Friday, February 17, 2006

A very limp weenie...

An entire website could be created dedicated solely to the giant misstep that is Disneyland's 'New' Tomorrowland but for now let's just talk about one of the many elements that make it a mess.

Walt often talked about the 'weenie' at the end of a road to draw you into an environment; the castle at the end of Main Street, the Riverboat in the distance as you enter Frontierland and, until recently, the Rocket Jets swirling high in the air at the far end of Tomorrowland.

Though similar to the Dumbo's Flight attraction in Fantasyland, the Rocket Jets were several stories up in the air and, once onboard, the experience was wonderfully unnerving as you spun high above Tomorrowland.

For no apparent reason the current powers that be lowered the rockets off their perch and slapped the contraption on terra firma right in front of the entrance to Tomorrowland. Gone is the vista. Gone is the clean open space. Gone is the thrill of spiraling over the rooftops of Tomorrowland. Gone is the gleeming white rocket spire far in the distance that drew you into Tomorrowland. Now the ride is the exact same experience as Dumbo's Flight with the added benefit of being in one of the worst places imaginable for a ride of this sort.

As if the line waiting to ride the wimpy new Rocket Jets didn't crimp the flow into Tomorrowland enough, designers also crowded the entrance alongside the ride with several large 'future-rocks' that have the added benefit of blocking whatever remaining vista was left of what was once an awesome peek into a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.

It's time to put the put the Rocket Jets back where they belong.


Anonymous said...

I like the attraction. I just don't like where it's located. And I can't figure out why they didn't put it where the old rocket jets were. Oh, yeah...they were afraid it wouldn't hold up with all the stress the ill-fated rocket rods would generate. Oh yeah, there's some thinking ahead. And whoops, didn't the Rocket Rods cause structural damage in all the buildings it zipped through? How about spending some money on R&D? How about figuring this stuff out in advance? I'm not even an engineer and could have told you that.

Karl Elvis said...

Oh, god you're so right. While the new Rocket Jets ride looks interesting on first glance, with each trip I find I hate it more. Tomorrowland is the least interesting place in Disneyland now; cluttered, artistically confused, empty and sort of pointless. The retro-Gernsback-Verne concept is great if you remake the whole of tomorrowland as in WDW, but here it's so utterly, deeply out of place that it makes tomorrowland an eyesore.

When I was a kid, Tomorrowland was my favorite part of the park. The Submarines and Innerspace, I could spend all day on. Now - I walk in and walk out thinking, why did I come in here?

Anonymous said...

Yep it was a thrill ride up in the air , I can remember my aprehensive ride up the elevator anticipating soaring above tommorrowland , now its just hohum and in my way trying to enter the land along with the jagged rocks.
Due to my age I sometimes wonder if my perspective is a bit jadded on the land but asking younger DL family guest they arent excited about this land either.My oldest daughter whos 25 still remembers the rocket jets up high and does not have any warm feeling towards the new ones. Put them back up high to serve as a weenie and as an exciting Disney stamped adventure.

Anonymous said...

There's absolutely no reason why Tomorrowland shouldn't be the coolest land in each of the Magic Kingdoms. Yet they each seem to be struggling to find their identities. There's been a very Fantasyland-like creep in recent attractions; I love Monsters, Inc but it doesn't belong in Tomorrowland.

The Rocket Jets should be returned to their place of prominence, above the loading platform for a renewed PeopleMover.

The importance of old-school concepts like the 'weenie' show how many things WED got right back in the day, and how WDI is harmed by ridding itself of links to the past and simply hiring MBA's who have no concept of Imagineering historically.


Pragmatic Idealist said...

I don't especially care for any stylized, carnival-style attractions (like the Rocket Jets and the Astro Orbiter) inside the literal fiction of Disneyland. So, in that respect, it's probably better that the orbitals are not in the very center of Tomorrowland.

I would be happy if the damnable thing was just shorter, though. It completely overwhelms Central Plaza right now. So, the top part of the spire should be lopped-off.

Anonymous said...

The first time I saw Tomorrowland after they had redone it I cried. Tomorrowland had always been such a special place, with the best ride in the park (Space Mountain) and everything was space themed and futuristic. When they changed it they discarded any vision of the future that I see. Tomorrowland was used to demonstrate what the world of tomorrow really could be like. Many people saw a microwave oven for the first time in the House of the Future, not even in Innoventions can people see something new.

Anonymous said...

I like the new Tommorrowland. Honestly, the old one was looking awfully dated. It'd be nice if they put the rockets back where they were before though. I meant to ride them on my last trip but forgot because they were up so high and "Out of site, out of mind." Tommorowland could use better attractions though. All I really enjoyed there last time was Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear's ride.

Anonymous said...

The Astro Orbitor in DL is an example of ego gone wild. Tony Baxter was in charge of the NTL '89 overhaul and "his"
version of the Rocket Jets attraction (from EDL) was too heavy
to be built atop the old Peoplemover station. So this overdressed, ripped off from "The Dark Crystal",
carnival ride was shoehorned into the available realestate by someone who should know better. Taller than Walt's castle right next door, with half it's animation broken for years and it's cheesy "plastic painted like metal" toy store finish,it clashes wildly with the rest of the hub. Not to mention the hidiously out of place rockwork that surrounds it, an obviously desperate atempt to somehow blend it all together.
Tear it down and give us the WDW Astro Orbitor or even the old Rocket Jets weenie with a new paint job. Put the Rocket Jets back where it belongs, atop the Peoplemover with a brand new 3rd generation Peoplemover winding below. Walt was not wrong about the placement of this kinetic and elevated as it was it was truly thrilling unlike the current grounded model.
And then tear out that f'in' toy store in front Small World and restore the old que.
And then...Western River Expedition at Big Thunder Ranch!

Anonymous said...

Some of the best memories I have of WDW are just walking into different sections of the park and going "WOW!" When I saw what they did to the Rocket Jets I just went "Blech."

Why? Why? Watching them soar abot Tomorrow Land was one of the highlights of the park. Now I feel like I am in a Mall watching those cheap kiddie rides.

David Arroyo said...

It was too heavy? I always figured the starjets would be in danger from the massive vibratioms of the Rocket rods. those RRs really shook everything they were passing.

Anonymous said...

rocket rods are returning

Anonymous said...

rocket rods are returning