Once upon a time, there was an attraction called the Carousel of Progress. The CoP was built by Walt and featured at the 1964 World’s Fair, and then moved to Disneyland. It was a big, round building. It was also discontinued at Disneyland the year I was born (1973). Apparently Walt liked the CoP.
Replacing the CoP was America Sings. As I recall, this exhibition had a great deal of animatronic animals singing songs about America. It was lame, and it closed and many of the animals moved to Splash Mountain where they now sing songs from a movie that has never been released on home video (and I mean video, like VHS, or Beta if you unfortunately chose the wrong format) because it’s completely racist. Yet despite this racism, Disney used Song of the South to create Splash Mountain and invited some of America Sings’s animals to the party. Go figure.
Anyway, replacing America Sings was Innoventions. Let me just make something clear first. The best part of Innoventions is the fact that it’s air-conditioned. The worst part is, like, everything else. Innoventions has two floors. Originally you entered on the first floor, but they have recently switched it and you now enter in what used to be the exit.
Doesn't this look like an exit? That's because it was.
Innoventions is supposed to be a huge display introducing us to the wonders of the future. This has become problematic, since the wonders it is introducing have already come to pass, and in some cases, have been surpassed by more modern technology.
Since you’re entering through the former exit, you have to climb a lot to get to the top. However, the climb does lead to some nice park views.
It's the Matterhorn. How beautiful.
It also gives you a fantastic view of something that is long obsolete, yet still very visible in an un-Disney-like fashion. I’m talking about the Peoplemover tracks.
The Astro Orbiter rocket ship ride used to be on top of this building, and it was totally awesome. Now it's on the ground, which is not awesome.
Innoventions welcomes you to the second floor, formerly known as the second part of Innoventions.
Come on in! No, really, please come in.
Once inside, you are immediately assaulted by the Wall O’Corporate Sponsorship. Now a lot of the attractions in the park are sponsored by corporations, but I can’t think of any more shameless than Innoventions. I mean, it’s like when a company buys a sports arena and changes its name. I’m looking at you
Arrowhead Pond Honda Center and Compaq Center HP Pavilion. Anyway, Innoventions is very heavily sponsored.
The future belongs to Microsoft, et al.
Now that you’re really inside, you get to your first exhibit–the jet pack.
This just does not look safe
Which would be all cool and stuff, except that now our emphasis is on green energy and I’m having a hard time coming up with something less green than individual jet packs. Hybrid jet packs? I’m not feeling the love here.
Next is Honda’s robot, Asimo. It’s Asimov without the V. I know, you didn’t notice that until I pointed it out. You’re welcome.
This is like a theater or something. I don't know. I didn't go inside. I don't go to Disneyland to watch Honda's presentation about robots, no matter how much I loved my 1987 Honda CRX. And I SERIOUSLY loved that car.
Outside of the theater are these wall decorations of carved robots, except instead of looking all futuristically cool and stuff, they actually look quite terrifying–like Skeletor meets C3-PO and instead of dying an agonizing death in private, its final fatal moments are recorded for all time on a wall in Innoventions. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have nightmares about these things. Again.
Screw you and your creepy robot skeletons, Honda. I drive a Mazda now.
After that you can see the tree house thing that’s supposed to be, well, I don’t know what it’s supposed to be. For some reason it reminds me of Avatar, but like Avatar in purgatory.
Sorry James Cameron, but your movie kind of sucked. Although a setup like this might have made it better.
On the other side of Honda’s Asimo theater, people come out and they look all blue. This is Disney’s way of letting you know that you’re in the future.
I have seen the future, and it's blue.
Then comes the world of interactive games. You can made a body using the Body Builder, which is not a workout supplement, but rather is a 3D game where you build a body.
What's with the Asian writing at the bottom? Are Asians supposed to have their fingers on the pulse of the future? Because that's kind of racist too.
There is a part that actually looks really cool. It’s a projected image on the floor and there are these puck things that you use your stick to move around. I mean, it looks like a fun-ish game but the stick things don’t always work and people often look like they’re curling or something. Also, there’s always a line to participate. Pass.
Cruise ships all over the world are replacing their shuffleboard fields with these things.
Then there are video games, pretty much all of which you can play at home. And at first I thought “now who comes to Disneyland to play video games you can play at home?” but then I thought about how there used to be an awesome two-story arcade outside of Space Mountain with things like air hockey that I spent a lot of time playing with, but then again, very few people have air hockey tables at home. I’m so conflicted. It makes me long for the days of 25 cents Ms. Pac Man. Life was so simple when all we had to play with was a rock.
Please tell me this is not what our future will look like.
OMG, the blue is EVERYWHERE!!!
And then, for some inexplicable reason, we leave the world of blue and video games and enter what seriously reminds me of the Health section of the Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles, circa 1980’s, where they told you to do some revolutionary things like brush your teeth.
Strangely enough, this section is sponsored by St. Joseph’s hospital. Which really is the hospital you want to go to if you are sick or injured at Disneyland. If you ever find yourself in an ambulance leaving the Disneyland resort, which I have because I’m all weird like that, ask them to take you to St. Joseph’s.
Don't forget to brush your teeth, kiddies!
There are also some strange things in that part, like apparently in the future we’re going to have some wacky thing called “journalism.”
This ridiculous idea will never catch on.
I think the point of that exhibit is to show the “newspapers” at the bottom that actually have little screens where you can watch the news. Unfortunately, this has already been invented. It’s called television.
Despite the fact that this is all about the future, there are some decidedly non-futuristic elements like these retro designs.
But I thought the future was blue?
I AM AN AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER!!!
This machine thing asks “How will you look at your reunion?” and I think it’s supposed to take your picture and time warp you or something.
Dear Alumni Association--stop sending me mail!!!
The thing is, for many of us we just have to look in the mirror to know how we will look at our reunion. I mean, take a look at this:
Me in 1985
Me in 2011
You know, a lot of people are concerned about how they will look at their reunions (older, fatter, balder), but quite frankly, I had nowhere to go but up, so I’m pretty happy.
But back to Innoventions, there’s one more thing on the second floor
Is this awesome or what?
There used to be a section here with Segways that you could ride on. I always meant to do that, but never got around to it and now its gone. I guess I’ll have to wait for my personal jet pack.