With the first US version of Disney Parks’ highly anticipated TRON Lightcycle / Run coaster opening at Walt Disney World Resort this spring, will its success prompt additional expansion at Disneyland on the West Coast?
In 2016, Disney’s first version of a semi-exposed steel rollercoaster inspired by its films, TRON (1982) and TRON: Legacy (2010), opened at the Shanghai Disney Resort in lieu of Space Mountain. The high-speed, technologically advanced thrill ride quickly found success with Disney fans, prompting the opening of a similar coaster within Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park.
In fact, Disney recently announced the coaster’s opening in 2023 after many years of waiting, including an extended two year hiatus prompted by the global Covid-19 shutdown. What’s more, in 2019, a source reported that Walt Disney Imagineering had filed orders for two more of Shanghai Disneyland’s TRON coaster’s design, even speculating that Disneyland might build its own version in Tomorrowland where the Innoventions/Star Wars Launchbay building currently stands.
However, while another thrill ride would certainly excite E-ticket fans in Southern California, it wouldn’t be the first time the TRON franchise has “uploaded” to the Disneyland Resort. Mainly, from 1982 to 1995, the rebranded “PeopleMover Thru the World of TRON” transported guests through the Carousel Building’s SuperSpeed Tunnel and into the digital world of the Game Grid for a tour above Tomorrowland.
Then, to celebrate the Y2K release of the film’s sequel, Disney California Adventure Park hosted “ElecTRONica,” a club-like, all ages, interactive dance party in the Hollywood Backlot area. At the end of the week, starting in October of 2010, a character called Eckert, brother of the “derezzed” Castor, welcomed Guests through a portal into the Grid where they could enjoy dancing in Tron City, Laser Light Lemondade, Glowjito mojitos, and blinking Digitini martinis at the End of the Line Club, and play classic arcade games at a recreation of Flynn’s Arcade.
Moreover, LASERMAN, a DJ and special effects performer would project a stunning lightshow alongside the TRON City Dance Crew, glowing hula-hoop acrobats, and tunes from Daft Punk. Not to mention, daytime Disney Park Guests could even learn choreography from Eckert and his crew during the “Power Surge” preshow then return that night to perform them until ElecTRONica’s closure in 2012.
All in all, if the Walt Disney Company could find the space, inserting more TRON into Disneyland Park could build on an exciting history for the IP in its theme parks, as well as possibly revive a franchise it seems they once hoped might become as big as the now Disney-owned Star Wars.
Would you be ready to rez in?