June 5, 2020

The implications of “Tomorrowland”

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This archived article was written by: Nathaniel Woodward

In 1955, Disneyland first opened its gates, Walt Disney spoke to an eager crowd, “To all who come to this happy place; welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world,” words he not only lived by, but ran his empire by.
As I sat in a movie theater with my wife, waiting for the latest Disney feature to begin, the preview for “Tomorrowland,” their next big-budget picture played. I watched the extended trailer as the words of the late legend played in my mind.
The next few years will define the long-term conditions of our planet. How we live now will affect not only the economic future, but the future of our climate. What “Tomorrowland” are we building for ourselves? Disney dreamed of a community driven by a need for perfection, an overwhelming desire to make the world a better place for everyone. He named the utopia EPCOT and created plans on how it was to be constructed, a dream he would surely have realized if his life hadn’t ended so abruptly. The EPCOT of today shares nothing but the name of Disney’s vision, but somehow, echos of its message manage to resonate through the films, attractions and innovations of his successors.
What struck me about “Tomorrowland’s” plot was the storyline of how an advanced civilization came about when like-minded people move forward toward a goal simply for the sake of making the world a better place (Sound familiar?). It’s almost the love child of Karl Marx and Ayn Rand.
What this film may imply, perhaps subtly, is a plea from ghosts long dead to put aside what makes us different and become a community driven by progress, where every life matters and where everyone deserves to be happy.
Our “Tomorrowland” hinges between the reality we predict and one we dream of, and it will become what we allow it to be. Those who will make the biggest difference are the ones who don’t view the world as it is, but as it could be. Disney’s greatest gift was his ability to peer into the future and see what things could become, then roll up his sleeves and make it happen. He was not only a dreamer, he was a doer.
The implications of “Tomorrowland” are not to just believe in what you want, but to do them, now, without hesitation, to take defeats and keep moving forward, learning from mistakes. Stop caring about building your bank account and work towards the greater good. Nobody will remember how much money you made, they will only remember how much of yourself you gave.
As EPCOT stood for, the
see Disney page 3

Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, if our “Tomorrowland” is anything to be looked forward to, we must become the community of tomorrow, today.

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