[UPDATED NEWS BELOW] With movie fans and the internet buzzing with interest in TRON LEGACY, Disney enthusiast Jim Hill wrote an article recapping the planned and abandoned history of adding TRON attractions to the company’s theme parks in the 1980s. Hill covers the wide range of Walt Disney Imagineering plans to upgrade many areas of the park before getting down to the details about TRON material, concluding that most of the concepts remained sketchy in development but sincere in enthusiasm.
Proposals included installing a Tron ride-through attraction to replace the outdated Mission to Mars venue, and designing a Tron-style gaming area on the unused second floor of Disneyland’s Starcade in Anaheim. Other Tron-makeover attractions proposed essentially would have been rethemed technology developed by Imagineers for EPCOT rather than brand-new innovations inspired by the film itself. In the end, little of this came to fruition when TRON underperformed at box offices — eventually Imagineers created a ride-through projection tunnel for Tomorrowland’s People Mover which replayed LightCycle and action clips from the movie while guests watched from the slow-moving transportation vehicles. Naturally the Starcade became the Home of Tron video games but little effort was made to tie into the film itself.
Growing enthusiasm for TRON LEGACY among the original generation of fans and a new generation of CG-loving audiences has Disney Imagineers exploring ‘Blue Sky’ concepts within the newly expanded Tron universe, including a possible makeover of Disneyland’s same Starcade in Flynn’s Arcade fashion. Certainly the Anaheim resort’s Tomorrowland could use some new attractions reflecting the speed, action and imagination of TRON LEGACY, and a full-blown CG effects virtual attraction would make great Disney synergy if the film turns into a hit franchise for the studio. FilmEdge will monitor this story as it develops, meanwhile expect TRON LEGACY to make its initial presence known in Disney parks later this year.
[UPDATED] The appearance of TRON LEGACY in Disney theme parks is happening even faster than expected, as the Disney Parks Blog breaks the news that images of the Tron LightCycles will soon transform the look of Monorail trains at Walt Disney World.
These preview images hint and what will appear on the trains perhaps later this month: yellow and blue LightCycles speed ahead at the front of the Monorail, coloring the train in glowing hues of their jet walls as seen in the TRON LEGACY effects reel and teaser trailer. See another TRON Monorail photo in our FilmEdge article.
Be sure to visit the Disney Parks Blog for more details and full-size images, we recommend it!