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Orange Bird Photo Hunt



Entries in Tomorrowland 67 (8)


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]




Walt Disney Family Museum: Disneyland Model [PART 1]

It's referred to as "The Disneyland of Walt's Imagination". It's the Walt Disney Family Museum's million-dollar masterpiece scale model representing many things built or conceptualized in Walt Disney's lifetime. And it's magnificent.

The 14-foot diameter hand-crafted model is among the most elaborate and detailed scale models in the theme park industry. On a recent visit to the WDFM in San Francisco, I spent hours looking at this and could hardly pull myself away.

It's a version of Disneyland that exists in no particular time period. To my knowledge, nothing here represents anything that originated after Walt Disney died in 1966. I guess if you were to assign a time period, it could be 1950s-1970s. 

Small and interesting details can be found throughout. Here, just beyond the castle gate, we see miniature figures of Walt and oldest daughter, Diane, entering Fantasyland.

Cute little ticket and souvenir booths everywhere.

Skull Rock! Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship!

The Fantasyland portion of the model gives us a good idea of what Fantasyland was before the big 1983 "New Fantasyland" makeover.

Mechanized larger-scale "it's a small world" figures rotate on the model. 

Look closely at the Skyway buckets entering the Matterhorn from Fantasyland and you'll notice they're the old Skyway vehicles (1956-1967). Now look at the Skyway buckets entering the Matterhorn from Tomorrowland and you'll see they're the upgraded 1967 vehicles. Nice touch.

It's Tomorrowland 1967 with some pre-1967 elements mixed in!

Some things removed prior to the 1967 "New Tomorrowland" seen here are the Moonliner (rocket), Monsanto House of the Future, and the World Clock.

And look at that. It's a representation of what eventually became Space Mountain. It's design was inspired by concept art like this and this. At one time the futuristic roller coaster concept was called Space Port and some concepts included ride track(s) on the exterior of the building as well as in the interior. 

Even though Walt died before the public opening of "New Tomorrowland" in 1967, he experienced some of the "new" attractions in one way or another. He, of course, rode Carousel of Progress at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.

BONUS: Check out these mysterious details about an old Carousel of Progress RIDE concept.

He also rode a Disneyland PeopleMover on an off-site test track. 

Now these (very cool!) little Flying Saucers also predated all the Tomorrowland 1967 stuff. Their location was later occupied by the Space Mountain complex (1977), but don't they look nice next to each other?? If only.

Remember when there were TWO Autopias not that long ago? (Yeah, there were THREE at one time but that was long long ago). Until 1999, there was Tomorrowland Autopia and there was it's almost identical sister attraction, Fantasyland Autopia (previously called Junior Autopia). Tracks were later reworked and combined into the Autopia we have today. Fantasyland Autopia loaded near the Matterhorn, as we see here, and for a brief period of time it was transformed into the Rescue Rangers Raceway (yeah, I know) as part of the Disney Afternoon Avenue.

Oh, and look. Some Motor Boat Cruise motor boats or "The Autopia on Water", as some called it. Much of the Motor Boat Cruise dock is still there. Go visit it while you still can.


In Part 2, we'll explore the West side of the park.

Major kudos to the model makers and consultants like Tony Baxter. 


Related posts:

Disneyland 1955 Model Close-ups
Mechanizing a Miniature Main Street Electrical Parade
Big Thunder Mountain Model
Buena Vista Street Model
Working Splash Mountain Model
"it's a small small world" [ PART 1 ]
The Wonders of Nature's Wonderland [ PART 3 ]



SOUVENIR: Tomorrowland Print


"TOMORROWLAND: 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 challenge of outer space, and the hope of a peaceful and unified world."
–Walt Disney

Now available! This colorful 11"x17" print represents Walt Disney's vision for Disneyland's Tomorrowland. It was designed by our very own Mitch, a former Disney artist.

“We discovered the idea for the New York World’s Fair WEDway PeopleMover system while on a business trip to the Ford Motor Company in Detroit. Walt and I were invited to visit the mill where Ford made steel for car bodies. We saw a device for handling steel ingots, masses of glowing red-hot metal. The ingots were moved around on tracks powered by rollers from one area to another while being transformed into sheet steel for making cars. Walt asked, 'Do you think we could put some kind of seat on that type of conveyor, or some kind of arrangement for people to ride on…do you think this thing would handle it?' I said, “Sure, look at the weight carried here. I bet that Roger Broggie would know how to do it.” –Imagineer John Hench

"The solution for both the Ford cars at the Fair and ultimately the WEDway PeopleMover was to embed electric motors powering urethane wheels along a track every few feet with masonite on the bottom of the vehicles (silent with a great grip). Although the vehicles themselves do not have motors, the urethane wheels spinning below make contact with the masonite mounted on the bottom and push them along.The speed of the vehicles could vary determined by how fast the rubber wheels were spinning. The EPCOT film claims one of the benefits of this technology is, 'No single car can ever break down and cause a rush hour traffic jam.' Even if one of the motors breaks, it would not stop the system, as the other motors would pick up the slack. –Imagineer John Hench

Many of you may remember the somewhat uncomfortable ride experience of Disneyland's PeopleMover. The wheels embedded in the track effectively propelled the PeopleMover cars along but they also created a series small bumps. The later Walt Disney World version with its (wheeless) Linear Synchronous Motors embedded in track allowed for a much more smooth glide through the land of tomorrow.  

We've partnered again with WEDWay Radio's The Imperial Shirt Co. This project will bring us shirts and prints from all our favorite theme park podcasts and sites.

You can (and should!) listen to the WEDWay Radio Podcast and WEDWay NOW! hosted by Matt and Nate Parrish here



Orders made by September 13th will be shipped in mid September.  All other orders will be shipped in October.

Frame not included.

Shipped in a tube via USPS.

Sale ends September 30th.


Related posts:

SOUVENIR: Tomorrowland T-Shirt
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 1]
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 2]
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 3]
Tomorrowland '67 [Part 4]
Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain Construction
Tiny Submarine Voyage + PeopleMover Model