The number one complaint about Tomorrowland and the number one issue with updating it is that practically by the time it is built it no longer represents our current vision of the future. The original Tomorrowland focused on commercial space flight (which is actually going to be come a reality next year) and the power of science to solve all of mankind's problems. As it turns out, science (such as pollution, which may be misapplied science or just science too cheaply done) seems to create just as many (if not more) problems then it solves. So the next vision of Tomorrowland focused on alternative forms of transportation, and tried to present the idea of a harmonious future without pollution or gridlock. Subsequently, Disneyland Paris is built, and their Tomorrowland goes in a completely different direction, and presents "the future that never was and always will be." It focuses on the visions of the future that people like Jules Verne and Leonardo Da Vinci had. That Tomorrowland was wildly successful, so in 1998 they tried to bring that idea to Disneyland, but they tried to do it with a super tight budget, and instead created the worst e-ticket in the history of DL, and they also painted Space Mountain "diarrhea brown" because apparently that's retro-futuristic. Partly because the 98 redo was a massive failure, and partly because it's been 15 years already, a new Tomorrowland is (hopefully) on the horizon. There is a lot of speculation that Disney wants to give up on the idea of presenting the future, and instead will just go with futuristic types of things such as an Iron Man roller coaster, Tron cycles, and of course, more Star Wars stuff. However, I think there are some really good (and relatively accurate) visions of the future that would be worth presenting. Here are my ideas for possible new concepts in Tomorrowland, and the movie or TV show it comes from:
1. Continuum - part of this show takes place in the year 2071, and there transportation is provided by unmanned drones that have been expanded to seat up to four people. You hop in, enter your destination into the GPS, and it flies you there. This is what I would love to see them use the old People Mover track for. The tricky part would be to make the ride look like it's flying when it's really not. But you're already above Tomorrowland anyway so it seems doable to me. They should bank the turns but keep the ride slow enough that anyone can go on it. It would basically be the People Mover again but look futuristic.
2. Minority Report - in this movie, advertisements and store fronts had optical scanners in them that scanned every single person's retina as they passed by, and then presented personalized 5-second sales pitches to them as they walked by (Mr. Smith, there are a pair of khaki's on sale today that would match the sweater you purchased last month perfectly!). Download a smartphone app, allow it to track your location, and various robots (props in stores, waiting in line for rides, even the occasional trashcan) will say hi to you as you walk by.
3. Sphere / Halo / Prometheus - In Sphere, massive ancient alien spaceship was discovered on the floor of the ocean, and it had been there for thousands of years, and turned out (spoiler alert!) to be a human spacecraft. In the Halo video games, humanity existed a hundred thousands years ago and was way advanced technologically, but due to a zombie-like parasite called the Flood that eventually overtook mankind, all sentient life in the galaxy was destroyed (thereby destroying the Flood's food and starving the to death), but specimens of each species were saved in a spaceship called the Ark that was located outside of the galaxy in order to repopulate each species. In Prometheus, the same cave drawing was discovered to have been carved by different civilizations all over the world that had no contact with each other and were thousands of years apart. So, the submarine voyage is re themed so that you are following clues from underwater archaeological artifacts that point to an alien craft under the ocean. The final scene were the polar ice cap used to be would be the alien spaceship instead. It would have a very mildly creepy feel to it and an intense moment or two, but would be no scarier then the Haunted Mansion. The basic story of the ride would be that ancient civilizations somehow knew about this, and there was a specific hieroglyph that you had to look for on various underwater artifacts from different civilizations that pointed to the location of the craft. When you finally found the craft, you would discover that it seemed to have a human origins (or a combination of human and alien), but the storyline would be unresolved.
4. iRobot - in this future, cars drive themselves, and it is illegal for the average citizen to drive a car themselves. Autopia can be rethemed to a super-long E-ticket ride based on the idea of a car that drives itself but then malfunctions and takes you on a wild crazy ride (kind of Big Thunder meets Test Track) through the City of the Future (with several nods to past Tomorrowland attractions such as the People Mover and House of the Future).
5. Star Wars mini-land - Take the Star Trader and the old Starcade, Pizza Port, and Innoventions and give all of them a Star Wars theme. Yes, Space Mountain is right in the middle of all of that, and it would be a little awkward (and no, I would not want Space Mountain to get a Star Wars theme). Maybe they could move the entrance so that it's behind the Hatmosphere and outside of the Star Wars mini-land. Keep the Star Trader more or less the way it is (maybe make the aisles a little more roomy and expand the build-your-own-lightsaber thing which always looks super crowded), only get rid of the downstairs arcades and expand the store even more. Upstairs could be the new Jedi Training Acadamy. Innoventions would be removed, and Pizza Port would be expanded to become the Mos Eisley cantina, complete with live bands (even guest bands like TT has now) dressed as aliens. There would also be a large, dedicated "functional" space for temporary exhibits that would be used to bring the super popular Star Wars Weekends to Disneyland, among other things. Tomorrowland Terrace would lose the Jedi Training Acadamy but gain a robot DJ (much like Cosmic Ray's at WDW) and continue to be a fun dance spot for teens at night.
So let's play a little bit of armchair imagineering. What would you like to see that would be a mix of original ideas (maybe inspired by other movies or TV shows) and ideas based on franchises like Tron or Star Wars?