The release of the Brad Bird-directed movie Tomorrowland got me to thinking about the amazing power of Disney, and how my family and I like to share our favorite aspects of Disney parks and ideas for future attractions.
Jeremy J. Glowacki
Editorial Director, Residential Systems
You may have one of those families, like mine, that has been seduced by the influence and power of all things Disney. After initial reluctance, I’ve grown to enjoy and appreciate certain aspects of the Disney experience. For instance, I just can’t get enough of Main Street in Magic Kingdom because it tickles some sort of nostalgia that makes me wonder if I lived an earlier life as a turn-of-the-century barbershop quartet singer.
My daughters love Fantasyland, and I have to admit a certain fondness for the near-perfect blend of classic and contemporary Disney princess/fantasy stories in that section of the park. It’s fun that you can have dinner in the Beast’s castle from Beauty and the Beast and explore Ariel’s grotto in newly designed attractions, yet still fly over old London like Peter Pan (the magic of Day-Glo paint!) and even attempt to pull a sword out of a rock like young King Arthur from the nearly forgotten 1963 film, The Sword and the Stone.
I also have a special fondness for Frontierland, where an old west theme and colonial America are offered as prominent set pieces. In one of the coolest of moments for a frequent Disney World visitor, my daughter and I got trapped in one of the tunnels of Splash Mountain this spring, when the ride suddenly shut down. After several rounds of “Zippity Doo Dah,” the safety lights came on and we were unlocked from our “boat” and escorted out an emergency exit into the devastatingly bland back-lot area. One moment we were in a cartoon world where everything was perfectly manicured, and then next we were walking through what looked like a truck stop parking lot off of I-95. It was underwhelming, but extremely fascinating for the way it reinforced Disney’s ability to create such immersive worlds within its gates.
That brings me back to Tomorrowland, which I find to be the least appealing of the Disney “lands” within Magic Kingdom. I do appreciate the campiness of that Jetsons-style view of the future, and really get a kick out of the 1964 World’s Fair exhibit Carousel of Progress that features a late ’90s addition, showcasing Suri-like home automation and a flat-panel TV virtual reality gaming grandma. But I’ve always felt like that area of the Orlando theme park is due for a reboot. When I saw the trailer for Tomorrowland, I immediately thought that Disney (as usual) was a step ahead. Creating a view of the future isn’t easy, and manufacturers within our channel have participated to varying levels of success to showcase a “home of the future,” at a Disney park.
It should be fun to see how Disney builds off another hit movie, especially one that seems purpose-built to reinvigorate a dated section of an extremely popular theme park with a focus toward the future. Maybe Disney’s creative vision will even inspire a new future-forward home theater theme for you.