Tomorrow always becomes today, which has made Disney's Tomorrowland an ongoing challenge even since Disneyland opened in 1955. With its latest iteration at Walt's original theme park, Disneyland has gone all-in with Star Wars, making the land seem even more awkward now that Galaxy's Edge has opened across the park.
In my newspaper column this week, I ask, Does Disneyland have too much Star Wars?. The TL;DR, as one might guess, is 'yes.'
But what to do about it? In the column, I suggest that since Galaxy's Edge focuses on the final trilogy, there's room in the park for a Star Wars attraction that draws inspiration from the first six films. Star Tours could play that role simply by returning to its random selection of destinations, as it played before the new movies began and Disney started using the attraction as a promotion for the films (and, eventually, for Galaxy's Edge, too).
Everything else? Lose it. Once Rise of the Resistance opens, give me back the classic Space Mountain, please. And the ever-crowded Disneyland simply can't afford to waste the space taken by Path of the Jedi and the Star Wars Launch Bay — two attractions that draw less than a sleeping child in the Animation Academy.
The Tomorrowland Theater would work again as a "coming attractions" theater (as Walt Disney World uses its Walt Disney Presents attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios), now that Disney California Adventure has welcomed Mickey's Philharmagic to the Sunset Showcase Theater full-time. But there's no simple alternate use for the former Carousel of Progress building, which hasn't had a compelling full-time occupant since America Sings closed in the 1980s.
Should these locations continue as flex spaces to be used for an ongoing series of limited-run engagements? Or should Disney try to find "forever attractions" to take over these spaces?
The Tomorrowland setting seems to limit Disneyland's options, given that it would need to find a franchise at least not totally incompatible with the area's theme. (Finding Nemo and America Sings demonstrate that Disney is willing to stretch here.) However, it's unlikely that Disney would develop an original story concept for the land, unless it was to introduce a new IP that the company intended to develop as a multi-media franchise.
Looking what Disney now owns, and excluding franchises already employed elsewhere in the resort, there's Alien, Avatar, Planet of the Apes, Tron, Wall-E, and Witch Mountain (remember that one?) as my top candidates for a new Tomorrowland attraction's IP.
In case you are wondering... no, there's not enough space in Disneyland's Tomorrowland for a west coast installation of the Tron coaster coming to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. So the next question to consider is to decide whether the former Carousel of Progress building is a capital asset... or a liability that needs to be cleared.
If there were an easy solution, Disney would have developed it already. So, my aspiring Imagineering theme park design apprentices, what would you do to replace Star Wars Launch Bay and bring a new attraction to Disneyland's Tomorrowland?Tweet
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