DL Trip Report
May 22, 1998
New Tomorrowland Opening Day!


All photos were taken on an Olympus D-600L digital camera, at a resolution of 1280x1024. This makes these photos the highest resolution and largest size (in more way than one) on the Web!
The large pictures are quite large, but you'll find them to be worth the download in many cases. A few were downsized, and some were edited in Photoshop as well. But they're pretty raw, overall. Note that the large photos are upwards of 300k! But they are well worth the download.
As usual, I'll put a to the lower-left of photos I think are first rate.

You can click on the thumbnails to see the larger pictures!


AN IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN.... I want to commend WDI for doing the very best that they could with the limited amount of money that DL Management gave them for this project. I know they wanted to do much more, from seeing the concept art, and talking to some Cast Members as well. I hope they fight the good fight over the subs, and I stand behind them all the way!

We got to the park at around 10am, and immediately got in line for the Rocket Rods, which started practically at Town Square. I went down to Tomorrowland to see what was going on. The ribbon cutting had just occured, there was confetti (surprise, surprise) on the ground, and there was a crowd so large I just stood there in amazment for a while. So, we walked around TL to see what was up. The Rocket Rods were testing, so we headed into the Premiere Shop. First impression: too small! There were scores of mothers fighting for beanie babies! Get a life, people! The place looked great though! Too crowded to buy anything now, though. Over to the Star Trader-- mobbed, more screaming people. Back to the RR line, via the bakery and the Emporium, where there was plenty of TL merchandise including my new opening day T-shirt ;-)

From here on out, it's a review of TL only -- we did other rides, but I only took pictures in Tomorrowland.


TL Entrance

The sign is now complete, and a plaque was placed below it.

Left: The completed sign.
Right: A plaque which contains Walt's 1955 speech for this very Tomorrowland. I wonder what he'd say today if he saw it?



Rocket Rods (a story about how budget cuts effect transportation systems)

I'm going to come right out and say it-- the Rods stink. From the God-awful theming to the mediocre ride, this ride just lags well behind Disney standards. Since DL was billing it as a thrill ride, I was very excited -- you've seen my enthusiasm in past trip reports. But what a let down. I rode twice, once now, once at closing. Over 2 hour waits both times.

The queue is the worst at the park, bar none. The first room was cool -- a bit sparse, but for a wanna-be Imagineer like me, that was neat. You can also watch a Rod shoot by every few seconds, some faster than others. From there, torture ensued. You enter the old CircleVision theater, and it's bad, bad, bad. No themeing at all here, just some movies, hosted by Walt. While entertaining at first, they wear a little thin after TEN SHOWINGS (the ride went down the first time). Plus, it was hot, and the cue was too crowded. Come nighttime, there were tons of people sleeping on the rug. Bad show!

From there, it was into a black lit room, with "Rocket Rods" painted on the wall. You then go down this plain old stairway, with orange tape on the walls, which was already peeling. From there, it's about 50 feet down the prison walkway -- I felt like I was being sent to my cell. No theming, whatsoever. Then, it's up stairs, and onto the Rods. I waited for 2.5 hours, twice.

The first ride was from the front seat-- the acceleration is great, but right when it's getting good, you slow down! They need a longer runway! I can do this all in my car! As you enter the buildings, all you see is darkness and here beeps. The mirror effect was unconvincing, since I could easily see that we were going to turn to the right (from both my front row seat and the 3rd row later that night). From there, it's into the cheap disco lights. Some blinky red lights on the way to Space Mountain, and spinning white lights insde. Come on, this isn't the boardwalk! These were fun house effects!

We went through Innoventions--basically a big round room of drywall -- bad show, as others have said-- and then outside we went. This downhill was fun, but again, it ended too quickly. The parts around the Autopia had the same speedup-slowdown problems. Even the run next to the monorail was a let down. The strobe/blast of air was the best effect, IMHO, and it didn't even work both times. The run back down the main throughfare was variable depending on how backed up the Rods were.

All in all, a big disappointment. I really hope they get a cash infusion and do something with it. Maybe build a new banked section of track? Better effects? Or may it's hopeless? Now, onto a few pictures.


Top Left: The sign from the entrance.

Top Right: And, from the other side. Even the sign for this side got budget cut. Truly sad.

Lower Left: The above sign, at night. A bit blurry.



Above: The neon Rocket Rod. The only one. Yep, they don't want to spend the money for that, either.



Top Left: The old Rocket Jets, in the first room of the queue.

Top Right: The Mouse-O-Rail!

Lower Right: The Peoplemover! (Long live the Peoplemover!)



Honey, I Shrunk the Audience / Cosmic Waves

I've seen HISTA before, at Epcot, and the DL is just as good, if not better. I loved it, my friends loved it, the crowd loved it. I can' t wait to see it again! We waited about 35 minutes for it, and would wait that again without hesitation! See it -- it's a definite highlight of new TL!

Another highlight-- probably the most memorable part of the trip-- was Cosmic Waves. What is it? It's a round, multi-colored interactive fountain. The goal is to get to the big rotating granite ball that floats on water and steam. Getting there is the fun part! I ended it up getting soaked and I loved it!

Above: Shots of kids playing in the fountain, right in front of HISTA (visible on the left photo). I felt like a 22yr old kid -- it was so fun!



The American Space Experience

While I didn't spend much time at it, this NASA exhibit was pretty neat. The had all kinds of things on display, from models of spacecraft to moon rocks. Plus there were several interactive displays to play with. Here's a few pictures of what I found:

Top Left: A model of the X-33, the future Space Shuttle replacement.
Top Right: A futuristic space suit. Now THIS is what Tomorrowland is supposed to be about, right?
Bottom Left: The little rover, Sojourner, that .. well, roved around Mars.
Bottom Right: The Hubble Space Telescope


--> Come along to Page 2 - Moonliner, Observatron, Innoventions, and more! <--



All content and pictures are ©1998 Jeff Keller and are for personal use ONLY! If you want to reproduce these for any other use, permission from the author is required!