24 May 2010

Highway in the sky

By now, we have all seen and heard of the Tronorail. I, for one, couldn’t wait to see the overlay in April after having witnessed countless photographs and viewing the concept art. It was my sole mission to not only see the Tronorail, but to take a journey aboard it. I have been incredibly psyched up about TRON: Legacy since I first got word of the production, and I have always wanted my own lightcycles to putter around town on, but placing this iconic image on the side of a monorail just looks cool.When I finally saw the Tronorail gliding overhead in Future World, I won’t lie, I was extremely giddy. My first ride aboard the Tronorail was as smooth as any other trip aboard a monorail sans-overlay. And, as the week wore on I became less and less enthusiastic about the sound of an approaching monorail, wondering with less frequency as to whether or not the monorail around the bend was, in fact, the Tronorail. However, with each glide by, I began to think more about the fleet of monorails themselves.

In the past several years we have seen Disneyland unveil a new fleet of monorails, whose design reflects the original style of the monorails. Stylish and 50s-futuristic, the Disneyland fleet exemplifies both variations of transportation and the history of the area it serves. In Walt Disney World, however, these monorails would look out of place, as the current exteriors, sleek and complete with striping, have always been the norm on any monorail pulling away from the Transportation and Ticket Center.Excluding, for the moment, the possibility of a new monorail fleet coming to Walt Disney World, the Tronorail and Disneyland’s updated fleet have given me, as well as several people I have talked to, an idea about refurbishing the current Mark VI monorails. Flashy imagery can be removed, but covering the entire body of the monorails in a single color, and vary that color from monorail to monorail would give the fleet a brand new appearance and appeal. For those who like the striping effect of the current fleet, perhaps the same bold swath can still appear on the side of the monorails, but this time in white, reversing the styling pattern of the original fleet.

Obviously, a monorail coated in the same lime coloring used for a stripe wouldn’t be as visually appealing as one would hope, so clearly new colors would have to be designed. Again, the Disneyland and Tronorail offer up the answers. Disneyland iridescent paint job for their fleet uses a palate of colors that is a bit more muted, and even the Tronorail uses a much less vibrant shade of blue. Instead of lime being the color of choice, perhaps a monorail doused in a forest tone would sit better with the eyes. If Walt Disney World really wanted to be creative with the coloring, how about picking out some identifiable colors tied to animated characters, such as the red color specifically designed for Ariel’s hair.The point is that with the introduction of the Tronorail, Walt Disney World started a trend that can continue. As the country, and the world, recover from a strenuous economic period, there improvements that can be made to a fleet of monorails without creating an entirely new fleet. In an era where the history of Walt Disney World is as important to guests as the latest innovation, the monorails’ iconic shape is as much a part of the Walt Disney World story as the silhouettes of the Polynesian longhouses or the A-frame of the Contemporary, but with some tweaking the fleet can once again catch the attention of every guest.


Elizabeth said...

I really like this trend and I do hope to see it continue. Sure, it's marketing, but it gives the monorail a new "je ne sais quois." And I noticed how it really grabbed kids' attention. They all wanted to ride THAT COOL one.

Gator Chris said...

Hi Ryan,

Great ideas!