On October 1 this year, Walt Disney World marked its 50th anniversary and began an 18-month celebration; and while all four parks take part in the festivities, the 50-year milestone belongs only to a few locations in the most magical place on earth.
In 1971, Walt Disney World opened with two complexes and a park: the Magic Kingdom. Inspired by the original Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, the Magic Kingdom made its debut with its own version of Main Street, USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland, along with its own unique land: Liberty Square.
In previous posts, I’ve talked about There and Now: 50 Years of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, Adventureland, Liberty Square, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Main Street. USA For today, I continue my virtual walk through the park with a visit to tomorrow that never was: Tomorrowland.
So what is Tomorrowland?
The land of the future of Walt Disney World is located right in the center of Magic Kingdom and Main Street, USA, and is home to an alien singer, a few monsters, and several iconic attractions.
Facts About Tomorrowland Then:
Fet # 1: On October 1, 1971, Tomorrowland looked very different from the current one due to its original and modern aesthetic, the Skyway and the clear views of the Contemporary Resort. In fact, Tomorrowland has only one original opening day attraction still in operation: the Tomorrowland Speedway which was then known as the Grand Prix Speedway.
Fet # 2: Like Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, the Walt Disney World version also opened unfinished and was not technically completed until 1975.
Fet # 3: Two other attractions finally joined the Tomorrowland list in 1971, including America the Beautiful and Flight of the Moon. The Star Jets, which were later replaced by the Astro Orbiter, opened in 1974 while Space Mountain, Carousel of Progress, the Peoplemover opened in 1975.
Fet # 4: When Space Mountain opened, it was Florida’s first inland roller coaster and one of the Magic Kingdom’s first exciting attractions.
Fet # 5: When The Carousel of Progress moved to Florida, it debuted with a different track titled “The Best Time of Your Life” which, like “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” was also written by the legendary Sherman Brothers.
While the show returned to its original theme in 1996, you can still hear an electronic version of “The Best Time of Your Life” on earth.
Facts about Tomorrowland Now:
Fet # 1: Although Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland was inspired by Disneyland’s version of the earth, today, Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland is more reminiscent of Disneyland’s history than Disneyland itself! This is because East Coast Tomorrowland still offers a PeopleMover attraction and the Progress Carousel.
Fet # 2: Tomorrowlands has always been a struggle for Imagineers, as the future is always a moving goal. That’s why, in 1994, Imagineering unveiled the redesign “a future that never was” inspired by Disneyland Paris ’recently opened Discoveryland.
Today, the earth seems to be a mix of its mid-nineties look along with tributes and touches to its original style.
Fet # 3: Although Magic Kingdom’s Skyway closed in 1999, Tomorrowland Station is still standing. Although the actual loading platform has been removed, the lower half of the station is still near the space mountain and serves as a bathroom.
Fact # 4: Tomorrowland’s show buildings have had several tenants over the years. For example, the If You Had Wings attraction became If You Could Fly before being replaced by Delta Dreamflight. After losing its sponsorship, the trip became known simply as Dreamflight and then Take Flight before closing again in 1998.
Today, this entertainment space is home to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, which still uses an Omnimover ride system, just like its various predecessors.
Fact # 5: One of the interior scenes aboard the PeopleMover features a Progress City or EPCOT model that was once shown at the top level of the Carousel of Progress at the New York World’s Fair. He then showed up at Disneyland before moving to Walt Disney World.
Fact # 6: Disney parks have created a number of characters over the years, from the country bears to the orange birds to the occupants of the enchanted mansion. Tomorrowland also has its own character created in the park: Sonny Eclipse.
This alien audio-animatronic singer entertains guests at Tomorrowland’s Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and has developed a cult following over the years.
Fet # 7: Tomorrowland is the next land of the Magic Kingdom on the agenda to receive a new attraction: an indoor / outdoor roller coaster known as TRON Lightcycle Run. It is scheduled to open in 2022.
Have you ever experienced Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland? in its beginnings? Is this land one of your favorites?