10 September 2007

Around the World - Whether you're a humaniod, a robot, or a alien passenger

Yes, like you I run to one of the Disney Mountains the second they let me go into a park, but those are not my favorite rides, I just know that the lines are going to get long, and fast. The one attraction I must do every visit to the Magic Kingdom is the WEDway Peoplemover. What, they changed the name in 1994? Okay, fine, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority to most of you. If I don’t find a way onto the TTA I feel like I betray something. Sure, some people call this attraction, and rightfully so, the Napmobile, but for those of us interested in story there is none finer than the TTA. From development to back-story, there are a bevy of stories that lay ready to disclose their secrets.

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority runs on linear induction. Now, I don’t want to get to technical and fry your brains, after all it is a Monday and we all have a long week ahead of us, and to be honest I’ve read a lot about it, and even I don’t really understand the science enough, but here are the basics. A linear motor uses AC electric motor to create linear force instead of torque. In the case of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, this force is used as propulsion along with a magnetic field. Now, I may have severely butchered what linear induction is. If that is the case, please let me know because, again, I’ve read a lot about it, but don’t really understand the science, which was never my strong point. I have been trying to find information like Linear Induction for Dummies or a layman’s guide to linear induction but I have had no luck.

So, let’s take a walk, or ride, through the attraction and find some of the true gems it has hidden for us treasure seekers. You’ll notice that the cars you are riding in are blue, which is because this particular branch of the Authority is the Blue Line. The Blue Line is meant to travel only within the city of Tomorrowland itself. But there are actually two other lines, Red and Green Lines, that supposedly could take you to other locales. The Red Line, for instance, is for interplanetary travel, for that perfect vacation to Mars. The Green Line would be more used by daily commuters rather than tourists as it would take them to the surrounding suburbs, no, excuse me, “Hover-burbs.” Traces of the other two lines can be found throughout Tomorrowland, as we as on the Blue Line itself.

Now, as you first begin the trip it the Tomorrowland Transit Authority is touted as the Super Skyway. As casual as that observation is, there is a secret hidden there. The Skyway was a ride that took you from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland, and vice versa, in covered “bucket” or gondola type vehicles. When the Skyway closed in 1999 it left only the TTA as elevated transport in the parks, though it only had one station to board and disembark from. One can logically assume the Super part of the Super Skyway was due to the technology the TTA used and the speed at which it could safely travel.

There are lovely references to previous Tomorrowland, not to mention Epcot, attractions along the way here. At one point a Mr. Tom Morrow is asked to give his party from Saturn a ring (pun imagineered for your groans ladies and gentlemen). Tom Morrow, as in tomorrow, was the man in charge at Flight to the Moon, an attraction that used to occupy the site where Stitch’s Great Escape now rests. Additionally, Tom Morrow 2.0 is a host at Innoventions in Epcot. But Tom isn’t the only character to make a jump from the Flight to the Moon site. Flight to the Moon became Mission to Mars, and the head honcho changed from Tom Morrow to Mr. Johnson. These days Mr. Johnson can still be heard on the TTA giving the traffic report. So if this Tomorrowland is truly the Tomorrow that Never Was, it has certainly learned a thing or two from its past tomorrows that never were.

The piece of the TTA that is most near and dear to my heart is the model city. Some call it Progressland, some call it the original Epcot, but the Tomorrowland Transit Authority calls it Walt Disney’s 20th Century Vision for the Future. This was Walt’s dream, the city of tomorrow. Though the piece here is only a quarter of the original model, it gives you an idea of the scope of the dream, and just how meticulous Walt was in planning of everything he did. The model is presented by the Tomorrowland Metro-Retro Society. If that name sounds familiar, it should. The Society not only sponsors this treasure of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, it also sponsors the Carousel of Progress and the now extinct Take Flight. Take Flight, incidentally, was originally Delta’s Dreamflight, but the name was changed, along with the sponsor, when Delta left.

Some of you may not be looking for small details, you may just want to enjoy the ride, and that’s okay by me. In fact, if you are taking children, I recommend that the Transit Authority be one of your first stops in Tomorrowland. The TTA’s path travels through attractions like Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, giving parents an excellent idea as to whether or not those attractions are suitable for their family.

So, to all of you interplanetary travelers out there, feel free to skip the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Or, if you’re so incline, take a light snooze through the attraction; the cast members will probably even let you take an extra trip or two if you need a longer nap. But, as for me, I’ll keep my eyes to the future that never was, because there are some awfully exciting things to see on the Blue Line.

Hidden Mickey Alert: The woman getting her hair done along one of the interior tunnels has a Hidden Mickey on her belt buckle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Take Flight was preceded by Dreamflight, true. But the real classic was the original If You Had Wings that opened on that site in 1972. With it's 5th Dimension style theme song and sponsored at least part of the time by Eastern Airlines, the official WDW airlines of the day. This atraction was WDW's answer to Disneyland's awesome Adventure Through Inner Space.