Thursday, February 23, 2006

Revisiting Inner Space


Monsanto's Adventure Thru Inner Space was a Disney Classic in every sense of the word, an attraction that has never lost its loyal fan base since it closed in 1986, even inspiring one savvy designer to rebuild the entire attraction in 3-D inside his computer in meticulous detail. (themightymicroscope.com)

It can easily be argued that the original attraction in todays world would be severely outdated and kitschy. Yet the concept of riding into the world of the atom still has the power to enthall.

Bringing back a freshly updated version of Adventure thru Inner Space is a win-win for everyone. Imagineers get to re-imagine the concept with current state of the art technology (effects enhancing onboard protective goggles anyone?), fans would have a massive attack of pure bliss, and a whole new generation of guests would finally get to know what the hallucinogenic buzz was all about as they float amongst molecules as big as Volkswagon Bugs.

As earlier mentioned, Disneyland's Tomorrowland certainly has the room for it. By scraping out the guts of 'Honey I Shrunk the Audience', an attraction that has well overstayed its welcome, designers would have more than enough room to re-arrange the Atom for future audiences.

27 comments:

Don said...

This'd also be a wonderful way to bring some "theme" to Tomorrowland that it's never quite had. I mean, it was never more than 50% "futurism" and in the early days was as much "corporate shilling" as anything. "Edutainment" would be a perfectly valid theme, and a new ATIS - updated for the post-Atomic era, of course - would be a great addition. At the very least, it'd fit the vague "techno cool" theme that Tomorrowland currently seems tobe based upon, and if done right could fit a "travels" theme that nearly exists already (Star Tours, Monorail, Subs, even Buzz, sorta). BTW, what *is* Tomorrowland's official theme?

Imagineer-in-Waiting said...

Instead of shoehorning it into the underbelly of Space Mountain at Disneyland, why not put it front and center where it belongs, Epcot.
I heard the Wonders of Life pavilion isn't being used.

A Return to Inner Space should have a storyline explaining its unfortunate shutdown. I've always believed it was due to the loss of a group of tourists. They couldn't quite get back on scope. Now, it's time to go rescue them with more advanced Atommobiles Mark II. Good excuse to reuse some ride simulators that aren't being used.

I really like the idea of having a bunch of tourists from the 80s waving to the crowd thanking them at the end. Then they make some anachronistic remarks.

Will Robison said...

I love that idea! I can totally picture some 80's tourists trapped inside the atom - they just kept shrinking. You could start this in the queue with microscopes that people could look through and see a tiny atommobile suspended in innerspace and bored looking 80's teens looking back at you.

This was one of my favorite rides. I'd love to see it revisited. But, I don't think I want it back as it was. It needs to be completely updated.

ChristianZ said...

Yes, definitely bring it back.

Anonymous said...

Replacing Honey I Shrunk the Audience with a re-imagined Inner Space attraction is a stoke of genius. Nestled under Space Mountain, guests could explore both outer and inner space. Heck, even replacing the 3-D movie with an ATIS-themed film would be better that nothing.

mnmears@go.com said...

One of the most important reasons to bring back the Atomobiles and ATIS is because it was the one Disneyland experience -- along with maybe Mission to Moon/Mission to Mars -- that inspired children to think about science and math. Yes, I believe in infotainment/education and enlightment. Math and science are at the heart of all our advances -- even the films so masterfully made by Pixar. There's nothing wrong with offering a lesson when it's done in a creative and interesting way.

A Undergrad Engineer at Uni of Bath said...

As ive only been alive for the last 19 years, and having only been to disneyland (anaheim) once, i havent had the chance to ride ATIS. But that wont stop me from posting this comment!!! From what i have seen of pictures and such online of ATIS, i believe that a modern equivalent could, if imagineered properly, with a decent budget, and if well maintained, could well be the next E ticket disneyland is looking for. Now someones going to ridicule me for saying this, but Startours, IMO doesnt seem right in tommorowland, and nor does HoneyIShrunkTheAudience. HISTA could, well, just be removed, as everyone has seen this show now anyway, if not at disneyland then at some other disney park. StarTours, on the other hand, i would move, into DCA, into the hollywood district, update the film, and give it a more Disney-MGM appoach to the story (placing it in the WWTBAMillionaire show building could be a good idea).

Going back to disneyland and ATIS, by removing Startours as well, we now have 2 fairly large spaces to put a new ride. I would put in an EnhancedMotionVehicle ride (like indy) update the system with amazing 3d (goggle) special effects. And introduce an amazing story. You know what, make it a scary story, one that makes you scared. Like imagineer in waiting said, a story about the "(abandoned) shrinking facility" where a previous tourgroup has been stuck in the microscopic world, and you go to rescue them, but in advertantly get stuck yourself, maybe have a loop where your vehicle breaks down, and the next batch of riders come allong, help you out, but their car breaks down, creating a continuous loop, and a sense of realism, with amazing 3d effects and queline/ride cameras, you could create a continualy updating "lifesize" world that would be seen by the riders, and people queing would see the microscopic versions, it may even fool some people into thinking its real.

also if you read this, give the damn cast memebers a decent uniform, labcoats (with "Dr J. Smith" style nameplates), would suit this ride perfectly.

Sorry for the exceptionaly large post it was about 3 times as long, i cut it down...

Imagineer-in-Waiting said...

Wow, some cool feedback on one of my favorite fantasies to bring back Inner Space. I tried to jog my memory from the last time I tried to figure out a storyline for a resurrected attraction.
Since ATIS closed in September of 1985, I remember I thought that time didn't pass at the same rate in Inner Space. Thus, trapped tourists would come out thirsty for a New Coke and ask someone for a DIME to use a PAY PHONE.
Man, it just dawned on me that the exit music could be "1985" by the band Bowling for Soup (yes, that's their name). One set of lyrics goes /there was U2/and Blondie/
and music still on MTV.

Kim EM said...

I love the suggestions for the ride; something that evokes the spirit of the classic version with a distinctly up-to-date treatment. One little "plus" it could have: if there are "special visual effects goggles", why not also have them carry the 3D sound equipment as well? This seems a much better use for the effect than Mr. Lincoln.

Anonymous said...

NO! NO! NO!

Look, I love Adventure Thru Innerspace and pine to ride into the Mighty Microscope just one more time. I have the entire ride blasting in my CD player into my earphones as I type this right now.

MAGNIFICATION!!! MAGNIFICATION!!! MAGNIFICATION!!!

The problem here is that we live in an entirely different world than when Innerspace opened. The novelty of returning an old ride would last from May thru about September when the marketeers abandon it. Then it becomes that old ride that daddy always talked about that no one goes on.

I think what we all really pine for is a ride in the “spirit” of Adventure Thru Innerspace. Sorry, that very LOUD and messy Buzz Lightyear ride in the old Circlevision 360 theatre ain’t it. We need a ride that features holograms and virtual reality people. Something that gets us really excited about the future.

Come on, you can’t tell me that all of the imagination in the world died with Innerspace. Really! What the heck would Walt think!!!

T said...

Hear, hear. "Adventure through Inner Space" was always one of my favorites as a kid, and deserves to be brought back, updated with current theories and discoveries. "Adventure through String Theory", anyone?

Okay, maybe that title wouldn't be "sexy" enough. But heck yeah. I'd love to see this good ol' ride brought back.

That, and the "Carousel of Progress". Remember that one? (Oops. Now I date myself...)

Anonymous said...

What about Horizons??? I know it was kinda corney toward the end of its life but I always loved the interaction of getting to choose my "future" I think this is the basis for a ride that can be reimangineered to be AWESOME. I miss the days when there was creativness in the parks.

DucktaleDave said...

Another Adventure Through Inner Space fan here. The premise is still compelling, and with state-of-the-art effects and ride-system, it could a more thrilling attraction than the original.

Athelind said...

I loved "The Mighty Microscope", as I always called ATIS when I was a kid, and gritted my teeth when I'd heard that they'd yanked it from Disneyland. I'd love to see an updated version -- and if there's really a concern about it turning "That ride Dad always talked about and nobody rides", then perhaps something with more SCOPE might work.

Something based on the "Powers Of Ten" concept, perhaps, that takes the viewers from the quantum level up through galactic superclusters?

SaveDL said...

I loved ATIS, the PeopleMover, and CofP/America Sings because they were original and fun, and rarely had a line - nice places to escape from the crowds for a little while while still enjoying great attractions. I get an ache in my gut when I see what they've done to Tomorrowland. It's such a mess and used to be so great. I admit I never understood why America Sings was in Tomorrowland, but at least they used the theatre as it was meant to be used instead of destroying things completely as has been the case. If they've been wanting to save money, why destroy the great things you have? I was numb when they closed the DL subs, and couldn't believe it when I heard the rumor that they had been static for so long they would never be able to be revived. I was waiting for them to fill it in with concrete and build yet another Disney Store on top. I was estatic when I heard about Nemo. Is there hope?

dave said...

I agree with this idea 1000%! Why in God's name did they ever get rid of this attraction? Is there anyone who ever rode it, if only once, who STILL doesn't remember that big eyeball at the end?

Nick D said...

Oh man. I remember seeing the people on that ride shrunk in that little plastic tube, and I thought it was the coolest thing, and I always wondered how they did that. I was too little to understand how it might have been done, so it has always fascinated me to this day.

Anonymous said...

I never saw the original, but from what I understand of it I have an idea. What if it was updated to be themed around nanotechnology? It seems like the next scientific progression from what you are describing.

Anonymous said...

All of you are a bunch whining Disney nerds. All of you want Imagineering to bring back something that only a handfull of people liked. It didn't make any money! If something doesn't make money, it doesn't get the rehabs, and it closes! If you geeks want rides to stay open, get people, lots of people to ride them! I am glad that people like Atommobile.com exists, it gives dorks who have nothing better to do than complain to disney about taking out an attration some respite. But, Imagineering wants to do cool retro, creative attractions, they can't. I worked there for five years as a consultant. All of the original WDI guys are dying off, retiring, or have been let go. The rest have so much presure to make money for the mouse, that WDI won't hire, won't think of good attractions that don't have something to do with some stupid animated cartoon.
In otherwords, stop obsessing that you can convince the powers that be at the mouse factory to bring back fun old rides. rebuild them in CGI, home movies, and books. All of you need to write letters to The Walt Disney Company and insist on being creative, and bring back the SPIRIT of those old attractions instead of the rides themselves.
Get a life.

mr taste said...

if only we could be sure that lasseter read this blog... let's hope and pray that he does, as he's the one person with the clout and imagination to get some of these terrific ideas off the blog and into reality.. ATIS held up a hell of a lot better than star tours does and an updating with current technology would not only please the fans of the original, it would blow away those who've never been challenged with the decision of whether or not to enter the nucleus of the atom itself. dare i go that far? noo.. no.. or possibly.. yessss

DodgerJon said...

This ride was tragically flawed. The sets were cheap and cheesy... and how can anyone relate to an atom?

The best part of the ride -- as a kid -- was the notion of being shrunk down to nothing.

Now THAT'S an idea: being shrunk down in a representation of THE REAL WORLD. Imagine a huge -- realistic looking -- foot about to smash your ride vehicle!

DodgerJon (from hollywoodthoughts. com)

Mitch said...

C'mon everyone, admit the real reason you want it back! It was the ultimate make-out ride. Sure, it was scary in 67 when I was 7, but by grad night in 78, that ride had a longer line than the Matterhorn! I think we rode it three times! Tomorrowland used to be the best spot in Disneyland and is now sorely dated. A new version of a classic ride would satisfy us boomers and everyone else too.

Darrin said...

Better yet, why not take out Star Tours and put ATIS back in its old home? I like Star Tours fine (though it could be updated), but the Star Wars theming at Tomorrow Land doesn't jive with my childhood memories of the place.

A new ATIS with state-of-the-art effects would be cool indeed, and the possibilities are boundless.

ATIS547 said...

Extremely good idea to bring back ATIS in an updated form, and it is consistent with the mindset that updated the Tiki Room in Florida rather than demolishing it. Relating the story to the "Lost Atommobiles" that never came "back on visual" is absolutely brilliant. It's actually better material to work with than a lot of the rides have.

Gina Draker Studio said...

Mr Banks - you are so right!

I have loved the idea of bringing Inner Space back - since it was tragically taken away from us. The long-suffering Honey I Shrunk the Kids never was a great thing to begin with. So, it is a brilliant idea to relocate it there.

Heck, the ORIGINAL DISNEYLAND CLASSICS are always going to loom larger than life in our memories, because they were that good.

So, what would Walt do? He would certainly be using the newest modern technology and innovative spirit of his designers to recreate them. And, what about storytelling? The main point in the classic rides are for me the AA figures. These give the guests the feel of the magic and work like actors or hosts. Are we tired of Pirates or Haunted Mansion?

We can only hope that those in charge now see what losers, aka Innovations, removing the rocket ships, The People Mover, Mission to Mars, etc - have done to the landscape of Walt's Tomorrowland.

However, I don't agree that Star Tours should be replaced. A variety of different ride/screen experiences for Star Tours should indeed be offered! And, as for Buzz Lightyear...well, pros and cons, as kids love it - my little daughter does, but she's in Kindergarten. So? Why not relocate it?

But as for Inner Space, just redesign the attraction with new technology and it would certainly feel fresh and modern. Hurry, please bring it back!

PS. - But why all this feedback about a 80's theme? What? Why 80's? The ride is so ultra 60's! That campy bit of the Space Age past (50's-60's) would seem cool now to the new updated attraction - but please, stop the all the hype about the 80's with this Disneyland classic.

Anonymous said...

My name is Zachary and I am 8 years old. I first heard about Adventure Through Innerspace by my brother's therapist Steven. He showed it to us on a video on Youtube. Can you please bring it back!!??! I would like it back because I want to shrink to the size of an atom and a big eye is looking at you and you don't know who it is. Can you take out Honey I Shrunk the Audience and make more room for Monsanto Adventure through? I hope you do.

Thank You,
Zachary

Anonymous said...

i could DEFFENITLY go without HISTA. the special effects dont work half the time, the theater hardly interacts with the audiance, and the storyline is flat. thay snould just give hista the boot and put in a updated version of atis. PUT THAT TEATERV BACK RIGHT WHERE YOU FOUND IT YOUNG MAN OF THE EXITS WONT LINE UP! get REAL! atis actualy fits in to tomorrowland.