I think it’s fate that I have a picky eater for a son. I was a notoriously picky eater growing up; like special ordering my plain McDonald’s hamburgers and making everyone else wait (is it that hard to make a plain burger?). I’m still picky about some things, but I’m much better about trying things. In fact, I have a running joke with my mom when I tell her about something I ate like, “Can you believe your son ate raw fish?” With Tyler, I get to experience all of the joys of picky eating that my parents had to deal with (thanks, karma). Every time he is having what I call a picky fit, I wonder how he would have survived during the pioneer days. After all, those wagon trains weren’t loaded down with corn dogs (that would have been boring to hunt in the Oregon Trail game). As a parent, you just want your kid to get the nutrition he needs and that is what worries me most. I was a small guy, only 130 pounds when I joined the Air Force. A strong wind could have knocked me over. I’d like Ty to have a little more meat on his bones just so he doesn’t float away. So what does Tyler eat?
Corn Dogs – Tyler loves a good corn dog. What’s not to love about 1) food on a stick or 2) carnival food. I don’t know which corn dog is Tyler’s favorite, but he always talks about the one he got during Springtime Tallahassee and that one was from local eatery Dog-it-all. At home, we give him vegetarian corn dogs; no meat, same stick.
Grilled Cheese – Nothing is more comforting than a good grilled cheese sandwich. No child or adult can resisted the combination of white bread and gooey American cheese product (yes, product. We all know cheese singles are fake).
Chick-fil-A – Tyler can put down some chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-A just like his old man. He isn’t, however, a sauce man. Tyler is a little OCD in that he doesn’t like sticky things, sauce included.
I’ve listed three things that are pretty much just junk food, but he does actually eat more than that. He loves is browns and tans and starches, and when going out he prefers a meal from Sonny’s BBQ. We’ve tried hiding veggies in his food, but he has the taste buds of a season chef and the nose of a drug-sniffing dog. Nothing gets by this kid. We give him vitamins and Ensure for Kids at times (if he asks, it’s a milk shake). It’s a tough battle and I know it’s one we might lose. We do encourage him to try things, but there are more misses than hits
Even though Tyler’s tastes are limited, I’m reminded that I could be worse. My father has worked with children that would only eat Tyson or McDonald’s chicken nuggets and those things are the hot dogs of the chicken world. Something to snack on.
For this Theme Park Thursday, I want to share something special with you all. In late 2011, I completed an attraction design for Walt Disney World based on the TRON franchise. I can’t tell you where the original inspiration came from, but it suddenly absorbed all of my creative thoughts when it hit me. I had this vision of a themed attraction that seemed so real, so believable that I couldn’t stop working on it. I didn’t just come up with a ride, but the reasoning behind it; where it would be located, how to use existing buildings, and why to even build it at all. I could have worked on it for years, but when I revised the project to where it felt most complete I prepared it for what I saw as the next step. I knew I had to show my project to someone at Disney, but I didn’t know how. I would have freely given them the design and I still would. Even as I toiled away at the hand-drawn pages and type, I knew that my act was futile. Disney has a policy of rejecting outside ideas. In knowing this, I spent a good bit of cash to bind several color copies of the project and blindly sent them off to various heads of the Disney company. I had a sliver of hope the copies would be read, but I was also realistic. With my work shipped off, I was proud in what I had accomplished. It’s hard for me to complete a project, but I held the ‘final’ copy in my hands. This project was real to me, something tangible that I could close my eyes and experience. With each bit of copy, each stroke of the pencil, I kept thinking that if I could dream it, I could do it. I still believe that.
I got a response from Disney about a month later, along with a large envelope. I opened the envelope and found all 5 copies inside along with a letter from their Office of Counsel. The letter was quite courteous and explained their policy in detail. In a word, it explained that no one had looked at my proposal. Even so, I checked the pages to see if their were creases. There were none. I held no ill feelings because I knew this would be the outcome. Heck, it was neat just to get something back with Mickey on it.
I have my rejection letter tucked into one of my copies of the TRON proposal and keep it as a reminder of what I did. I had to do. I had to try (My inner Yoda is coming out). I still hope that one day I may perhaps turn my dreams into reality. I still want to be a part of the place that holds such wonderful childhood memories. I want to be a part of the story because storytelling is all I know. I love writing, but can you imagine telling a story with a ride?
It has taken me a while to publicly share this work because of the time and effort I put into it. I would hope that no one would take my idea, but there’s no reward in caging your dream. The entire file is too big to post online, but I strongly encourage you all to read the PDF version attached below because it has all of my illustrations. I’m no artist, but the pictures help convey what I’m trying to express. All of the artwork, besides the scanned images, belongs to the Disney company. Please keep in mind that this was for the Disney company and I have not made any money from this project. For the complete file, click here: Tron: The Grid Complete File NOTE: the file is about 300mb so it will take a while to load
TRON: The Grid
Walt Disney World Attraction Proposal
November 14, 2011
The TRON franchise is an intellectual property that is marketed towards young males, a demographic the Disney brand has traditionally had a hard time capturing. At a very generalized glance, most young males think of Disney World as Mickey Mouse, princesses, and fantasy castles. The TRON IP, along with the TRON: The Grid attraction concept, strives to move away from that traditional though young males have of the Disney brand by giving them a completely new, high-speed science fiction / video game thrill ride themed unlike anything ever seen in the theme park industry.
Perhaps TRON: Legacy did not do as well at the box office as expected, but with a total box office gross reaching $400 million, there is certainly an audience and a niche within the collective Disney brand for this unique property. The reaction alone from the TRON VFX trailer showcased at Comic-Con 2008 shows that TRON resonates a passion within fans. The passion of those fans will not only increase park attendance, but will see that core group purchasing merchandise from the parks. TRON: Legacy served to reintroduce a cult film into the modern eye, creating the opportunity to market the property to a new generation of consumers.
This attraction proposal, of course, is just a sample of what could be, a concept that I have been working on for several months. I have hopefully detailed the project enough to get my concept across, to show you that I am very serious when it comes to this project. This project represents just a small fraction of the theme park concepts I have been working on.
With that, I present TRON: The Grid.
Location in Disney Park:
While the best location for a TRON attraction would seem to be Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland, which would fit with the science fiction and futuristic theme, I believe the location that would best suit the exterior theme, needed land space, and storytelling of the attraction would be the New York / San Francisco section of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At the time of this proposal, there is not as much traffic in the area, nor any thrill rides besides the Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show.
The TRON: The Grid attraction would help counteract the traffic offset by Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster, which leaves the Sunset Blvd. area quite crowded at times.
I would recommend gutting the Premier Theatre for the attraction. Not only is this a large space, but the area is void of attractions between Muppetvision and Lights, Motors, Action. The queue area for the attraction can begin in the Premier Theater (Back Lot Theatre) at the end of the San Francisco street set that merges with the NYC set.
Placement of the attraction at the Premier Theatre allows a clear view for guests to see the “Home of TRON” billboard that would be towering above the cityscape at the end of the street (a sign that not only tells guests where the ride is, but fits in with the movies) as the attraction façade is a recreation of Flynn’s Arcade from the TRON films.
- Another reason to utilize the Premier Theatre building is to take advantage using the old Florida building codes for renovation versus building new, thus saving money.
- Similar to Space Mountain with the main attraction outside of park perimeter, the majority of the TRON attraction would also exist outside the tight confines of the Hollywood Studio property (See graphics below).
-NOTE: Without full proprietary knowledge of what is in this land to the southwest of the Hollywood Studios property, I can only speculate and theorize at this time that the land can be reclaimed for theme park usage.
The main queue area (Flynn’s Arcade, Flynn’s Secret Office, The Grid Queue) along with the attraction exit and gift shop (End of Line Club) will be located within Hollywood Studios in the renovated Premiere Theatre.
The main ride will take place in a building across from the Studios property to allow for as much room is needed for the ride. Ride housing can be made to resemble working “stage” similar to the Rockin’ Rollercoaster “soundstage” building.
The elevated tunnel that would go across the road to connect the two buildings would house both vehicles going to and from the main attraction building.
Attraction Queue Exterior
Flynn’s Arcade is the façade outside the attraction. The brick and mortal building will fit perfectly with the San Francisco back lot theme. A billboard above the attraction building will say “Home of TRON” as an homage to the films and to let guests know where the ride is. People will enter the attraction through the same doors as seen in the movie, corner doors out of view from the San Francisco back lot street. Speakers around the building will be playing 1980’s pop classics in theme with Flynn’s Arcade, enticing guests inside.
- If the main queue area outside gets too full, velvet ropes similar to a night club can be erected outside to form lines against the face of the building.
Attraction Queue Interior:
Guest will enter the interior queue that will resemble a 1980’s arcade. Pop music from the decade, like Journey’s “Separate Ways” used in Tron Legacy, will fill the air. Neon signs for the “latest” games hang from the walls of this cavernous, warehouse-like gaming palace. The attraction queue area will snake through the rows of arcade games that will be strategically placed to act as a queue line. The stand-by line forms a natural zigzag throughout the building and rows of games.
-The stand-by line will have operational arcade games visitors can play while waiting in line, including the original TRON arcade games and other 80’s games.
-Along the walls, group interactive games are projected from televisions embedded in the wall where multiple people can play (Similar to Soarin’ and Space Mountain queue lines).
-Multiplayer version of Pacman where one player is Pacman, while the others are ghosts.
-Frogger where one player is Frogger while the others control the speed of the cars from fast to slow.
-Multiplayer Asteroids with multiple ships with highest score winning
-Playmotion projection of Pong
-The queue area will also have The Fast Pass and Single rider lines will be against the nearest wall to the entrance.
All of the lines will lead the “secret” entrance, the second queue area, that heads into Flynn’s secret back office as seen in TRON Legacy. The arcade music will be muffled as guests enter the concrete hallways towards Flynn’s office.
Second Queue Area, Transformation Show Element
The office will be the same dusty, cobweb filled room as seen in TRON Legacy. Sam Flynn’s dusty hand imprint can still be seen on the flat desk computer.
Safety rails will be in place to keep guests near the center of the room. This is explained as everyone needing to be in the laser aperture frame, but in reality, it is a safety measure for the “entering computer world” effect; a fast-changing set effect.
-Two monitors in the room turn on and an ENCOM computer programmer in thick, nerdy glasses and a retro “Disney’s Black Hole” tee shirt speaks to the crowd from his messy cubical. A “Flynn Lives” bumper sticker is slapped to the side of his computer. As guests are filing into Flynn’s office, Darren, the ENCOM computer programmer, is busy typing away on his keyboard, looking away from the web cam the guests are watching him through. *The character of Darren could be played by The Big Bang Theory’s Johnny Galecki.
A coworker pops his head in the cubical as the guests continue to file in.
“Hey, Darren, do you think I can have some of your popcorn?” the coworker asks, pointing to a microwave bag of popcorn on Darren’s desk (nod to first movie).
“Sure,” Darren replies without losing focus on his monitor.
As most of the guests get situated in the room, Darren takes notice and looks up at the guests through the web cam.
“Greetings, programs!” Darren says enthusiastically. “I’m Darren, one of the gaming programmers here at ENCOM. I’m the guy that designs the games you play each day from the comfort of your couch. And while you play, I wade through lines of code from my cramped cubical, one size smaller than a bathroom stall.”
“It smells just as bad as one!” a voice from behind the cubical wall says.
“Pay no attention to the nerd behind the wall,” Darren says. “That’s Lawrence, another programmer.” Lawrence’s head pops up and over the cubical wall like a Kilroy.
“I’m not a nerd, I’m a geek,” Lenny says. “Nerds wear pocket protectors.” (Lenny could be played by The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons)
“As I was saying,” Darren continues, “our former CEO, Kevin Flynn, made a lot of those games in the old arcade out there: Space Paranoids, Matrix Blaster, Vice Squad, Light Cycle, and TRON to name a few (Monitors show scenes of games). Those classic games were made in the 1980’s, but the next generation of those games evolved right here in the very room you stand in now.”
“Don’t let the dusty annals of that old basement fool you,” Lawrence says.
“Thanks, Lenny,” Darren sarcastically says. “We are still making games here at ENCOM. Using the latest cutting-edge 3D graphics, surround sound effects, and powerful computing engines, we are able to create the best games possible (show modern games in various phases of testing). However, as games get more complicated, they must go through much more rigorous testing phases.”
“That way you don’t throw a keyboard through your screen when a game crashes,” Lawrence says.
“Right,” Darren replies. “Testing is where you get to help. You all have volunteered to become Quality Assurance testers for ENCOM’s unreleased Light Cycle game. You may have seen the old Light Cycle game in the arcade out there. Blocky graphics, a few bleeps and bloops for sounds; you know, typical vintage stuff (short screens of original light cycle game). The new Light Cycle is going to be like no other video game you’ve every experienced (short screens of Light Cycles from TRON Legacy movie). It will totally blow the world away. But, rather than have you sitting in a cubical playing the same game level for twelve hours straight, we are going to try something a little…different.”
“This is the best part!” Lenny exclaims, shaking the cubical wall in his grip.
“You will be ironing out the bugs in the system; literally,” Darren says. You may have noticed that device humming in the back of the room.” (The back of the room starts to hum as the laser cannon powers up. Bits of stage smoke will come out from the barrel, prompting the guests to look back at the device) “That is ENCOM SHV 20905 Shiva laser, a device used to digitizatize matter into electronic data.”
“The atoms in your body will be destroyed, electronically coded, and reformed into digital space,” Lawrence says excitedly.
“For the non-geeks, think of it as a vacuum cleaner that sucks you right into a computer system,” Darren replies. “Once digitized, you’ll be on the game Grid, a completely digital world inside the computer server built into that desk before you (landscape scenes from TRON Legacy). When you’re inside the server, you’ll be escorted to the armory, where you will be issued an Identity Disk to record the testing data, and then the Light Cycle arena, where you will test out the game. The Identity Disk will help record your testing results. You will pick teams, yellow and blue, and you will face off against the other on the Grid. Don’t worry; you can’t derezz the other with your jet wall.
“Derezzing being the point when all of your digital molecules are eradicated from the system,” Lenny says. “That’s a bad thing.”
“Don’t worry. Just follow the instructions of the programs and you’ll be just fine. Nothing can go wrong. Remember, it’s just a game.”
“And just what are my two favorite game coders up to today?” Alan Bradley walks into the cubical. Both Lawrence and Darren look surprised. “I hope you two are behaving yourselves today, I don’t want another call from the White House about you hacking into their servers.”
“No,no,” Darren says with a nervous laugh. “We are going over the testing perimeters of a new game.”
Bradley peers into the camera, looking over the audience.
“Why is it so dark?” Bradley asks. “I can barely see the testers.”
“It’s, uh, nighttime in Hong Kong.”
“Honk Kong? I didn’t know we were outsourcing our QA techs,” Bradley says. “Well, I’ll let you get on with your work.” Bradley then leaves and Darren and Lawrence look back at the guests.
“That was close!” Darren says. “Alan wouldn’t be too happy if he knew you all were in Flynn’s basement right now! We better hurry!”
“Darren, don’t forget to tell them how to get out once they are in the game!” Lenny says.
“Right,” Darren says. “Once the testing is complete, I will create an output node, or escape portal in non-techno babble. Just look for the column of white light and drive right into the center (Show animation of column of light and a light cycle entering). It’s as easy as that.”
“I wish I could go with you, but they don’t let us out of our cubicles. As much as I want every atom in my body broken down, digitized, and reanimated into electronic ones and zeros, someone has to monitor the game from here. I’m told the digitization process doesn’t hurt, more like an itchy sensation all over your body that you can’t scratch, but I’m sure it won’t be permanent,” Darren says with a half-smile. Darren pulls out a joystick controller that controls the Shiva laser. “Now hold still and don’t look directly at the laser. Stay close together in the center of the room, I don’t want the signals to get jumbled together.”
“Yea, one tester came back missing three fingers!” Lenny jokes.
“Don’t listen to him,” Darren jokes. “But, you might want to keep your hands away from the rails.” Darren looks over his monitor and moves the joystick around, causing the laser in the back of the room to move. “Okay, laser power at full, check. Aperture is clear.”
Suddenly, the power seems to drain out of the cubical.
“Wait, power levels are fluctuating,” Darren says with a concerned look. “What’s going on?” Darren’s image on the monitor is replaced with digital static. A masked figure appears on the monitor. The figure wears a dark black jacket like Legacy’s C.L.U., but in red trim instead of yellow. Only is mouth can be seen under is black, angular face plate. The figures has an almost devilish look to him.
“I have waited many cycles for a user to come back to the Grid,” the figure says in a deep, digitized voice. “I am Kernel Byte, supreme leader of the Grid in the absence of CLU. CLU’s armies were left stranded on the Grid when the Son of Flynn closed the exit portal to your world. We took to hiding in dark corners of code in the system, but no longer. The challenge of the Grid awaits you, and my guards and I will be waiting.” The monitor crackles and hums as Kernel Byte’s image begins to fade.
“Laser ready,” a female computer voice says. The laser behind the guests begins to glow. “Digitation sequence activated.”
“I’ve longed to do battle with a user,” Kernel Byte says. “My guards will escort you to the Grid where I shall see to it personally that you are derezzed for all programs to see.”
***Two effects can happen at this point depending on price point
1) Flynn’s Office Transformation by fiber optics build into walls and lighting (Cheaper)
2) Flynn’s Office lifted off through high-speed set transformation (See Universal IOA’s Poseidon’s Fury) directly into recognizer room.
A sudden, powerful wind effect and a flash of light simulate the activation of the laser.
1) A blue, Grid-like pattern of light will begin to radiated out of the walls, and the walls will slide out of the way and transform until the dusty basement room the guests were standing in becomes a digital recreation of the office, now with neon, translucent rounding the edges along the furniture and walls. The music from the Tron Legacy soundtrack, Recognizer, plays. Suddenly, an opening appears where the desk computer was, seemingly cut out of light, and a program (cast member) emerges, prompting the guests to follow him/her to the game Grid.
2) The guests are momentarily in the darkness as the room lifts up above the guests’ heads, but the circuit-like blue lights emanating from the floor continue to spread. The loudest brass section of the song “Recognizer” would play out as a sudden beam of light would shine down on the guests. The angry gaze of the Recognizer transport would bear down upon the guests. The guests now know they have entered the Grid.
Instead of being in Flynn’s cramped office, guests find themselves in the middle of a TRON City street. The three-story building interior set, designed with forced perspective in mind, will house shimmering black walls outlined in white, green, and blue lights. The ceiling is rumbling and glowing in a Grid like pattern that simulates the stormy and cloudy skies of the Grid. The signs of Kernel Byte’s rule can be seen in the pervasive use of red color. Eyes will be drawn to the Recognizer towering over them. The Recognizer acts as an archway into the next room. After walking under the Recognizer, guests will turn down another street corner to enter “The Armory.”
NOTE: (The queue areas for The Grid will make heavy use of black light [traditional dark ride effect] and fiber optics to make it seem like everything is glowing in this world.)
NOTE: Queue music in The Grid queue areas will include TRON-themed music to coincide with the digital world, such as music from the TRON: Legacy soundtrack “Solar Sailor”, “Armory”, “Sea of Simulation”
Third Queue Area – “The Armory”:
The Armory room will be another queue area before the loading area. This room will be modeled after the Armory as seen in TRON Legacy. It is here that the guests will be broken into two Light Cycle lines, yellow and blue. Small lights on the floor will indicate which line is which. In the center of this room will be a single monolithic column with an Identity Disk that seemingly hovers inside the column. Over the “intercom,” a female computer voice will say the following:
“Attention, Programs. You will receive an identity disc. Everything you do or learn will be imprinted on this disc. If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate de-resolution.”
Along the walls of the room will be either more interactive PlayMotion type games, HD Video of Disk War battles, or a good view of the electronic cityscape.
NOTE: The Armory room makes for a good queue because it is not only very simple in design, but follows the story progression of the TRON Legacy film.
The loading area will have two separate sections for blue riders and yellow riders. The guest will go up to a second level so that they will be at the same level as the ride when the ride vehicle takes off over the roadway. The tracks will load similar to Space Mountain in that each vehicle, once loaded, will head towards the direction of the other. This differs from Space Mountain in that the two vehicles will meet and make a 90-degree turn so that they become parallel.
The ride vehicles will have fiber optics to correspond with the team color. The bikes will come from the darkness and, through fiber optics or by laser effects external, the ride vehicle will seem to assemble from a computer wireframe model into the physical bike as seen in Tron Legacy. Guests will be prompted to load into the vehicle and sit as if sitting on a sport motorcycle, complete with gas pedals and handlebars. The “windshield” area of the Light Cycle will have speakers embedded into the console. The typical lap bar is replaced with a back bar that lowers and adjusts onto the backs of the guests. These back bars will be cosmetically enhanced with “Identity Disks” build right into the back of the seat frame. When the back bars lower, the Disks light up just as in TRON Legacy and a female computer voice over the inboard speakers says, “Mirroring complete. Disk activated and synchronized. Proceed to games.”
After the riders are loaded into their Light Cycles, a computer voice says, “prepare for transport to Light Cycle Grid,” as they head toward the 90-degree turn. As the vehicles continue to the launch holding area, the guests hear the music “Arena” to get them ready for the excitement of the Grid.
TECHNICAL NOTE – RIDE VEHICLE SPECIFICS:
The ride vehicle would be very similar to a Vekoma motorbike launch coaster (http://www.vekoma.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=13) in that the attraction would feature sudden launch effects that would typically use LIM catapult technology, and a roller-coaster type ride with “motorbike” style seating to simulate a light cycle.
While a coaster-type ride in nature, the bikes would also have onboard effects, such as fiber optic wiring for light, onboard speakers building into the windshield, and mounted hydraulics and springs. The springs would be used to increase the amount of g-forces felt around turns and dips, and add the sensation of elongated air time on hills.
If something similar to the Vekoma coaster is used, the motorbike designed would be transformed into a Light Cycle likeness that is seen below.
These particular vehicles also give the rider an unobstructed view of the action in the ride. This will be particularly vital when the coaster vehicles become motion simulators.
The roller coaster track can be made to look like a light cycle jet wall “trail” by using pigments that react to black light, that would otherwise be dull or darkened by the ride ahead.
The attraction would provide guests with the first ever dueling coasters on the Walt Disney World property. However, to cut costs the attraction can be made into a single track instead of a dueling track.
Launch Holding Area
Once in the holding area, the electromagnet gets in place to launch the vehicles. The anticipatory lunch music becomes a loop of “The Game Has Changed.” At the end of the tunnel, the guests will be able to hear the crowds of programs in the Grid arena cheering, waiting for the deadly digital games to begin. The launch holding area is a narrow hallway. A sheet of glass separates the two vehicle tracks in the “interior” so the riders can “taunt” each other, however, through the glass, the light cycle will appear more like it did in the movies, similar to the “ghost following you home” effect in the Haunted Mansion. The “exterior” of the glass is a video projection the ominous darkened Grid sky, a view of the TRON city skyline, and Recognizers keeping sentry in the sky. The edge of the glowing Light Cycle stadium can be seen at the corner of the screen.
As the ride gets into position and the vehicles are ready to be launched by a technology similar to linear induction motors, a female computer voice echoes over the speakers, “Grid is live, initiate Light Cycle battle.” The hum of the Light Cycle motor revs up, seeming coming out of the actual engine below the rider’s seats (subwoofers speakers are hidden under the track).
“I’ve waited a thousand cycles to fight a user,” Kernel Byte’s voice echoes throughout the tunnel. “I’ll take pleasure in blasting you into a thousand bits.”
“Don’t worry, folks, um,” Darren’s voice says over a static-filled radio attached to the Light Cycle dashboard. “We’re working on coding an exit, just survive a few more minutes.”
The same fog wall effect that is used in Pirates of the Caribbean fills the area in front of the vehicle. A blue laser pierces through fog, and forms a countdown, starting at 4, in futuristic numerals. The song” The Game Has Changed” changes from a loop to the song, which forms a perfect beat in sequence with the countdown. At the end of the countdown, the song “The Game Has Changed” gets louder and the ride vehicle surges forward through a LIM catapult. The vehicles exit out of the refurbished Premier Theater building, cross over the DHS main road, and enter the ride building outside the Studio perimeter.
As the vehicles enter the cavernous, multi-storied ride building, the cheering of programs explodes in the ears of guests as the riders enter the Light Cycle arena.
The ride vehicle speeds out of the tunnel and the ride immediately shoots the guests up a large hill. The riders are treated to a spectacular aerial view of the Light Cycle Arena for a moment where they can see the layout with the Grid. High above the Grid, red Recognizers circle like neon vultures above, keeping sentry over the sky. As the vehicle begins to come back down the hill, guests will see Kernel Byte and 4 of his black guards riding in formation towards them.
The guests watch the Kernel and his guards fan out from each other. The Kernel pulls out his Identity Disk to “joust” with the guests, but the guests narrowly get away by dipping down onto a lower level of the multi-level Light Cycle Grid. The riders can hear the hum of the bikes as they pass overhead.
TECHNICAL NOTE: The Light Cycle Arena is the main area of the attraction. The illusion of the size of the Arena is created through highly technical and specialized lighting and dark ride effects. Most of the illusion of the Grid comes from the use of blacklight, onboard lighting, or heavily focused stage lighting, illuminating only that which we want the guests to see.
While the Light Cycle Arena seen in TRON Legacy has a translucent glass surface, the ride will have no actual surface other than the ride track itself, emergency and maintenance scaffolding. To keep eyes away from the actually ride track, the lights of the animatronic scenes will grab the riders’ attention.
The “track” outlines will be created with a malleable fiber optic “rope” that be manipulated to look like the blue outlines of the Grid. This will give the illusion of a solid surface. When a Grid surface is needed, simple Plexiglas can be used. The fiber optic “rope” will be on both sides of the ride vehicle, such as in the corkscrew turn, and will also make up a Grid pattern at various levels of the attraction as it make it seem like the ride is actually taking place on a multi-level surface. The effect of the fiber optic rope panels, coupled with the ride track layout will give the riders the sensation that they are actually riding on the glowing Grid surface. NOTE: some of the surfaces can be solid, and mirrored if the effect doesn’t detract from the ride mechanics, so that the riders cannot see effects going on in other rooms.
The actual arena design would also utilize the fiber optic ropes, along with stadium-like lighting at the top. The cheering crowds filling the arena will be simply three-dimensional effects against the outer walls highlighted by a light.
For certain big effects, large speakers can be hidden near the track. Where the red shift / blue shift would be problematic for some rides, because these are moving “motorized” vehicles like cars, the effect will make sense from a real world perspective.
EVENT 1: Corkscrew Turn:
The guests head toward a corkscrew that connects levels of the Arena. The riders will enter the corkscrew, going either up or down, and face off with either the other rider track or one of Kernel Byte’s guards. A transparent section of plastic will protect the riders from the animatronic cycle or other guest track as the two “joust” and pass each other. The ride will hit another LIM launcher when exiting the corkscrew turn, propelling the guests towards the next ride event.
Event 2: Race Against the Enemy / Jet Wall Attack
The guests will head down a straight section of track when suddenly a black guard light cycle rider comes down from a ramp to the right of the riders.
TECHNICAL NOTE: the animatronic light cycle components will have either a track the animatronic will ride on, a KUKA-type armature, or a combination of both.
The enemy rider methodically looks over at the guests as he rides parallel, just before “slamming” into the side of the riders’ vehicle. The “vehicle bump” effect is created by a Plexiglas wall, masked by the darkness, that separates the riders and the animatronic figure. When the two “bump,” the Plexiglas will react through fiber optics, creating a shower of sparks effect as if the two light cycles actually bumped. The enemy rider veers away from the guest vehicle and heads up a ramp to the level above.
The guests then hit a ramp on the right side that sends them up and over the enemy light cycle. The guest vehicle then quickly veers to the left, cutting off the enemy rider and causing his immediate deresolution.
The deresolution effect creates a wave of sparks that seem to go up and over the guests. This is achieved through a series of fiber optics embedded in a Plexiglas “tunnel” that would allow the effect to literally go over the heads of the guests.
The guest vehicle enters the 3rd event stage.
Event 3: Blocking in Enemy
“Stay close together!” the radio on the bike crackles to life with the voice of a nervous Darren. “We’re trying to send you some help now.”
The guest vehicles will be headed directly towards each other when an enemy light cycle comes out of nowhere, forcing the guests to make sharp turns to avoid the enemy. The guest vehicles will be on either side of the enemy bike, which will be riding just out of reaching in from the guest vehicles.
The enemy jet wall, a sheet of Plexiglas, will create a camouflaged barrier between the guest vehicles. The guest vehicles will suddenly surge forward, cutting off the enemy rider.
The enemy bike will explode between the jet walls and the guest vehicles will veer off in opposite directions right before hitting the edge of the light cycle arena wall. Cheers of the onlooking programs can be heard.
Event 4: Playing Chicken / TRON
The riders will head up a ramp to the main level of the arena, loop around and once again be facing each other (but cannot see each other). Enemy light cycles are directly in front of the riders at this point, playing a deadly game of chicken. The guest and enemy bikes surge forward, getting closer and closer by the second.
Suddenly, another light cycle races in between the chicken game. A white jet wall is erected between the enemy and guest light cycles. To the guests, it will seem that they will hit the wall.
“Down!” a familiar voice yells over the radio. Suddenly the guest vehicle speeds down a ramp, narrowly missing the newly erected white jet wall as the enemy bike explodes in a shower of digital sparks above their heads.
“Illegal combatant has entered the Grid,” a computerized female voice says in a loud, boisterous voice. “Release Black Guard.”
Event 5: Follow TRON / Recognizers / Paradrop
The guest vehicles hit another ramp and are once again on the main arena floor. The arena begins to cheer even louder as the mystery light cycle appears. The guest vehicles stop in front of a film screen (although the guests do not realize there is a screen there.)
NOTE: The screen can be fashioned in a way that it can be raised and lowered so the guests can pass through the area.
Guests watch as the white light cycle goes head-to-head with an enemy cycle. Right before it seems the two bikes will collide, the white light cycle rider “derezzes” his cycle, down to the wireframe and baton, and slides along the arena floor. He uses his light cycle baton to rez a katana sword of shimmering white light. The white rider slices the enemy cycle as it passes, causing the enemy rider to derezz. Two more enemy bikes near. The white rider takes his Identity Disk into his hands and the disk splits into two separate disks.
“TRON!” Darren exclaims over the radio.
TRON takes out one more enemy bike with his disk and fights another disk-to-disk. After coming out victorious, TRON’s helmet slides back and guests can seen the uncanny resemblance of Alan Bradley, whom they saw on the monitor in Flynn’s secret office.
“Where did TRON come from?” Darren says over the radio in a surprised voice. “It doesn’t matter, stay with him! You can trust TRON, he fights for the Users.”
“TRON cannot protect you,” Kernel Byte says over the radio. “I will finish the game.”
“We need to get you off the Grid!” TRON yells out. TRON begins to run away from the guests as he rezzes up his light cycle. “Follow me, Users!”
*The ride music switches to “Outlands”
TRON leans down over his bike and speeds away. The guest vehicles follow parallel to TRON on the top level of the light cycle Grid when suddenly two Recognizers that were circling above start to descend. Black guard begin to paradrop from the Recognizers.
“Head down towards the levels below,” TRON says. “I’ll take care of them.”
NOTE: What the guests see at this point is a digital, high-definition projection from above. The guests can safely watch the action without neck issues because the action will be slight ahead and above them at about a 45 to 35 degree angle.
The guest bikes suddenly drop down a ramp, but they can clearly see the action above through the clear floor. As the Black Guard paradrop through the sky, they pull out batons and rez up light cycles; literally hitting the ground running. Each of the bikes takes turns trying to nudge TRON off the track, but TRON fights back by using his jet wall to force back the enemy riders and uses his disk to fight and derez them. Above TRON, a Recognizer quickly descends into the arena, meaning to smash down on top of TRON and the guests.
“Look out!” TRON yells, veering out of the way at the last moment as the Recognizer crashes down through the first and second levels of the Grid. The only thing guests will be able to see is a large plumb of smoke followed by the mid section of the Recognizer legs. Explosions ring out and the sound of shattered code fills the air. Byte’s guard is tearing the arena apart. The glassy floor of the arena begins to shatter.
“The game code is unstable!” Darren yells. “You’ve got to get out of the arena before it collapses!”
A broken section of Grid beneath the recognizer serves as a makeshift ramp, which the guest vehicles ride up to the main arena level.
An explosion has torn a hole in the side of the arena. Explosions and laser fire from above cause the guests to surge toward the gaping hole. Guests hit the edge of the arena like a ramp and find themselves outside of the arena. The guest vehicle continues to soar into the air, seemingly suspended over a dark and rocky cavern below, until gravity takes hold, pulling the guests down into the gaping canyon below. As the riders plunge down the steepest dip in the ride, the Light Cycle will begin to transform into a Light jet. A cradle assembly used to connect a KUKA armature to a section of the track latches onto the ride vehicle. The assembly will resemble a Light Jet as seen in Tron Legacy, complete with fiber optics so the guests will think a Light Jet is really in rezzing around them.
TECHNICAL NOTE: This is the section of the ride that transforms the attraction from a roller coaster-type ride to a motion simulator ride. The Light Cycle will transform into a Light Jet. A KUKA arm will take a section of the track that the ride vehicle is attached to and manipulate the track and ride vehicle to simulate motion against a curved film screen (vaguely similar to the Simpsons/Back to the Future simulator at Universal Florida). The edges of the screen will be hidden by the Light Jet wings, which will be part of the KUKA cradle assembly. The ride vehicles are at the highest point of the attraction building at this point
When the Light Jet is full rezzed in, the guests hear TRON yell at them to pull up. The coaster hits the very bottom of the dip, narrowly missing the black, Sea of Simulation waters below, and heads back up a hill.
At this time, the ride vehicle will attach itself to the section attached to the KUKA armature, lock into place, and lift the guests into the domed screen projection.
Event 6: Kernal Byte Encounter / Light Jet Escape
* The music “C.L.U.” plays as the final encounter takes place.
The guests, now in Light Jets, make there way towards the exit portal, a singular column of light in the middle of TRON City.
The guests will swoop and dive to avoid the legions of Kernel’s guards on single rider Light Jets, 3-person Light Jets, Light Tanks on the ground, and Recognizers in the air and even another carrier. TRON will be flying just ahead of the group on his own Light Jet, carving a path for the guests heading towards the exit portal.
As the guests near the city, the motion simulation will intensify as the ride seemingly dips through the cityscape. TRON manages to destroy a Recognizer overhead, sending the guests through the legs of the wounded enemy craft.
In the heart of the city, near the End of Line club tower, Kernel Byte’s single light jet begins an aerial dogfight with TRON. Byte keeps the guests from entering the portal beaming down from the sky. Towers around the city begin to shatter and fall.
“The Grid is collapsing from the damage! You’ve got to get to the exit portal now!” Darren yells over the radio.
“These Users will not leave the Grid, TRON,” the Kernel says, taunting TRON. Byte tries to cut the guests off with his jet wall, but the guests narrowly miss each time. TRON manages to distract Byte for just a few moments as the guests skim close to the ground. The portal is in sight when the Kernel comes out of nowhere and strikes the side of the guests’ vehicle. The crash causes the guest Light Jet to begin derezzing. The Kernel then loops around into the air and heads directly for the guests.
“End of line,” the Kernel coldly says. Before the Kernel can “finish the game,” TRON flies directly into Byte’s path.
“I fight for the Users!” TRON yells just before Kernel Byte screams out and slams into TRON’s Light Jet jet wall. The guest vehicle falls out of the sky as the Light Jet derezzes (at this time, the section of track locked in the KUKA armature cradle releases the ride back onto coaster track) and ride vehicles return to Light Cycles. The vehicles hit the TRON city streets and continue to speed towards the portal located at the base of the End of Line Club tower.
Event 8: Arrival at the Portal
NOTE: The Arrival at the Portal segment of the ride takes place in the return tunnel across the Hollywood Studios roadway.
The guest vehicles will hit the column of white light that represents the exit portal.
“We’ve got a lock!” Darren yells over the radio. “Hold on!”
“They’re not close enough,” Lenny replies. “You’ll tear a chunk of the Grid off!”
“There isn’t time!” Darren replies. “Widen the beam!”
The riders speed through the return tunnel. The tunnel is swirling with light as the digitation process reverses. The rider vehicles speed through the tunnel, which begins to lose its blue, Grid pattern as the riders begin to merge back with the real world. The grid pattern transforms into building bricks.
“It’s too much!” Lenny yells.
“Fire the laser outside!” Darren yells back.
Suddenly, with a flash of white light, the guests find themselves in the real world. The ride lands them in an alley behind Flynn’s Arcade. The arching window, which overlooks the desk computer in Flynn’s secret office can be seen, only now for the outside. Because the guests were still on Light Cycles, Darren and Lenny had to fire the laser outside of the building and the alleyway was the best they could come up with in the few seconds they had.
*the music, Flynn Lives, will play here.
The ride vehicle slows down as it rounds a bend to the unloading area.
“Sorry about that, guys.” Darren says. “Looks like the system may have had a slight kernel panic.
“It also looks like we rezzed a piece of the Grid back with you.” Lenny says, referring to the End of Line Gift Shop.
“I have a feeling we won’t be leaving our cubicles for a while,” Darren says in a sad voice.
The guest will exit the vehicle, on either the right or left side depending on which team color they had chosen.
*the transition hallway into the Gift Shop should be from the TRON Legacy Soundtrack, TRON Legacy (End Titles) played loudly.
Once the guests exit the ride, they will enter more alleyway space. The walks will be made of brick, the floor asphalt, walls covered in old posters and graffiti, fire escapes and apartment windows, etc. The two sides of the ride will merge into a single hallway. At the end of the hallway, guests will see a remnant of the Grid that has become fused with the wall. When Darren and Lenny pulled the guests from the Grid, they accidentally took too much out, the too much being the entire End of Line club. Guest will be able to hear the electronic DJ music spilling out of the club as they near the doorway. The shimmering blue doorway slides open and guests enter the End of Line Club.
Gift Shop – End of Line club
The End of Line club, which would be the gift shop and ride exit, would be a recreation of the Castor’s club from TRON Legacy with a mixture of Flynn’s hideout; complete with light-up flooring and fancy, clear-plastic furniture.
This sleek and stylish shop would retail all TRON memorabilia, from typical shirts (such as the Flynn Arcade t-shirts from the original film, and “Flynn Lives” shirts) and pins, to more pricy items like the motorcycle jackets worn by Flynn and CLU in a Tron Legacy flashback. The shop would also be a good place for 1980s retro, “vintage,” and trendy Disney World merchandise that would be typically found in the TrenD store. The mixture of merchandise works because of the uniqueness of the TRON IP as a throwback to the 1980s while at the same time being cutting-edge and futuristic. The room would be a brightly colored room, with much of the same clear plastic furniture found in Flynn’s hideout from TRON Legacy to hold merchandise.
Music to play in this area should fit with the club, techno-future theme: TRON Legacy Soundtrack: “Castor, End of Line, and Derezzed” and all of the TRON Legacy Reconfigured Soundtrack.
The Daft Punk characters from Tron Legacy will be played by animatronics overlooking the gift shop.
-Print Screen, like the keyboard command, will be where people can pick up photos.
-One of the more interesting items that the End of Line shop can sell is a personalized identity disk, similar to the “Create Your Own Lightsaber.” You can have different color disks, different accents, and different color lights to choose from when it comes to disk fabrication. What will be unique about these disks is that they will interact with the infrared Pal Mickey sensors (perhaps even the Kim Possible sensors at Epcot) already in place. Similar to the Pal Mickey, a computerized voice will give out facts about an attraction when the Disk and guest get near it. The Identity Disk will also “record” information about a guests Disney trip, similar to a real Identity Disk that records all information about the program it is associated with. Perhaps certain hidden kiosks around the park would take low-resolution web pictures of the Disk owner as a way of “recording” the Disney experience. This information could then be downloaded to a home computer after the trip to WDW through a hidden USB connection build right into the disk.
With the Pal Mickey technology already in place, this would make the Identity Disks much more cost effective.
End of Line is also the perfect name for the last part of the attraction since it is literally the end of the ride, is the name of the club in TRON Legacy, and the infamous line the Master Control Program says in the original TRON film.
This completes my TRON: The Grid attraction proposal. I would like to thank you again for taking the time and consideration to look over this. I take this project very seriously, and while I understand many “blue sky” projects that Imagineers work on never come to fruition, I hope that my dedication to the Disney brand and the TRON IP come through in the presentation of this project.
This Easter was the first time Tyler could understand what an Easter egg hunt was all about. It isn’t hard to convince a 2-year-old to run around and seek out orbs filled with candy. Because my wife had to work and I’m lame and didn’t have anything planned, Tyler’s grandparents each did their own egg hunt with him. My mom had found ‘car’ eggs, which were shaped like eggs but had wheels and a windshield (I have no idea where she finds this stuff). It was a lot of fun watching him hunt through the monkey grass and rocks, a smile on his face each time he saw one of the plastic treasure holders. His loot? A handful of change. Tyler loves his “monies” as he calls it. There was even a folded-up dollar in one of the eggs, but he didn’t really care for it. I can understand Tyler’s dismissal of the dollar. Paper money just doesn’t have that same jingle. After we collected up the coins, it was back to our house for another hunt and another grandmother. Before the hiding of the eggs could commence, Tyler insisted that he hide the eggs. This raised eyebrows at the Kube Kave (oh yea, that’s the name of our abode). Tyler had inadvertently broken Easter egg hunt protocol, but he’s two so we just shrug and give him the eggs. Per his instructions, Tyler led the way outside with the eggs in hand. He went about the yard and gently placed the eggs in decent hiding spots, then ran back to the porch and covered his eyes, to our amusement, as if he were playing hide-and-seek with the eggs. He then opened his eyes and proceeded to search. He knew where he had hidden the eggs, yet he searched as if it were all new to him. Better yet, he searched ‘Risky Business’ style.
Crocs and no socks, ladies
The day after Easter, Tyler had me hiding the eggs for him in the front yard as if we were practicing for a speed run next year. I admit feeling strange with those eggs in hand as the neighbors drove by, but if the kid wants to hunt eggs then you do just that. I tried to make it a learning experience, explaining how the round egg will roll around if you’re not careful and how to make it balanced on an uneven surface. Hunting eggs is fun for him and it gets him outside, plus he will be a egg hunting pro for next year.
I love food. Check out the jowls in my headshot and you’ll know I’m telling the truth. Tyler, unlike his portly papa, doesn’t care too much for food. I had quite the limited palete myself while growing up, so it’s easy to see that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Wait, did I say apple? He doesn’t like apples. He does like Apple products, but his mastery of the iPad is another story.
I’m not going to create a food review section for my blog, but with Tyler’s limited range of acceptable dining options I thought it might be fun to talk about what he does like when we go out to eat. I’m sure there are some people that will question what he eats; trust me when I say I share the same concerns. I’ve learned (or am trying to learn) that you’ve just got to roll with it. There is a lot of things you can stress about as a parent but stressing is about as helpful as ice skates on asphalt. So yes, I fed my son the mystery meat that is a hot dog and I’m not ashamed!
We happened to be on the “college” side of town around dinner time so I knew we had other dining options available to us. I had been wanting to try Voodoo Dog off Gaines Street for some time. Voodoo Dog is known for its specially dogs like their namesake dog which is lovingly wrapped in bacon and the Wake-n-Bake, which is bacon-wrapped with a fried egg and cheddar cheese. You could pretty much wrap anything in bacon and it would be better; a tube of meat is no exception. While the wife and Tyler decided to go for the plain dog (boring), I decided that ‘he who dares, wins’ and ordered The Jefferson, a bacon-wrapped dog covered in house-made mac and cheese.
My heart ached with each glorious bite. I would certainly recommend Voodoo Dog for a good, quick bite. They have a framed, velvet portrait of Robocop on the wall so you know it’s a classy joint. As for Tyler, he finished his dog with little evidence left, although he would be happy simply eating the bun. The woman running the counter was very friendly and interacted with Tyler, to which Ty would smile back and profess of his love of hot dogs. Tyler had a problem pronouncing Voodoo Dog and would, and still calls it to his amusement, Doodoo Dog. I can assure you there was no doo doo there.
Tyler has got to be picker than I ever was, and I was a very picky eater, but a hot dog every now and then is a fun treat. Did I mention the mac and cheese covered dog?
After thoughtful observation and pseudo-scientific measurement, I’ve determined how smart my oldest son is. Tyler is as smart as a Velociraptor. How, you may ask, did I figure out that my son is the intellectual equivalent to a prehistoric bird of prey? Simple; I did the door handle test.
There are many things you can learn from Steven Spielberg’s classic Jurassic Park. First, if an old guy tells you to get on his private plane to visit is ‘special park’ Costa Rica, you need to stay away from him. Second, if there is a T-Rex outside of your Ford Explorer, do NOT run to the nearby bathroom outside. Third, Raptors know how to open doors.
“Daddy, what are you doin’ in there?”
I’m glad that Tyler can problem solve and figure out new ways to get around the house, but does he really need to open the door when I’m trying to pee? Oh, sure, he opens the doors on other occasions, but without fail when it comes to bathroom doors. I have a theory that kids have a special sense that detects when the parental posterior is pressed against porcelain. I’ll be sitting on the toilet when I first hear those little feet against the tiled floor. My eyes immediately go to the door handle. It starts as a slow rattle as the predator tests the door handle for weakness, but quickly turns into a violent shake. Heavy knocking reverberates through the door (I’m serious. The kid’s got an arm!). I might be might fault as I picked the house with door handles instead of knobs. Rookie mistake.
“Daddy? Daddy, what you doing?” a curious voice asks. As much as I enjoy a good interrogation on the toilet, I prefer to hold my constitutional communion without my constituents. It doesn’t matter what stage I’m in, the answer is always the same. “Daddy will be done in a minute.” I’m okay with losing my privacy, that comes with having kids, but I prefer my Hoop-dee-DOO review to be a solo affair. I apologize for that last joke; it stunk. Now that I’m thinking about it, many great storytellers use moments from their own lives in their fiction. Was Steven Spielberg the victim of a ‘Raptor Attack’ by one of his children at home? It makes you wonder. Yes, these are the things I think about when I let my mind wander.
If you follow entertainment news, and not the gossipy Kardashian kind, you probably know that The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm. Buying Lucasfilm means that the Mouse House now owns the rights to George Lucas’ Star Wars saga. The news was met with mixed reaction from the Internet. I personally believe that Disney will be able to do justice to the much-revered series. Director J.J. Abrams is expected to release the first movie under Mickey’s flag, and with his track record I believe we can expect a quality film. Fresh blood and new ideas are what Star Wars needs. We know that Disney will be creating a host of films, television series, and merchandise based on Star Wars, but what can we expect in the theme parks?
We already have Star Wars in the parks; with the newly-refurbished Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and crossover merchandise special to the parks:
Oh, gawrsh. I AM your father!
With the Star Wars IP acquisition, can we expect to see more Han Solo and Princess Leia at the parks? I would be surprised if we didn’t get an entire ‘land’ devoted to the intellectual property. When it comes to theme parks, Star Wars is a win to Disney like Harry Potter was a win to Universal. I think most creative nerds, myself included, have been influenced by Star Wars in some way and I’m sure the Disney Imagineers are no different. While I’m certain they are already making plans for new rides and attractions, I have a few thoughts about what could be done.
Where to put a potential Star Wars land is pretty simple with Star Tours already in place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The area surrounding Star Tours could easily be revitalized. The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular has been running for almost 24 years and takes up a massive amount of real estate (I would much rather see a good Indy dark ride like that in Disneyland anyway). The ABC Sound Studio is a dead space which has been used for the Jedi Academy show. The Backlot Express quick service could be easily changed to a SW-themed quick service (Jedi Jamba Juice, anyone?). I might be missing something there, but you get the idea. What is perfect about the area is that everything I have listed is close to Star Tours, meaning very little would need to be moved around or constructed.
The red signifies the border of a proposed Star Wars land.
I will admit that I haven’t given too much thought into what types of rides or attractions would be good for a Star Wars land, but I’d like to offer a few suggestions.
Speeder Bike Coaster (or E-ticket dark ride) – I think every kid from the 80s wanted to ride on a speeder bike through the forest move of Endor. Imagine the smell of pine as you dodge gigantic trees just above the forest floor. You could easily accomplish the effect with a Harry Potter type ride system (think the sections where you are in front of a screen following Harry) or even a Vekoma motorbike coaster. I would love an intimate ride system where you would ride an individual bike mounted on a KUKA robotic arm. I think that plan would cost too much, but it would be pretty awesome.
Dueling Space Coasters – Rebels vs. Imperials - The studios already has a dark coaster with the Aerosmith roller coaster but a dueling roller coaster would be new to WDW. Picture a ride where you have two sides to choose from; a queue through the steel corridors of the Death Star or the Mayan-inspired jungle ruins of Yavin IV. It’s the Rebellion against the Empire. You take off from the respective hangar bays of each faction, meeting the other in space. Your ride vehicle bobs and weaves as your spacecraft dogfight over the Death Star. You’re not just riding a dueling roller coaster, but experiencing the lights and sounds of a Star Wars space battle. But how would you store such a massive ride? Easy, build a Death Star. I wouldn’t recommend building an entire geodesic sphere like Spaceship Earth, but a geodesic dome in the style of Space Mountain.
Mos Eisley (complete with cantina) – Any new shopping / dining area in a SW land would need to have Tatooine for sure, but Mos Eisley would especially be nice as a hub for trading and shopping. The iconic cantina could serve both nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages (separated, of course) in the same setting as seen in the movies. You might not want to overserve the adults unless you want to see a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Droids would also not be allowed inside the bar area.
Hangar – How cool would it be to see scale replicas of your favorite Star Wars vehicles. Take a walk-through tour of a recreated Millennium Falcon or check out the cockpit of an X-wing or TIE fighter. The vehicles of Star Wars are just as iconic as the characters and locations. A hangar setting, perhaps something like the jungles of Yavin or secret Echo Base on Hoth, would make for a different, slower-paced experience.
Star Wars stage show – with the building already in place, perhaps a live-action Star Wars stage show is the way to go. With anything that would go into the Indiana Jones show building, Disney has got to inclose the building! No one wants to sit outside and watch a 45 minute show in the heat of August. That qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment in some countries. As for the show, have real actors along with digital special effects in 3D. I would have something with Jedi fighting Sith. Good versus evil always makes for a good show.
I’m thinking up a few other rides as we go along, but I could be here forever. I think it is pretty much guaranteed that we will get something Star Wars related in the parks. What would you like to see?
During my downtime of late, I’ve been playing the game Aliens: Colonial Marines. The game isn’t that great, but it’s based off of the classic, 1986 James Cameron film, Aliens. The game has nods to the original film and one moment in particular stood out to me while I was playing. In the film, a group of space marines happens to come across a young girl, the only survivor of an alien infestation (stay with me, non-scifi people, I’m getting to a relevant point). The girl, having survived the alien onslaught, has only one treasured possession left from the time before the invasion; the grimy head of a doll.
The young girl carries this haunting, bodiless head around with her before losing it near the end of the film. Since Aliens is one of my favorite films, I clearly recalled the doll head and its story when I came across it in the game. I paused for a moment when I saw the head sitting there; it struck me in a peculiar way. I started thinking of Tyler and the objects that he holds dear: his stuffed Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto, his blankee, his Cars pillow, his taggie, Bear Bear, and Zoomie (his stuff dog that he named). If Tyler was in a similar situation to the young girl in Aliens, would he be clinging to his beloved Pluto?
The entire gang on vacation at Disney
I’m guessing by now you think I’m crazy (you should have picked up on that sooner), but I don’t think my observations are any different than any new parent. I’ve found that as a parent, I tend to experience movies and television shows differently. When there is a child involved in the storyline, it suddenly becomes my child, or my thoughts go to how Tyler might handle a similar situation. Without a child of my own, that young girl in Aliens is just another character to me. I couldn’t see beyond her character because I had no real-world reference. Now it seems, whenever I see a child, I immediatly think of my own. Let’s get away from science fiction and look at something closer to reality.
If I smoked, I’d throw all my cigarettes out right now.
Again, if I didn’t have kids, this would just be another commercial. With kids, the commercial becomes almost traumatic. Would I be able to find Tyler? Would he be alright if he was lost for a short time? Would some stranger abduct him the second he was out of my sight? Having kids has seemingly given me this X-men mutant power of being an over-critical, over-thinking nervous nellie when it comes to these commercials, shows, video games, and films (it’s easy to see where the over-protective and paranoid parents come from).
I think my point with all of this is how my worldview has changed since becoming a parent. It makes you paranoid about some things and see other things differently, but I don’t think it is always a bad thing. I feel like I “get” more when it comes to stories. You can’t understand a father/son bond unless you yourself have played both parts. To the single guy, that young girl holding the doll head in Aliens is just a prop, but as a dad I know that a stuffed animal can mean the world to a child. We’ve woken up several times to Tyler singing and talking to his audience of bedtime pals. Stories that have some element of parenting or just children in them become all the more rich now that I have this new understanding. Now I feel like watching Aliens.
Have there been any movies or shows that you feel have “changed” since you’ve had kids? Let me know it the comments!