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  • America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

    I was fortunate to experience America Sings on my first trip to Disneyland when I was 6 years old back in 1985. I've always pondered, why did they put it in Tomorrowland?

    I know it replaced the Carousel of Progress, but it didn't really fit with the futuristic theme of the land that it was in. It would've made a great attraction on Main Street and would've fit into the theme better there, but I guess the size of the attraction was an issue.

  • #2
    Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

    I just started working there at the time America Sings opened. I don't think it was meant to make any logical "thematic" sense. It probably just seemed to be a good way to use the existing revolving show building.

    Although, the show did end, as I recall, with Sam (voiced by the incomparable Burl Ives) talking about Yankee Doodle, and the promise that "tomorrow will bring songs to you, that come straight from the heart"...a stretch, I know.

    Don't forget, this opened in 1974, pre-Space Mountain Tomorrowland. Before the project was even announced.

    And at that point, Disney, with a slow economy then too, was looking for any way it could to promote a new attraction.

    PS..I loved the show. Call me an old fuddy dyuddy, but those AA's should be back doing something more than acting as window dressing for Splash Mountain.
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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    • #3
      Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

      This is one reason that I feel a little guilt for being so rigid when it comes to themeing. I adored that ride and it didn't fit one bit in Tomorrowland. Innoventions fits perfectly, but it's crap. Sometimes when I'm appaled at Disneyland's poor attempts at themeing, I look back and remember how much I loved America Sings and think "sometimes quality is more important than theme".

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      • #4
        Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

        Originally posted by aashee View Post
        This is one reason that I feel a little guilt for being so rigid when it comes to themeing. I adored that ride and it didn't fit one bit in Tomorrowland. Innoventions fits perfectly, but it's crap. Sometimes when I'm appaled at Disneyland's poor attempts at themeing, I look back and remember how much I loved America Sings and think "sometimes quality is more important than theme".
        Amen, amen, amen.

        But having said that - after years of hearing such things about Innoventions, I finally checked it out and did find it pretty interesting, after all.

        Hopefully they can return the old "Carousel of Progress" there one day, in a newer and more modern form.

        And I realize that the "America The Beautiful" film was part of the Bell Telephone futuristic thing...but did that really fit, either? But it sure wasa good! I miss that, too. I miss the pre-1998 TL in general.
        God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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        • #5
          Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

          Innoventions isn't all that bad. It just doesn't suit the repeat guests very well. Unless there was a 50/50 chance that ASIMO was going to fall off the stairs. But I don't even think he's there anymore is he? That was something truly worth checking out.

          And I got to ride my first segway in Innoventions.

          I have 2 fond memories of that place since 1998.



          As for AMERICA SINGS, I think in the old days, being more patriotic was a thought that was also a hope for the future. Don't forget that you had Circle Vision with America and Wonders of China.

          There was also an animation exhibit in Tomorrowland back in the day. I don't see that as any more out of theme than Finding Nemo or Buzz Lightyear to be honest.


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          • #6
            Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

            Don't forget Tomorrowland was part World's Fair, part "World on the Move", with a healthy dose of Walt style progress. America Sings showed the progress (at least in quantity) of American Music, and it certainly showed a world on the move.. musically.

            I'm a theme Nazi in many respects, but America Sings felt like future entertainment. At the time it opened, it was a slick animatronic presentation unlike anything easily found in the current world. I'm not sure it's scope would work on Main Street, but it's musical history feel was most certainly World's Fair material.

            Despite how amazing the show was, I missed the COP with it's grand post show, exiting onto the stage and up a speedramp into the future (the second floor was an animated model of a future city). Thematically, COP was also a march through history (albeit less cartoony) which also fit the World's Fair / Expo theme of Tomorrowland.

            Now if my themedar seems a little off, I should add that I felt the Matterhorn, and even Small World, fit nicely into Tomorrowland's theme. After all, an optimistic view of the future is going to have people enjoying themselves and Small World really is World's Fair material.

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            • #7
              Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

              True, America Sings was not a futuristic attraction, and on the surface it may not have seemed to have fit. But it did serve to enhance the overall optimistic theme of Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland is not about the future -- it is about optimism and a hope for a "great big beautiful tomorrow." That's it. America Sings showed music's progression toward the present, and ended with the line, "Tomorrow will bring songs to you that come straight from the heart."

              In fact I would even say that it was the best and most important attraction, because it tied all the other random futuristic Tomorrowland attractions together with the common theme of promising, once again, a "great big beautiful tomorrow."

              America Sings may not have been thematically appropriate, but in my opinion its closure is what really started the degredation of any convincing theming that was left in Tomorrowland. After the Peoplemover -- another ride that at the very least unified all the other random aspects of Tomorrowland -- was closed, and the Mary Blair murals were removed, Tomorrowland was anything but optimistic. And not just that it even left less futuristic in a sense. To this day Tomorrowland remains just a shadow of its former self.
              Last edited by DisneyIPresume; 05-14-2009, 05:31 AM.

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              • #8
                Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                I got to experience America Sings when I first visited Disneyland when I was almost 11, back in July 1985. I loved it so much I just kept wanting to see the show every time we went back to Tomorrowland. I didn't care if it didn't fit the "theme". It was a good show.

                I didn't visit Disneyland again until 1989 on my 15th birthday. I was all set to see America Sings again and was so disappointed to learn it had closed a few years prior (remember we had no interwebs back then so information traveled slow). Sure I had Star Tours and the brand-new Splash Mountain to experience, but I was still bummed out.

                Luckily I found a good video of the show online so I can watch it whenever I want. But it doesn't beat seeing it in person.

                I would love to see a show like this again at a Disney park.

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                • #9
                  Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                  Originally posted by Radiobarry View Post
                  Hopefully they can return the old "Carousel of Progress" there one day, in a newer and more modern form.
                  In Summer 2006 I had the honor of viewing CoP at WDW. The reason I say it was an honor is because I know it's a classic, and another thing is that the first times I went there it was always closed. So if you mean a more modern version, you mean like the WDW version.

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                  • #10
                    Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                    Originally posted by DisneyKid1994 View Post
                    In Summer 2006 I had the honor of viewing CoP at WDW. The reason I say it was an honor is because I know it's a classic, and another thing is that the first times I went there it was always closed. So if you mean a more modern version, you mean like the WDW version.
                    I was under the impression that it's basically the same attraction as the one that closed at DL back in the early 70's. I know that indeed such was the case the one and only time I visited WDW in 1978. Has it been significantly updated since then?

                    -- Barry
                    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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                    • #11
                      Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                      America Sings was primarily geared to connect with the Bicentennial celebration in 1976, which was a national effort (and was EVERYWHERE).

                      Thematically, it wasn't particularly "tomorrow-ish" unless being enterained by singing robots could be considered "futuristic."

                      America the Beautiful was futuristic primarily because of the CircleVision 360 cinematic experience, which never caught on in any big way (like IMAX did), but was still impressive nonetheless.

                      Really, they should have made more CircleVision 360 films, including science-related ones, instead of general travelogues.

                      But, now it's a big video arcade. Yeah, futuristic.

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                      • #12
                        Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                        Originally posted by Radiobarry View Post
                        I was under the impression that it's basically the same attraction as the one that closed at DL back in the early 70's. I know that indeed such was the case the one and only time I visited WDW in 1978. Has it been significantly updated since then?

                        -- Barry
                        Small cosmetic set changes have happened in the first 3 scenes over the years. For example, in the 40's scene, the dad now sits in a booth instead of on a stool. And in the 2nd scene, the dad hold's a Niagara Falls fan.

                        The biggest change is the final scene. It now jumps from the 40's to the 90's. This scene needs a bad upgrade as a lot of the technology they talk about is outdated or never happened.

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                        • #13
                          Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                          I miss America Sings and Carousel of Progress.

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                          • #14
                            Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                            Originally posted by Radiobarry View Post
                            I was under the impression that it's basically the same attraction as the one that closed at DL back in the early 70's. I know that indeed such was the case the one and only time I visited WDW in 1978. Has it been significantly updated since then?

                            -- Barry
                            The final scene now includes, as aimster said, a futuristic theme. The kids are playing 3-D videogames, and the rest of the family is either in the kitchen or doing something else.

                            My Twitter! CardfightrHuntr

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                            • #15
                              Re: America Sings - why was it in Tomorrowland?

                              *temperature increase to 975*
                              Kevin Yee
                              MiceAge Columnist

                              I am the author of several Disney books:
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                              Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
                              Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
                              Mouse Trap
                              Tokyo Disney Made Easy
                              101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
                              Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

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