Tesla In Tomorrowland? Only Time Will Tell…
I dislike the Tomorrowland Speedway.
I know, I know. I am your friendly neighborhood Disney-blogger, and I am not supposed to reveal, nevermind revel in, a negative notion. But hey, I’m human, and I don’t love walking through Tomorrowland smelling internal combustion engines.
Nor do I like having my children ask to sit in long lines to drive a go-cart around.
Walt Disney said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
Well, having that in mind, there’s little positive to say about Henry Ford’s original design inhabiting the space intended to represent “a future”; or at least a possible future.
But, ostensibly, Tomorrowland portends a future in which monorails, people movers, and futuristic design are incompatible with Earth polluting gas guzzlers.
The Tesla Rumor
Sure, I recently saw the rumors of Tesla’s entree into Walt Disney World. But I also saw WDW’s retort.
Hi, there! Thank you for your sharing your interest in Tomorrowland. Please know this information is not true.
— Walt Disney World Today (@WDWToday) July 15, 2019
One of the original reports — from electrek — said:
Tesla is reportedly in discussions with Disney to sponsor and make the Tomorrowland Speedway electric in a new partnership to promote electric transport.
The Tomorrowland Speedway is a ride at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida where kids can take the wheel of a gas-powered go-kart to drive along a scenic track.
According to a report from Just Disney, a news site about all things Disney, Tesla is talking with the entertainment company to sponsor the racing attraction and make it electric:
‘Our sources inside the company are giving us whispers of Elon Musk meeting with top execs on how Tesla would truly put visitors behind the wheel of all electric vehicles. Tesla would sponsor the speedway and surrounding stadium and give guests the true vision of “driving in the future”.’
The report states that Disney would change its gas-powered go-karts to electric vehicles, which would have a Tesla logo on them.
To reiterate, Disney World replied to that report, “Please know this information is not true…”
But here’s a new thought bubble out of Orlando Weekly.
Lance Hart of Screamscape has stated that the Tesla rumor might’ve been an intentional “leak.” Hart opines “the whole ‘leak’ of the story could have been on purpose as part of some kind of negotiation tactic between GM and Disney over a renewal of their sponsorship. Always best to negotiate from a position of power, and letting GM know that Tesla could be waiting in the next room to sign their own deal if GM balks is a pretty good incentive.”
GM is currently the “official vehicle company” of WDW thanks to a sponsorship that is tied to Epcot’s Test Track. Disney sponsorships are typically 10-year-long contracts, with the first taking place in 1999. When the renewal was up in 2009, GM was in the middle of a U.S. government-led bailout and was in no position to negotiate a decade-long sponsorship. According to Hart and other insiders, Disney recognized that the global recession meant they wouldn’t be able to get any type of long-term sponsorship, so instead they paused the negotiations. GM ultimately recommitted to the original sponsorship in 2012 when Disney announced the current version of Test Track.
What is unclear is whether the 2012 sponsorship kept the original dates for GM having its Chevrolet brand featured on the attraction. If so, that would mean the GM sponsorship would be ending this year. If not, the sponsorship will likely continue until 2022. Either way, a sponsorship with a different car company seems highly unlikely until the current GM sponsorship deal expires. That being said, Tesla does manufacture more than just cars; a Tesla battery or solar panel sponsorship is possible, though Tesla shuns traditional advertising so any such sponsorship would come as a bit of a surprise.
And, as Storey wrote, file all of this under wishful thinking.
- Tomorrowland Speedway, DisneyWorld.com
- Tesla to make Tomorrowland electric in new partnership with Disney, sources say, electrek.com
- Tesla is NOT partnering with Disney for Tomorrowland’s Speedway attraction, teslarati.com
- Is Tesla headed to Tomorrowland? Disney says no, but there might be more to this rumor, OrlandoWeekly.com