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Tomorrowland - Part Eight

Jack Spence Masthead


Welcome back. Today will be my eighth and final article about Tomorrowland.

In case you missed the previous parts:

Part 1 - Tomorrowland An Overview - Flight to the Moon - Mission to Mars
Part 2 - Circle-Vision movies - If You Had Wings - Dream Flight
Part 3 - Skyway - Star Jets - WEDWay PeopleMover
Part 4 - Carousel of Progress.
Part 5 - Space Mountain and the Grand Prix Raceway
Part 6 - Tomorrowland History Around the World
Part 7 - The Timekeeper, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Today I’ll finish things with a look at how the Tomorrowland makeover of 1995 affected the Carousel of Progress, Space Mountain, the PeopleMover, Astro Orbiter, and the Tomorrowland Speedway. Let’s start with Carousel of Progress (CoP).

I mentioned in Part Five of my series that a major makeover of Tomorrowland had been planned, but the ailing Euro Disney Resort was draining Disney’s resources and a scaled back conversion of Tomorrowland was implemented instead. This can be seen when looking at how the reduced budget was allocated. The front half of Tomorrowland received the lion’s share of the money and was beautifully transformed. On the other hand, the back half of Tomorrowland was short changed and only minor alterations were made.

Take a look at these CoP before and after pictures. Only the building’s paint job was changed for the remodel. In the first picture, the rotating building was painted in blue and white stripes. In the second photo, the Imagineers replaced these bands of color with gears, cogs, and sprockets to tie this building in with the new Tomorrowland look as seen through the eyes of visionaries of the 1920’s and 30’s.


Carousel of Progress

Carousel of Progress


The next change came with the attraction being renamed “Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress” with the lettering being placed on more gears.


Carousel of Progress


Inside, the song “The Best Time of Your Life” was retired and the original “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” took its place. Those who grew up with “The Best Time of Your Life” were horrified. But those who remembered the attraction from the New York World’s Fair and Disneyland were delighted. Even the Sherman Brothers admit their preference for the original song.

Another big change came to the show in this year. A new cast was hired to voice the characters headed by Jean Shepherd as Father. Shepherd is best remembered as the adult voice of Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” which was partially based on his story, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.” Grandma is now voiced by Janet Waldo who voiced Judy Jetson on the popular 1960s television cartoon show "The Jetsons." And Rex Allen returned as the voice of Grandpa.

The fourth act of the show was also updated. This time it would reflect the typical home in the year 2000. In the earlier iterations of this show, CoP jump 20 years with each rotation. But now it jumped 60 years from the 1940’s in Act 3 to 2000 in Act 4.


Act 4


Attendance dropped dramatically at Walt Disney World after the 9/11 attacks. So much so that it was decided to close CoP the following month. But due to guest complaints, the attraction was soon reopened on a seasonal basis. Today the attraction is open every day.

CoP is showing its age, this cannot be denied. The theaters are never full and the wait to ride is never more than one revolution away. Like the old Tomorrowland, Act 4 is especially out-of-date. Not only is an archaic video game prominently displayed, the term “car phone” and “laser disk” are used. Also, Mother’s laptop is a bit bulky.

Rumors have circulated for years of its impending closure. But Disney steadfastly denies that this is in the works. Only time will tell. In the meantime, the show is still entertaining and if you view it as a part of Disney history, it has endearing qualities.

The PeopleMover received a limited makeover with the new Tomorrowland. The track found in the front half of this land was beautifully augmented with retro-future metal girders and fittings. However, the track located in the back half of Tomorrowland only received a new paint job. More recently, a new LED lighting system was installed and the track’s ceiling changes colors every several seconds during the evening.


PeopleMover Track

PeopleMover Track

PeopleMover Track

PeopleMover Track


The ride was also given a new name with the makeover, the “Tomorrowland Transit Authority” or TTA. The backstory being that this is a future mode of transportation in the metropolis of Tomorrowland and the “Blue Line” services this area. However, people never stopped calling this attraction “PeopleMover” and Disney would eventually rename the attraction again to “Tomorrowland Transit Authority PEOPLEMOVER.”


TTA Sign

TTA Sign

PeopleMover Sign

PeopleMover Sign


Along the route, a few new scenes were inserted within the “tunnels” of the attraction. The first being the addition of a galactic spaceport for the robotic inhabitants of Tomorrowland.


Robot Spaceport


Near the end of the ride, guests could once view “If You Had Wings” and “Dreamflight” through three windows. When “Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin” replaced these early attractions, one of these windows was eliminated and a scene of a futuristic hair salon was added in its place.


Beauty Salon


The most recent change to the PeopleMover came last year. The tongue-in-cheek audio that was broadcast during the ride was replaced with a simple narrative describing the sights along the route. Judging by the mail I have received on this topic, many people are not happy with this change.

Flying high above Rockettower Plaza were the Star Jets. This attraction would receive a significant makeover with the new Tomorrowland, beginning with a new name, Astro Orbiter on April 30, 1994. Interestingly, at Disneyland, this attraction also has the same name, but is spelled differently, Astro Orbitor.

The ride vehicles of Astro Orbiter would be given a completely new look. Gone was the futuristic rocket/hovercraft design to be replaced by a retro-rocket fitting of Tomorrowland’s new backstory. And the center pylon was converted from a Saturn Rocket to a transmission tower.


Rocket Jets

Astro Orbiter

Rocket Jets

Astro Orbiter


But the biggest change to come to this attraction would be the addition of colorful planets that surrounded the rocket path. Now, space travelers could view celestial bodies as they circled high above the Earth-bound pedestrians below. Astro Orbiter would become an energetic “weenie” to draw guests into this refurbished land.


Orbiting Planets

Orbiting Planets

Orbiting Planets

Astro Orbiter Weenie


Currently, Astro Orbiter is undergoing another major refurbishment. In fact, the entire attraction has been removed for maintenance and updates. It is scheduled to reopen in late September of this year.


Astro Orbiter Refurbishment

Astro Orbiter Refurbishment


Beneath Astro Orbiter and the PeopleMover is The Lunching Pad at Rockettower Plaza. This is a great spot to grab a hot dog, chips, and a drink and enjoy some shade at one of the many tables nearby.


Lunching Pad

Lunching Pad


FedEx took over sponsorship of Space Mountain in 1994 which coincided with the Tomorrowland refurbishment. Minor changes were made to the entrance doors, color schemes were tweaked, and new warning signs were posted. But to the average guest, the only noticeable change would be the addition of FedEx logos. The mountain’s structure was left completely unchanged.

The real modification to Space Mountain in 1994 didn’t involve the ride, but rather the construction of a building next door. As with so many other attractions, now guests would exit Space Mountain directly into a shop.


Tomorrowland Arcade


The backstory for this structure is that it provides power for the metropolis of Tomorrowland. This can be seen on a sign near the exit of Space Mountain. Besides selling Disney merchandise, a large array of video games are also available for those with a few coins burning a hole in their pockets.


Tomorrowland Arcade

Tomorrowland Arcade

Tomorrowland Arcade


FedEx ended their sponsorship of Space Mountain in 2004 and most of their insignias were removed at that time.

In 1997, Disneyland’s Space Mountain was painted in shades of gold, bronze, green, and copper to match the surrounding buildings. However, this change was not well received by the public and it was repainted white several years later. The Imagineers learned their lesson and did not try a similar paint job in the Magic Kingdom’s version of this ride with the upcoming renovation.


Disneyland Space Mountain


In early 2009, Space Mountain closed for a lengthy refurbishment. It reopened seven months later on November 22. Much had changed.

The first noticeable improvement occurred to the right of Space Mountain. Disney had finally gotten around to removing the old second-story Tomorrowland Skyway Station. In the process, they created a lovely plaza. They also turned the old merchandise facility into a face painting area. In addition, the remaining restrooms were gutted and more modern lavatories took their place.


Razing Skyway Terminal

Space Mountain Plaza

Face Painting

New Restrooms


Inside Space Mountain, the queue was augmented with new space-aged back-lit murals. The first of these is an advertisement for space travel. The sign reads, "Welcome Space Travelers - STARPORT SEVEN-FIVE - Your Gateway to the Galaxy." The "SEVEN-FIVE" is in reference to the year Space Mountain opened, 1975. On a side panel you'll find references to all the Active Earth Stations, each with a nod to the five mountains around the world.

Tomorrowland MK-1 (Magic Kingdom)
TL Space Station 77 (Disneyland)
Discovery Landing Station (Disneyland Paris)
Ashita Base (Tokyo Disneyland)
HK Spaceport (Hong Kong Disneyland)


STARPORT SEVEN-FIVE


As you venture deeper into the mountain, a number of space-maps line the wall referencing the various routes available for travel from the Starport.


Space Maps


The biggest change to the queue was the addition of 87 video game stations along the path. These were added to help occupy guests’ time as they waited in line. There are four games to play and they help further the story of interstellar vacation travel. This could include clearing a runway of asteroids or moving cargo from one location to another.


Space Games

Space Games


The final waiting areas were covered with a dome. Blue neon lights shine down from above.


Dome Ceiling


This new dome created a good and not-so-good effect. The up side was that it cut down on ambient light shining into the actual ride. This made it more difficult for guests to see the track ahead. The downside was that it created a dead zone when journeying through this area on the PeopleMover. Now you traveled in total darkness for an extended period of time

Although portions of the Space Mountain track were replaced, the basic layout was identical to the original design. Many claimed that the ride was smoother after this rehab, but others say it was just as jerky as always.

Another improvement was the addition of an on-ride photo op. Placed near the beginning of the ride, guests’ pictures were snapped as they whizzed by. Besides providing another souvenir opportunity, the flash in peoples’ eyes made it more difficult to see in the darkened environment. Photo viewing was placed at the end of the journey and pictures could be obtained in the Tomorrowland Arcade.


Photo Viewing


The long exit through the mountain saw a few minor changes. The first was a baggage claim area and a revamped control center. Once again, the backstory of space vacation travel was being told.


Baggage Claim

Control Center


The ride along the moving sidewalk was also updated to help tell the story of tourism space travel. Television monitors were added to the various space-aged scenes broadcasting advertisements for the many far off and exotic places Tomorrowland citizens could visit leaving from the Starport.


Vacation Options

Vacation Options


Many thought that this refurbishment of Space Mountain would include new ride vehicles that contained speakers mounted in the headrests. They were hoping that the ride would offer the same audio experience as could be had on Disneyland’s Space Mountain and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios. However, this did not come to pass.

Then on August 30, 2010, Disney unexpectedly announced that they had added a new sound system to Space Mountain. In a general announcement they said it wasn’t added during the previous rehab in order to bring the ride back on line as quickly as possible. They also said they did not retrofit the ride vehicles because they wanted the experience to be different than that of Disneyland’s Space Mountain. Instead, they strategically placed 60 speakers throughout the mountain.

The reaction to this new sound system was mixed. Some found it additive while others thought Disney had cheaped-out.

Leaving Space Mountain we head down the long corridor that runs toward the Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland. This area only received minor upgrades with the 1994/95 refurbishment of Tomorrowland. And many of these look tacked on.


Tomorrowland Corridor

Tomorrowland Props


Still, this area of Tomorrowland does have some interesting space-aged looking trees.


Trees


The Grand Prix Raceway is also located along this corridor. As I said in Part Five of this series, the Interstate System had become passé by the late 1960’s so the Imagineers opted for a racetrack theme at the Magic Kingdom rather than the freeway design of Disneyland’s Autopia. However, a speedway really didn’t fit with the Tomorrowland theme. But having no better place to put it, that’s where it ended up.

The new backstory for Tomorrowland was no better than the old when trying to come up with a logical reason for this attraction to exist where it does, so the Imagineers didn’t even try. It’s simply a racetrack, no more, no less. However, the attraction did receive some enhancements as part of the Tomorrowland makeover and reopened after a short refurbishment on September 27, 1996. It was now called the Tomorrowland Speedway.

Three years later, Disney and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway joined forces to change the theme of the track. Enhancements such as the Yard of Bricks, the Scoring Pylon, Gasoline Alley, and the Wheel & Wing logo were added. The attraction also received another name change to incorporate the new sponsor and on December 19, 1999 became known as the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.


Tomorrowland Indy Speedway


In 2008, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway dropped its affiliation and the name changed back to Tomorrowland Speedway. To my knowledge, only the Scoring Pylon remains today from the previous refurbishment.


Tomorrowland Speedway

Scoring Pylon


Today the track is 2,260 feet long. The original design of the Mark VII cars is still used (minus the spoiler). However, the cars have undergone several different paint jobs over the years. Here's the current style.


Speedway Cars

Speedway Cars

Speedway Cars


The car's nine-horsepower engines are fueled by gasoline and can attain speeds of an astounding 7.5 miles per hour. The vehicles hold two adults and there are approximately 140 cars in the fleet.

The Tomorrowland Speedway is a popular ride. For an adult, it is far from being the most exciting attraction at the Magic Kingdom, but for a kid, it can be the highlight of their visit. Many guests race to this attraction when the Magic Kingdom opens each day, making it the first ride on their “must do” list. Long lines develop quickly and last throughout the day.

Across the corridor from the Tomorrowland Speedway is Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.


Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café


When the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, this eatery was known as the Tomorrowland Terrace and was/is the largest restaurant in the park. Although I don’t have a picture of the interior from back then, I do have a picture of its counterpart at Tokyo Disneyland. The two were strikingly similar.


Tomorrowland Terrace at Tokyo Disneyland


When Disneyland’s Tomorrowland received a makeover in 1966/67, the Imagineers added a futuristic stage, one that raised from the depths of the earth to appear “out of nowhere.” Logistically, this was a performer’s dream come true. This allowed the band to do all of their advance preparations unseen, then rise to the occasion playing their latest hit.


Disneyland Stage


This concept worked so well at Disneyland that it was duplicated at the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Terrace, albeit inside rather than out. Now performers could enter this stage via the Utilidors and make grand entrances.


Tomorrowland Terrace Stage


When it came time to create a new backstory for the Tomorrowland Terrace in 1994, the establishment was given a new name, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café. This would be the first Earth restaurant franchise from outer space and the local hangout for both the citizens of Tomorrowland and its interplanetary guests.

The exterior of the restaurant saw only minor changes.


Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café Exterior

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café Exterior

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café Exterior


However the interior was given a whole new look and feel. Three “Bays” each offer a different menu so there is something for everyone here.

Bay 1: Chicken
Bay 2: Hamburgers
Bay 3: Sandwiches


Bay 1

Bay 2

Bay 3


Nearby is an excellent topping bar.


Topping Bar


Abundant seating options are available both inside and out.


Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café Seating

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café Seating

Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café Seating


But the real draw of Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café is Sonny Eclipse and his Astro Organ.


Sonny Eclipse

Sonny Eclipse


Sonny took up residence on the old “elevating” stage. But unlike his human predecessors, Sonny doesn’t need a break and performs continually whenever the restaurant is open.

Sonny is a lounge lizard, literally. His singing style is Bossa Supernova and Eclipso. He is backed up by the Space Angels and his routine lasts 25 minutes. As with most lounge acts, most people just talk through the entertainment, but I would caution against this. Sonny is funny. Corny, but funny. (Sonny is voiced by Kal David, a professional jazz/blues artist.)

The elevating stage is still used today for special events. Sonny actually sits on what was the roof of the old stage. When a live performance entertains here, Sonny rises into the fly area. This next picture was taken at a recent holiday event.


Elevating Stage


Today, the name “Tomorrowland Terrace” refers to the restaurant located between Main Street and Monsters Inc.


Tomorrowland Terrace


Well that’s it for my look at Tomorrowland old and new. As we’ve seen, this land has changed a lot over the years and will probably continue to do so in the years to come. Although nothing official has been announced for upcoming attractions in this land, we know that the Imagineers are always on the lookout for new ideas.

This has been a long series and I hope it held your interest. I know I learned a few things researching this piece. I hope you acquired some new Disney knowledge as well.



The previous post in this blog was Tomorrowland - Part Seven.

The next post in this blog is Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort – A Relook.

Comments (26)

Mel:

Thank you so much for this series Jack, I've looked forward to each instalment eagerly. The thoroughness of your research is always excellent, and you have a knack for cramming a lot of facts into an article without it becoming impenetrable or turning into little more than a list.

Is it too much to hope that the Magic Kingdom's other lands will get such an in-depth treatment from you?

Jack's Answer:

I started this series of articles with Adventureland. It took three blogs to cover the topic. When I began writing about Tomorrowland, I had no idea it would be eight articles in length. I was afraid this might bore my readers, but I had little choice if I was going to cover the topic adequately. It is my intent to continue writing about the other Magic Kingdom lands. However, the next in this series probably won't appear until late August or early September.

Ellen:

This was thoroughly enjoyable! Your writings are terrific! Thanks so much!

David:

Thank you for this series. I found it helpful having the whole story told together in a timeline format and the backstories that went along with it.

PJ:

A great set of articles Jack, it's amazing to see how much has changed over the 43 years, this surely must be the land that has seen the most changes. Probably because, as you said in you blogs, the future soon becomes the present, then the past. It seems that the Carousel of Progress is now the only time bound ride. It will be interesting to see what happens to it. Will it be updated? Will it be replaced? Or will it become a history lesson, such as Spaceship Earth? Only time will tell.

Jenny Sperandeo:

Hi Jack! I thoroughly enjoyed all 8 pieces on Tomorrowland, and I learned a lot of new information, so thank you. I can't wait to see what you will conquer next...
Are you planning on writing anymore articles about the different resorts???

Josh Weiss:

Hey Jack
Great ending to the series. Tomorrowland has certainly had its fair share of changes, and it will be interesting to see what the future brings on this land, especially CoP. Can't wait for the next blog and as always keep up the great work.

Stefanie:

Hi Jack,
I always love reading your blog, but the Tomorrowland series has been especially enjoyable. I was never a huge Tomorrowland fan as a kid (I know, what was wrong with me?!), but after completing a WDW college program in 2010 as an attractions cast member on COP, Buzz, and Monsters Inc., I am completely converted! Just listening to the Tomorrowland loop music on youtube still gives me goosebumps. Thank you for all the pictures and details!!
On a side note, I just have to tell you that on my last visit in April of this year I was convinced I saw you walking around Fantasyland and I was going to say hi but then I convinced myself that it probably was not you afterall. Then, earlier in this Tomorrowland blog you put up a picture of yourself with S
titch wearing the exact same outfit and looking identical to the person I saw. I have been kicking myself ever since!
Thanks for the fun blogs!
Stefanie

Jack's Comment:

You should have taken a chance and approached me. I probably I get recognized and stopped about once a month. I always enjoy taking a few minutes and talking about my favorite subject.

JaySwash:

Thanks for the great series Jack, I did not know just how much things have changed over the years. I remember thinking as a kid in the 70's that Tomorrowland was easily the coolest place I had I ever seen. Unfortunately we did not get to spend. much time there when I finally made it back to WDW after 27 years, trip recap is on tagrel if you ever want to read it, but next trip I would love to spend a good afternoon there. :)

Kelly:

I love reading your posts because they're always so detailed and informative. Thank you for taking the time to do the research and write them!

Tomorrowland has always been a favorite of my family, and we end up spending quite a bit of time there every trip. We were all a little sad that the TTA was closed for refurbishment on our last trip in June. I guess that just gives us a reason to plan another trip, right? :)

One bad thing I noticed on our last trip was about CoP. I really like the attraction, and it's never crowded and always air conditioned (which is a very good thing in Florida in summer). BUT - I really think it's time for a refurbishment. If not for updating the last scene, then for updating the theater itself. There was such a strong musty odor when we walked in, I almost kept walking to the exit. It was pretty bad. I hope they consider doing some updates to this soon.

Hermes:

Hi Jack,

Thanks for bringing back good Tomorrowland memories. Great job as always!

Wendy Snelgrove:

Jack,

Thank you for an enjoyable series.

I am a little confused about the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. You say that what I know as Cosmic Ray's used to bear that name. But is that name not used for the large counter service restaurant between Main Street and Tomorrowland (bypassing the hub) which is open sporatically? Did they use the same name for two different restaurants or am I confused?

I regret that I never saw the Timekeeper. And I regret that I never saw the 1960s and 1980s last scenes in Carousel of Progress. I wonder if they could just replace the dated 2000 scene with the even more dated 1960s original scene, and give up trying to keep up?

Finally, a suggestion for a thread for you... how about a photo essay of all the DVC booths and how they are themed to their lands throughout WDW? I am especially fond of the Tomorrowland and Frontierland ones.

Cheers, Wendy

Jack's Answer:

Originally, Cosmic Ray's was named the Tomorrowland Terrace. At that time, the Tomorrowland Terrace was called the Plaza Pavilion because it was located off of the Plaza (The Hub) and sat next to the Plaza Restaurant. However, since this restaurant has a very modern feel, it was decided that the name Tomorrowland Terrace suited it better.

Believe it or not, I've already started a collection of pictures of the DVC booths for just this sort of article.

Bonnie Lorenzetti:

Hi Jack,
Loved the series on tomorrow land. One of my favorites- I especially love the way it looks at night with the lighting (I'm one of those star trek/star war fans so right up my ally). One of my favorite rides is TTA (or as I still call it the Wedway people mover). Remember some of what you wrote about others never got to see. Also love Buzz- found a few of the high point Z's so I look like a sharp shooter with my scores at the end. Not a fan or Stitch though. Still enjoy Cop even if it is outdated-just nice memories.
Thanks for the great blogs- they are such a great way to be part of WDW when we can't be there BUT going in Sept so can't wait. I'm a 'kid' at heart while I am there.
You're the best
Bonnie

Hi Jack -

I look at how the back of Tomorrowland is almost original and I'm glad Disney left it this way. Both for reminding us of how the original looked and in some places bringing back memories of the 64-65 NY World's Fair; modern, concrete architecture with a futuristic, Jetsonian look. That said, I also feel I'm in the 1930's version of Flash Gordon with Rockets buzzing around when I'm in the 1994-remodeled front of Tomorrowland.

Now that this series is complete, I'm going to have to re-read it in its entirety, like a book. Though I'm sad the Tomorrowland Mini-Series has ended, I look forward to your next enlightening lesson about WDW.

- Jeff

Eric:

Thank you for another great series. This is my favorite land in the park and I love all things Disney, especially history. Looking forward to the next article!

Sarah:

Thank you for this very entertaining series Jack! I looked forward to reading the next one each week. I would love to see future series on the other lands and areas of the other parks. Keep up the wonderful blogging!

Sarah

Mala:

I hope the CoP is NEVER closed. This is by far my most FAVORITE attractions at WDW. There are two rides that take me back to my childhood, visiting with my parents and brothers...and that is CoP and It's a Small World. I literally feel like I transport into my gradeschool self when I visit these two rides. I would be heartbroken for CoP to be a thing of the past!!

Sue:

Thank you so much for a great series. What memories and I learned lots, too! Looking forward to you taking us on another "journey" this fall!

john:

Jack-

Thank you once again for a very thorough and thought-provoking series. It's a fine line as to whether an attraction will be considered "timeless" vs. "dated" and the distinction can become very personal. Many of your readers have referred to visiting CoP as children, and how they are immediately brought back to their youth when visiting again today. But I have to wonder: will they youth of today feel the same way about this (and many other attractions) in the years to come?

As an example, my now 15-year old son was enthralled with Buzz Lightyear almost from birth. If his "favorite ride" (Space Ranger Spin) were ever to be changed or eliminated, he would be upset, while others might not give it another thought. (is it timeless or dated, hmmm...)

The customer base of WDW spans three, maybe four generations- the challenge is how to attract or retain one segment of your customer base without alienating the others- a very difficult and delicate endeavor.

Jack's Comment:

Horizons and World of Motion were both grand attractions with the same scope as Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. I'm sure when the Imagineers were designing these rides, they expected them to be classics and stand the test of time. But as we know, this didn't happen.

Doug:

Hey Jack,

Great again as always even though you still said "hovercraft" and not "lifting body" for describing the old Astro Orbiter vehicles. : )

I still think you would make a very interesting and informative blog regarding the sanitary upkeep of the parks.

Doug

Anita:

Hi Jack,

Like many other people, I enjoy reading your blogs. I always find new info and lots of memories from past trips. Carousel of Progress is one of my favorites along with the sorely missed "Timekeeper" and CircleVision 360 Magic Carpet Around the World. If it weren't for Carousel of Progress, we would probably skip Tomorrowland on our visits.

If you ever decide to do a book on the "Disney Parks - Past, Present and Future", let me know. I would love to have a book with all the great info and the priceless photos from the past.

Karen:

Hi Jack!
Another great article.
Tomorrowland was never my favorite and the family has now named the CoP the Carousel of Boredom.. but they'll go on because it's a short nap in a cool place!
I don't love it myself, but I would miss it if it were gone - lots of memories of cranky people not wanting to go on it.
Looking forward to your next adventure!
:)

Diane:

Hi Jack,

Thanks for all the work that went in to this series! The 8 weeks just flew by!

One of my favorite bygone Space Mountain features was from the era of FedEx's sponsorship. They installed overhead TVs in the queue area and had a loop of silly futuristic tv clips (SMtv!), interspersed with space-tastic FedEx commercials, of course. My husband and I still joke with each other about news anchors Dirk Tachyon and Pam Pulsar, meteorologist Wendy Beryllium, and fashion designer Pierre Planet (pronounced plan-AY). It was offbeat, full of space puns, and, we thought, very funny. Can you tell we spent a lot of time waiting in that line? I suppose FedEx got its sponsorship's worth out of it, at least in our family!

Seems to me it was an early attempt by WDW to make the queues more entertaining long before the upgrades to the queues at Haunted Mansion and Winnie the Pooh. We were sorry to see it go, but you can still catch fan videos of it on Youtube, natch.

Thanks for the memories!
Diane

kate:

Hi, Jack! Thank you SO MUCH for your blog posts- this series was especially outstanding.

This may be a rhetorical question, but I bet you have an interesting opinion on it: Why is it that vocal guests are sometimes able to influence WDW, and other times not? E.g., painting Space Mountain back to white. That's purely cosmetic and was probably very expensive and time-consuming. And the outcry couldn't have possibly been THAT overwhelming (compared to, say, the furor over Mr. Toad's Wild Ride closing). Do you have any sense of what makes Disney more amendable to visitor concessions?

Thanks again!!
kate

Jack's Answer:

I have no idea how Disney makes decisions. And I'm not sure they know either. LOL I'm sure it's a balance between economics and guest satisfaction -- with economics pulling more weight.

Greg H.:

Hi Jack,

I've been so terribly busy lately that I have missed several of your Tomorrowland blogs. I'm now trying to catch up.

If memory serves me correctly, the Sherman brothers used Walt Disney himself as inspiration for "A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," and really resented having to write a new song for GE.

CoP is like an old family friend to me, since it brings back memories of Disneyland in the 1960s. I was really angry when it was moved to Florida.

3-4 years ago, on my way out of the park, I stopped by City Hall to enquire as to why no photography of any kind is permitted. The cast member wasn't even aware of this restriction, but at that time said that the CoP was going to be moving to the Smithsonian. I haven't heard anything since. Still contemplating trying for 3D photos on the DL. ;-)

I absolutely loved the Tomorrowland remodel in the 90s, since I love Art Deco, and the Jules Verne-like feel, which solved the problem of the area looking dated. I wish they would continue further back. My only real disappointment in Tomorrowland is the lack of a feeling of education, which was the spirit of the original Tomorrowland that Walt Disney crafted at Disneyland. I know there's Innoventions at Epcot, but I still feel that part of the Tomorrowland adventure was meant to educate and inspire people. (Just my humble opinion.)

I'm in the camp that isn't a huge fan of the audio on WDW's Space Mountain. It's an improvement over nothing but disappointing compared to the DLR version. I also miss the stars and giant "chocolate chip cookies" from that flew around space. It feels like a cheaper experience, though it probably just relates to my memories.

I love Carousel of Progress despite the fact that it's worn down and has an outdated finale. I visit every time and hope that it doesn't get closed. I'd be fine with some updates to it and am kind of amazed that it's still open given the lack of popularity. It does eat up crowds in the busy days.

Rachel:

Thanks for this interesting series! My night school a Capella group played and cosmic rays, and I remember the rising stage! What fun!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 14, 2014 5:20 AM.

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