Nine Things to Do in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland
A stroll through Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland is like a trip into the future. It’s not the real future, of course. Instead, it’s a better one dreamt up by the most creative Imagineers.
During a park visit to Magic Kingdom, you’ll want to spend a lot of time in this great, big beautiful tomorrow of a themed land. Here are nine things to do in Tomorrowland.
Beat Your Friends at Battery Reclamation
Okay, that sounds boring, but it’s the literal description of your task on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. This charming, addictive game pits you against your friend in a Buzz Lightyear-themed attraction.
It seems that the villainous Emperor Zurg invented a new scheme for intergalactic domination.
Should Zurg acquire enough batteries, he can power his spaceship fleet and enslave the universe. You, as a Star Command recruit, are all that stands in his way.
You get to aim a laser and fire at targets throughout the attraction. Plus, there’s a lever that will spin your ride cart, thereby driving your co-pilot/frenemy crazy.
I had my wife defeated last time. Then, she *ahem* asked me to stop spinning our spaceship. After that, she came back and won. The moral of the story: mercy is for the weak, even at the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Catch a Sonny Eclipse Concert
My love of Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café belies my age. Even though this place wasn’t open when I was a kid, I love it like a five-year-old. At Cosmic Ray’s, an Audio-Animatronic named Sonny Eclipse puts on a music show.
He sings classic tunes like Planetary Boogie, Starlight Soup and Salad, and Yew Nork, Yew Nork. It’s impossibly juvenile and silly and everything that a Disney Quick Service restaurant should be. No, the food isn’t anything special, but the spectacle more than makes up for the cuisine.
Drive down Tomorrowland Speedway
Only the most diehard of Disney fans know that Autopia once anchored Disneyland. Kids adored the pretend-driving experience so much that Imagineers constructed three different versions of the attraction.
At Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland Speedway claims the status of a day one attraction, meaning that it’s been at the park since the beginning. While the notion of a child driving a car simulator seems antiquated, kids still love it. And many adults enjoy its kitschy charms, too.
Fill a Canister with Laughter
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor embraces the ending of Monsters, Inc. The shocking reveal in the movie is that laughter is a more potent source of fuel than fear. So, Monsters have a new job: making children laugh.
Disney operates this attraction as a kind of improv comedy routine. Cast members get hot mics and voice characters from the movie.
The goal is to fill up a canister with laughter, which happens every show. Why? Kids can’t help themselves during this giggle-fest. They love watching animated characters make fun of adults.
Since the show is, by nature, different each time, parents have a blast, too. In fact, I still crack up at a memory. An incredibly accomplished friend once excitedly texted me to brag. Laugh Floor had used the joke that he’d submitted. He’s had real achievements in life, but THAT was a moment worthy of self-fulfillment in his estimation.
Look at Progress City
The Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover embodies the themed land’s premise of a “Tomorrow that will never be.” Functionally, this cart ride works as Tomorrowland’s Greatest Hits, carrying the PeopleMover past all of the attractions in the area. However, the real appeal of the attraction stems from its origins.
When Walt Disney revealed the Progress City model for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, he showed two primary forms of transportation. The monorail would carry guests across vast distances, while the PeopleMover would take care of the intracity travel needs.
Since Disney died soon afterward, none of that ever happened. Thankfully, critical remnants of the idea are on display in Tomorrowland.
Early in the ride, the PeopleMover transports guests by the original Progress City model. While you’re on the PeopleMover, you get a taste of the E.P.C.O.T. of Uncle Walt’s dreams. It’s one of the reasons why this is my favorite attraction at Magic Kingdom.
Meet Buzz Lightyear
Magic Kingdom frequently hosts a Pixar dance party in Tomorrowland. During this show, you can sometimes dance with Pixar characters like Mike, Sully, and The Incredibles.
Alas, this party isn’t always available. However, Disney does host a character greeting in the area that will put a smile on the face of any child. Buzz Lightyear welcomes guests at a spot between Space Ranger Spin and Carousel of Progress.
Star Jets wasn’t quite an opening day attraction at Magic Kingdom. It showed up in 1974, a year before Tomorrowland’s most significant ride would arrive. Disney eventually changed the name to Astro Orbiter, but the visual has remained impressive for 45 years now.
This attraction shows a version of our solar system, with a spacecraft themed to circle the region. It’s basically a plane in outer space, and the straightforward spinner ride has thrilled guests for generations now. Plus, the park view from here is truly spectacular.
Spin around the Carousel of Progress
One ride at Walt Disney World bears Uncle Walt’s fingerprints more than all the others. At Tomorrowland, you can watch Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, which is the identical attraction that dazzled visitors at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
As part of his conditions for building the ride, Disney demanded something unusual. He asked the sponsor, General Electric, to pay to ship it to the Happiest Place on Earth. In 1975, Imagineers transferred it to the East Coast, where it has remained to this day.
While Disney sometimes updates the final scene and adds new touches on the other ones, the core of Carousel of Progress has remained untouched since Walt Disney died. For this reason, it’s the most crucial ride at Tomorrowland to many theme park historians.
To a more significant point, guests rarely have to wait for either the PeopleMover or this attraction, both of which hint at the future Walt Disney imagined. People in search of thrill rides tend to overlook them, but they’re the heart of Magic Kingdom to many Imagineers.
Take a Ride at the Star Port
Disney cloned most of the earliest attractions at Magic Kingdom from Disneyland concepts. Even the first headline-grabbing ride at Walt Disney World technically has its roots in Anaheim.
Imagineers came up with the idea of an indoor roller coaster while Walt Disney was still alive. Unfortunately, computer technology at the time lacked the power needed for the ride.
Disney couldn’t build its Starport Seventy-Five until, well, 1975. By that point, Imagineers had changed the name to Space Mountain, and the rest is theme park history. Each time you enter this building, you’re walking into the place that proved that Walt Disney World was more than Disneyland’s younger sibling.
Even though a new roller coaster will soon become the alpha at Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland, Space Mountain will always have a place here. It’s the most famous roller coaster ever built. No visit to Tomorrowland is complete without taking a journey to Starport. It’s the perfect way to end your trip into the future.