Space travel and exploration always comes to mind when you think about the future. When Disneyland opened in the mid 50's the world was mesmerized with the notion of going to space. And this wouldn't be left out of Disneyland. In the 70's the Flight to the Moon/Mission to Mars attraction was added. Over fifty years later the attraction is long gone, as well as the awe and excitement of man's initial efforts into space exploration.
Although the novelty has worn off, there are things to be as excited about, if not more so, than our first steps into space. The means of going into space are quickly changing hands from superpower nations to the private sector, opening the next chapter, not only of space exploration, but also of consumer space travel. With hopes of Tomorrowland returning to its original focus it's time to once again have a ride that captures the imagination and wonder of space travel at Disneyland- Virgin Galactic.
In the not too distant future anyone with enough money will be able to board Virgin Galactic and take a trip literally out of this world. Richard Branson's Virgin Group Ltd is well on its way to making this happen. Commercial space travel is on it's way. Creating an attraction based on this inevitability is a natural fit for a revitalized Tomorrowland. As a woman in the intro video below says "I had two dreams growing up, to go to Disneyland and to go into Space."
If you combined being in a ship, like you are in Star Tours, but put that in a huge encompassing screen, as in Soaring Over California, you could create the most realistic simulation possible- without leaving the ground. Soaring Over California so captures the feeling of flight with it's large scale image, imagine an adaptation of that where you sit vertically in Spaceship One and can look back out of a window at the curvature of the earth.
The ride could be treated literally as Virgin Galactic, assuming a partnership between Disney and Virgin. The whole experience would be that the guest is a consumer space traveler. Maybe even hand out boarding passes and go through and fake x-ray scan while you wait in a line that is a fancy space travel terminal, "Domestic, International, and Orbital flights now boarding!"
Virgin Galactic created this video below to capture just this feeling it's offering future guests. Here it doubles as a perfect pitch for a ride, minus the zero-gravity bit. (Lenthgy video but worth the watch!)
Virgin Galactic really struck me as having the wonder and entrepreneurial spirit that Walt had. I think it would be a welcome addition to a new Tomorrowland. Virgin Galactic represents a bold, aspiring, and uniquely entrepreneurial look at what is possible in the future. Hopefully a ride counterpart would bring back that ideal for Tomorrowland as well.