Could Fry, Leela, Bender and the rest of the Planet Express gang be making a move from New New York City to Tomorrowland?
Let’s face it: Disneyland’s future-themed borough could use a facelift. The PeopleMover tracks still stand despite not being utilized since the unfairly-maligned Rocket Rods blasted off the scene exactly twenty years ago today. The large building that used to house Innoventions sits mostly dormant aside from character meet-and-greets. Giving Futurama a presence in the land, perhaps as the basis for a visual overhaul, would shake things up and imbue the land with a whole new sensibility: a colorful, retro-futuristic aesthetic that’s also totally irreverent and just a bit edgy. It’d be reminiscent of the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland 1994 makeover, which sadly never made it to its California counterpart.
However, there is zero chance of this coming to fruition.
Under the tenure of recently-departed CEO Robert Iger, additions to Disney’s parks across the globe have been based around the company’s many intellectual properties, and while the nattering nabobs of the Disney fandom may grumble at the lack of wholly original attractions, it seems doubtful his successor Bob Chapek will deviate from that strategy. Therefore, any Tomorrowland reimagining would naturally involve an existing IP. And what Disney-owned property is better suited to the task than Futurama, the beloved TV cartoon that’s all about the future? Furthermore, it’s Simpsons-adjacent, and since Disney can’t utilize The Simpsons in the parks due to Universal Studios holding the US theme park rights, Futurama just might be the next best thing.
Something to keep in mind is just how foolish it is to even entertain such a notion.
Plus, now that Star Wars has its own dedicated area of the park, Tomorrowland mainstay Star Tours is looking a bit out of place. Of course, one could argue that it’s always been out of place, given that Star Wars takes place “a long, long time ago,” but let’s digress. Has the time come for the great grandaddy of simulator rides to “boldly go” into the holocron of history? Perhaps. But what could possibly replace it and fill its AT-AT sized shoes? Good news, everyone, because it just so happens there was a never-built, Star Tours-inspired Futurama ride that would fit the bill perfectly, as prominent theme park historian Jim Hill revealed back in 2010. According to Jim:
…the beauty of this proposed “Futurama” simulator attraction was that Fry, Leela and Bender would go on a typical Planet Express delivery run. But at each step of the way (i.e. When their spaceship stops for fuel at a decrepit old space station; when the crew lands on some dark, forbidding planet to deliver their package to this huge, scaly alien, etc.), Fry would then turn around & address the audience by saying “And this is the part where SOMETHING GOES HORRIBLY WRONG!?“” And then nothing would happen.
Sounds like fun on a bun! Similar to the company’s recently announced retheming of Splash Mountain to The Princess and the Frog, a retheming of Star Tours to Futurama seems like it would be quite cost-effective and therefore more palatable to penny-pinching executives. Disney’s crack team of Imagineers could simply reuse the existing Starspeeder ride vehicles, swap out the C-3PO animatronic with Fry, et cetera.
There’s just one problem: it’s never going to happen.