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Disney’s ‘Tron’ Monorail: Clever Marketing or Ad Overkill?
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Empress Eve   |  @   |  
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Tron Monorail Disney World

Last week, The Disney Blog posted a first look at Disney World’s new Tron-themed monorail train.

In promotion of Disney’s Tron: Legacy, the sequel to their 1982 film which comes to theaters this December, one of the monorail trains at Disney World was given a Tron-themed makeover, painted with a light cycle with walls of trailing colored light. The “Tronorail” travels only to Disney’s EPCOT, which brings guests into the Future World side of the park, and is yellow on one side and blue on the other. [See image at top; video here below of train in action.]

The Daily Disney is reporting that while some fans are loving the Tronorail, others are outraged, criticizing Disney for adding advertising to the monorails.

“You get the feeling that over the years, the hard sell has been creeping in further and further. And finally it’s come to monorails as moving billboards,” Michael Crawford, publisher of Progress City USA, a blog devoted to Disney news and history.

Of Disney World’s current 11-train monorail fleet, only one was given the Tron transformation, and Disney made it a point to state that the train never goes into the Magic Kingdom, where it would be out of place, unlike in the technology-themed EPCOT.

Like most people, I hate having advertising shoved in my face, but honestly, I love a good product tie-in and in my opinion, the Tron monorail is pretty clever. As a fan of Disney and its theme parks, who happens to be anticipating Tron: Legacy, I instantly and absolutely loved the Tronorail. I wish I could get to EPCOT right now to see it in person and get a chance to ride it. It’s only one train in the fleet, so it’s not like EPCOT is riddled with Tron trains now; plus, it’s a limited time only and it’s cool as hell!!! While Dave3 thought it looked cool and approved the Tron monorail makeover, he was a little disappointed that it doesn’t leave a light trail behind it to kill other monorails. I guess he has a point.

But, there are a lot — and I mean a lot — of Disney purists out there who really dislike any change in the parks. For instance, in 1996, Disney World transformed Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom into a giant colorful birthday cake in celebration of the theme park’s 25 anniversary, and plenty of park-goers were furious. Taking a photo in front of the Castle is something nearly everyone does at the Magic Kingdom, so many people felt it ruined the look and feel of the park, not to mention their photos.

I visited Disney World that year, and I was excited by the look, which was only to be in place a limited time, but then again, I go there once every one or two years, so I knew eventually I would see the Castle back to normal. It was a novelty to me, but there were people who traveled there for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and I spoke to a lot of people at the time who felt that the big cake castle put a damper on their experience.

Don’t even get me started on the couples who had planned a Fairy Tale Wedding at the Wedding Pavilion, which provides a backdrop of the castle as the couple stands at the altar. Instead of having the open window with a view of the castle, Disney closed up the window with a stained-glass panel with an image of the original Cinderella’s Castle. Yeah, lots of disappointed couples.

So basically, I’m not surprised there’s fan outrage about the monorail, I just in this case, I think it’s unwarranted. Walt Disney’s vision for his parks was that of change and progress, yet every time a ride is revamped or closed to make way for something new or if something new is inserted into the parks, there’s an outcry. The Tron train is a clever and fun piece of marketing that Disney is using to promote their own movie, and what would Disney World be without the Disney movies? Isn’t that part of the reason visitors come to Disney World, because they like Disney movies and want to go on Disney movie-themed rides and attractions, and meet the Disney characters that originated from the movies?

What do you think of the Tron-themed monorail train? Is the Tronorail a fun addition to the park or has Disney gone overboard with advertising? Let us know what you think!

Video

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Topics: News, Theme Parks
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