New ‘TRON’ Ride Vehicles Were “Not the Very Best of Ideas” says Former Imagineer

TRON model
Credit: @JimShull on Twitter

Over the past few days, Disney fans have taken over social media to share their thoughts on the new TRON attraction that is coming to Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom Park. Initial reactions to the ride vehicles have disappointed many fans, and the discussion of inclusion and accesibility in the parks is once again ignited. Former Disney Imagineer Jim Shull shared his thoughts and critics on the size-limited ride vehicles in a ‘rant’ on Twitter.

TRON vehicle

Credit: Disney

Fans Left Disappointed by Non-inclusive Ride Vehicles

TRON Lightcycle Run is a highspeed roller coaster that will take riders on a race through ‘the Grid.’ After nearly six years of waiting, the ride has announced it will open to Guests of Walt Disney World Resort on April 4, 2023. Cast Members were given an exclusive preview of the TRON Lightcycle ride last week, and the reviews started to flow in. While there were plenty of accolades given to the attraction, one criticism kept on coming up: the ride vehicles.

The TRON Lightcycle Run is inspired by the 2012 Disney sci-fi film TRON: Legacy. In the movie, racers ride on Lightcycles, which are high-speed vehicles that resemble motorcycles. Walt Disney Imagineering designed the TRON attraction ride vehicles to resemble the movie’s Lightcycles. Unfortunately, many Cast Members were not able to fit into the ride vehicles due to its size restrictions. Complaints were mostly directed toward the small calf restraints and waist requirements.

Former Imagineer Speaks Out

Retired Disney Imagineer Jim Shull expressed his perspective on the ride vehicles on Twitter.

Shull Tweeted, “Reusing the same vehicle design developed for Shanghai Disneyland fitted for Chinese body types was not the very best of ideas. Americans and especially the Dinsey Guests in the U.S. do not match Chinese body types. Expect increase in number of GWD vehicles replacing bikes.”

Shull also commented on the new Mario Kart Ride vehicles at Univeral Studios, which claim to have a 40” waist limit.

Shull Tweets, “The new Mario Kart ride vehicle having a 40” waist limit is an example of designing first for the average Japanese Guest without considering the waist dimension of the average U.S. Guest. I designed ride vehicles with safe containment.”

Related: Preview Dates Confirmed Ahead of TRON Lightcycle / Run’s Official Opening

Ride Vehicles Limit Customer Base

Jim Shull’s tweets have resonated with many frustrated fans. While it’s still too early to tell what the public consensus will be about the TRON vehicles, these reports from Cast Members make many fans less excited for the April opening of the TRON coaster in Magic Kingdom.

As stated by Shull, “Safety is first always but companies must consider the customer or in this case Park Guest. If people can’t ride then companies lose money and they don’t want that. The solution is simple and cheaper than the alternative. #SafetyFirst.” disappointment

About Eva Merrill

Eva was born and raised in the beautiful state of Oregon but has since relocated and lives in New York City. Since she was young, Eva has loved to perform in musicals, especially Disney ones! Through performing, Disney’s music became the soundtrack of her childhood. Today, Eva loves to write about all the exciting happenings for the Walt Disney Company. In her free time, Eva loves to travel, spend time in nature, and go to Broadway shows. Her favorite Disney movie is 'Lilo and Stitch,' and her favorite Park is Disney's Animal Kingdom.