Saturday, February 4, 2023

Disneyland's Tomorrowland

Among the rest of Disneyland's themed areas, Tomorrowland is often seen as in a confused state, stuck in limbo due to a lack of investment. I certainly understand that point, but I also enjoyed seeing the layers of Tomorrowland history that have sometimes just been left abandoned.
Like the old Peoplemover track! Even though it's a real shame that this attraction is a thing of the past, I could appreciate just seeing the elevated track as a fan of Disneyland history.
Although Tomorrowland 1967 has mostly been erased from existence, I’m glad that these mid-century walls flanking the land’s entrance remain. If there is ever another new Tomorrowland, these should stay untouched.
The Matterhorn fits better in Fantasyland, but I'm including it here since it's right on the border with Tomorrowland.
I was looking forward to riding this coaster mainly from a historical standpoint, and the ride did not disappoint. Yes, it is very rough (the rest of my family was not a fan), but I expected that given it was Arrow’s first coaster.
The first coaster with tubular steel track might feel like you’re riding down stairs in a shopping cart to some people, but in a weird way, that’s the kind of roller coaster I enjoy.
I don’t know how the current bobsleds compare to how the coaster used to ride, but I didn’t find the bumps to take away from the experience in any great way.
I was amazed by how the Monorail rides so close to the ground around the Matterhorn, narrowly cutting between Alice and the mountain.
I wonder where this murder of crows (?) is going. Perhaps they are hoping to invade the Tiki Room and put it under new management.

I love how this view is unlike anything you’re able to see at Walt Disney World, especially with the huge palm trees.
Although the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage hadn’t reopened yet during our visit, we were able to watch the subs circling the lagoon. I really wish I had gotten to ride this historic attraction, but given such a large refurbishment, I am assuming that it is here to stay.

The atmosphere and kinetic energy provided by the slowly moving subs is great, but they were just tantalizing me!
In the background, you can see that some lucky Cast Members were receiving previews of the newly-refurbished attraction.
The Disneyland Monorail is quirky, nothing like the Monorail network in Florida. But being quaint and historic--just like much of Disneyland--is never a bad thing.
I took this picture by it's a small world near sunset, with the Monorail cruising over the old Motor Boat Cruise dock.
I rode the Monorail once, and we were forced to get off at the Downtown Disney station even though there was no one in line.
The Monorail’s winding course above the Autopia is delightfully confusing, a reminder of when the attraction was limited to this stretch of beam way.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the Autopia as much as I did. It brought back memories of riding the old Turnpike ride at Kennywood, with its similar overpasses and wooded setting. It’s definitely the best ride of its kind out there, and I would miss it if it were ever to close.
Autopia: adding to the smoggy California air for more than 65 years
The greenery on the Autopia really sets it apart from the decidedly lamer Tomorrowland Speedway in Florida.
There was no way that I was going to miss seeing this Disneyland historical remnant: the three fences! Three different eras of Disneyland's history converge here, with the oldest (in the rear) dating back to the 1950s. I was in star-struck awe of being in a place where Disneyland history is so alive!! 
Some corners of Disneyland, like the Tomorrowland Railroad Station, may have been masked by new facades or signs put into place over the past 60 years, but it’s not hard to see that their bones are still largely from the 1950s.
I understand that Tomorrowland Station was meant to shield the old steam trains from the then-futuristic world of 1986 (as portrayed in 1958). It still does its job all these years later.
Of course I had to take a picture of the Peoplemover body on the Buzz Lightyear gift shop cash register. I shook my fist and yelled something at the cast member about the credit card terminal on top of a Peoplemover car being symbolic of Paul Pressler's money-hungry greed, but she didn't seem to get what I was saying. ;-)
I spent very little time in Galaxy’s Edge, but I need to tag a few pictures onto this post. Rise of the Resistance blew me away like no ride has ever done before. I went in almost spoiler-free (it’s impossible to avoid seeing pictures of the AT-AT scene), so the simulator/drop tower finale astounded me, and the rest of the ride felt like I was in a completely different place. Racing through the show building corridors, it’s obvious that this ride is on a scale that is many times grander than any other attraction Disney has built. It is really the modern crown jewel of Disneyland’s dark rides, a collection that may be the best in the world.
After riding Rise of the Resistance, the Millennium Falcon attraction felt like somewhat of a downgrade, but it’s a solid simulator in its own right. What made it really special was the fact that there are six people in my family, meaning we filled every seat in the capsule. I told my youngest sister to sit where you pull the lever to jump to hyperspace, and we actually worked together pretty well as a team. For once.
I had to scout out the last remaining piece of the House of the Future. No one else seemed to understand my excitement for some reason. ;-) Seriously, you would never guess this was here if you didn’t know exactly where to look.
Nothing could prepare me for Space Mountain, as YouTube videos can never imitate a roller coaster in the dark. I was amazed at the ride's length, especially given that its building is so much smaller than the Space Mountain in Florida.
The first part of the ride's queue feels like it's right out of the 70s, but once you get inside, the space-themed decor feels less dated.
I could have stood in the Space Mountain queue watching the rockets dispatch all day. Disney is in a league all its own when it comes to efficiency and capacity. The most amazing thing to me was how there was a transfer track just for disabled guests, taking the trains off the main track for quicker loading.
In a land that seems to be in a constant identity crisis, it's a safe bet that Space Mountain will always be a constant.
Gazing off to Space Mountain in the distance, we can make out the Santa Ana Mountains, which you can barely see anywhere in the park.
Next post will be a full look at Disneyland after dark, but for now, here’s a moody picture of the Astro Orbitor. Most things at Disneyland look better after dark (even the abandoned Peoplemover track)!