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  • [Pictures] Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution




















  • #2
    Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

    Thanks for the great collection of images. I think Tomorrowland was at its best from 1977 to 1985, after Space Mountain opened and before Adventure thru Inner Space closed. Losing Carousel of Progress was a major loss and gaining Star Tours was another major loss. I don't like the design of Tomorrowland today, and the Astro Orbiter seems like a cancerous growth on Tomorrowland - everything in the land should be behind the "gate" of the land. Seeing Astro Orbiter from the hub ruins the "centralness" of the hub. By the way we were there yesterday and there is a fence around a large area in front of and to the right of Astro Orbiter, there's a major construction project going on, do you know what that is?

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    • #3
      Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

      The Tomorrowland's are getting more and more cartoony.
      Galactic Member

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      • #4
        Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

        Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
        By the way we were there yesterday and there is a fence around a large area in front of and to the right of Astro Orbiter, there's a major construction project going on, do you know what that is?
        Repaving. The ground is all dug out behind the walls.



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        • #5
          Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

          They've never quite nailed it. Always some sort of problem, from 1955 till now. It'd be really nice to see the original Tomorrowland finally grow into something worthy of its enormous potential.

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          • #6
            Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

            Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
            I think Tomorrowland was at its best from 1977 to 1985, after Space Mountain opened and before Adventure thru Inner Space closed. Losing Carousel of Progress was a major loss and gaining Star Tours was another major loss.
            I agree with you in that it was TL at its most coherent: representing a non-fantastical future based on American pioneering and technology - still true to Walt's oft-quoted plaque. When Star Tours was introduced TL began to mix Sci-Fi mythology (flight to Endor) with grounded techno-futurism (flight to Mars). Those two ideas are like water and oil and so the whole thing land began to go to pot. Throw in Buzz Lightyear and Nemo and Innoventions showing Sony's newest TVs and you no longer have a themed environment with any immersion or story...

            Having thought about how TL could be fixed (using realistic budgets and scenarios) I'm on board with 1980s/1990s Imagineers who seemed to settle on the idea that Retro Future was the only way to have Tomorrowland not continuously look outdated (present day WDI thinking seems to be that TL is dumping place for Pixar and anything else).

            Retro-future can be done in very appealing ways - like the machine-age, steampunk vision of Paris's orignal Discoveryland or the Buck Rogers robot newsboy/mechanical palm trees of Florida's mostly incomplete makeover.
            Last edited by RandySavage; 09-25-2009, 01:34 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

              I think it's a valid approach, as long as it's done consistently and in a way that's fun, but it's not the only one. The other way to avoid allowing Tomorrowland to frequently become dated is to go really fantastically far into the future and eschew modern trends in design. I always cite the original Star Wars trilogy as an example in these discussions - look at the designs of the ships and robots. They're just as compelling and futuristic now as they were in the late 70s and early 80s. If you look at details such as the primitive onboard computers, yes, those are dated, but the overall design aesthetic is not. I'm not saying Tomorrowland necessarily needs to adopt those specific design principles, but it can certainly have a style that will look truly futuristic for decades to come.

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              • #8
                Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                I think an argument could be made that Star Wars production design is largely retro-futuristic. Going that direction pushes TL fully into the realm of sci-fi fantasy/adventure... which I think is fine, particularly from a practical standpoint.

                Back during Tokyo's sci-fi city days, it was proposed that a version of Tower of Terror be built in Tomorrowland:

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                • #9
                  Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                  Originally posted by RandySavage View Post
                  I think an argument could be made that Star Wars production design is largely retro-futuristic.
                  Please do make that argument...I don't see how that's at all the case, but I could be wrong. As for the sci-fi fantasy thing, I think that's the direction Tomorrowland needs to go. A strictly realistic view of the future would be impossible to create. It'd get dated too fast, and it's bound to be wrong a lot of the time. Not to mention that there's a lot less room for unbridled optimism. The rest of the park takes a fantastic, romanticized look at the past; it'd make sense for Tomorrowland do the same for the future.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                    Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
                    I think Tomorrowland was at its best from 1977 to 1985, after Space Mountain opened and before Adventure thru Inner Space closed. Losing Carousel of Progress was a major loss and gaining Star Tours was another major loss. I don't like the design of Tomorrowland today, and the Astro Orbiter seems like a cancerous growth on Tomorrowland - everything in the land should be behind the "gate" of the land.
                    I couldn't agree more. And putting aside considerations of period style and technology, IMO John Hench's 1967 design as architectural design dwarfed the cluttered kitsch that followed.


                    Originally posted by spacejockey View Post
                    The Tomorrowland's are getting more and more cartoony.
                    Exactly -- as Disney's management devolves further and further into the mindset that Disneyland is for kiddies.


                    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 09-25-2009, 02:13 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                      Let me just say, I do believe we now have the worst Tomorrowland of all the parks (not from an attractions standpoint). Did they not study the concept art that was posted above? When I saw that it not only looked ugly, but it looked so busy and made me think that the future is characterized by overpopulation.

                      I think Hong Kong Disneyland's concept proposal for Tomorrowland was beautiful, and really encapsulates the retro-future look. However, their final product is beautiful and really does a great job. Sleek lines, open walkways, and futuristic architecture make me lament the state of DL's Tomorrowland, what was once my favorite land.
                      "You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try." ~ Homer Simpson

                      Avatar designed by Greg Maletic

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                      • #12
                        Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                        There's nothing wrong with a sci-fi/sci-fan aesthetic, but it needs to be consistent. Tomorrowland right now isn't even consistently space-themed, let alone consistently either "realistic futuristic" or "fantasy futuristic." We have cartoon space toys across from epic sci-fan next to imaginary inventions and straightforward space flight next to a Sharper Image trade show next to ordinary cars next to cartoon fish. It all clashes terribly and I have to wonder about the impression it makes on first-time visitors.

                        If I had my way, I'd retool both Autopia and Subs to take place in alien environments, put the Astro Orbitor back where it belongs on top of the trackway hub, do something with the trackway, tweak Buzz to reflect more of the Space Ranger mythos and less of the living toy mythos, and replace Innoventions altogether, though I'm not sure what with. Oddly enough, HISTA actually fits somewhat with a sci-fi/sci-fan theme...but I'd still replace it with my 3-D robot concert idea.
                        Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                          The problem for me with Star Tours is that the Star Wars films take place in the past, not the future, so it has never belonged in Tomorrowland. If anywhere in Disneyland, it belongs in Fantasyland, but I would move it over to Hollywood Pictures Backlot.

                          The 1967 design for Tomorrowland was elegant and futuristic - and doesn't seem dated to me because that type of city never came into being in the "real world." The water fountains where the planters are now, the PeopleMover gliding by silently, it was really elegant and beautiful especially at night. I was at Tomorrowland yesterday and it seems like a discarded junk heap of failed ideas, not the sleek and elegant "city of possibilities" that it once seemed.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                            Originally posted by RandySavage View Post
                            I think an argument could be made that Star Wars production design is largely retro-futuristic. Going that direction pushes TL fully into the realm of sci-fi fantasy/adventure... which I think is fine, particularly from a practical standpoint.

                            Back during Tokyo's sci-fi city days, it was proposed that a version of Tower of Terror be built in Tomorrowland:
                            WHOA - Where did you find that?! I've never, ever seen that before. Any details?

                            As for Tomorrowlands past, I think that Disneyland '67 was as close as they've come to perfection. When you add in Space Port/Mountain, which was part of the original plan, it's head and shoulders above anything else. The vision and execution of TL1967 was spot-on.

                            I was at DL for the first time the other week, and even though I knew it to be the case, I was still shocked at what a mess TL is there. I have many problems with our TL at WDW, but DL is just a disaster. Empty WEDway tracks covered in mold and leaves... heaps of visual intrusion everywhere. The new paint job on the Astro Orbiter is very nice, but it's insanely out of place in the Hub. Time for an extreme make-over...

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                            • #15
                              Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                              Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
                              I was at Tomorrowland yesterday and it seems like a discarded junk heap of failed ideas, not the sleek and elegant "city of possibilities" that it once seemed.
                              That is EXACTLY what I said when I saw DL's Tomorrowland - that it looks like a junkyard of random cast-offs

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                              • #16
                                Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                                Well, since Tomorrowland is currently a junkyard of discarded stuff, maybe that makes it the perfect place for a WALL-E attraction.

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                                • #17
                                  Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                                  Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                                  I couldn't agree more. And putting aside considerations of period style and technology, IMO John Hench's 1967 design as architectural design dwarfed the cluttered kitsch that followed
                                  Agreed. 67-98 TL was vastly superior. I'm not going to say it ended with Star Tours because, in reality, ST fits the theme better the ATIS did.
                                  https://twitter.com/ajcurry_

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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                                    Great photo essay! Thanks so much.

                                    If I may ... I'd like to add a photo of how Discoveryland turned out in 1992 .. next to it's early concept artwork you have from the late 1980s

                                    MY SIGNATURE:
                                    Dear Peoplemover Fans, If you want to see a new attraction that at least mimics the 1967 Peoplemover in a future Tomorrowland remodel, you need to write to the powers-that-be, and let them know. If you don't - Then the next time Tomorrowland is remodeled, you will see a land barren of any "Peoplemover" type attraction.

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution



                                      That MK pic on the top looks amazing. Too bad it doesn't actually look like that.

                                      one hundred and one

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Tomorrowland: The Visual Evolution

                                        Originally posted by Imagineer Scott View Post
                                        That MK pic on the top looks amazing. Too bad it doesn't actually look like that.
                                        ^ The area on the right of the rendering (currently the bland noodle eatery) was supposed to be the Astronomer's Club a themed dining area, but was cut from the budget. The orbiter is a different style, but the avenue of planets, entry island and little buildings north of the entrance are quite close to what actually built.

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