Always among the top two attractions that I miss the most at Disneyland. As a child, I was sure the House of the Future was the sort of dwelling I would be living in as an adult. Sadly, that didn't happen. Perhaps for cost reasons, maybe entrenched industry pressures, whatever. Thing is, it strikes me as no less revolutionary more than half a century later. Sure, the interior decor would have to go, along with much of the kitchen innovation. The floorplan was clever and efficient, but lacked charm and despite windows, windows everywhere, was more compartmentalized than it needed to be. I honestly think the house that looked like it flew in from Mars, could fly today, as an affordable alternative, with far superior durability when compared to the stick-built homes which most of us live in.
Great article, Sam. Thank you for sharing.
I believe that this sort of charming attraction, which is a showcase of how our lives are actually improved in the future by a modern way of living, is what Tomorrowland today is sorely lacking. I feel Disney has taken the easy way out with so many franchises in Tomorrowland. If they truly wanted to keep it an optimistic place that really felt futuristic, they would find creative ways to build upon this sort of concept. And it wouldn't necessarily have to be a home. I believe now, more than ever, that Tomorrowland feels stuck in sci-fi franchise mode, with little sign of it changing direction. It's attractions like the House of the Future, Adventure Thru Inner Space, or Mission to Mars that offer a real and unique experience that gives you a sense of optimism and a feeling of excitement for the future.
I've read more than a few chatroom debates about the what the focus of Tomorrowland should be: synergistic with current pop movies, or more generally oriented to the tech-future. Kevin Yee wrote an excellent article on the subject a few years ago.
When I was a kid, Tomorrowland was my absolute favorite. I was 11 years old when the House of the Future was dismantled, and I certainly remember it well. But so many other elements made Tomorrowland appealing to me, especially after 1967. I loved the speaker phone booths at the exit to the CircleVision theater, and always begged my mom to call someone, anyone. The Adventure thru Inner Space was killer. Riding up the "gantry" to the Rocket Jets really got the heart rate elevated. One D Ticket had to be used for the Flight to the Moon. And the Carousel of Progress and the Progress City model......visited too many times to count. I may be an architect today because of that damn model.
None of those memories were themed to a movie. The submarines were just good old American Navy nuclear attack subs. That being said, it's clear that a current Tomorrowland can never again attempt to capture the real tech-future: it would be out of date before the plaster dried. Apple is releasing the iPad3 in March; a couple of years ago, nobody even knew what a pad was.
I'm a supporter of a "tech-past" concept: the future was cool in 1958, let's keep it there for now. The movie themed attractions are here to stay, America has spoken. But how about a white, gleaming world with plenty of motion, and a couple of attractions that embrace future technology in a mind blowing way you can't get at home.....or on your phone.
The spirit of designing visionary concepts for our collective future should be at the center of (and drive) everything Tomorrowland does. House of the Future and Living with the Land are two such attractions. TL certainly needs to be balanced with some E ticket energy, but these exploratory, interactive attractions provide a nice break from thrill rides. If character and movie theming is central to today's parks, perhaps these characters, situations and ecosystems could provide an entertaining interface through which House of the Future type attractions are presented.
Including them brands them as unmistakably Disney, while allowing museum-like and product showcase installations to drive their message home (think Spaceship Earth versus Carousel of Progress).
Neat article and thanks for the link to that fantastic House of the Future site.
Great article, Sam...sent me right back to Yesterland!
What was great about the House of the Future was that it represented the theme of Tomorrowland. It was not a toy or a movie... It was purely science and imagination. In its day, we were at the threshold to the future, and it fed into our curiosity.
A new House of the Future would be great (for a NEW TOMORROWLAND), but there would have to be a thematic spin to it. Otherwise, a trip through the House of the Future might feel like an ordinary visit to IKEA. Let the new House of the Future be a ranch house to a large plantation on Mars or some other exotic locale yet to be explored! WDI could stand to once again feed into our curiosity!
Let me start with, I am one of the senior citizen crowd. I have no young children or grand children. My wife and I go to LEGOland about once a month (pass holders) and for what I do I enjoy LL as much as Disneyland (pass holders there too). WDW is a different story (pass holder there too).
One thing I like is the refurbishments, true, some of the models in Miniland get faded over time, but they are on a constant refurb schedule. New York was just refurbed, some parts of the (year old) Star Wars section are already being refurbed and as was mentioned, New Orleans I now being refurbed. Another nice thing is the additional. Models and such they put in Miniland for Halloween, Christmas and presidential innogration in Washington.
Another thing I like is how well behaved the young ones are. There doesn't apper to be a teen problem there, and the families with children (for the most part) are there for their children so there re fewer disagreements over what do do when.
LEGOland can be a much more peaceful experience than Disneyland.
As a teenager that really does ADORE Lego (Going to Cons and looking at the models are amazing) All I can say that the only reason I'd go to Legoland would to just to stare at the Lego models, life-sized people and scaled up minifigs in Fun Town to the very cute and imaginative Miniland. The Castle Themed section has to be my favorite area in total because they got the best food and best ride (The Dragon). For me, however, I could whittle away countless hours in Miniland, staring at the very minute details of the land. True, the place could use a refurbishment, but besides that, I got nothing else to say. Wonderful article!
We live 40 minutes from LL, and my daughter and I go 2-3 times a month. We're big fans of the shows - they are all very well done, and have some very talented performers.
LL is great for young kids (under 10). As a local, we love to pop in there for a couple of hours at a time. Once March 10 hits, and the water park opens up again, we'll be there almost weekly once again.
Originally Posted by audrey2580 What is that 1st picture of? Some kid wearing a life jacket? If a child is a certain height and wants to ride on the Knights Tournament they are required to wear this vest so that their little heads don't bounce back and forth on the head restraint.
Sam SamLand's Disney Adventures
Something I didn't see mentioned in your article was the absolute highlight of our kids' day: Every worker has a name tag with a Lego Mini figure on it. If you bring one from home - or buy one for $3.50 in the Big Shop when you enter the park, they will trade with you. When she figured this little game out, my 11 year old really began to enjoy herself. She traded her figure about a billion times throughout the day until she finally ended the day with a crazy pink-mohawked construction worker she took off the ticket booth guy upon exiting. This game, I genuinely think, is the biggest reason my 9 year old wants to go back. Throughout the whole day we only saw one other kid make a trade, so I think it's not a well-known feature of the park.
Legoland is fun once every 5 to 7 years, but only if you go on a very slow weekday. If you show up on a weekend, or at any holiday time, the park is a total disaster of inefficiency and poor planning.
Their ride systems struggle to get a few hundred riders per hour cycled through a 90 second ride, and lines can easily stretch to an hour or more. There is no Fastpass system. They have some fun coasters and a couple of unique attractions, but most of their rides are glorified carnival rides past static displays of giant sun-faded Legos. The overall level of showmanship and polish is acceptable when you are the only one there, but add in crowds and hour long waits for painfully slow operating attractions, and the whole park comes apart at the seams and becomes tired and worn.
Anyone over the age of 9 should go there at their own risk, and avoid anything outside of slow winter weekdays.
What is that 1st picture of? Some kid wearing a life jacket?
I'm surprised that you don't have a family yet after all these years since you last went. I heard about the park for years from friends who went with their families. I never went when I was single. Only recently with a 2 year old, I converted to a Legoland fan. I went there at least 2 times every year for the last 2 years with my toddler. As you found out, the rides are most gears towards young kids, yet adults are not excluded. The most intense ride are the [FONT=Verdana]Kuka robotic arm[/FONT]. I highly recommend level 5, but you have to ask for it. Hey, no review of the water park and Sea Life? Try them next time.
My youngest (4 years old) likes Legoland better than Disneyland.
I especially appreciate the fact that Legoland shows that you can make a QUALITY park with little money. CLEARLY Legoland is NOT spending Disney money, but I think that they still make a VERY nice, quality park with the money that they spend. They have a lot of "off the shelf" rides, but they theme them VERY nicely. And they have a TON of little vignettes and "hidden" fun things scattered around the park.
Legoland shows that you don't need billions of dollars to create a TRUE theme park.
I have to say that overall I love Legoland - and so does my 5 year old daughter. There are areas that do indeed need a “makeover”, but in general the park is kept up nice. The food is also pretty darn good.
The waterpark in the back (a separate admission or part of the upgraded ticket) is nice, but many of the slides are too large for little ones. The aquarium is alright and really the only reason it is there is because Merlin Ent. operates several of these elsware (see web site).
The biggest problem I have with Legoland is there highly restrictive height rules for what seems to be mundane kiddie rides. A couple of years ago girl could ride Matterhorn when she was 3, yet couldn’t go on certain rides at Legoland! Last summer when we went I recall a family in front of us at Safari Trek where their 5-year old could not ride with an older sibling because they were not at least 14! Really? For a ride that you could crawl faster than it moves?
Also many of the rides in theis FAMILY PARK only have room for 2 riders in many of the vehicles (again Safari Trek for example), so if you are an odd-numbered family someone will have to ride alone or not at all. This creates on a busy day sometimes an hour wait for many of these slow-moving and slow-loading attractions. Last time we were there we headed for the Sky Cruiser shortly before the park closed. Again, only 2 riders per vehicle created an hour wait. This is something that easily could be remedied by upgarding systems that could carry at least 4 people. But Legoland in some cases is stuck in the past and has never revamped their older rides that have been there since day one.
Overall a great park, but suffers from what seems to be a slow-moving and slow-thinking corporate system!
If you ask my kids (under 10 years old), Legoland or Disneyland? It's a really tough choice for them, and they just might say Legoland. That's how good the park is at targeting the young ones. And as a parent, I have to say I enjoy Legoland a lot as well. LL's churros with chocolate dipping sauce put DL's to shame. The food that is cooked to order is also quite good. Build and Test where kids can build their own Lego cars and race them is also awesome. My kids can spend hours in there. Legoland hits its target demographic perfectly.
Great Article Sam
I have been there twice since my first visit in 2002 (I think?) It is a good park, but you have to wait a few years before you want to return, as there is not much to do for a teenager. Also, the BBQ ribs at the Knight's area are fantastic.
However, the models are spectacular and every Legoland has something different. I recomend you take a trip to Legoland Winsor if you are ever in the UK. The models of London are fantastic.
Thanks again for a fantastic article Sam,
why is there nowhere a mention of Space Mountain which is in dire need of some TLC (preferably the replacing track one)?
So true, Twist1234. I, along with many others, I'm sure, really wished the tracks would have been replaced during the last rehab. Last year I got to ride the Disneyland version of SM and I was really hoping that the same experience would come to Orlando. The tracks just... feel... so much faster and smoother!
To expand upon Space Mountain and the comparison between MK and DLR, one thing MK is missing is the Halloween overlay of this and other attractions, inclusing the Christmas overlay of HM and IaSW. I cannot believe that there is no way to reduce the downtown required to overlay these attractions once a year - even if for one week each during downtime weeks - to give people on the east coast the opportunity for these wonderfully plussed experiences.
Why can’t ASIMO who prowls the halls of Innovention at Disneyland walk on stage and hand Granny a drink? We play our cards right and we can earn a few extra shekels for the realm. That's genius! But I wondering: why is there nowhere a mention of Space Mountain which is in dire need of some TLC (preferably the replacing track one)?
Originally Posted by WorldLover71 Hmm, that sounds an awful lot like Fantasmic! doesn't it? Yeah, plus it would make Fantasyland the center of attention here!
Anyway, in regards of Mickey, I've been resigned to Mickey's Toontown Fair's succumbing to the Fantasyland expansion. Everyone keeps insisting that, as per the Imagineers' say-so, Mickey and the gang actually live in Disneyland (hence that park's Toontown), while Toontown Fair was merely their vacation/country homes, and that a Toontown at WDW would fit best at the Studios. I really didn't want to leave the Magic Kingdom out in the cold, Town Square Theater (the new meet-n-greet for Mickey, located on Main Street) notwithstanding. I've been grappling with trying to fix the problem of the old classic shorts of the 1930s not having a presence here, because I really don't think the shorts are too simple, too folksy for a park like the Studios. Another attempt at a Kingdom Toontown has apparently not amounted to much, either.
Then I finally discovered, almost by accident, another in a long line of abandoned concepts for Disneyland attractions. It's called "Mickey's Mad House", and it would have been part of the abandoned Dumbo's Circusland back in 1976. According to Davelandblog: "Dumbo's Circusland [was to feature] 'Mickey's Madhouse'—essentially a wild mouse roller coaster in a dark ride environment, set in the world of early black-and-white Mickey Mouse cartoons (think of the former Mulholland Madness at Disney California Adventure, but indoors, with no clear view of where the track ahead was going)." Wikipedia simply says, "A funhouse adventure featuring clowns and such." But of course, Dumbo's Circusland never came to be, thanks to it being part of Discovery Bay, based on "The Island At the Top of the World", a movie which just plain flopped at the box office.
But now, Storybook Circus is being added as part of WDW's Magic Kingdom (in the spot that used to be Mickey's Toontown Fair), which may be as close a thing to Dumbo's Circusland as we're going to get. Anyway, I think to compensate for the loss of Toontown Fair, I would add a ride like Mickey's Mad House (but not exactly the same ride), to Storybook Circus.
What do you think?
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