I've read more than a few MiceChat threads where people have expressed enthusiasm for lands or rides dedicated to Disney villains. The thought just ocurred to me that what Tomorrowland needs is a large D-ticket ride surveying different dystopian concepts that people have had of the future. Innoventions would be a perfect place for such a ride.
Let me explain.
One perennial problem that imagineers have with TL (besides the continual need to revamp the place to keep it fresh) is that we are no longer as optimistic as we once were that technology is really going to make the future a better place for us. When Walt built Disneyland, folks had a lot to celebrate and marvel over in this respect. We were just entering the space age and were convinced that our burgeoning knowledge of chemistry and physics was going to usher us into a wonderful new atomic age. Today we are more cynical. Nuclear power is feared and our attempts to alter our environment have had dangerous repercussions.
I am NOT saying that I think imagineers should abandon an optmistic vision of the future. I still believe that TL should be dedicated to this. In fact, this idea is even born out of optimism. Here's how: I was thinking that aside from the legitimate nostalgia that older TL attractions like the PeopleMover elicit, it's sad that so many people say they would like to see it return. I'm all for PM being revised and updated, but for it to come back basically as it was would be a sad capitulation to our current lack of ideas and lack of faith in the future. In the 50's and 60's, Disney was all about prototyping transportation systems of the future. Whatever became of that?
The main reason we don't see this today is because Walt is not here to drive the vision, but I also think part of the answer lies in that we have never seen these ideas successfully implemented in the world outside the berm. PeopleMovers did not end up getting installed in urban centers, nor did monorails, by and large. Like the House of the Future, those predictions have been so out of touch that we no longer buy into them. They didn't end up being practical.
But there's a reason why these concepts didn't get reproduced elsewhere. Real-world political and economic reasons, that it would be interesting to examine in a ride devoted to why so many great ideas don't get developed. That got me to thinking about the different kind of visions of the future that people have. Films like Blade Runner and Alien impress me because there is something gritty or real about them, even if they are a bit dark. I love watching Star Trek in its various forms, much like a person feels comfortable in their pajamas, but Star Trek is based on a utopian vision of the future in which the human race has "worked out" many of its problems. Fun to watch, but the surfaces are all a little too shiny. The suspension of disbelief required is very high.
What I'm saying is that I don't think people today will buy the shiny vision if you don't present the other side as well and let people know you've considered it. Why not face it head-on? We don't need a "movie ride" in which the guest visits sets from V for Vendetta and Blade Runner, but I think people have a right to know why we don't have domes controlling the weather, and where is my rocket pack, anyway!!?? Obviously, I'm thinking of a ride similar to Horizons, but depending on the way it's done (heavy or light on the edutainment) it could have a dark element to it, so that it sort of functions like the Haunted Mansion for the east side of the park.
"Dystopia" would actually be a cool name for the ride, but it sounds too much like Autopia, so that would never fly.