Walt Disney Imagineering- One of the most highly respected and influential companies in this industry for themed entertainment that Walter Elias Disney formed during his years and in which he created a legacy of inventive and innovated of many talented people from artists, narrative storytellers, creative directors and the list goes down the line. Currently and in which the company is working on and going to be opening up a “Toy Story” expansion at both Shanghai Disneyland and over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World and next year of the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at both the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.
This post however though is going to take a step back and just primarily focus on one of Disney’s most highly technological and most innovative thrill ride attractions of the Tron Powercycle Run Coaster at Shanghai Disneyland over in the mainland of China. As many Disney Parks fans that are heavily passionate about the parks worldwide that it’s not quite common that we get a brand new Disney park every so often and takes way head of many years to find a spot and having long meetings and conversations about it.
So let’s dive into this post shall we?
The person in charge who is the head of The Walt Disney Company is Chairman/CEO, Bob Iger that has been head of the company and has been part of the company since 1974 and is now extending his tenure till Mid-2019 ever since his second right hand man of Tom Staggs was supposed to replace him but, step down from the company. Chairman Iger has helped revamped Disneyland’s next door neighbor park of Disney California Adventure and has changed the company that we know of today. Forwarding down the timeline and in which the next park he helped planned for many years was in the mainland of China just outside the city of Shanghai for Shanghai Disneyland that opened up on June 16th, 2016 that was built of an estimate of $3.7-$5.5 billion dollars before any construction delays happened.
Disney came in agreement with the government group of the Shanghai Shendi Group owning 57% while Disney owns the remaning 43% of the park.
Chairman Bob Iger with the Storytellers statue before the opening of Shanghai Disneyland Source: (©Disney)
Shanghai Disneyland currently today has been visited from global visitors from all over the world and well over in attendance of more than 1 million visitors but, there is two big E-ticket attractions that has many Disney fans talking over in China and which are Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle For The Shrunken Treasure and the Tron Powercycle Run Coaster. This will however mainly focus on, of why the Tron coaster is so popular and why fans of the parks should look forward towards it coming to Orlando, Florida next at Walt Disney World.
Before we dive into the actually attraction it’s self and we need to take a step back in time of why Tron is one of Disney’s most popular cult-classic films in our today’s pop culture society. Ever since the first TRON film released back in 1982 and which was that year of gaming and technology evolving and in which audiences of young kids and teenagers would go out for the weekend and seeing their favorite films or see what was new the gaming industry back then. For those who are old school gamers in which PONG was the predecessor in 1976 before the actual release of the film and also include many other games later on like Space Invaders, Donkey Kong vs. Mario, Super Mario Bros. was also an influence on the film.
TRON (1982) went on and had a $4 million dollar opening weekend and went on making $33 million dollars in North America but, didn’t meet Disney’s expectations for disappointment in the budget was $17 millon dollars. Even though TRON didn’t meet up towards critics and Disney’s expectations but, it lead towards the influence of it’s storytelling and imagery even before Pixar’s time as one of today’s biggest animation studios in the world today in the present. TRON lead the charge of how computer generated imagery (CGI) was first created and how much it influenced the entertainment industry towards other films, gaming, music, and television shows as well.
The next chapter in the 21st century lead towards the sequel of TRON: Legacy that opened up in 2010 in which Jeff Bridges character “Flynn” goes disappearing from the real world and into the virtual world of “The Grid” with his side-kick of Quorra. The film follows the story of his son, Sam following his dad’s disappearance and in which he meets the antagonist character of Clu and wants takes over the virtual world. The film capped off in grossing $400 million dollars during its thearical run and was praised for visual effects, production design and soundtrack composed by Emmy-awarding and long running DJ’s of Daft Punk.
Even though the film lacked character development, confusing direction of the story and under performing of the cast but, it still holds up towards as one of Disney’s most beloved and cult-classic following films and has a pop culture heavily present in Asia in which where the Tron Lightcycle Power Run coaster is held today. Disney also produce a Tron television series called TRON: Uprising in which the series bridge the gap between the first and second film and didn’t live up towards up viewing standards and expectations and lasted a single season and making Disney cancelling the series. It still holds today making a ton of revenue as well for merchandising that fans still hold and appreciate the film near dear towards them.
So the question is why did Disney built a state-of-the-art thrill ride attraction based of a cult-classic film in China? Well as mentioned it is because of the cult-following and is more dominant over in Asia versus North America and other parts of the world and has been heavily influenced in today’s pop culture and even cosplay as well.
Now let’s break down of what makes the Tron coaster great and why fans should be excited coming towards Walt Disney World just in time for the 50th anniversary that was announced last year at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.
The Tron coaster is part of the Tomorrowland area of the park that is heavily influenced by the modern today of the Shanghai Skyline and architectural designs from different buildings ranging from skyscrapers, smaller buildings and many others. The coaster trains are based off the film’s “Lightcycles” and also the retro arcade game of TRON it’s self.
The two companies that help made the Tron coaster possible are the manufacturing Dutch company of Vekoma and also Grimshaw a high-tech modeling company that helped consult Walt Disney Imagineering and help build the canopy of the coaster. According from Grimshaw’s site about the coaster train in which they describe it as “the park’s main attractions. the scheme features a series of elevated pathways, water features, linked open spaces, and one-of-a-kind ribbon-like structures, which have been designed to ‘coalesce with the natural landscape’.”
The canopy is massive with tons amount of LED Lighting Packages and making it visually stunning during the evening hours and themed with the many vibrant and colorful lights through the area of Tomorrowland.
Lighting packaging of the Tron Lightcycle PowerRun Coaster between the collaboration of Walt Disney Imagineering and Grimshaw. Source: (©Grimshaw/Stefan Shaw)
Closer look up the canopy of the Tron coaster at Shanghai Disneyland. Source: (©Grimshaw/Stefan Shaw)
Walt Disney Imagineering created the motorbikes for an individual riding experience and reaching speeds up towards 60 miles per hour and which is the fastest roller coaster that Disney has ever built! Now what makes the roller coaster great is because of the jaw-dropping presentation beginning from the queue that sets up the story of the attraction and makes you feel like your part of the virtual world of “The Grid” right before board the coaster with bank turns, dips and dives, and makes you feel like your competing against another “Lightcycle”.
Due towards the reason of why it’s coming towards Florida is because of it’s massive popularity and how much it’s praised over in Shanghai from local and foreign visitors and now will be placed Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland just near Space Mountain and Tomorrowland Speedway. Chairman Bob Chapek, of the Walt Disney Parks & Resorts during the D23 Expo said it would be opened up just for the resort’s 50th in 2021.
Artist Concept Only for the future site of Tron coaster for the Magic Kingdom’s 50th anniversary at Walt Disney World. Source: (©Disney)
Now for those who can’t afford to make it Shanghai, China and live in the United States can visit the Central Florida area and experience the coaster it’s self and how deeply and highly technological the coaster is when it opens.
So if this information doesn’t make you excited coming towards Walt Disney World, then your clearly missing out! For everything Disney Parks & Resorts and all other themed entertainment news, keep checking back here at SkywalkingAdventure.com
Check out a walkthrough of the queue and POV video below: