This popular area of the Magic Kingdom was originally decked out in while and pastel blues, matching the original version Walt Disney himself had for this area of the park. In time, that look became dated. It has hard to keep the future looking fresh. In 1994 Tomorrowland was completely redecorated and changed. It was set up to be the version of tomorrow as seen through the eyes of Buck Rogers of Flash Gordon from the early 1900s. In effect, Disney set up Tomorrowland to be the view of tomorrow as seen from the past – a view and a perspective that won’t so easily become outdated.
Transitioning From Yesterday
If you enter Tomorrowland from Fantasyland you will experience something that only happens at that one transition point between Disney World lands. What is that? It is silence. As you go from one land to another in the Magic Kingdom, you normally hear music. But there is no music that would appropriately help you transition from medieval England to a future space port. So there is silence.
Tomorrow Never Stays Still
Tomorrowland has seen quite a few updates over the years – perhaps because keeping up with the idea of “the future” changes over time.
One space that has seen four different attractions now houses Stitch’s Great Escape! It tells a story of how Stitch is being transported and makes his way to the stage, where he wreaks havoc – as he is inclined to do. Stitch’s Great Escape tends to be quite a polarizing attraction – some people love it, while others don’t. It stars Stitch – a character that many little boys and girls love. But it is an attraction that is filled with darkness and loud noises. It contains amazing animatronic characters in both the preshow area and in the main theater, but some people claim that the show and storyline are weak, as well as too scary for the Magic Kingdom.
Before Stitch, this space was home to ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter. This was a rather frightening show with periods of complete darkness and loud noises. It included a huge, scary alien that was hungry and even breathed on you and licked you! Some say that the show was too extreme for the Magic Kingdom, and that is why Stitch showed up.
But even before Alien Encounter there was a Mission to Mars show and a Flight to the Moon show. These shows quickly became outdated in both their presentation (rumbling theater seats that looked down into a movie in the center of the round theater’s floor) as well as the subject matter (Travel to the moon? Been there and done that.) It is hard to keep up with the future!
Getting Around On The TTA
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority, or TTA, showcases transportation of the future as cars glide around the second floor of Tomorrowland. Amazingly, the trains move without the help of any moving parts – all the propulsion happens through the clever use of magnets. As you make your way through the various buildings of Tomorrowland you will see a model that depicts Walt Disney’s personal vision for the future design of cities. With gleaming sky scrapers and monorail lines, the city is an amazing sight. This model was the inspiration for Epcot, which turned out to be another Disney World theme park and not a city. But Walt’s idea for a city of the future eventually became Celebration, Florida – which was much more retro classic than futuristic. But that is the interesting thing about ideas at Disney – they change and evolve over time, and eventually generate something great.
The TTA moves along at a relatively slow pace, typically has short wait times, and provides a preview of many other Tomorrowland attractions from its second floor location. This makes it very popular for guests of all ages. It follows a one-way loop, hugging Stitch’s Great Escape, Mickey’s Star Trader shop, Space Mountain, and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.
The TTA was formerly known as the WEDWay PeopleMover, a reference to Walt’s name: Walter Elias Disney.
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority enters Space Mountain and provides a preview of that dark, indoor roller coaster attraction. TTA does not shut down when Space Mountain experiences problems and has to turn on the lights inside the mountain, so it offers an occasional “behind the scenes” view of the Space Mountain roller coaster tracks.
Space Mountain is a popular indoor roller coaster attraction that simulates a trip through space – and is one of the few attractions that actually exists at all Disney Resorts. It is the oldest operating roller coaster in Florida. If you would like a preview of the ride before you decide to go on it, just ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority to get a sneak preview as mentioned above. There are actually two separate coaster tracks inside the same building – one called Alpha and one called Omega. The tracks are nearly identical, except that the Alpha track is ten feet longer to allow it to go over the Omega track.
A classic attraction in Tomorrowland is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. This show, which follows a family as it learns about the marvels of progress throughout the 1900s, has a long and storied history. Walt himself was involved in the development of the attraction for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. After the World’s Fair closed, the show was moved to Disneyland in California. It was there until 1974 when it was once again moved – this time to Florida. Wikipedia reports that the Carousel of Progress was Walt’s favorite attraction and that he said it should never be shut down.
Check Out Tomorrow – Today
If you are looking for a taste of tomorrow, spend some time enjoying the signs and sounds of Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom in the Walt Disney World Resort. Tomorrow never looked so good.