I’ve seen the future. Do you want to find out what it’s like?

Ok, ok, I’m being a bit too grandiose. I did not acquire any sort of psychic ability. I just attended the preview of the upcoming movie Tomorrowland located in Tomorrowland, appropriately enough. While I attended the Disneyland preview, Disney World also has the same preview playing in the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World. So, what did I think about the preview of Brad Bird’s next movie? You wanted to see Tomorrowland. Well, here it is.

First of all, I might be the exact target audience for Tomorrowland. It’s directed by Brad Bird (one of my favorite directors), written by Damon Lindelof (one of my favorite writers), based on my favorite Magic Kingdom land, a backdrop featuring the 64 World’s Fair and Walt Disney, with heavy elements of action, mystery, sci-fi, and retrofuturism. There is such a confluence of elements I absolutely love in this movie, it’s kind of eerie. It’s as if the filmmakers peered into my mind and into my heart and made a movie catered to my very nerdy interests. Needless to say, I’ve been very much anticipating Tomorrowland. It’s my most anticipated movie this year that doesn’t take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I went into the preview excited to see more of the movie, but nervous that I might get spoiled or learn too much. However, I couldn’t resist seeing more of a movie I’m so eagerly awaiting.

1964 World's Fair Banner - Disneyland Tomorrowland Preview

I knew things were off to a good start when I entered the queue area. The Magic Eye Theater queue is rather sparse at Disneyland, but Disney enhanced it a bit by posting pictures, signage, and concept art revolving around the 1964 World’s Fair. Besides being gorgeous, these signs set the tone perfectly. The World’s Fairs of yore were all about optimism about the future, and the 64 World’s Fair was huge milestone for Walt Disney. Imagineering prepared four attractions for that Fair, including It’s a Small World, Carousel of Progress, and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. Tomorrowland is tied to one of the most important events in the history of Disney theme parks, and it makes sense that Disney would choose to highlight that in the in-park preview.

1964 World's Fair Concept Art - Disneyland Tomorrowland Preview

As for the preview itself, I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t go into the specific plot points. But I was thrilled with what I saw.

Disneyland Tomorrowland Preview

The preview consists of a 5-7 minute scene from early on in the movie, taking place at the 64 World’s Fair. In the opening moments, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” plays as a young John Francis Walker approaches the “Hall of Invention” pavilion at the fair. Hearing those familiar lyrics play over the idyllic visuals of the World’s Fair had me hooked. What follows is a sequence featuring humor, adventure, action, mystery, and It’s a Small World. Tomorrowland definitely feels like a collaboration between the movie’s director and writer. Brad Bird’s kinetic visual style, quick pacing, and an overall sense of fun and adventure is there in spades. There’s also an undercurrent of mystery and possibility that Damon Lindelof is known for. Basically, Tomorrowland seems like everything I could hope for.

Another fun part of seeing this preview in the Magic Eye Theater is that Disney has incorporated some of the 4D effects from the theme park show into this preview. At certain parts, wind would blow or the whole theatre would shake. It makes me wish I could see the entire movie with these effects on. I guess I’ll just settle for IMAX.

I saw the preview four times during my quick trip to Disneyland. Yes, four. I enjoyed the preview more each time I watched it, and the others in the audience seemed to really be delighted by what was on screen. I left the viewing feeling very optimistic about the future of Tomorrowland. It’s one of the view Disney movies this year that isn’t a sequel or based on an existing story. Even though it’s technically “based on a theme park land,” it seems like the filmmakers are running with the concept and ideal of that land in a bold and somewhat risky way. I’m really hoping that this risk pays off, both with a good movie and with a successful reception at the box office. I’m still holding onto my hope that Tomorrowland the movie will end up influencing the direction of Tomorrowland the land.

Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof - Tomorrowland Disneyland Preview

Another great part of this preview was the exhibit Disney set up adjacent to the exit of the theater. It features concept art, props, costumes and the 1952 Box that inspired the movie. The exhibit also features interviews with Bird and Lindelof discussing inspirations for the movie, Disneyland, and much more. The exhibit is very small, but very cool.

Costumes - Tomorrowland Disneyland Preview

People Mover and Concept Art - Tomorrowland Disneyland Preview

1952 Box - Tomorrowland Disneyland Preview


1952 Box - Tomorrowland Disneyland Preview

I would definitely recommend checking out the Tomorrowland preview at Disneyland and Disney World. The preview will run until the end of the month at Epcot, when it will be replaced with a preview for Pixar’s Inside Out. Both previews feel like a perfect fit for the Imagination Pavilion.

Tomorrowland opens in theaters nationwide on May 22nd.