Walt Disney Studios and Disney Parks have teamed up to showcase a sneak peek of Tomorrowland, from director Brad Bird and screenwriter Damon Lindelof, with a special exhibit comprised of props, concept artwork and photos from the filming of the movie plus exclusive images from the Disney Archives.
Tomorrowland is still pretty shrouded in mystery, and we’ve only been given glimpses into the world, but we do know that it’s about a former boy-genius inventor, named Frank Walker (George Clooney), and optimistic teenager Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) who, through a shared destiny, embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory. The premise that the futuristic city of Tomorrowland could actually exist pays homage to Walt Disney’s vision for both Tomorrowland at Disneyland Resort and Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort, which makes it fitting that it’s being showcased at both parks.
Keeping this all as spoiler-free as possible, the 12-minute glimpse into the film, which includes never-before-seen footage, starts off with the young Frank (Thomas Robinson) at the World’s Fair Inventor Competition in 1964, where he proudly presents the jet pack he created to David Nix (Hugh Laurie) and catches the attention of the young Athena (Raffey Cassidy). Even though Frank’s invention doesn’t work the way he’d hoped, Athena helps steer him in a direction to make that happen, opening up a world of amazement and wonder that he never knew existed. Then, it all jumps ahead to the jaded and disillusioned Frank (Clooney), starkly contrasting the wide-eyed Casey, as we learn of the need to “fix the future.”
Held in the theater that was previously the home of Captain EO, the sneak peek is accompanied by lighting and strategic uses of wind and is a bit of a bumpy ride, as the room shakes and jolts while Frank tries to get his jet pack working, but it’s nothing too scary. While the futuristic technology, spaceships and robots are cool, in their own right, it is also very cool to see glimpses of what the much-loved boat ride Small World looked like when it was introduced at the World’s Fair in New York in the ‘60s.
While you can experience this all in part or as a whole, it is best to watch the sneak peek prior to walking around the accompanying exhibit, housed in the Starcade next door, as you will recognize many of the props from the footage and have a better understanding of the context of it all. There are costumes (including the Jetpack Man costume and Astronaut costume), props (including the monitor console, Frank’s 1964 jetpack, Frank’s teleportation ring, Frank’s countdown clock, Frank’s personal photos, items from the Hall of Invention, a Tomorrowland pin and pin case, guns, a number of Casey’s personal items, and much more), concept artwork from the film, contents from the 1952 box of items that inspired the movie, and memorabilia and photos from the World’s Fair.
If you’re going to be at Disneyland or Disney World, during the limited run of this sneak peek and special exhibit, it’s definitely worth taking the time to check it all out. Check out over 100 photos that we took on our tour of the exhibit.
Images via Christina Radish: