Tomorrowland 2005: a "refurb" that is much more extensive than the '98 New Tomorrowland. This would be more on the scale of the '67 project, perhaps larger.
Rather than building outward, WDI should spend their money transforming Tomorrowland into an enormously popular and well-loved land. Think about it. Unless if you count the Jungle Cruise area as part of Adventureland, Tommorowland is the largest land in Disneyland. It has a lot of attraction space and a lot of potential. So here's what I recommend.
1. Space Mountain becomes the thematic template for the whole land. The space port idea can still carry a lot of visceral punch, if handled properly. That means that all interiors are themed similarly to Space Mountain's queue--similarly, but not identically.
2. Buzz Lightyear is replaced. This is an unlikely move for Disney for at least another decade or so, since the ride was just installed. Perhaps a dramatic re-theming of the ride would be sufficient. But as much as we all love Toy Story, this attraction in its current state doesn't really fit in with the rest of Tomorrowland.
3. Autopia is updated to represent the highways of the future. The cars appear to hover above the tracks, and the illusion is enhanced by the way they turn and accelerate. Some areas include dramatic visions of the future with sets and animatronics.
4. An all-new, original dark ride is placed behind Space Mountain. This would have no movie tie-ins. Perhaps guests are invited to save a city of the future from invading aliens or something. A slightly less cliche idea would probably be more appropriate...
5. Star Tours begins offering multiple tours (in sharp digital projection) through different Star Wars locales. Perhaps Space Mountain is snuck into one or two of the videos, much as the Mighty Microscope was on the current tour.
6. The arcade games in the Starcade are replaced with cutting-edge game systems that no one has seen before. A few Innoventions-esque exhibits are placed in the Starcade, as well. Which brings me to my next point...
7. Innoventions is demolished, freeing up some valuable real estate. That space could be used for an immersive restaurant and/or a small ride.
8. Club Buzz is replaced with a new version of its beloved predecessor.
9. A huge light show takes place in Tomorrowland once every few nights. Space Mountain and the Observatron v2.0 duke it out with lasers, motion, sound effects, music, and innovative special effects. Something in the same vein as Fantasmic, but with a Tomorrowland theme.
10. Speaking of the Observatron...yes, the new Observatron is a complete success. It truly seems to be communicating with other civilizations. Built on top of the newly relocated Astro Orbiter, this kinetic sculpture is one of the New Tomorrowland's big draws.
11. You heard me. The Astro Orbiter is back on top of the People Mover platform, with the Observatron built into the top of it. The ride closes at night, naturally, so the light show can take place.
12. And the People Movers are back. They're not the same as they used to be--now they are sleek, open-cockpit pods with futuristic styling--but the ride concept is the same. The indoor areas feature some awesome special effects. Tributes to the Rocket Rods are included. (Yeah, kill me now and get it over with. I actually liked the Rocket Rods. )
I would create a winter/snow/ice land. No idea what I'd call it, but one could always cop out and call it the north pole or winterland, or something. Since the Matterhorn technically fits the theme, I'd want it to be part of it. This means that I'd have to take out the motorboat cruise area, as well as the Fantasyland half of Autopia (if not all of Autopia, which could be moved to DCA, where it better fits the theme).
This area would be a great spot for the Christmasland from Nightmare Before Christmas (that is, what it was when Jack WASN'T interfering)- possibly a kids dark ride? Ooh, or a ride narrative that shows it before, then shows the Halloweentown gang trying to do Christmas, then Santa putting it all right again. Come to think of it, this would potentially be a great family-friendly D- or E-ticket (ala Pirates)
The "frozen landscape" idea would lend itself to some great area themeing too, I think. Hmm... don't have time right now to work this whole idea through though. One nice small attraction could be visiting "Abominable's" snow cave (from Monsters, Inc.) Have a cave guests could walk into and explore, and in one place, put (behind a rail, of course) an abominable snowman AA, talking to people (think of the "Taniere du Dragon" from DLP, but on a smaller scale).
Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...
Maybe I am just misremembering things from my childhood, but I always felt like DL was (I am going to use a horrible word PREPARE YOURSELF) Edutainment. I felt like there was this educational aspect....now it is possible that I was just easily impressed or overanalyzed everything. I would love to see science presented in fun and dynamic ways. That's what made Adventures Thru Inner Space such a blast.
Tomorrowland should not be just about outer space. It should also include a trip to Inner Space.
We've learned a lot about the atomic and subatomic scales in the past 20 years. Let's journey there once again.
A very good point. Tomorrowland probably shouldn't be just a "space port" with everything focused on outer space. Rides in the same vein as ATIS could fit into this theming, if handled correctly. However, keep in mind that hard-core edutainment is less likely to be accepted by the masses these days. Sad, but true. The new ATIS would definitely have to be different in order to fit Tomorrowland's theme and appeal to enough people.
I'm simply saying that Tomorrowland needs a more unified theme than "a land where there are futuristic things." Walt Disney's space port idea was a fantastic concept that was only partially manifested in the construction of Space Mountain. If all of Tomorrowland could be brought closer to that vision--with attractions that are about space and attractions that aren't, but still fit the theme--I think it could become a great land.
Right now, Tomorrowland's attractions point toward no single theme. Buzz Lightyear, Star Tours, Autopia, HISTA, Space Mountain, Innoventions--each of these is pushing for a different theme. All the themes have great potential, but it doesn't work to go for all of them at the same time. I'd say that Space Mountain has the most opportunities for a re-theming of Tomorrowland. Unless if you want to turn it into Lucasland...or Pixarland.