We’re looking forward to the special MiceChat event with Disney Imagineer Tim Delaney in just a few days (see details at the end of this column).  On Saturday, we showed you Tim’s amazing work on Disneyland Paris’ Tomorrowland, today we bring you an interview between Alain Littaye and Mr. Delaney himself with an emphasis on his work on Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. We didn’t want to save this one for the weekend, so here’s a rare Weekday version of Weekend Update.  😉 ~~Rick

Designing Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland
An Exclusive Interview with Imagineer Tim Delaney
by Alain Littaye, Disney and more blog


In this exclusive interview, Tim Delaney talks about the design of Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Tim was the show producer of the land. He was previously the show producer of Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris and Paradise Pier at California Adventure. Please note that this interview was done for the opening of HKDL in 2005, before the opening of Autopia, UFO Zone and Stitch encounter but has been updated for MiceChat with plenty of new artwork, pictures, and attraction posters.

I also remind you that Tim Delaney will be part of the great MiceChat event happening this Saturday, February 8th at Disneyland’s ESPN Zone. More information on the event can be found at the end of this article.

Alain Littaye: Tim, as we know, you were Disneyland Paris Discoveryland show producer. At DLP the theme of Discoveryland was supposed to be the land of visionaries, and here in Hong Kong the theme is probably different. So, what is the story line of Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland?

Tim Delaney: Well, we wanted to create here something totally different, our biggest challenge was how to create something that is not only tomorrow, but also something that is timeless. So, we took the theme in this particular case of a “spaceport”. All of our attractions relate to space travels: we have Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, the Orbitron – this last one with a totally different style than the one at DLP.


Tim: So we took the idea of a space port, we have a different style of architecture…it’s a kind of space encampment, a space port where you go when you journey to other planets. We have two very large restaurants, and the big restaurant called “Starliner Diner” has a rocket ship in front and it’s a place where you go before you go into outer space: there are big posters of space travel inside, we have rockets, etc…this is a place where you go to have lunch and food before you go on your journey onto Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear. It’s also one of the largest restaurants we have ever built in a Tomorrowland with this incredible design.







Tim: The other restaurant in Tomorrowland is the Comet Cafe, and is located close to the Orbitron.



Tim: Throughout the land we’re using these motifs of these planets and an alien landscape to make you feel that you are in another world. You have to see the style of the buildings to see how it looks. It’s not meant to look like the fifties, like Disneyland was in 1955, it has much more of an organic feel to it. We are also using a lot of colors in the land, and the reason for that is that most of the time Hong Kong has grey skies and is humid, so we wanted these colors to bring a kind of more of a familiar quality to our Tomorrowland. Secondly, regarding landscaping, we have a lot of landscaping in the covered areas, so we create a sense of the future and tomorrow with more human kind of space.

Alain: I’m pretty sure the design with all these planets is probably beautiful at night…

Tim: It is magnificent, spectacular at night!


Alain: The Orbitron has a totally different look than the one built in Paris or Anaheim , and you have flying saucers instead of rocket jets.

Tim: That’s right, we wanted to create an Orbitron in the center of the land that has more of a kind of space beacon look to it. There is a very large 26′ diameter globe at the bottom which has a starfield with fiber optics in it. The flying saucers fly around, and we have a kind of planet kinetics, which are flying up above, and these flying saucers flying all about. It is a very visual thing, a very powerful looking thing, and the colors are all different here. We used a whole different color scheme because we wanted to make the colors much brighter, much “cooler” colors because it is so warming here most of the time.






Tim: By the way, the 26′ diameter globe also rotates and due to the painting technique, the whole land reflects in it and, with the fiber optics, it’s a map of the universe! That’s what it is, in fact. The kind of painting used for the globe is called chromashift, it’s a special painting technique so that when the globe rotates, the color goes from a warm blue to a purple blue…


Alain: Talking about flying saucers, it reminds me the Eddie Sotto project for Tokyo Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. It was supposed to be called ”Sci-fi City”, and one of the attractions was supposed to be small flying saucers flying around a huge flying saucer. Are the flying saucers in your Orbitron a reminiscent of this previous project?

Tim: No, not really…I started this project from scratch.


Alain: It is a good idea to change the usual rockets for these new flying saucers. About Space Mountain, does this new version have a particular storyline?

Tim: Our Space Mountain continues the overall theme that is your amazing adventure in outer space. We have new effects, new images, the ride system is smooth and fast, and, as you know they’ve re-done space mountain in Paris and the one at Disneyland, too. And every time we do this we have new effects, new projectors, new imaging devices, etc… And, here in Hong Kong, we have the latest ones, and they’re brilliant. We don’t really have an overall strong story, but we do have a very strong theme and it’s a really great effects show. And the reaction of the guests here has been fantastic. In fact, talking about effects, there is one effect that you have in Paris, and that we have here: it’s the explosion of a super-nova – but in a completely different format.








Alain: What about Buzz Lightyear? I suppose it’s the same ride that we can find in Anaheim or WDW?

Tim: It’s very similar to the one in Disneyland. But we have a totally different entrance for the attraction: we have a 12 foot monumental, kind of “heroic” Buzz Lightyear standing up in the front, and it’s a great photo location… and the ride is as great as in the U.S., of course. It’s amazing how people love this ride, really. And I’ve heard they’re going to add some internet competition, so people on the internet can compete with people on the ride.



Alain: Do you have a big theater like we have in Paris with “Videopolis”?

Tim: We have two large theaters in the park, one in Adventureland, and one in Fantasyland, but not in Tomorrowland this time!

Alain: Are you going to add more attractions in “phase two” of the park?

Tim: We are currently designing and actually we are under construction for one more major attraction and two more minor attractions that will open in July of next year. We’ll have a totally unique and different Autopia than the one you have in Paris. We’ll have electric cars, with lighting effects on the cars, a different kind of unique on-board audio-system, and the landscape that you will go through is much more like an alien landscape, another planet kind of landscape… It will really be a fun drive, and actually we’ll also have one of the roadways come into the land, because most of the Autopia will be beyond the railroad, so part of the road will come into the land on an elevated highway and return back down to the location of the attraction, so it really showcases the ride to the people in the land. And people will be able to walk underneath this elevated roadway and see the cars are going by.




Tim: The second attraction will be UFO Zone, a fun, water-squirting interactive play area!

(Note that both Autopia and UFO Zone opened one year after this interview.)




Tim: Before we leave, I’d like to tell you that the whole resort here is impressive, the location is great, the hotels are beautiful, the “Disney promenade” from the hotels to the park is charming, and with these hills in the background behind the castle, I really think that it is the best location we’ve ever had for a Magic Kingdom!


As mentioned above, Tim Delaney will be part of a MiceChat event happening on Saturday, February 8th, 2014, at ESPN Zone at the Disneyland Resort! Tim will have fantastic stories for those who attend and also sign copies of my Disneyland Paris “From Sketch to Reality” book which will be available for purchase at the end of Tim’s presentation. This will be the very first time that a Disneyland Paris Imagineer Show Producer will sign the book so you don’t want to miss this event! Limited seats are available so make sure to do your registration today at the link HERE where you can also pre-order a copy of the DLP book to make sure you’ll have a copy waiting for you at the event.



Event Description

Most Disney fans will agree that Disneyland Paris is the most beautiful of all the Magic Kingdom Style parks. But how did Disney go about building this spectacular park? Let’s take a look behind the magic curtain as one of the Disney Imagineering greats takes us on an adventurous journey.

Meet celebrated Imagineer Tim Delaney (Creative Director, Producer & Field Art Director of Discoveryland) as he leads us on a journey through the development and of this magical Disney park. Learn about the challenges, creative opportunities, and wonderful stories that make this park so unique in the universe of Disney theme parks.


Tim Delaney’s 34 years at Walt Disney Imagineering included 19 years as a creative director and Vice President of Design. He has been instrumental in all phases of design from initial concept through design development, corporate sponsorship, project production and onsite construction supervision through completion. As a designer, illustrator, painter, creative director, producer and art director, Delaney has lead teams that have designed and constructed over $1.2 billion of Disney Parks and attractions worldwide, including Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Hong Kong.

Tim has been awarded the 2002 Ray Bradbury Award for Lifetime of Creative Excellence. He was the subject of the popular BBC documentary ”Shoot the Moon.” And, in, 1995 he was awarded the Themed Entertainment Association award for best attraction for Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris.

Your event ticket includes…

  • Delicious breakfast buffet at ESPNZone in Downtown Disney Anaheim
  • Bacon, bacon, bacon
  • 90 minute audio/visual presentation
  • Opportunity to purchase Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality at the discounted price of $114.99 (Pick up at event only – no shipping available)*
  • Opportunity to meet a true creative genius, Tim Delaney

This event is limited to 125 guests and will sell out quickly. Grab your tickets now!


Disneyland Paris From Sketch To Reality is one of the most collectible Disney books of all time. This is a gorgeous “coffee table book” with 320 pages and 750 pictures – of which 500 are park and attractions photos and 250 are Walt Disney Imagineering renderings!

The size is 9 x 12 inches, all pages are in color and it’s hardbound with a glossy dust jacket. The text (by Disney historian Didier Ghez), was written after more than 75 interviews he conducted with all the Imagineers who created the park. He goes into just about everything you wanted to know about this unique place that many describe as the most beautiful “Magic Kingdom” ever created by WDI.

Order an event ticket with a copy of this magical book at one VERY special price.



Pictures: copyright Disney