I've just returned from a great couple of days as Disneyland! Since the new Tomorrowland just opened a few days ago, I thought I'd share my experiences in my first ever MiceChat trip report!
First, let me explain that I'm not a local, so I don't get to go to Disneyland very often. The last time I was there was in 2010, so quite a bit has changed since my last visit (little things like the addition of the Hatbox Ghost to the Haunted Mansion and big things like the new and improved Tomorrowland)!
I got to the park just before the gates opened (opening at 6 am all this week!). The weather was great for this time of year, but the crowd waiting to get in was huge (for obvious reasons).
Once the gates opened, I didn't spend any time to take in Main Street USA. I also didn't take my traditional route of Indiana Jones, then Pirates, then Haunted Mansion. I instead took a right turn at the hub to see what almost everyone was there to see: the new Tomorrowland! Since it has been completely closed for the last 2 years (except Star Tours), we all know there has been a lot of excitement, but very few details. Disney did an amazing job keeping wraps on most of the changes and I intentionally tried to avoid any rumors on MiceChat…just so I could take it all in in person!
The first thing you notice is that the rocks from the ill-advised renovations made back in the 90's are finally gone…along with the Astro Orbiter! I personally won't miss either one, but I'm sure there are some fans that will miss them for nostalgia reasons. The space is now wide open, which allows for an amazing view as you approach. Star Tours was re-opened four years ago, but the facade of the building was changed to blend in with the rest of Tomorrowland. I know a lot of people here were concerned that this wasn't going to happen, but I can assure you it looks great!
The other thing that I noticed right away was that the old PeopleMover tracks were gone! More on that later though.
I like the new color scheme, but I can see why there has been some controversy. Yes, there is a lot of white and brushed silver, but it has a clean look that fits…it is futuristic, but nothing "spacey" that will look dated in 5 years (I hope!). There are huge videoscreens covering almost all the buildings (think Blade Runner, but not as gloomy), but they don't display much…just patterns and shapes that gently move around. This helps with making the land look more "alive", but I hope there's more to them at night! There are a few metal beams that criss-cross parts of the land as well, but not enough to make it look cluttered.
As you all know, Buzz Lightyear was starting to show its age and has been replaced by the all-new Adventure Through Inner Space (based on the movie that came out last year). The movie only did so-so at the box office, but the ride is spectacular! I remember the old version, but found it to be cheesy and I didn't miss it. The special effects of this new ride are just that: special! It was a completely immersive experience, even though it was built on the old tried-and-true Omnimover system. Yes, you will see that big eye staring at you, just like it did 40 years ago! Thumbs up from me on this new ride!
Next up was the Submarines, now called "Atlantis Adventure". I'm glad that Disney decided against theming this ride around that old movie they did (that no one saw!), instead choosing to go with an all-original ride. Both the subs themselves and the animatronics are all new…and the Nemo video screens are gone! The ride itself is pretty neat, but it is still a slow moving ride that won't please thrill seekers. (There is a hint to the old Nemo ride, but you need to look carefully!) I'm not sure how they got fire IN the water either…but it is an amazing effect! Overall, a futuristic spin on an old ride that works! (The underground queue is pretty neat too…lots of cool things to see while you wait….and it is a loooong wait!)
Yes, Autopia is still there. No, the fumes and noise are not! You still drive the cars, but now they are more like moon-buggies. They appear to be electric and there is no visible track, but there must be something under the "roadway" that prevents them from veering off the course! The building is designed to look like a space port of some kind, but like most of Tomorrowland, it has clean lines and doesn't seem cartoony. The ride itself will appeal mainly to kids, driving the buggy around a "road of the future", some offroading on another planet, and driving through the new show building that shows a night sky that has to be seen to be believed. Neat stuff.
I skipped the Monorail because it is pretty much the same (other than it can now drop you off at either parking structure or DCA). Since I wasn't ready to leave TL yet, I moved on to probably the most requested return of a ride here: the new PeopleMover! Remember the metal beams that I mentioned before? That is the new PeopleMover track. Rather than riding on top of the track, you ride under the track (an homage to Skyway perhaps)! The cars are almost the same as they were back in the day, but they are now suspended underneath. And yes, they are open cars, just like before, just not enough to fall out. (I guess the lawyers don't always win after all.) They more or less follow a similar path that they did 25 years ago, and yes, they go through the other buildings to catch glimpses of the other rides. It was nice to rest for a while, and to get a peek at what Disney is calling the "Deep Space" portion of Tomorrowland. I am happy to report that contrary to all the rumors here, the Maliboomer was not put on top of the PeopleMover! What was put there? No, not the old rockets….a new House of the Future. It unfortunately wasn't open yet (a castmember said it will open in a couple of weeks though…unseen delays apparently. You can't win them all I suppose.)
Once I got off the PeopleMover, I walked over to Star Traders and took a look around. The store itself hasn't changed much, but I am glad to see only "futuristic" merchandise. The Starcade is now a restaurant (both floors) called "Star-ving", but I wasn't hungry so I skipped it for now. What a terrible name too! Oh well.
So far, Tomorrowland has been bright, new and optimistic. But now I walked over to the "dark corner" of the new Tomorrowland: Deep Space. Space Mountain, America Xings and Mission to Deep Space (narrated by Johnny Depp, leading many people to call this attraction "Depp Space"). As you walk towards this section, you notice that things start to get more "industrial" looking. Gone is the white and brushed silver…more "worn" looking blacks and grays, with orange trim. I went to Space Mountain first. The ride is the pretty much the same, but the queue area is what blew me away. It now looks like something from the movie "Aliens". Black metal hallways, steam and mysterious sounds are everywhere. It is a little spooky to be honest! The story behind the ride (and this section of Tomorrowland) is that you are on the edge of explored space, where little is known. Mission to Deep Space had a crazy long line (I've already been in enough of those today), so I grabbed a Fastpass that I can use tonight when I return (I can't wait to see all the videoscreens in the dark!). America Xings (not sure how it is supposed to be pronounced) is still in the Innoventions building (I'm starting to think they'll never get rid of it!). It is a show, just like America Sings used to be, but it is not whimsical or musical at all, more aliens and bits meant to scare you…beware if you have little kids! Not my favorite thing, but it was OK.
By this time, I was getting hungry, so I hopped on the Railroad (which has its Tomorrowland stationed themed as a time-travel museum) to head over to New Orleans Square.
More to come! (It really is a shame I forgot my camera, isn't it?)