Disney finally announced that Tron Lightcycle / Run, the new roller coaster coming to the Magic Kingdom that has been under construction since 2018, is opening on April 4, 2023.
And what a big week that will be. The day before, Happily Ever After and EPCOT Forever will make their returns to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, respectively.
After years of waiting, endless announcements, and a pandemic, the indoor/outdoor roller coaster attraction opens April 4 in Tomorrowland. According to Disney, the story behind the ride picks up right after “TRON: LEGACY’ where Kevin’s son, Sam Flynn, has opened a second gateway into the digital realm called the grid. The first of these portals he created is found at Shanghai Disneyland with the original TRON Lightcycle Power Run.” The queue will supposedly transport guests to the Grid for a special Lightcycle race between Team Blue and Team Orange. The ride will be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney park.
When I initially wrote this article I questioned Disney’s investment in Tron, and whether there was sufficient interest in the Tron universe. The version of the attraction at Shanghai Disneyland has proved successful, and I’m sure the addition of such a large roller coaster will improve an aging Tomorrowland. But, I wondered, who likes Tron this much? Sure, the original was a modest hit that turned into a cult classic. Tron: Legacy, the 2010 sequel directed by Joseph Kosinski in his feature film debut, made a respectable $400 million but didn’t really seem to leave an imprint within the cultural conscious. (I acknowledge that my opinion re: it’s cultural relevancy could be skewed by the fact that there are people that enjoyed the film; I just don’t know them. I also acknowledge that culture relevancy—whatever that means—is not quantifiable, and can exist away from the internet—just ask the Avatar: The Way of Water naysayers.)
As fate would have it, just before I hit publish on this article, Disney announced that a sequel, Tron: Ares, is in the works with Jared Leto attached to star in the film. Leto, who so already set to star in the upcoming Haunted Mansion film, would not be my first choice for this film. But he, along with Tron, is apparently set to be part of the Disney universe for years to come.
So, I did my due diligence and watched Tron: Legacy over the weekend. It was entertaining, though its dialogue felt clunky. At times it was hard to determine whether it was aimed at kids or adults—I would have preferred that the film chose a lane. On occasion, I felt like a reference to the original was flying over my head (and into the Grid), but I don’t think it detracted from my experience. The de-aging tech used for Jeff Bridges was notable, if rudimentary. The action scenes were a fun, techno-infused take on gladiator games. The score, all throbbing synths, reeked of early 2010s tension in the best way. The film perhaps stood out most stylistically, with its neon lights, fluorescent grading, and post-Matrix outfits. Later films came to mind as I watched, most notably the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which took a page straight from Tron’s spacey aesthetic. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I’m unsure whether a sequel is necessary.
Which brings me back to the new attraction at Disney World—which I am actually excited about! It will be interesting to see how the franchise grows and now the new ride changes the Magic Kingdom. Now that the opening date was announced, expect Cast Member, DVC member, and Annual Passholder preview dates, which have yet to be announced.
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