Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The NEW New Tomorrowland - Construction, 1997

Here are more snapshots, courtesy of GDB reader Irene, and her brother! Today's images feature the massive (and ill-conceived?) construction for Disneyland's Tomorrowland redo, which debuted in 1998. This is probably TokyoMagic's favorite thing at Disneyland ever

If ya got construction, your gonna have construction walls. And by golly, these are the best construction walls money could buy. I don't want to get bogged down by negativity - who needs that? But I remember being awfully excited by the prospect of a refreshed, and "reimagined" Tomorrowland. My favorite land!

One sign along that big blue wall announced the coming of "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!"; strange to think that it has been extinct for over 7 years at this point. I enjoyed the original HISTK movie, and looked forward to a ride that would shrink us to the size of an aphid.

If there had been room, I wonder if a real ride with giant props and sets would have ultimately been more successful? Don't get me wrong, I liked HISTA, but it didn't bear many repeat visits. It closed in 2010 for the return engagement of "Captain EO".

This next one gives some idea of just how much work was being done. Whole buildings were re-skinned, and all of that paving was torn up. In the upper left is the "Innoventions" building, formerly the Carousel Theater. The old "Mission to Mars" building was on its way to becoming "Redd Rocket's Pizza Port". 

Was Irene's brother standing on the upper level of the Starcade? I'm not sure if you could go outside up there. Or was this from that upper level of the Space Mountain queue?

Work has progressed in this next picture. Redd Rocket's Pizza Port look like it's nearly ready to start serving the best pizza in the galaxy. The pylon outside the entrance to Space Mountain has received new paint and a logo that I don't remember. Just to the right of that pylon is the giant stone marble that was "floated" on a cushion of water. Kids loved playing with it, and adults loved sitting in wet Star Tours seats later!

There are more Tomorrowland '98 construction photos to come. Thank you to Irene and her brother!


Nanook said...


So... the best thing about the 'new, new' Tomorrowland turned out to be the construction signage-? (Just think how much money those Imagineers could've saved-!)

Thanks, Irene, Bro and... The Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ha, ha, Major! Even before reading the post, I saw that first pic and thought, "UGH!" That sign really should have read, "Lack Of Imagination And Beyond!" Even though I hate what they did to Tomorrowland, these pics are very good documentation of what was going on during that time period. Thank you to Irene and her brother for sharing! Oh and yes, Irene's brother would have been standing where the Space Mt. queue was when he took that second to last pic. The old Speedramp up to the second level would have been removed fairly recently. It would have been located just on the other side of that square silver post on the far right (where that construction wall is).

K. Martinez said...

Forget the 60's and 70's at Disneyland. It was the Disney Decade (90's) that mattered. What a wondrous time that was for the Disney theme parks! Simply the best!

I disliked both Captain EO and HISTA intensely. I loved the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" movie though. It had an old-school Disney feel to it.

Thanks to Irene and brother for documentation of this period in Disneyland history.

TokyoMagic!, "UGH!" Ha, ha! That was the first word that popped into my head too when seeing the first pic. And yes, I agree, it would've been more accurate as "Lack Of Imagination And Beyond"

Tom said...

Agree with TokyoMagic.

IMHO they didn't go far enough. Tear it all out and put it something original and truly inspiring please. Tomorrowland should be full of all that cool distant future tech we're all hoping is just around the corner, like controlled nuclear fusion or flying cars.

Enough rant. I like the second photo, just for the documentation of construction and the awesome angle captured. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I'm always in favor of construction photos, even for 1998 TL. Thanks Irene, Brother and Major.

Agreeing with the location of the upper level picture, pretty sure this is the queue of Space Mountain.

It seems that not only did the designers lack Imagination, they also lacked Budget and Foresight. That water ball is popular on hot days, but as Major points out; water, water everywhere.

One of our early visits with the kids came just after opening, in 1999. I still have a paper ephemera card that was mailed with our ticket prepurchase touting the spectacular new do-over. I remember looking forward to the visit and how disappointed we all were with the reality. There were parts of TL 98 that I wanted desperately to like, but in the end, it all came off half-hearted and half-baked. Closing the submarine was the ultimate insult.

The area has never really recovered and still seems to be a narrative dead end. I'm curious what the plan will be once SWL opens up. Will all the Star Wars buzz move over there? The Star Wars overlay on the Space Mountain still seems to me to be the storyline that the ride was meant to have. I think they should make it permanent and re-skin the space ship in the load queue to look like Princess Leia's ship. Surely someone can think of something to put in Innoventions besides Innoventions. We only go in there now for the air conditioning.


The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

The only bad thing that came out of the new Tomorrowland at Disneyland was that they replaced the Peoplemover ride with another ride that would shut down two years later and be replaced with nothing, not even a return of the Peoplemover. That and they painted Space Mountain gold. Seriously, who thought that was a good thing?

Otherwise, it seemed almost like the re-design they did for the Magic Kingdom Tomorrowland, which, being on the East Coast, isn't bad from my perspective.

Then again, I have never been to Disneyland, so I wouldn't know.

Melissa said...

Well, I guess they were right in the 90’s. The future has turned out to be poorly planned, cheaply executed, unsustainable, cheerless, and nonsensical. Honey, I Shrunk My Expectations!

Chuck said...

The future hasn't turned out to be all bad - we have GDB.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, maybe it was a case of my expectations being too high, but Tomorrowland ’98 really was misguided, in SO many ways.

TokyoMagic!, I knew you would love these, and would relive all of the excitement and joy of first walking into that new land! Thanks for the verification on where that one photo was taken.

K. Martinez, As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I never saw “Captain EO” a single time, for a number of reasons. I sort of liked HISTA, though it was another “theater show” - we’re basically watching a gussied-up movie - and it felt cheap. Some of the effects were fun (the scurrying mice), but other than that, it was kind of a disappointment.

Tom, part of me agrees with you about tearing it all out and starting from scratch, and part of me gets chills trying to imagine how much worse it could have been if they had done that!

JG, budget was definitely a HUGE factor. I truly believe that a lot of Imagineers worked very hard to do the best they could with the assignment and money that was given to them. It was a nearly-impossible task. As for the Star Wars stuff, people have speculated that “Star Tours” will be removed, which I seriously doubt. Nothing would surprise me at this point, however! It’s an odd feeling to know that so many people are losing their minds at the prospect of Star Wars Land, while all I can think of is how the crowds are going to be even worse than before, which is saying something. Sigh.

The Disney Dudebro, the Peoplemover was definitely one casualty. We also lost “Mission to Mars”, Circle-Vision 360, the Starcade, and the Rocket Jets were moved from their original location to the entrance, with some odd rock formations (why?!). “America Sings” became “Innoventions” (blah), AND they closed the original Submarine Voyage. For anyone who had loved Tomorrowland, it felt like a disaster. I’m not really familiar with the Florida incarnation of Tomorrowland, admittedly.

Melissa, ZOIKS!