Welcome to the sixth post in the Imagineering Awesome series on Mouse on the Mind! You can access all of the posts by clicking on the link at right.
Today’s post comes to us from the adorable Jeff from Lance + Jeff, who’ve recently relocated to Disneyland. So you can imagine, his idea is decidedly … Californian. And that’s cool with me!
No, wait, this is every day: Tomorrowland needs help.
Not Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland. I mean, that one needs a little TLC too, but the aesthetic, however you feel about it, is at least consistent. Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, on the other hand, is an unfortunate hodgepodge of themes, from the Jules Vernian Astro Orbiter and defunct Rocket Rods to the mid-century modern Space Mountain to…the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (??). And, like Future World in Epcot, Disneyland’s Tomorrowland struggles with the very core of its theme: tomorrow. How does Disney effectively invest in an area of the park that has to be “revised” every 15 years or so in order to stay relevant to changing technology and discovery?
The good news is that Disneyland’s Tomorrowland already has the thematic seeds planted for a sizable overhaul, and I’m not referring to the much-rumored Star Wars overlay. Instead, a much more financially feasible revision would center on Marvel properties, with the thematic through-line of Stark Expo.
Though Iron Man 2 was not many people’s favorite Marvel movie (confession: I like it better than Iron Man 3), the Stark Expos featured in the film harken not-so-subtly back to Walt Disney’s history with the World’s Fair. Marvel IP has already taken over much of the top floor of Disneyland’s Innoventions, with meet-and-greets for Captain America (jaw seen below) and Thor and Tony Stark’s Hall of Armor, complete with a virtual armor testing for guests.
Disney just recently announced that the theatre housing the Captain EO tribute will temporarily run a 4-D preview of Marvel’s next film, Guardians of the Galaxy. Though I love me some Hooter as much as the next guy, refreshing this theatre every six months with new special previews (or maybe park-exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and props?) could be a great, affordable way to bring new entertainment to Tomorrowland. Temporary meet-and-greets with characters like Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon (soon to be a household name!), Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, etc., would just be bonus.
This may be blasphemy, but you could easily swap out Star Tours with a version of the Iron Man Experience soon to open in Hong Kong Disneyland, which has the added benefit of reportedly having Stark Expo as a setting. Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters could easily convert to a Spider-Man “web-shooter,” and Astro Blasters could be rethemed to a journey around the Nine Realms from Thor; it already has a similar look to Thor’s Asgardian throne room. Tomorrowland Terrace could be a great, albeit small, showcase for an interactive Spider-Man show. The Submarine Voyage could feature the Fantastic Four on a quest to stop anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner from destroying the Stark Expo.
Now, there are a handful of movie critics and Internet message board fans who bemoan the super-hero blockbuster, not to mention its intrusion into the Disney Parks. However, given the continued and growing popularity of super-hero films over the past 15 years, and Marvel Studio’s projected slate of projects to 2024, it doesn’t appear like they’re going anywhere any time soon.
I’m on board for the Iron Man Experience … are you? Let us know in the comments.