Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland, pictured above, is the solution to the Walt Disney Imagineers’ ongoing problem of Tomorrowland: As technology continued to advance at an exceptional rate, Tomorrowland quickly became the Land of Today, and then not soon after that, the Land of Yesterday. The area needed to be continually updated every five or so years if it wanted to stay true to its title, and Imagineers struggled with this unfortunate fact until the construction of Discoveryland in 1992.
Discoveryland does away with the Tomorrowland concept of a foreseeable city in the future. Instead, Imagineers took a trip back to the past in order to build this of community of tomorrow. Based off of famed Europeans’ ideas of the future, Leonardo da Vinci’s, H. G. Wells’, and, most prominently, Jules Verne’s visions are all used throughout the land. Verne’s book From the Earth to the Moon was the inspiration for Paris’ Space Mountain, which shoots guests out of a cannon into “Space” in a similar fashion explained in his book (the cannon can be seen on the right of the mountain in the picture above). His novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is featured in Les Mystères du Nautilus, where guests can walk through a replica of Captain Nemo’s submarine from the 1954 Disney movie based off of Verne’s book.
In 1994, Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom underwent a complete renovation, and reopened with cues taken from the newly opened Discoveryland. It was re-themed into a retro-futuristic galactic spaceport that resembled those in comic strips of the early 20th century. In 1998, Disneyland’s Tomorrowland closed and underwent its own complete renovation, and upon reopening later that same year, it was obvious that the “New Tomorrowland” was loosely based off of Discoveryland. Its new bronze, gold, brown, and green color scheme was repainted in 2005 however, in favor of a scheme that was mostly white, blue, and silver, making it more akin to its Magic Kingdom counterpart.
Interestingly enough, Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland that opened in 2005 draws more from the newer generations of the American versions than it does Discoveryland. However, it’s easy to see that Discoveryland has clearly left its mark on any of the Tomorrowlands’ future.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Submarine Voyage was a ride that existed in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom from the opening of the park until 1994 when it closed for “refurbishments.” It was an updated version of Disneyland’s Submarine Voyage, however, it was given a Nautilus theme when the attraction moved to Florida in order to match the 1954 Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Due to costly maintenance, the ride never reopened, and the lagoon was drained and paved over to make way for the 2004 Fantasyland expansion. Disneyland’s Submarine Voyage closed in 1998, but reopened in 2007 as Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
There is an attraction of the same name (albeit “Submarine Voyage” is dropped) in Tokyo DisneySea, however this is just a dark ride in “mini-subs.” Disneyland Paris features Les Mystères du Nautilus, a walk-through replication of the namesake submarine from the movie, and recreates the giant squid attack that made the movie so famous upon its release in 1954.