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Foto Face-off Friday — Tomorrowland v. Frontierland

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Congratulations on making it to the conclusion another work week! As you count down the hours until your weekend begins, here’s something to take your mind to a Fantasyland…err…Tomorrowland…and Frontierland. That’s right, in this edition of Foto Face-off Friday, the weekly blog that features photographs from our TouringPlans Flickr Group that are an extension of the Disney Debates we’ve been holding on our Twitter Account, @TouringPlans, we will attempt to resolve one of Walt Disney World’s “biggest controversies,” which is better: Tomorrowland or Frontierland. Since pictures speak louder than words we’ve decided to seek definitive resolution photographically for this especially hotly contested Disney Debate!

Although it initially seemed that Tomorrowland was going to be the clear-cut winner, at least to my biased mind, Frontierland mounted a stunning comeback wherein five straight individuals chose it as their favorite. Our followers on Twitter similarly were torn on the issue:

@tiggerdaddy found the decision easy, retorting, “frontierland=pecos bills=taste bud win.”

@kyleheine succinctly expressed a sentiment seemingly held by many, “Frontierland in the day. Tomorrowland at night.”

@ddindy was similarly split, “Frontierland has better mountains and parades but Tomorrowland has better atmosphere, especially at night! #disneydebate.”

@deefordisney found the decision a little more difficult, confoundedly responding, “I just spent a good two minutes staring into space weighing this week’s @TouringPlans #disneydebate: Tomorrowland v Frontierland #disneydork.”

@Wedwayradio wasn’t so diplomatic, saying, “If we’re talking WDW: Tomorrowland. If we’re talking Disneyland: Anything but Tomorrowland (except Toontown of course).” We’ll score that as one vote for Tomorrowland, just the same.

Despite the help of our Twitter followers, it is unclear as to which land reigns superior. Thus, we now turn to our Flickr group to see if they can help in the resolution of the debate be taking a look at the Foto Face-off held in the Flickr group.

Along with their photo entries, we asked for an explanation as to why each poster preferred their respective choice. Their reasons may pertain to photography, general enjoyment of the choice, or both. Their personal thoughts are provided below their photo-entry. To view more of their photography click on their respective submission, which will direct you to their Flickr photostream.

We’ll save the best land for last and start with Frontierland:

Submitted by CenterLine717:
Thunder Mountain - Magic Kingdom

CenterLine 717 had this to say: Strolling through Frontierland makes me think about when times were simpler. The storefronts and Tom Sawyers Island provide a unique old west feel. However, at the same time Frontierland also represents the wild west with Splash Mountain and the ‘wildest ride in the wilderness’, Thunder Mountain.

Submitted by debs:
Big Thunder
Debs had this to say: I enjoy Frontierland’s 1800s western theme. I like the way it follows through as you step off the railroad platform with music playing and CM’s in western garb. The thrills of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain. There’s something for everyone from the Country Bears, Tom Sawyer Island, The Shooting Gallery to the riverboat.

Submitted by Scott Smith (SRisonS):
Frontierland Fort Dixon (by Scott Smith (SRisonS))
Scott Smith (SRisonS) had this to say: Tomorrowland is such a cool place to photograph at night. But based on theme and atmosphere, I have to go with Frontierland. To the simple wood railing that’s indicative of the Wild West…. to banjo playing and ho-downs around ever corner [not totally, but that sounds better 😉 ]; it’s the one place in the park where I feel completely a part of a total engrossing experience.

Submitted by wonderful world of Hilary:
A Silhouetted Splash
wonderful world of Hilary had this to say: Got to give another one for Frontierland. I’ve just found so much more to photograph in this land as oppose to the others. Plus if you’re not the best at night photography, Tomorrowland just seems to have less character to it.

Submitted by Eddy Alvarez:
Classic - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Eddy Alvarez had this to say: My choice is Frontierland. Space and time have always been an interesting subject. But because our theories and ideas change over time, tomorrowland fails to have any kind of identity. That area is all speculative and it changes with every passing decade. Frontierland, on the other hand, is all about a time that has existed. The wild west lives and breathes here and is clearly identifiable with its rich, detailed, and complex structures.

Submitted by Corsey21:
Splash Mountain Day-Night
Corsey21 had this to say: I’d have to say Frontierland, but it wasn’t easy. I just feel that with the 2 E-ticket attractions (Splash being my favorite), fun shops and restaurants, and the theming that makes you want to stop all your hustle and bustle and just relax, make this the land of choice. Plus it offers some unique photo opps for fireworks as well.


Submitted by h2m:
h2m had this to say: I love the Tomorrowland of 1994. The story of the land is great. I wish it wasn’t slowly disappearing…

Submitted by DugJax:
Vision Of Tomorrow
DugJax had this to say: While Frontierland has many photo ops, Tomorrowland does it for me because of all the futuristic lines, shapes and lighting which make for brilliant photos from classic to abstract. And while Walt was proud of the past and present, he was a visionary and was always thinking about the future. I often wonder if the inspiration for EPCOT Center was Tomorrowland. Plus, Tomorrowland has the TTA!!

Submitted by ddindy:
Tomorrowland beckons
ddindy had this to say: I grew up in the 60s, a time when space travel was a big deal, atomic energy promised a limitless future (or nuclear annihilation) and the 21st century was a long way off. Tomorrowland embodies that time for me. The present incarnation of Tomorrowland is termed by Disney as “The future that never was.” To me, Tomorrowland represents “The future that should have been.” Spaceships, aliens, ray guns, people movers – it’s all here.

Submitted by Cory Disbrow:
Magic Kingdom - Excuse Me, Sir
Cory Disbrow had this to say: The neon at night just sets it off from every other land in the Magic Kingdom. Don’t get me wrong, I love the entire park, but TL just comes alive after dark. And the more I go down there, the more the TTA becomes my favorite attraction!

Finally, my personal entry:
Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Tomorrowland:  The Neon Jungle
While comparing Future World and World Showcase was like comparing your two kids, comparing Tomorrowland and Frontierland is more akin to comparing filet minon to a churro. Sure, the churro may taste great, but when push comes to shove, are you really going to take it over that delicious cut of beef? Okay, perhaps that’s a bit strong, especially when Frontierland has some exquisite theming and two of Imagineering’s finest creations.

Or maybe it’s a testament to Tomorrowland’s quality. I won’t even get started on the architecture and how the land comes alive at night as some of previous posters have done that, and I could ramble for paragraphs, so I will get right to the substance of the attractions (but, for the record, the theming in Tomorrowland, especially at night is easily the best anywhere in Walt Disney World). Three of my all-time favorite attractions reside in Tomorrowland, one of which, Space Mountain just got a heck of a lot better during its recent refurbishment. Another, the TTA, is a gem for relaxing at night and enjoying the sights and sounds when your epic TouringPlan has already taken you on an exhilarating voyage through the parks and you still have three hours to go until the park’s 3 a.m. Evening Extra Magic Hours closing time. The last favorite is similarly a classic without parallel, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. What’s not to love about the Father’s witty charm as he takes you through the changes his family experienced during the 20th Century? These three attractions are tough to be topped by any others on property and yet they’re in the same corner of the same land? Now that’s a stacked line-up and compelling reason alone that Tomorrowland deserves the win! Add-in the wonderful Counter Service restaurant Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and you’ve got a land that cannot be beat. (Hey, Pecos Bill, where’s your counter to the amazing vocal talents of Sonny Eclipse?)

Then we come to the remaining attractions. The reasons Tomorrowland gets a bad reputation from some. While I don’t intend for this to sound like a diatribe, I find much of the online criticism of Laugh Floor, Spaceranger Spin, and Stitch’s Great Escape, and how they don’t fit the Retro-Futurism “future that never was” theme of Tomorrowland to be baseless. I think if suspend disbelief even slightly, they all work. Spaceranger Spin and Stitch’s Great Escape both involve, to some degree or another, space travel. Laugh Floor, which coincidentally I believe is the most underrated attraction in all of Walt Disney World, involves a sort of alternative energy being collected by a type of being that currently doesn’t inhabit our world. Sure, if you nitpick you may be able to find these attractions outside the “proper” scope of Tomorrowland, but what fun is nitpicking when you’re at Walt Disney World? Rather, enjoy yourself. Embrace the Fantasy of Yesterday’s Tomorrow.

Thanks to all those who submitted photos to the Flickr discussion in helping attempt to settle this Face-off; while you’ve all presented great arguments, I declare Tomorrowland to be the winner! Congratulations, Tomorrowland! Disagree with the sentiments expressed by myself and others? Have an ace-in-the-whole that totally changes the debate? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Next week’s Disney Debate subject of the Foto Face-off Friday will be a little different. In an attempt to solve the Studios’ identity crisis, we’re asking you to tell us which icon you believe is/should be the one true icon (icon in the vein of SpaceShip Earth, Cinderella Castle, or the Tree of Life) of the Studios. As best I can tell, there are currently four icons: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Big Sorcerer’s Hat, the Earful Tower, and the Tower of Terror. Post a shot showing your favorite and explaining why it should be the “chosen one”! Please, help us settle the debate on Twitter by voicing your thoughts to @TouringPlans and entering your submissions in the TouringPlans Flickr Group discussion entitled “TouringPlans’ Foto Face-off Friday Blog – Studios Icon v. Studios Icon!” You could have your comments and picture chosen to be featured in next week’s blog, so get to Tweetin’ and Postin’!

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Tom Bricker

Tom is an amateur Walt Disney World photographer. He recently married his princess, Sarah, to whom he became engaged at WDW on the beach of the Polynesian Resort in 2007. Tom and Sarah have a miniature dachshund named Walter E. Dogsney and a yellow cat named Yossarian the Cat. Together, Sarah and Tom run the website Tom's photography can be found on his Flickr page ( and he can be contacted via Twitter (@wdwfigment) and Facebook (

2 thoughts on “Foto Face-off Friday — Tomorrowland v. Frontierland

  • Great photos.

    The Tomorrowland refurb looks like it really kicks serious butt at night.

    Frontierland at night is just dark, dark. The rides are nicely lit but the walkways have that authentic blackness that says, “Here on this dag-blamed frontier we cain’t afford to waste no whale oil on no durned lanterns, so quit askin!” It’s kind of neat that way – I prefer it to anachronistic, garishly lit walkways. But it doesn’t exactly win the MK beauty contest.


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