Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tomorrowland Construction

Everybody loves Disneyland construction photos! Or do they? What if they are photos of construction for Tomorrowland '98? Admittedly it is TokyoMagic's favorite, but most people agree that, unlike the 1983 Fantasyland, this version of Tomorrowland left much to be desired.

I should mention that these photos come to us courtesy of Irene and her brother Bruce; judging from the progress, I would guess that they are from around 1997, as this iteration of Tomorrowland debuted in May of 1998.

There it is, lots and lots of dirt. The old "Mission to Mars" building is slowly being transformed into "Red Rocket's Pizza Port". We lost a classic (but aging) attraction, and gained a large (but not especially good) restaurant. Think of the children, Disney, think of the children.

Bruce was standing on the upper level of the Space Mountain queue, notable for its use of groovy orange tiles. Presumably they wouldn't allow such an open view of work being done these days.


After 10 years of disuse, the old "America Sings" building was being transformed into "Innoventions" (which didn't open until June 3rd, 1998). There were displays of near-future tech, sponsored by various companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. It was pretty dull! I still remember the first time I went in there, and a friendly CM struck up a conversation, while I tried to figure out how to exit as fast as possible without being rude.


The mural on the lower portion of Innoventions is still underway; the trucks and earth movers are roughly in the area where "Cosmic Waves" would eventually be - an interactive fountain consisting of a 6-ton granite ball and splashing jets You could spin the "giant marble" get soaked by the nearby fountains, and then go sit in "Star Tours" and leave a soggy seat for the next guest. Some fun!


Over the intervening years, some of these changes have been undone, while others still haunt us to this day.

Thanks to Irene and Bruce!



15 comments:

Patrick Devlin said...

Not Disney's shining hour, to be sure. But as an old construction hand I always think these kinds of shots are just terrific...

MIKE COZART said...

Disneyland felt that the complete closure of Fantasyland during its reconstruction of 1982-1983 greatly reduced attendance so they insisted that for the New Tomorrowland of 1998 the land would be done in smaller sections - this allowed guests some pretty close-up views of the disaster in progress.
Every month guests got to see the watered down project get diluted and diluted . Then it’s new “Star” attraction ROCKET RODS lost its sponsor GM its money ( GM bailed out on Disneyland because the “new” TEST TRACK attraction at EPCOT also sponsored by GM was having major problems almost a year after its opening .

The dangerous and expensively messy COSMIC WAVES was a preview of the lawsuits of the future from people running into each other, slipping, falling and sliding into other guests and planters. The idea for COSMIC WAVES started out as a restoration of the two 1967 entry water fountains (cool!!!) but it would have been re-worked to pour down on guests and drench them (TACKY / UN-DISNEY)....... for whatever reason ( over heated guests..? Stupid guests??)

Tomorrowland has been forgotten and several redos since the CRAP SANDWICH TOMORROWLAND ‘98 opened have been cancelled or pushed back as more and more PIXAR infections enter Disneyland.

I’m sure most here are aware that RED ROCKETS is being transformed into a tacky PIZZA PLANET redo ..... suposidly “temporary” .

K. Martinez said...

Yep! This was the nail in the coffin for Disneyland's Tomorrowland. I'm not waiting for a new version either.

On the plus side, Irene's brother did a wonderful job of photo documentation on Disneyland in the 90's. Whether I like an era at Disneyland or not, I do love and appreciate good documentation.

Mike Cozart, yes, I'm aware of the Pizza Planet makeover of "Redd Rockett's Pizza Port. It doesn't move me one way or the other because Tomorrowland is so far gone that it's just another thing in a long list of what's wrong with Tomorrowland.

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, I agree! Construction pix are generally cool, even if I’m not crazy about the project in question.

Mike Cozart, the odd thing is that when I first heard about a Jules Verne-type Tomorrowland overlay, I thought it could be kind of cool - double down on the concept of a “retro tomorrow”. In my mind I pictured something pretty grand and awesome. If there had to be a change to Tomorrowland, maybe this would be pretty neat. But removing the Rocket Jets and adding the Astro Orbiter (and its accompanying, baffling rocks), as well as painting everything in brownish or greenish hues was not enough. I don’t know for sure, but I’ll bet there were some much more involved concepts that were rejected due to cost. Cosmic Waves would be cute in the right setting, but they definitely did not think that one through! I didn’t know that people were slipping and hurting themselves, but I guess that was inevitable. The idea of water fountains drenching guests by pouring down on them - what the heck!! As for Pixar’s steady takeover, I was happy when Lassiter came on board, but putting a cute Pixar character on a dumb ride still results in a dumb ride. Plus, I feel the same way about Pixar as I do the Lucasfilm stuff - Disney may own it, and it may technically BE Disney now, but in my mind, it ISN’T Disney to me.

K. Martinez, I have to wonder if we’ll ever see another big redo of Tomorrowland, or if they’ll be content with just changing it attraction by attraction? When Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port” opened, I wondered why they didn’t make it a Pizza Port from the start (since I thought that PP looked fun in “Toy Story”). In the end, it will still be a mediocre pizza restaurant, though.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Converting an area that was one of Disney's best to one of their worst.

Patrick Devlin said...

Cosmic Waves, or as my brother puts it: Pink-eye Plaza, or something like that. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall out on Flower Street when all of this stuff was being hashed out...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Irene, Bruce and Major for these pictures.

Like many others in this thread, I had such high hopes for Tomorrowland 98, and the comments here summarize my feelings, so no need to amplify it any further.

It's a sad mess that I rarely bother to visit on my own. My kids do love Star Tours, but it seems that Space Mountain is more or less constantly shut down or in some kind of repair. At least they are still trying to fix it instead of letting it rot like the People Mover.

JG

Melissa said...

I'm really loving today's pictures. They give you a great idea of what good bones these old buildings had, and probably still have, underneath all the misguided decorative doodads.

There's a big repaint going on at Florida's Tomorrowland that looks like it's simplifying the color scheme to something closer to the original. And while I'm not up on the latest rumors of what's going into the closing attractions, I have high hopes for a renaissance of the future.

Jonathan said...

Walt was a true visionary and forward thinker. He was the Captain of the S.S. Tommorowland. And now the ship is adrift in a sea of commercialism. Walt's dream of a future filled with promise and wonder has become all about franchises and dollar signs. I remember the first time I saw the TWA Moonliner. It was the coolest thing ever. And the show building was so futuristic, along with the Monsanto House. I absolutely could not wait to see the future. I love the snaps Major, Thanks.

Nanook said...

What everyone else has intoned, here. I'm afraid Jonathan's comment lays bare just what drives 'the ship' these days. Disney is hardly the only one - but maybe the most in the spotlight and also is the one who has fallen the farthest. There's always hope...

Thanks Irene, Bro and The Major.

The Disney Dudebro said...

As the vision of the future is always changing, we can only hope the same will be with Tomorrowland. Rumor has it that both the Disneyland and WDW parks will be receiving revamps in the near future, especially with WDW getting its new Tron Cycle Coaster.

Though that does raise the question of what a new Tomorrowland would look like. While I would love to see the original Tomorrowland 2055 brought into fruition, the most likely design setting would most likely reflect that of Tron with more pastel/neon colors and an overall glossy iPhone aesthetic.

MIKE COZART said...

Disneyland’s Tomorrowland -up until about two years ago was suppose to have been the Area to get attention after GALAXYS EDGE , but with concerns of guest traffic flowing through Fantasyland to get there , a New Fantasyland was pushed forward ....and another land is next in line for a minor “refresh” pushing a New Tomorrowland to the back of the line . So maybe TOMORROWLAND 2055 May actualy be in 2055!!!

Omnispace said...

I remember the excitement I felt seeing the Carousel of Progress building turning again, and then the anticipation actually standing on the moving platform waiting for the doors to open while we listened to the spiel, and then being a bit freaked-out by the hyper-animated "Tom Morrow" animatronic, and then wondering why I suddenly felt I was in a high pressure sale pitch as a CM ran on and on about home electronics. We bailed, but my parents got sucked into the ridiculously addictive Who Wants To Be A Millionaire video games and time came to a standstill.

I love the construction photos! :)

dean finder said...

The word is that the CoP show will be updated sometime in the next couple of years. The painting is the first steps of a WDW update for the 50th anniversary in 2021.
https://www.facebook.com/CarouselOfProgressLove/posts/957590701075844

I know the current show isn't original, but I'll miss Jean Shepherd's narration.

Irene said...

Bruce loved construction photos so it doesn't surprise me that he took these. Every time there was an update on some Mouse site with construction photos, he just ate it up. He would have loved all the construction photos of Star Wars land! He also had great hopes for this new version of Tomorrowland and at first loved it and made excuses for it. But as time went on, even he could see the folly. What I think I dislike the most (and there is so much to pick from), is the way they clogged up the entrance - I mean, what were they thinking? Up until my Pass expired in 2016 (and I did not renew), I seldom went over to that side of the Park. There just wasn't anything there for me anymore.