“Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. Our scientists today are opening the doors of the Space Age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come. The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future.” – Walt Disney
This was Walt Disney’s vision for Tomorrowland at Disneyland and one that carried over when Walt Disney World was built in 1971. Of all of the lands at Walt Disney World, Tomorrowland is probably the most challenging for Imagineers in keeping with Walt’s vision. After all, our world is changing quickly and by the time a redesign is rolled out it’s not so futuristic anymore. So, in the mid 1990’s a redesign to Tomorrowland was debuted that didn’t focus so much on our realistic view of the future, but a more science fiction view where you might find Flash Gordon battling aliens.
Metallic palm trees, neon lights, synthesized music and kinetic (moving) elements are all used by Imagineers to set the atmosphere of this world of tomorrow.
The largest kinetic element is the Tomorrowland Transportation Authority Peoplemover (TTA) which glides above the land and through some attractions. If it’s your first visit to Tomorrowland hop on this attraction first as it will provide you with a great overview and lay of the land. The TTA departs and returns to Rocket Tower Plaza in the middle of Tomorrowland. This 10 minute ride will take you inside Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin for a sneak peak. You’ll also get a view of the original model of Walt Disney’s vision of a futuristic city. This model was on display at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York and was Walt’s early vision for Epcot.
Want to help Buzz Lightyear save the galaxy from the Evil Emperor Zurg? Hop on over to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and grab an astro blaster and start blasting. You’ll be racking up the points in this ultimate interactive video game as you move through different rooms. Want to hit the point jackpot? In the room with the large orange robot watch HIS right eye. When it begins blinking with an X fire away – each hit is worth 100,000 points. There are other mega targets as well but I’ll let you find those on your own!
The centerpiece of Tomorrowland has and will continue to be Space Mountain. This was the first ever thrill ride at Walt Disney World and while the attraction has gone through several updates over the years it remains the classic trip into outer space. What makes Space Mountain so thrilling is that the entire attraction is in the dark. You would probably be surprised to know that the maximum speed the trains go is around 27 miles per hour – hardly a high speed roller coaster – but the darkness and sharp turns continue to make Space Mountain one of the most beloved attractions in all of Walt Disney World.
Another Disney classic is located a short distance from Space Mountain. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress dates back to the 1964 World’s Fair and was created by Walt Disney himself. This attraction was originally located at Disneyland until it was moved to Walt Disney World in 1975. The Carousel of Progress really is a carousel. Guest sit in a theater that then rotates around 4 different scenes depicting the life of the American family from the beginning of the 20th century. You’ll hear some famous voices to the audio animatronics including the voice of the father (Jean Shepherd) and Cousin Orville (Mel Blanc). The music was written by the award winning Sherman Brothers. When visiting the last scene (Christmas morning) keep an eye out for several hidden Mickeys. While the storyline has been updated throughout the years to keep up with the times, the overall attraction has stayed true to Walt’s original Carousel of Progress.
There are many other attractions to check out in Tomorrowland – all giving a different taste of a Disney tomorrow.
Tomorrowland Fun Facts:
The exterior design of Space Mountain uses “forced perspective” to make the mountain appear taller than it actually is. After all, Space Mountain couldn’t be taller than the castle but it still needed to look like an intergalactic mountain. While the structure looks huge it’s actually 6 feet shorter than Cinderella’s Castle.
When you are walking around the area make sure to keep an eye out for a wandering trash can! PUSH will come mingle with guests around Mickey’s Star Traders several times a day.
The Tomorrowland Transportation Authority vehicles move by linear induction. Magnets under the track push and pull the cars. This is the ultimate in clean energy.
The only area from inside the park that guests can see the Contemporary Resort is Tomorrowland. This is also the only resort that can be seen from inside. The Imagineers felt the contemporary A framed hotel fit nicely in the backdrop of Tomorrowland so there was no need to hide it.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress was Walt Disney’s personal favorite attraction and it holds the record for the longest running stage show in the history of American theater.
Space Mountain is Florida’s oldest roller coaster.
This land takes on a whole different look and feel at night. Be sure to stop by after dark!
It’s details like this that make Walt Disney World such a special and unique place. My name is Susan Heidenrich and I am a travel professional with Travel with the Magic. I’ve visited Walt Disney World over 20 times and I would love to help you plan your next Disney vacation. Email me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com and follow me on facebook for tips, tricks and information on all things Disney!