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At various points in its history, Tomorrowland’s attractions presented life’s possibilities in adventures ranging from the modern-day (If You Had Wings’ round-the-world travel in the 1970s) to the distant future (Mission to Mars). The problem that stymied Disney repeatedly was that the future came faster and looked different than what they’d envisioned.

Today, Tomorrowland’s theme makes the least sense of any area in any Disney park. Its current attractions are based on gas-powered race cars, rocket travel (two rides), a look back at 20th-century technology, two rides with aliens, and a comedy show with monsters. It’s not so much a vision of the future as it is a collection of attractions that don’t fit anywhere else in the park.


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One of the signature hallmarks of Tomorrowland is all of the vehicles moving about. Moving vehicles dominate the land at all levels. On the ground plain, constantly queuing up are the cars of the Speedway. Up one level are the Tomorrowland Transit Authority trains. The TTA trains continue throughout the land and become a thread that ties many of the Tomorrowland structures together. Flying high overhead are the Astro Orbiter rockets. And when the Carrousel of Progress is spinning even the buildings add to the movement. There is no other spot in the Magic Kingdom with such diversity of vehicles on display.

This movement is due to the original Tomorrowland, which lived until 1994. In the relatively brief history of the Magic Kingdom, only Tomorrowland has received a significant makeover. What you see today is the Imagineers solution to a longtime vexing problem. How do you create the world of tomorrow when tomorrow happens so fast? What happens when the design and construction process takes so long that by the time the project is done it isn't relevant anymore?

The first Tomorrowland, in Disneyland in 1955, was set in 1986, the return year for Haley's Comet. It was updated in 1967 to no specific date but the place was the "world on the move". The Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland 1.0 was the next generation of that concept. But 20 years later the "world on the move" was looking dated.

So the solution in 1994 was to rethink the entire question.

Instead of projecting a place set into the future, why not just create a fantasy place influenced by visions of the future. The Imaginers decided to borrow elements from Disneyland Paris's Discoveryland and create "a future that never was". This created a place that is less about anticipating the future than creating a more timeless setting. To this end, the Imaginers borrowed heavily from predictions of Jules Verne, HG Wells, and Buck Rodgers to create a "Spaceport"; a place where visitors from throughout the universe come and go. In some respects Tomorrowland is the first "postmodern" land.

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Other Lands at Magic Kingdom