How Would You Build Tomorrowland?

from the or-would-you-build-it-at-all dept

The Washington Post is running long look at the relaunch of Disney’s “Tomorrowland,” that doesn’t sound all that impressed. Actually, the article gets into the details of the original Tomorrowland and even dips into the way people viewed the future (optimistically/pessimistically) over the intervening years. However, the end result is that the concept of “Tomorrowland” is a rather difficult one to build. As the reporter notes, it has to be something that is far enough out that it actually doesn’t need to be revamped all that often. But, at the same time, it still needs to be realistic in a way that people aspire to create themselves. All in all, it sounds like the latest Tomorrowland fails. But, it does raise a good question: if you were building Tomorrowland, what would you do?

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Companies: disney

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Comments on “How Would You Build Tomorrowland?”

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Matt says:

Bill gates tombstone, covered in feces?

Sorry, just had a humorous thought there.

Anyway, I don’t think it’s hard to think ahead to the future if you ask the right people in the right fields – grab people from each relative field to see what they might have as prospective fields. Find someone who is willing to ponder the future and keep asking them “what about further on down the road” past each existing idea and see what can be conceptualized.

Thus, it’s more about asking the right questions to the right people, not a “whether or not it can be accurate”.

chris (profile) says:

how about a museum of past futures?

instead of trying to predict a new future, i think tomorrowland would be better done as a collection of futures from the past. i love old depictions of the future and i would love to visit a theme park devoted to preserving the past’s views of the future.

each section could be devoted to decades past, or perhaps to unifying themes like the utopia, cyberpunk, post nuclear, and maybe something with zombies.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:


…I would imagine a world without Copyright. A world without the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, et al, is -my- definition of Disneyland.

Then I would imagine a world where a Patent lasted 12 months….and all patent litigation had to be filed in Marshall, Texas, by law.

Then, for perverse entertainment value, I would imagine a world that insisted upon summary executions for Trademark infringement. (No more Bolex watches for you!)

Well, all my fantasies can’t be rational, now can they?

Anonymous Coward says:

Dosen't Disney mak e movies?

I’m a bit perplexed. Disney makes movies, and have made SciFi films in the past, and they can’t come up with good ideas? It’s more likely that they are not giving a large enough budget to implement ideas. I can’t belive that the Imagineers can not come up with imaginitive ideas. God, Walt must be rolling over in his grave to know what a “coporation” Disney has become. When Walt built something it was because he wanted to build it, not necessarily to make $$. With Walt innovation was priority one.

Bunny says:

Re: Dosen't Disney mak e movies?

The real tomorrowland, if MPAA/Disney investors could get their way would have to be something like the following:

They confiscate your camera if you take pictures of anything, as everything you can see in the park by that point is copyrighted by them and you cannot have a “copy” of it.

They would charge you extra for buying a genuine licensed stuffed toy from their gift shop if more than one person is allowed to “use” it. Furthermore, they could not be resold, there would be a huge fine if it were lost, and the toy could not be soiled or damaged as it doing so would present their property in a bad light.

In one ride they would probe your mind with a futuristic mind-reading machine to see if you’ve been downloading something of theirs and your vehicle would be singled out and detoured into a waiting “downloader’s detainment area” where technologically advanced torture devices are used. I guess one of them would hold your eyes open and force you to watch some of their emo teen TV programs.

Did they catch you humming one of the songs from their parade in front of other visitors? Then one of the costumed characters would come up to you and hand you a takedown notice.

Isn’t that the sort of future they’re creating?

Rekrul says:

You know, I could make all sorts of predictions, pretty much all of which are 100% possible (de-salinization plants along each coast to pipe salt-free water to the rest of the country in case of a drought, hydrogen powered cars that have a water tank instead of a gas tank, wi-fi connections as standard in every new home, etc), but they’d all be wrong. Why? Because none of them would line the pockets of the huge corporations, and in America, that’s what counts…

Anonymous Coward says:

Seriously – show some colonies on Mars. Is it really that hard? Keep the roller coaster through space – we still really haven’t traveled all that far. Put a bunch of Wii style motion activated stuff, use a lot of lasers, come on… this isn’t rocket science. Read a couple of science fiction books, spend maybe $30 and you’ll have more than enough inspiration.

Dave says:

It's a tough chore

Most of what would make my tomorrowland would be things the average person could not easily be shown in a park.

A home computer that can out-think me (not a tough chore but still).
A car that runs on the carbon in the air by using solar power to turn it back into gas
A version of windows that can go a month without needing to be rebooted and can run on hardware that doesn’t cost the same as what a worker in China makes in a year.
A government that actually works for the people instead of working against them

None of that could be easily shown in a Disney park. and the last one would be against Disney’s best interests.

Petréa Mitchell says:

That's not Tomorrowland...

Tomorrowland is primarily a showcase for far-future science-fictional stuff. Yes, the Autopia doesn’t fit, but it’s too popular to close right now. Yes, Innoventions sucks, but the Disney people have a whole park to fix next door at Disney’s California Adventure. Tomorrowland also features Star Tours, a Buzz Lightyear attraction, and Space Mountain (yes, the future *is* astronauts).

What the writer of the Post article is getting at is actually the original rationale of EPCOT (which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) at Walt Disney World. There is a lot to be said about how that original idea went awry (in fact, I believe there’s an entire book out there about it).

udamdirtyape says:

And the future is:

The future is technologically advanced and comfortable. Happy and safe for all… except for the billions living outside of the walled cities where so called ‘freethinkers’ and the other undesirables are enslaved. But we don’t worry about them too much because His Holyness, the king of America keeps us safe from all those terrorists out there… Besides, we’re all too busy here with the new eye-phone launch and the new twitter-implant to really pay much attention anyway… I used to ask my grandfather,(who was around in your time)why he would always say how much better things were in his youth… He kept on muttering somthing about ‘books’ and something called ‘the constitution’ (?) I’ll never understand exactly why he didn’t like our king and his globo-fascist oligarchy, after all, it’s kept us safe, and it’s all we know…

Christopher Froehlich (profile) says:


Isn’t innovation (at least in part) driven by the desire to create solutions to existing problems? There exists a void between that which (currently) is and isn’t possible, and technology is the bridge over that divide.

To my mind, the simplest way to predict the future is to study that divide. What can’t we do now that we want to do? Supposing then that in the future, some enterprising soul will answer the where’s and how’s of the implementation of the solution to that problem, we are then free to just create an arbitrary, *magical* device that suddenly exists in this future vision.

Hypothetically, teleportation could solve the problem of the transportation of large and small, organic and inorganic objects across vast spaces. Whether or not this is ever scientifically achievable matters not, but the solution to the current problem could introduce other more significant problems to the future that creates it, and the solution to those problems would surely be fantastic.

That’s my penny.

Luke (user link) says:

They need to hire crazy people

Do you know why they’re having problems getting ideas that work? Because they’re hiring “experts” in whatever field and saying “Where do you see this going in the future?” And that’s where the problem comes from.

Don’t ask someone who’s in the field to speculate. Ask someone who is free to think without educated restraints. Ask someone who finds no problem in breaking the rules.

Had anyone really asked an engineer back in the 1960’s if they thought they could build a flying car the engineering answer is “No.” There’s no currently feasible way to do it and there continues to be no feasible way to do it. But the general public is still in love with the idea thanks to the Jetsons.

Don’t ask experts. Read about a few and let your mind roam the vast fields of human creativity and see what lies ahead.

Anonymous Coward says:

They could just call it “Star Trek” land and be done with it. . .

Or, if I had my way. . .

Tommorowland would be totally enclosed in a huge dome as we’ll all need to live in protected bubbles to be safe from the radiation that the terrorist dumped on us with dirty bombs all acrossed the country since the liberals took over.

The restaurants would only serve “protein paste” since all of our food was either irradiated or used for biofuels….since the liberals took over.

When you enter tommorow land you would immediately be escorted to a “work zone” where you would spend the next 10 hours doing things for no pay, totally relying on “The Overlords” (ie, liberal government) to provide us with clothing (consisting of loin cloth style underwear), housing and our entertainment which would consist of brain washing videos expounding the good of “the overlords”.

Anyone over 30 would automatically be directed to the main ride attraction called “Carousel”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There are no terrorists.

It’s a device to keep you under control-according to modern dictator theory, without an “enemy image” a country will turn on itself (discovering what terrible leaders and problems it has).

Terrorists are a perfect enemy image. You can never catch and identify them, so it’s an enemy image that can be used forever.

You fucking dupe.

Delaney (user link) says:

Tomorrow won't happen unless America elects Ron Paul.

If I were to rebuild Tomorrowland, I’d have a HUGE newspaper clipping with the headline “RON PAUL ELECTED PRESIDENT” plastered to one of the walls, along with other newspaper clippings showing how Ron Paul saved the United States from implosion. Check out my URL to see what I mean. Ron Paul may be a Republican, but at heart he’s a Libertarian:)

John (profile) says:

Is it 1995?

For a minute, I thought I was reading an old article about Disney WORLD’s updating their Tomorrowland area, which was updated in 1995 for the very same reason.

They changed their old version (microwave ovens! hand-held phones! robot maids! cars that get 50 miles per gallon! flying cars!) to more of a Jules Verne-style “future that never was”.

Personally, I think this kind of sci-fi version is much easier to manage than the ever-changing real future.

Over at Epcot’s Innoventions pavilion, they have to constantly keep the displays up to date.
2000: Ooh… look, they have that “IT” that’s been listed on Amazon. I wonder what “IT” is.
2008: Okay, it’s a Segway. Nothing to see here. Move along.

2000: Motorola is coming out with a video phone! A phone with video! Can you believe that?
2008: Who doesn’t make a cell phone with a video screen.

2000: Coming soon from GM, the “Hummer of tomorrow” which gets up to 18 miles per gallon.
2008: The Hummer G3 is still on display, but gets 15 miles per gallon.

1980: Look at that! A new concept car from GM: the “Lean Machine”, a three-wheeled vehicle that looks like a rounded motorcycle.
2008: Look at that! The Hummer G3 which gets 15 miles per gallon.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Reality

This is for Disney, and probably 30 years out..

Hmmm. Storefronts hiring people with signs that read “Must Speak Hindu”, A gasoline station advertising $10.00/gallon, and miles upon miles of abandoned homes with yellow and dirt-filled yards. Abandoned cars everywhere. An American Red Cross building with a sign that says “Donate Blood get $10.00” and line of people out the door.

Why No Outrage? Makes me sick to my stomach.

Polar Foil says:

we're jaded, tomorrowland is a waste of time

For various reasons, people are jaded with future predictions. If Tomorrowland isn’t far-out enough people will be bored and it will need to be updated in a few years (think live TV on your cell phone); if it’s too far-out people will be bored because it will be seen as pure science fiction rather than an interesting, plausible tomorrow (think Star Trek’s transporter).

People know that many of the things that we should already have today are indeed possible or have already been prototyped. The problem is, new stuff doesn’t come cheap unless or until it’s produced in large quantities. Unfortunately, some stuff just won’t be made or improved as long as people keep buying the crap that’s available.

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