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  1. #1

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    Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Tomorrow can be a wonderful age.
    Our scientists today are opening the doors of the Space Age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come. The Tomorrowland attractions have been designed to give you an opportunity to participate in adventures that are a living blueprint of our future.


    — WALT DISNEY


    Tomorrowland once again needs to represent a "wonderful age." merlinjones recently called for the restoration of Walt Disney's Tomorrowland in his recent There's always Tomorrowland thread. However, where does the problem lie? Clearly, Tomorrowland's attraction roster is increasingly reflecting the popular films of the day, rather than offering adventures that are the "living blueprint of our future."

    Possibly only two attractions remain true to Walt Disney's vision. Space Mountain continues to offer flights into the depths of outer space for guests of all ages, an opportunity that is still not available to the average Joe. And despite Innovention's complete failure to offer anything truly futuristic since it opened in 1998 except, perhaps, ASIMO; the attraction's intended purpose is highly reminiscent of the exhibits and attractions that Walt brought to the land to showcase new technologies and products, such as the Monsanto House of the Future or the Hall of Chemistry.


    So where does Disney go from here? Three major attractions in Tomorrowland are based on films, one dealing with contemporary talking toys, another with present-day talking fish, and a third with characters and timeframes that deal with "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away." Furthermore, other attractions are dated and stale (Honey, I Shrunk the Audience and Autopia). Not only do attractions need to be seriously reconsidered for the World of Tomorrow, but the design aesthetic for Tomorrowland is also instrumental to the land's success.

    The 1998 "New Tomorrowland" project failed to change this, only adding a new paint to the land to change its color scheme from the gleaming white future of the 1967 New Tomorrowland to a Jules Verne and Da Vinci-inspired bronzed tomorrow.

    The 2005 re-painting of Tomorrowland, reverting back to white with accents of silver and metallic blue was a noble last-minute effort to give Tomorrowland a better, and somewhat nostalgic look for the 50th Anniversary, however, at the end of the day, it is too little too late.


    For too long has Tomorrowland offered little in the way of truly inspired futurism. It's time to bring Tomorrowland out of the dated doldrums of nostalgia and underfunded re-themes. It is no longer the 1980s. It's time for Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney Company to take Tomorrowland to the future. All other lands in Disneyland offer some sort of lived-in community feel - whether its the personalized shop windows along Main Street, USA or the wacky homes of your favorite animated friends in Mickey's Toon Town, Disneyland's lands all feature the homes and businesses of people and friends. It's time to ditch the confused part-World's Fair, part-shopping mall feel of Tomorrowland and bring that sense of inhabited, community-based warmth to the land while giving it a futuristic flare. Stucco and white paint are old news. Glass and bushed chrome are our friends, and we should be able to live in it.

    Concept art for Tomorrowland, except during the misguided 1998 remodel, has always evoked sleek, clean, and exciting. And to this day, sleek and dynamic architecture is often the style of choice for architects who wish to design the future. Present day Imagineers have a wide variety of places to gather inspiration from for the World of Tomorrow, including the concept art of their own predecessors.


    Seattle Central Library
    Or if old concept art isn't good enough, Imagineering can take a two and a half hour flight up to Seattle and check out the city's incredible Central Library.

    Here's some information about Seattle's Central Library, from their web site:
    The dramatic glass and steel structure at 1000 Fourth Ave. in the heart of downtown Seattle was chosen to make the building open and translucent, according to Rem Koolhaas of OMA, the Dutch architectural firm that designed the building in a joint venture with LMN Architects of Seattle. Passersby on the street will be able to look in and see activity on every floor of the library.

    Other notable architectural features visible from the street include:

    • Steel grids supporting glass between a series of "floating platforms" — or levels — that make the building a marked departure from the typical urban high-rise;
    • A unique overhang covering the entry on the Fourth Avenue side of the library, which also features a garden area with trees, grasses and "The Fountain of Wisdom" created by the late Seattle artist George Tsutakawa;
    • A diagonal grid system designed to protect against earthquake or wind damage and metal mesh embedded in glass layers to reduce heat and glare.


    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    Another exceptional place to look is just a short drive from Imagineering headquarters to a place that bears their founder's name: The Walt Disney Concert Hall. Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert hall is dramatic, evocative, and welcoming. A beacon of futurism in downtown Los Angeles, the Concert Hall's style is the future.


    Apple Stores
    Furthermore, if Disney wants even more inspiration for Tomorrowland, they should give majority shareholder and board member Steve Jobs a call. Apple is no stranger to technology and the future -- his company's products not only offer quality and technological breakthroughs, but the Company knows how to design some truly beautiful products and retail locations.





    Tomorrow can still be a wonderful age, and the perfect place to begin this wonderful age is with the design of it. Come on, Imagineering. Make Walt proud.
    Last edited by MasterGracey; 01-17-2008 at 03:12 AM.

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  2. #2

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    For too long has Tomorrowland offered little in the way of truly inspired futurism. It's time to bring Tomorrowland out of the dated doldrums of nostalgia and underfunded re-themes. It is no longer the 1980s. It's time for Walt Disney Imagineering and the Walt Disney Company to take Tomorrowland to the future. All other lands in Disneyland offer some sort of lived-in community feel - whether its the personalized shop windows along Main Street, USA or the wacky homes of your favorite animated friends in Mickey's Toon Town, Disneyland's lands all feature the homes and businesses of people and friends. It's time to ditch the confused part-World's Fair, part-shopping mall feel of Tomorrowland and bring that sense of inhabited, community-based warmth to the land while giving it a futuristic flare. Stucco and white paint are old news. Glass and bushed chrome are our friends, and we should be able to live in it.
    This could not have been said more so and or better. It has been too long.
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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Awesome thread. Where did you get those old concept artworks

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyfan4 View Post
    Awesome thread. Where did you get those old concept artworks
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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Hey look! A reference to the Seattle Library. Neat. It is definitely time to get Tomorrowland into shape. At least they could paint the stuff they did not get to do when they repainted Space Mountain.

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by Melonballer View Post
    Hey look! A reference to the Seattle Library. Neat. It is definitely time to get Tomorrowland into shape. At least they could paint the stuff they did not get to do when they repainted Space Mountain.
    More paint = more wasted time. It's time to bring in the bulldozers.

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    More paint = more wasted time. It's time to bring in the bulldozers.
    You and me are on the same page, MasterGracey.

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    More paint = more wasted time. It's time to bring in the bulldozers.
    While I don't disagree with you, I think that the bulldozers might be busy next door at DCA. If we have to wait for a redo, I'd at least like the buildings to match. Still If they want to come in with Bulldozers instead I won't be lying down in front of them.

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    Tomorrowland once again needs to represent a "wonderful age." merlinjones recently called for the restoration of Walt Disney's Tomorrowland in his recent There's always Tomorrowland thread. However, where does the problem lie? Clearly, Tomorrowland's attraction roster is increasingly reflecting the popular films of the day, rather than offering adventures that are the "living blueprint of our future."

    Possibly only two attractions remain true to Walt Disney's vision. Space Mountain continues to offer flights into the depths of outer space for guests of all ages, an opportunity that is still not available to the average Joe. And despite Innovention's complete failure to offer anything truly futuristic since it opened in 1998 except, perhaps, ASIMO; the attraction's intended purpose is highly reminiscent of the exhibits and attractions that Walt brought to the land to showcase new technologies and products, such as the Monsanto House of the Future or the Hall of Chemistry.

    So where does Disney go from here?
    The overwhelming problem that Tomorrowland faces and will always face, is that time marches steadily onward. Almost any contemporary aesthetic selected today will be seem kitch or outdated in a few year's time.

    I agree with everything you say. Tomorrowland, held to Walt's vision, misses the target on so many points. It desperately needs new attractions, architecture and themeing, all held together with vision.

    Movie tie-ins in themselves are not evil, but they do need to work within the theme of a land. There's been many questionable decisions in this vein in recent times.

    Pointing to contemporary architecture may be a starting point, but you must bear in mind what I've already said regarding the passage of time and aesthetics. What looks futuristic this year, may look twee the next.

    There's two ways to go from here. The first way is to try to choose an aesthetic that will last as long as possible, simple design usually works the best. And to be prepared to wear the cost of regular upgrades to maintain the Tomorrow in Tomorrowland.

    The second is to choose an aesthetic from an established and recognised classic work (as has Discoveryland in Paris) which does not require regular upgrading to keep up with contemporary zeitgeist.

    The second direction doesn't keep in line with Walt's original vision, but would not have the huge costs that a proper Tomorrowland would.


    So the question comes down to whether you want to create a marvellous vision of the future which will last another ten years maximum before a larger cash injection to bring it up to date again, or if you want to take the Discoveryland route.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by monotonehell View Post
    The overwhelming problem that Tomorrowland faces and will always face, is that time marches steadily onward. Almost any contemporary aesthetic selected today will be seem kitch or outdated in a few year's time.

    I agree with everything you say. Tomorrowland, held to Walt's vision, misses the target on so many points. It desperately needs new attractions, architecture and themeing, all held together with vision.

    Movie tie-ins in themselves are not evil, but they do need to work within the theme of a land. There's been many questionable decisions in this vein in recent times.

    Pointing to contemporary architecture may be a starting point, but you must bear in mind what I've already said regarding the passage of time and aesthetics. What looks futuristic this year, may look twee the next.

    There's two ways to go from here. The first way is to try to choose an aesthetic that will last as long as possible, simple design usually works the best. And to be prepared to wear the cost of regular upgrades to maintain the Tomorrow in Tomorrowland.

    The second is to choose an aesthetic from an established and recognised classic work (as has Discoveryland in Paris) which does not require regular upgrading to keep up with contemporary zeitgeist.

    The second direction doesn't keep in line with Walt's original vision, but would not have the huge costs that a proper Tomorrowland would.


    So the question comes down to whether you want to create a marvellous vision of the future which will last another ten years maximum before a larger cash injection to bring it up to date again, or if you want to take the Discoveryland route.
    You make very valid points. I considered this as I was writing the OP. Ultimately, and perhaps I'm too idealistic or impractical to take this stance, but Disney needs to, after 53 years, realize that Tomorrowland is always going to be problematic.

    Instead of fighting the problem, it could potentially be a good idea to embrace it. Giving Tomorrowland more frequent updates and replacing attractions more often would be a good way to keep crowds coming to Disneyland, considering the park has fewer and fewer options for expansion.

    Also, my suggestions for inspiration mean nothing - they're merely suggestions. Disney, being the wildly creative company it has been known to be, can create their own brand of futurism that could potentially last longer. I think taking a Discoveryland or Tomorrowland '98 approach to the Tomorrowland problem is a cop-out and Disney can do much better.

    Also, the Walt Disney Concert Hall's final design was unveiled in 1991, after being worked on by Frank Gehry since 1988. The Concert Hall itself finally opened to the public in 2003. I think even today, in 2008, some 17 years after the design being initially unveiled, its style, sweeping curves, and stainless steel are still highly evocative. I think, so far, it has stood the test of time, and this style can lend itself to a futuristic setting like Tomorrowland. But that's my opinion, of course.

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  11. #11

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    You make very valid points. I considered this as I was writing the OP. Ultimately, and perhaps I'm too idealistic or impractical to take this stance, but Disney needs to, after 53 years, realize that Tomorrowland is always going to be problematic.

    Instead of fighting the problem, it could potentially be a good idea to embrace it. Giving Tomorrowland more frequent updates and replacing attractions more often would be a good way to keep crowds coming to Disneyland, considering the park has fewer and fewer options for expansion.

    Also, my suggestions for inspiration mean nothing - they're merely suggestions. Disney, being the wildly creative company it has been known to be, can create their own brand of futurism that could potentially last longer. I think taking a Discoveryland or Tomorrowland '98 approach to the Tomorrowland problem is a cop-out and Disney can do much better.

    Also, the Walt Disney Concert Hall's final design was unveiled in 1991, after being worked on by Frank Gehry since 1988. The Concert Hall itself finally opened to the public in 2003. I think even today, in 2008, some 17 years after the design being initially unveiled, its style, sweeping curves, and stainless steel are still highly evocative. I think, so far, it has stood the test of time, and this style can lend itself to a futuristic setting like Tomorrowland. But that's my opinion, of course.
    While we're on opinions, I've found Gehry's work seems more bizarre than futuristic. I see his Disney Concert Hall as a clone of his Guggenheim Museum in Spain (1997). Mies van der Rohe's work is something that's stood the test of time. Some of his buildings that he built over half a century ago still look contemporary today, but would be terribly uninspiring for Tomorrowland. I could say similar things regarding Le Corbusier's architecture.

    It's a very difficult design aesthetic to get right, so far we've had three Tomorrowlands all that suffered the same problem eventually. Today we'd probably see something with lots of glass and metal illuminated with a lot of blue LED lighting. Something which is already starting to be 'so last year'.

    A while ago I proposed construction of a new Tomorrowland using structures with façades that are not integrated into their structure. That way new aesthetics could easily be installed by removing the old façades and replacing them with the new.

    The actual working structures would house the attractions but be designed with utility and change in mind. That way things could be updated at a lower cost every decade or so.


    I want to reiterate a point you made earlier that I forgot was extremely valid. Regarding the lack of a "lived-in community feel" in Tomorrowland. You're so right. Something like that would add a little soul that Tomorrowland lacks. It would be great to feel like we're actually visiting a lived in future.
    Last edited by monotonehell; 01-17-2008 at 05:50 AM.
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  12. #12

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    When I saw the designs, and ultimately the finished product, I immediately thought Koolhaas' Seattle Library looked like EPCOT's Imagination Pavillion on steroids.

    As much as I'd like to see a "futuristic" (whatever 'futuristic' means today) Tomorrowland, I think that actual progress with things like the internet and other pressing global environmental and socio-political issues have rendered Walt's original vision for Tomorrowland totally moot.

    This, I believe is where Orlando and DLRP's Tomorrowlands are - if far from perfect - more successful.

    A this point, showcasing the fantasy future of the past, or an benign, family friendly "alien spaceport" are two options that are easily digested and justified.

    Personally, I'd love to see a hard-core steampunk fantasy vision of the future from a past that never was.

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by monotonehell View Post
    While we're on opinions, I've found Gehry's work seems more bizarre than futuristic. I see his Disney Concert Hall as a clone of his Guggenheim Museum in Spain (1997). Mies van der Rohe's work is something that's stood the test of time. Some of his buildings that he built over half a century ago still look contemporary today, but would be terribly uninspiring for Tomorrowland. I could say similar things regarding Le Corbusier's architecture.
    In complete agreement with Mono here. The concept renderings of Tomorrowland were appealing to me not only because of their optimistic interpretation of the 'future', but also in their uniformity, their continuity--which, to me, represented a unified vision, without fragmentation or division. An entire landscape of Gehry would be oppressive, IMO.

    Even though I say this a lot, I never tire of it: Good thread, MG.

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    Quote Originally Posted by composerboy View Post
    Personally, I'd love to see a hard-core steampunk fantasy vision of the future from a past that never was.
    While steampunk can be a terrific setting for novels and film (I am a fan), it tends to be dark, and often a bit bleak. Maybe too much of a contrast between the old Tomorrowland and a new 'steampunk' industrialized version (if one were to be undertaken)? If Walt's original intent for Tomorrowland were to be subverted, people might not take to it. But then again no one seems to really care about Pirates on TSI, Nemo in TL, or F! on the ROA, so maybe I'm all wet!

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    Re: Taking the World of Tomorrow into the future

    I wonder if (gasp) Walt might have been "too ambitious" in creating Tomorrowland? In order to really stick with the original intent of the land Disney (the company) will have to constantly be changing/removing/adding things to it since (as someone pointed out already) tomorrow is always becomeing today and a new tomorrow presents itself and often in a different dirrection than the old tomorrow. Is the concept of Tomorrowland really a realistic and achievable goal then? ( I mean beyond the short term). It just seems that it would become prohibitively expensive to have a land that, in order to maintain the original intent, would have to constantly be in a state of change.

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