Sunday, March 14, 2010
TRON Legacy will be released next December and everybody awaits its release with excitement. Considering that we had to wait 28 years to have a sequel to the original picture the excitement is quite logical but on Disney fans forums the big question is: "When WDI will build a TRON attraction?" Even more: "Why not have a TRON bikes ride on Disneyland - or WDW Magic Kingdom - People Mover track?"
On a certain point of view the question makes sense: this kind of ride would need a long track and the People Mover have it. But as we will see, it's technically a bit more complicated. Before i go further please note that all TRON pictures in this article are "wallpaper" pictures - except these recently released pictures showing WDW monorails featuring TRON Legacy art. Click on them if you want to get them in big size for your desktop.
To comeback to a TRON bikes attraction what you don't know is that a "bike race" ride was envisioned by WDI Imagineers ten years ago, and although it didn't had a TRON theme it looked exactly like the TRON ride that fans can dream about... The ride was called "Rocket Bikes", was part of the Sci-Fi City project for a newly designed Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland - and probably the best Tomorrowland concept ever.
Designed by Imagineer Eddie Sotto this great Rocket Bikes ride had two "intergalactic" bikes with two people on each. Racers from all over the galaxy come to compete in the ultimate off-world race! The bikes were launched on a elevated platform front wheels off the ground for a race at high speed all around Sci Fi City, maneuvering through Cratertown, crashed space ships, Space Mountain and the "Cosmic Way" and in real competition with one another, all with onboard music themed to your ride. Think about a bike race where the People Mover is right now at WDW with two bikes side by side and you have a pretty good idea of how the Rocket Bikes ride would have been. Oh, and i've forgot to tell you that just like a real bike, your team leaning into the curves helped determine your place in the race. And also that the start of the race would have been "rocket launch" with flames coming out of the bikes booster engines!
The TDL Sci-Fi City Rocket Bikes would have been a great E Ticket ride...but it was never built. Why? Well, the Sci-Fi City concept was absolutely great but probably not that cheap. And as at the same time TDL was building Tokyo Disney Sea i supposed they've reached the point where they had to do a choice, financially speaking. And now that Universal choose to name "Sci-Fi City" one of Universal Singapore lands i'm afraid that TDL will never have a land called like this...
But let's come back to a TRON Bikes attraction. Could it be possible to re-design the Rocket Bikes concept for a TRON ride? Technically, it's probably possible...although the new design of the TRON bikes - with a hole at the center of the wheel - will be a brain teaser for WDI Imagineers. And not to mention that in the movie the driver literally lay down on the bike - which of course was not the case of the guests on the Rocket Bikes concept.
And could it be possible to put the ride on DL or WDW People Mover track? Well, the reality is that the rocket bikes were originally intended to be on the DL Peoplemover track!..BUT the banked turns and clearances did not work out, and it would have been the same at WDW. The fact is that you can't have vehicles at high speed racing on the People Mover track as it was not designed for that when WED Imagineers built it, back in the 1960's. It has been a problem with the Rocket Rods ride and it would be one with a Rocket Bikes ride. It's sad to say but it seems that the track can only accept vehicles at slow speed. Of course if WDI was destroying everything and build a new track it would be different but the price for this would be probably outrageous for Disney suits. The other challenge that made the ride difficult to build was the ride capacity per hour. Imagineers had to link trains of bikes together or do some fancy timing to get the numbers up...
This is why WDI Imagineers took the concept to Tokyo Disneyland where, unfortunately, the ride was not built. By the way, do you know that the Rocket Bikes concept was inspired by Knott's Berry Farm soap box racer ride? In that ride you compete with one another and it was a huge success at Knott's for that sole reason.
So, even if the Rocket Bikes concept would be perfect for a ride inspired by the TRON Bikes, i'm sorry to say that chances to have it build on DL or WDW People Mover track are so low that i wouldn't bet a dime on it. It's sad, but it's the reality.
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Pictures: copyright Disney