whether to drive the car yourself or go into an autonomous driving mode? And what if you actually drove/rode through a model of the city of the future (an updated version of Progress City, if you will) with highly detailed, 3D props?


Mass transportation is always a relevant topic for city and urban dwellers. What if the former PeopleMover/Rocket Rods elevated track was completely removed and a new track was built in its place–a track that includes both surface level segments (perhaps though the revamped Autopia attraction) and elevated segments? The track could also go through glass tube tunnels  and through Tomorrowland attraction buildings as before. The ride vehicles would be a new design that shows off the latest thinking in mass transportation while providing a fun and unique experience for park guests.


Submarine Voyage

What if the Submarine Voyage narrative had a compete re-write and the attraction had a total thematic overhaul? One where instead of "Finding Nemo," we take a journey through "liquid  space" to Sea Castle Resort of EPCOT Center's Horizons fame? The attraction would take  guests on an adventure that explores the possibilities and realities of living and working underwater. Elements of the original Horizons would be augmented with the latest technologies and thinking about the habitation and lifestyle of underwater cities. The submarine ride vehicles themselves would also receive an extensive update to reflect the Sea Castle Resort design aesthetic.

Motor Boat Cruise

Wouldn't it be fun if a small waterway flowed through areas of Tomorrowland that allowed for a modern re-interpretation of the Motor Boat Cruise attraction? The boats would use the latest ride technology, could hold 4-6 passengers, and could be both self-driving and autonomous. The "Tomorrowland River" could weave through the revamped Autopia and PeopleMover tracks and could also go into some interesting show buildings of its own showing off the city of the future.


Disneyland's original "highway in the sky" could receive a new station and track layout inside Tomorrowland that could bring it more front and center–showing off not only its continued transportation potential, but also its iconic status as a classic Disneyland attraction. What if there was a central transportation hub in the middle of Tomorrowland where both the PeopleMover and Monorail had stations? What if the Monorail went through its own share of tunnels and buildings, too? Or what if there was also an inverted-style Monorail, where the ride vehicles were smaller and suspended from the top?

What kinds of futuristic transportation attractions would you like to see in Disneyland's




Related posts:

FUTURE MATTERS - Circle-Vision 360°
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 1]
A Look at the Progress City Model- Then and Now
Tiny Submarine Voyage + PeopleMover Model
THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]