After wandering down from Toontown, we made our way into Futuristic Retro Rewind that is Tomorrowland! We had fast passes for Autopia later on in the afternoon and wanted to catch the Jedi Training Sessions before taking a ride through Californian freeways. Tomorrowland, in 1955, was built to give guests a glimpse of what the imagined future would be like through different rides and experiences. The design of Tomorrowland was inspired by the dreamers and visionary scientists of the 20's and 30's and their different futuristic innovations and ideas. Disney refers to Tomorrowland as "Future That Never Was" and Newsweek has dubbed it the "retro-future" since we all know the real "future" that came to be didn't end up looking a lot like the various contraptions that these historic creators thought up.
Ever since Disney acquired the Marvel and Star Wars properties they have started intorducing these amazing stories and characters into this part of the park since they fit right in into the sci-fi theme of Tomorrowland. The Jedi Training Session was pretty silly but if you have little kids that are a fan of the franchise or if you a big Star Wars nerd like me, it's worth the 20 minutes of your time for an entertaining bit of fun! Plus, it's a nice little break for you to take in the afternoon sun when you're getting tired and need a little time off your feet.
The show is staged in the Tomorrowland Terrance and gives little kids the chance to take part in the show as well. About 30 recruits train with their Jedi Masters to fight with light sabers to battle against Darth Vader and the forces of evil. Most of the show is a little dull but there are some funny moment watching the kids try to follow along with the Jedi Masters light saber fencing "moves". The end of the show is the best part when Darth Vader along with a bunch of storm Trooper and even Darth Maul all arrive to preform a short fight routine which is very entertaining and even exciting to watch. The kids who participate get a diploma after they've completed their training so it's a real treat for kids who are lucky enough to get to take part in the show.
After we finished up at the Jedi Theatre we headed over to Autopia for our fast pass tickets. The giant over passes brought up over the cars that zoomed underneath and we excitedly ran up to the gates where we could enter to get into our cars. Before you get into the cars you can even pick up paper drivers licenses to fill out in line. Just another one of those little details that makes this place incredible.
Autopia, for the those of us who get a little motion sickness, is the big draw for Tomorrowland. But let's be honest, it's more meant for the younger audiences. That being said, it's a perfectly relaxing ride across an elaborate miniature freeway in a gasoline powered car that travels at speeds up to SEVEN miles an hour! You pass by lovely retro road signs and get to ride in sleek, brightly coloured cars that weave along manicured roads. Little kids love this ride but if they're too small to reach the peddle, you'll need an adult in the car to ride in the seat that powers the peddle and the child will have the sit in the driver's seat to steer. That can make for a pretty hilarious ride but we had a great time with it!
Although there's not much for the driver to control, they might need a little help around the corners. Either way, I find this ride really zen and a wonderful journey through California's forests.
After Autopia, we headed into the Innoventions building. Innoventions is one of the newest buildings in Disneyland, opened in July, 1998. It focuses on different futuristic technologies set up throughoutt various exhibitions in a large carousel theatre.
One of the most exciting things that happened for the Innoventions building that was dwindling in popularity, was the arrival of the Marvel franchise to Disney. Now, various Marvel themed exhibits have revitalised this buildings attractions. One of the most interesting exhibits here was the Iron Man "Suit Up" Exhibition were you can see all the different iterations of the Iron Man suits as well as virtually step into a set of Tony Stark's suit of armor. There is a also a meet and greet room with Thor where you can introduce yourself to the man from Asgard himself. There, you can also view different props from the film which really lets you see an insider's view of the film as well as behind the scenes sneak peaks of stuff to come. Now with the new Captain America movie you can even get some face to face time with the Captain himself as well. It's great to see these characters interact with each other and the other characters in the park as well. They might be from different worlds but seeing them talk about each other is really funny. Be sure to ask Thor about his opinions on the Princesses!
These were all the rides we had time for in Tomorrowland but I wanted to talk quickly about the ones we missed since there are some great rides here not be to be missed both for entertainment and aesthetic reasons! The Astro Orbitor might not be the most exciting ride (it's pretty much just an amped up Dumbo ride) but it one of the most beautiful ones to look at and to me, represents the best of that "futurist retro" design.
The most famous, and probably the most popular ride in the park, is SPACE MOUNTAIN! I knew that there was no chance I was going on this ride (since I'm much to susceptible to motion sickness) but I was so curious about what all the hype was about surrounding this ever so historic ride! Space Mountain is an indoor steel roller coaster that opened in 1977. The ride is essentially a slightly more upscale version of a Wild Mouse roller coaster. There are no huge drops are giant swooping hills as it's all enclosed in a building but there are fast, unexpected turns and small, quick drops. What does make this ride so popular with guests and keeps it so memorable in people's minds is the experience you get while riding it. Disney knew that it couldn't make huge rides but it did know that it could focus on the experience you got while inside the rides they could build. And that's what they did.
You beginning in a space port and then board the rocket that takes you off into space where you'll see stretches of the galaxy swirl out all around you as you journey through space. The music combined with the projected visuals is an intoxicating and amazingly realistic experience. There is a real artistry to the whole experience in what might be thought of as just a thrill ride.
The one ride I'm really disappointed I missed is Astro Blasters. This is mainly because I didn't really understand what this ride was. I guess from the name I should have gotten it but I didn't and it's too bad. The Buzz Lightyears Astro Blaster's ride is actually more of a video game inspired attraction than just a normal ride. For some reason I thought it was one of those motion simulators, maybe I was thinking of Star Tours, so I gave it an immediate pass. But no, it's not like that at all! The ride is a combination between carnival shooting gallery and dark ride. The ride is based loosely on the storyline from the movie "Toy Story 2" and you and your ride partner have to attempt to stop the Evil Emperor Zurg from stealing batteries to power the space vehicles of the "Little Green Men". You use laser guns to shoot various markers in the ride to gain points, all of which are tallied up and provided to you at the end of the ride which is such a great treat to get to see at the end of the ride!
Depending on score you received you will get a different ranking. Level 1 = Star Cadet, Level 2 = Space Ace, Level 3 = Planetary Pilot etc... You are even photographed during play and at the end of the game you can send an e-card with your score and your picture to someone or even just to yourself. It's a nice, and a free, souvenir to keep from Disneyland! This will for sure be on my list for next time!
After checking out the gift shop in Tomorrowland and looking at the cool Star Wars make your own, customizable light sabers, we decided it was time for dinner. Before we knew it, the sun was setting and it was almost time for the FIREWORK SHOW!!!
That's on the next and final installment! Our day in Disneyland was almost over! Can you believe all the amazing things we did! What was your favourite?! What's your must ride attraction in Disneyland? Let me know in the comments!