The original plan for Tomorrowland was to showcase Walt Disney’s own vision of the future. Not long after Tomorrowland opened, the real-world technology that actually existed was more advanced than what was on display in the park.
By 1994, Imagineers knew Walt’s vision of the future made Tomorrowland look dated and incorrect. In a brilliant move, Tomorrowland was redesigned using steam-punk as the major design influence. IN other words, the design was a retro-look into the future.
After the 1994 refurbishment, Tomorrowland is often referred to as "New Tomorrowland." As guests walk through this land, they take on the role of tourists visiting an intergalactic metropolis.
Upon entering Tomorrowland, guests will find this small quote:
"The future that never was, is finally here"
Astro Obiter - Fly high above Tomorrowland in a rocket ship that you control
- The attraction was originally called Star Jets but the name was changed in 1994.
- Flight time is 1 minute and 30 seconds and rockets soar to over 80 ft. high.
- In 1994, planets were added to the attraction to give guests the illusion that they are flying faster. Astro Orbiter rotates about 11 times a minute.
Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin - Join Buzz Lightyear in a battle with an out-of-this-world villain - and keep score along the way
- Prior attractions in this building were If you Had Wings (Opening-1987), If You Could Fly (1987-1989), Delta DreamFlight (1989-1995) and Take Flight (1996-1998).
- The entrance queue was designed so that guests will feel they have been reduced to the size of a toy. Notice how large the View Finder toy is that Buzz uses to show his training footage.
- There are 4 different shaped targets. Round, square, triangle, and diamond shaped. The triangle and diamond shaped targets are worth the most points.
- The Buzz Lightyear animatronic in the entrance queue uses a rear-projection screen to create a very realistic face.
Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor - Help power the city with laughter in this animatronic comedy show
- The attraction employs a behind-the-scenes cast of very talented improv actors. Live action animation and improvisational talents are used to put on the show. If the cast members are out and others can't cover, the attraction has to be closed.
- Just before opening in April 2007, the name was changed from Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club to its current title.
- Prior to the show starting, guests can text message a joke to a number displayed inside the queue. There is a chance that the joke will be used in the show.
Space Mountain - An out-of-this-world indoor coaster
- The first company to sponsor the attraction was Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Federal Express (FedEx) sponsored Space mountain until 2004.
- A subtle backstory story was created that predicted there would one day be intergalactic shipping, and that FedEx would be the one doing the shipping. Goods would be shipped using specially designed cargo pods which can still be seen throughout the attraction. They used to have the FedEx logo but they were removed in 2004.
- Guests walk through a tunnel underneath the Walt Disney World Railroad tracks to get the attraction building.
- Space Mountain was first built for Disney World. It was later decided to build one for Disneyland. This was the first time a completely new Disney attraction was built outside of Disneyland.
- Enhancements were made in 2009 which included an interactive queue feature and a lower ceiling over the loading platform.
Stitch's Great Escape - Stitch gets loose in the theater while the lights go out
- The previous attraction, Alien Encounter, was part of the 1994 refurbishment project to create "New Tomorrowland." Michael Eisner reportedly commissioned the attraction after noticing the lack of thrill rides in the Magic Kingdom The show was was criticized for being much too frightening for the Magic Kingdom.
- To celebrate the opening of the attraction in 2004, the Cinderella Castle was "vandalized" by Stitch. Toilet paper hung from the spires and graffiti was spray-painted on the exterior walls.
- Stitch is one of the most advanced animatronics in the Disney World. As an A-100 model, he has 48 functions and is able to move with the use of digital technology and hydraulic actuators. Other A-100 animatronics are the Wicked Witch in the Great Movie Ride (the first one ever produced) and President Obama in Hall of Presidents.
Tomorrowland Indy Speedway - Drive a gasoline powered race car on track
- The track was shorted with the addition of Mickey's Birthdayland.
- The original name was Grand Prix Raceway and was based on Disneyland's Autopia.
- Why a race track in Tomorrowland? The Magic Kingdom is, in many ways, an east coast version of Disneyland. Disney World’s plans called for an Autopia style attraction, like the one in Disneyland. But when Disneyland was built in the early 1950’s, the American highway system was a new and exciting concept. It was fitting to have an attraction that was based on the future highway system. But, by 1971, the novelty of the freeway system was gone and so the Disney World version was themed not after the highway, but a race track.
- Tomorrowland Indy Speedway was once sponsored by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. There was a VIP lounge for executives and employees of the company that they could use when visiting Disney World.
Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover - Take a relaxing tour of Tomorrowland on a futuristic People Mover vehicle
- Known as an "Automated Guideway Transit System" the first of it's kind debuted in 1924 a the British Empire Expo. Later, Goodyear would attempt to create an AGT in 1954 by using a system of rubber conveyor belts.
- It was Walt Disney who created the term "People Mover" which became more popular than “Automated Guideway."
- The trains are powered by linear induction motors, a system of electromagnets switching on and off to propel the cars. This system was later perfected by the US Navy who uses it to launch aircraft from ships. It has also been used on roller coasters such as California Screamin’ in Disney’s California Adventure Park and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park.
- The track is nearly 1 mile long at 4600 feet. Along the route, there are 533 electromagnetic motors.
Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress - Revolving audio-animatronic stage show that features modern day living through the decades
- A Walt Disney original, this attraction was personally designed by Walt and Imagineer John Hench. It was a major attraction at the 1964 World's Fair in New York and was sponsored by General Electric.
- After the 1964 World's Fair, Carousel was relocated to Disneyland. In 1975, it was dismantled once again and then shipped to Walt Disney World. Executives at GE felt they would get more advertising if the show was in Walt Disney World, At the time, 80% of the Disneyland visitors were from California but 80% of Disney World’s visitors were from other parts the country.
- It’s the only attraction to have Walt Disney’s name in its title.
- the original theme song was changed from There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow to Now is the Best Time of Your Life. During the 1994 refurbishment, the original theme song was brought back.
- When the attraction first opened in Disney World, lines reached over 60 minutes. Now, it’s overlooked by many guests.
- In the original version, guests exited the attraction and went upstairs where they were shown a model of Walt Disney's plan for Progress City (what would later become Epcot). This was not included in Disney World.
- The original attraction moved counter-clockwise to symbolize going back in time but since the show is about progress, the attraction now rotates clockwise.