For some time, speculation on what Disney will do to address the aging Tomorrowland area at Magic Kingdom has filled theme park forums and rumor sites. But recently these rumors have taken on a new life, as multiple insiders are now seemingly agreeing on what this update will entail.
Before Disney confirmed the new TRON coaster, which is currently under construction directly behind the Tomorrowland Speedway, the dated speedway was strongly rumored to be leaving. The belief was this was where Disney would be building
The move to keep the speedway surprised many because the dated attraction is known for its bad smells and large footprint.
A few months after Disney had confirmed, via TRON concept art, that the speedway would be staying, go-karts from the Tokyo version of the attraction arrived backstage at the Magic Kingdom. At the time, many thought this was a sure sign the gas guzzling cars of the Magic Kingdom attraction were here to stay, but it now looks like that’s not the case. Multiple insiders are now reporting that Disney is working to add new TRON themed go-karts to the track ahead of the TRON coaster opening, which is believed to be slated for 2021.
Few details on these new TRON go-karts have been shared, but at least one trustworthy insider has confirmed they will have an impressive TRON-inspired lighting package on the karts themselves. At Disneyland Hong Kong, electric go-karts were featured on the ride until that version of it closed in 2016. Those karts had whimsical sci-fi inspired sounds due to the engines being so quiet. It’s likely the new Magic Kingdom karts would also have sound effects, possibly inspired by TRON.
In Anaheim, Disneyland’s version of the attraction is sponsored by Honda. It includes gas-powered Honda karts and also features a few small scenes along the ride path including Honda’s ASIMO robot who is camping along with his robotic dog.
The Magic Kingdom version of the ride is also rumored to include new off-ride lighting around the track and may feature some scenes from Disney franchises; most notably including TRON, but also possibly including Wreck-It Ralph or The Incredibles.
On the other side of Tomorrowland, another classic attraction is also rumored to be getting a long-needed update. The Carousel of Progress opened at Walt Disney World in 1975 after a 6-year stint at Disneyland and its grand premiere at the 1964 World’s Fair. The unique moving theater attraction follows a single family through the 20th Century to showcase how electricity has changed daily life. The last scene, with its cheesy virtual reality jokes and talking oven, has left many guests confused. The 1990s-style scene, added in 1993, never really fit into the other three scenes; from 1900, 1920, and 1940. Now the cheesy final scene may finally be getting the update it has so desperately needed.
In 2016, Disney gave the outside of the attraction a bright new paint scheme, but the inside of the ride has remained virtually the same since the 1993 update. If Disney is planning updates to this Walt Disney designed attraction they have done an excellent job on not letting too many details leak out. Virtually nothing is known on what the updated final scene may include.
Disney "closed" Stich’s Great Escape, details on its replacement were everywhere. The strongly rumored replacement is a virtual reality-based attraction themed to Wreck-It Ralph. Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that he’s not interested in VR attractions in Disney parks, but with the tiny square footage of this attraction, the options for what to do here are very limited.
Tomorrowland will also be getting smaller updates throughout it, including a new paint scheme and updated props throughout, some of which may tie into the final rumored update for the land. Other updates may include a new exit to Space Mountain and new retail offerings.
What is likely one of the most significant updates to Tomorrowland is a major new overhaul to the PeopleMover. This slow-moving elevated tram ride is a favorite with many guests. Internal surveys supposedly show half of all WDW visitors ride the attraction at least once during their stay at Disney World.
Currently, the ride doesn’t really feature any show scenes outside of a few small scenes that have no broader context and some unique views into other attractions. Despite these few scenes, or really thanks to them, there is no cohesive storyline to the ride. That is now rumored to be changing. No specifics on what to expect with the updated version of the attraction have been shared, but possibilities include Wall-E or The Incredibles being added. At least one insider with a proven track record has said to expect "several themed areas" on the updated PeopleMover.
There were rumors of an Edna Mode narration being recorded for the ride. That narration was thought to be a limited time feature that would be part of the Incredibles Tomorrowland Expo celebration that’s currently taking place at the Magic Kingdom. The summer-only celebration has new props and entertainment based around this summer’s blockbuster Incredibles 2 film.
When the Edna Mode narration didn’t happen as part of the celebration most assumed it had just been canceled, but now those recordings may, in fact, be a part of a more permanent update to the ride.
If the current views into other attractions are kept there a number of possibilities on how The Incredibles could explain these seemingly incoherent views. Portal hopping between various locations within this dimension is found throughout the new film and dimensional hoping, though not explained, is confirmed within the new movie. These two powers could be used to justify the various hoping between Space Mountain’s sci-fi future, Buzz Lightyear’s cartoon-like world, and other "dimensions" visited on the ride.
The views into these other attractions could also be completely walled off allowing for more show scenes along the PeopleMover itself. If new scenes are added, projection mapping or screens will likely be used, thanks to insufficient space for scene expansion along most of the ride pathway.
Some have also said that Disney is looking at possibly moving the load and unload station due to concerns over the popularity of the updated ride with one possibility being to use the Stich’s Great Escape attraction for the queue, a large pre-show room, and an updated load and unload area.
This would also allow for the exit area to include an expanded Mickey’s Star Traders gift shop and the ability to add at least one large show scene in the area where the current load and unload is located. If Disney decides to go with this option, expect a much longer downtime for the attraction since an entirely new control booth would also be required.
It should be noted that most of the rumors around The Incredibles pre-date the runaway success of the most recent film. Over the past few weeks, stronger rumors have pointed to Disney looking at possibly adding an entire Incredibles-themed area to Hollywood Studios, likely replacing the rumored Monsters, Inc. themed land that was to stretch from the Star Wars Launch Bay area to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster via a new pathway behind Sunset Ranch Market. The DHS Incredibles rumors include an update to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster that would feature many of the same props as seen on the recently unveiled Incredicoaster at Disney California Adventure and The Incredibles Paint the Night parade float at Disneyland. Rumors point to The Incredibles having their own mini-land with retail, unique food items, and at least two attractions including the updated Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
With 2021 quickly approaching, if Disney does plan to have the Tomorrowland updates open in for the 50th Anniversary then work must begin very soon. Details on the reimagined Tomorrowland are expected to be announced sometime within the next year or so, possibly at the D23 Expo next summer.
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