The TRON movies have had a unique past with the Walt Disney Company. From the ground-breaking technical effects of the first film in 1982 to the stunning updated visuals of the second film in 2010 and a company-first motorbike inspired coaster that opened in 2016. With fans dying to go to The Grid, Disney brought forth just that at Shanghai Disneyland. But, fans in the western hemisphere begged for a duplicate of a coaster that they thought would never happen.
Then, at the 2017 D23 Expo, magic happened. Bob Chapek announced that the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster was coming to Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Since then we have seen trees tore down, water ways re-routed and now, steel rising.
This coaster was originally designed and built in Shanghai by Vekoma. They have worked alongside Disney to build other world-class coasters like Seven Dwarves Mine Train and Expedition Everest.
This new coaster will be a huge addition to the Magic Kingdom. Not only because of the actual size but because it will add a serious thrill-ride boost to the park. It will also be a covered/indoor coaster, which is a big win for the Magic Kingdom. Inclement rainy weather, particularly in the May and June months, tends to close outdoor attractions for a majority of the day. This is a big problem, not just for Disney’s rides like Big Thunder Mountain and Seven Dwarves Mine Train, but for competitor attractions like the new Universal offering, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Upon opening, this coaster will truly be a sight to behold. The fluid wavy architecture is something not currently seen in Florida’s version of Tomorrowland. With Florida’s version being built above the existing rails for the Walt Disney World Railroad, riders will certainly get an incredible view as they rush into the first dramatic turn.
Back in May, Bioreconstruct grabbed an aerial image of the first concrete pad at the site. This pad will house most of the twists-and-turns of the coaster once it is indoors. Much like in the film, this coaster uses the lightcycles primarily in tight turn maneuvers. This allows guests to see the ambient glow of the bikes design ahead and behind them.
The lightcycles themselves use a type of restraint system that Disney has never used before. Guests lean forward onto their lightcycle and are secured behind their legs and lower back as they lay forward, much like someone actually would on a motorcycle. If this restraint system seems a bit familiar, you may be thinking of a similar one on Avatar Flight of Passage. While both systems hold you in similar areas, the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster will require guests to lean much more forward than the Avatar themed attraction.
The vehicles themselves will even glow, with remarkable likeness to the film. And, for guests with physical limitations, do not worry, this attraction does offer some straight-up traditional seating for those who are unable to properly lay forward.
This view, seen from the Peoplemover attraction in Tomorrowland, helps showcase how large this new coaster will be. It also showcases a very rare view at Walt Disney World, the outskirts of a park. While Disney certainly prides themselves on containing the magic, projects of this size are simply impossible to hide. That was the same case for the construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This close-up showcases two of the straight-away brake zones of the attraction. For those unaware of their necessity, brakes zones do more than slow down or stop a coaster. They are also used as evacuation points and markers to be able to know where a coaster is on the track. More brake zones and launches equals a higher efficiency rate because more coaster trains can be on the track at once.
Looking once again at aerial imagery from May, this photo helps to showcase the eventual footprint of the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster. Space Mountain is currently the king of attractions in Tomorrowland, but it appears that TRON will beat it in speed and size. It will also be very interesting to see how the two vastly different architecture styles will blend together.
Another thing to mention is the height. Take a look at the Monorail in the background or the numerous green cranes and workers around the site. This will not only be a launching coaster with varying styles of twists-and-turns, but it will also take guests a significant height into the air. That being said, with most of the attraction being indoors surrounded by screens it may be hard for guests to fully grasp their placement in the building.
This blueprint has floated around the internet for some time. Disney themselves did not release this image, but we believe that it is accurate. If so, the main show building for TRON Lightcycle Power Run is easily larger than Space Mountain. This, combined with the track extruding out over Tomorrowland, would make this coaster and its show building one of the largest at the Magic Kingdom.
Thanks to the way coasters are built, we will most likely see the entire track layout before the show building starts to cover it. For now, start at the top left into the first brake zone and trace your way to the bottom to see the majority of the indoor twist-and turn-segments. You can also get a glimpse of the attraction in our video linked below. This coaster is expected to open right before the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World on October 1st, 2021.