|Opening date||July 17, 1955|
Tomorrowland is one of the five original "lands" of Disneyland, themed to the future and outer space. It opened along with the park on July 17, 1955, and had its largest overhaul in 1967, and was modified again in 1998. It is home to major attractions such as Space Mountain and Star Tours.
Tomorrowland was the last land to complete construction, with several of its attractions not yet ready to open with the rest of the park on July 17, 1955, such as Rocket to the Moon. A majority of the initial attractions in the original Tomorrowland were corporate exhibits, such as the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry and the Dutch Boy Paint Gallery. Major attractions were not exempt from this either. Richfield Oil sponsored Autopia, Trans World Airlines sponsored Rocket to the Moon, and American Motors sponsored Circarama. The Nautilus submarine from the 1954 film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was an exhibit all on its own, an attraction that lasted until 1966. In 1956, the Skyway aerial gondola lift was added, providing transport to Fantasyland.
In 1957, the Monsanto House of the Future opened near the entrance to Tomorrowland, adjacent to Circarama.
In 1959, Tomorrowland received several major new attractions: the Disneyland-ALWEG Monorail System, the Matterhorn Bobsleds (now officially a Fantasyland attraction), and Submarine Voyage. All three attractions still operate today in some form or another. The Disneyland-ALWEG Monorail was the first monorail system in the entire western hemisphere, though only operated as a sightseeing attraction until 1961, when the track was extended to the Disneyland Hotel, adding a second station, making the attraction a legitimate transportation system.
On July 2, 1967, an updated, rebuilt Tomorrowland celebrated its grand opening. The new Tomorrowland featured such additions as Adventure Thru Inner Space, an updated Autopia, Carousel of Progress, Circle-Vision 360°, PeopleMover, Rocket Jets, and Tomorrowland Terrace, in addition to the Disneyland Monorail System, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Monsanto House of the Future (which closed shortly after, however), Rocket to the Moon (by this time operating as Flight to the Moon), Skyway, and Submarine Voyage, all from the previous incarnation of Tomorrowland. A massive new thrill ride, Space Mountain was planned for this new Tomorrowland, but was shelved after the 1966 death of Walt Disney. In 1973, Carousel of Progress closed and was moved to Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in 1975, where it still operates today. In 1974, America Sings, a humorous show featuring the history of American music, opened in its place. In 1975, Flight to the Moon was replaced by Mission to Mars.
In 1977, Disneyland finally opened its own version of Space Mountain, which had found success two years earlier at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. However, unlike the Magic Kingdom version, Disneyland's Space Mountain featured only one track instead of two. Larger trains, seating 12 guests instead of 8, however, made up for the lost capacity. Space Mountain opened along with the Starcade video arcade.
In 1987, Star Tours, a Star Wars-themed attraction, opened, replacing ATIS. Star Tours places riders in an intergalactic spacecraft piloted by the neurotic Captain Rex (voiced by Paul Reubens), on a flight to Endor gone awry.
In 1988, America Sings closed, allowing a majority of its Audio-Animatronic animal characters to be reused for the soon-to-open Splash Mountain. Two geese characters had been removed the previous year, stripped down, and placed in Star Tours as droids G2-4T and G2-9T.
By the 1990s, several Tomorrowland attractions began to close. Mission to Mars met its demise in 1992, with the PeopleMover closing in 1995, and Circle-Vision 360° and the Rocket Jets following in 1997. The latter three closed in preparation for a new Tomorrowland, the first overhaul in over 30 years.
1998 saw the opening of an updated Tomorrowland, with the theme now focusing on retrofuturism, similar to Disneyland Paris' Discoveryland. The blue and white paint scheme gave way to gold and brown, for a Jules Verne inspired look. New additions included Astro Orbitor, Cosmic Waves, Innoventions, Rocket Rods, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, The American Space Experience, the Observatron, and Redd Rockett's Pizza Port. Autopia, the Disneyland Monorail, Space Mountain, Starcade, Star Tours, Submarine Voyage, and Tomorrowland Terrace all remained with mostly only cosmetic changes. The former Circle-Vision 360° attraction still remained, though as a part of the Rocket Rods queue. The new Tomorrowland was plagued by budget cuts and is considered by many Disneyland fans to be a failure.
Rocket Rods, the centerpiece of the New Tomorrowland, faced problems from the start, as it was a high-speed attraction which ran on the former tracks of the slow-moving PeopleMover. Budget cuts eliminated the possibility for banked turns, which required the Rocket Rod vehicles to brake before every significant turn. This constant accelerating and braking took its toll on the vehicles, leading to the ride being closed for much of its first summer. The attraction eventually reopened, but closed again in September 2000 for refurbishment with the promise that the ride would open in Spring 2001, when it was expected that many of the attraction's problems would be fixed, but no work was done at all. In April 2001, Disney finally admitted that the ride would never reopen.
The Observatron is a kinetic sculpture utilizing the ride system of the former Rocket Jets attraction, replacing the rockets with faux satellite dishes. Every 15 minutes, the Observatron would play music and move, though the sculpture has worked sporadically over the years. The classic Submarine Voyage attraction closed in September 1998, due to reportedly high operational cost. Two other New Tomorrowland attractions had short lives: the Cosmic Waves, a series of walkthrough fountains, was removed around 2002. The American Space Experience closed in 2003.
In April of 2003, Space Mountain closed suddenly to begin work on a long-rumored complete refurbishment and rebuild of the attraction. In October, the mountain was repainted back to its original white.
For Disneyland's 50th Anniversary, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters opened in the former Circle-Vision 360°/Rocket Rods queue building, and an all-new Space Mountain reopened. Much of the land's brown and gold paint scheme was eliminated, with a new blue, silver, and white scheme being implemented since then, combined with some of the 1998 elements. Even the abandoned PeopleMover/Rocket Rods tracks were painted to match the rest of the land. The Astro Orbitor was one of the few remnants of the 1998 paint scheme, but was repainted with a predominantly silver finish in 2009. In 2007, the Submarine Voyage reopened as the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, themed to the 2003 Disney/Pixar film, Finding Nemo. As of October 2009, the PeopleMover/Rocket Rods tracks have remained unused for 9 years, leading to much fan speculation and rumor regarding its future.
Attractions and Entertainment
- Astro Orbitor
- Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
- Captain EO Tribute
- Disneyland Monorail
- Disneyland Railroad
- Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
- Jedi Training Academy
- Space Mountain
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
- The World Beneath Us (1955-1960)
- Circarama (1955-1997)
- Circle-Vision 360 (1955-1997, re-themed as Rocket Rods)
- Skyway to Fantasyland (1956-1994)
- The Viewliner (1957-1958)
- Monsanto House of the Future (1957-1967)
- Submarine Voyage (1959-1998)
- Flying Saucers (1961-1966)
- Carousel of Progress (1967-1973)
- Adventure Thru Inner Space (1967-1985)
- PeopleMover (1967-1995)
- Rocket Jets (1967-1997)
- America Sings (1974-1988)
- Mission to Mars (1975-1992)
- Magic Journeys (1984-1986)
- Wonders of China (1984-1996)
- Star Tours (1986-2010)
- Toy Story Funhouse and Hamm's All-Doll Revue (1996)
- Rocket Rods (1998-2001)
- Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (1998-2010)
- America the Beautiful
- Art Corner
- The Art of Animation
- Flight to the Moon
- Phantom Boats
- Little Green Men Store Command
- Star Trader