“The Grid. A digital frontier. I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer. What did they look like? Ships? motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see. And then, one day…” – Kevin Flynn, TRON: Legacy, 2010
It was around the strange days of freshman year in high school that I had heard of the film called TRON. TRON is a cult film from 1982 produced by Walt Disney Pictures involving Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges, entering the strange world of the computer on the grid. Flynn as his program CLU teamed up with TRON, played by Bruce Boxleitner, took take down the nefarious MCP (Master Control Program), voiced by David Warner, and his assistant Sark, also played by David Warner. It’s a well-known piece of 80’s pop culture that has been ingrained in the heads of those obsessed with technology.
Me and Jerry, my best friend, knew about it from Kingdom Hearts II through a world within the game called “Space Paranoids.” We were attracted to sights of the level and the sounds it brought. It being in the video game brought the world of TRON to a new light and gave us an interest into the concept. Fortunately, it also allowed both of us to dream a dream project based off something that astounded us within: the lightcycle.
We were hooked. Imagine riding one of those bad boys in real life with sharp turns, neon glowing down the street and being immersed into what it can do. That’s when the dream started to take shape.
“Man, that part with Sora in the lightcycle was the shit. Dude, they should make that into a ride or something,” Jerry said with childlike enthusiasm.
“The Disney Imagineers should get on this ASAP. Wait, screw it, we can make the TRON ride,” I replied back.
The TRON ride was a dream in our heads along with being a constant topic brought up in small talk. The talks got more serious every time it was brought up.
“There needs to be a way to perfect the perfect 90 degree turn or, at the very least, cheat it out,” I brought up one day.
“Dude, it’s easy. We just have to assemble some piston that can help amplify the turn to make it feel like a sharp right angle,” Jerry said as I gave him the “I’m not that smart, sorry” glare.
Jerry took time to figure out what was needed for the ride. I began looking at roller coasters and studying what makes them thrilling and exciting. I also tried to find the perfect car for it all. One day on a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., me and Jerry, along with with my cousin Donovan, saw a ride that gave us the perfect car to use.
Pony Express uses a motorbike car in order to replicate the feeling of riding a horse or a motorcycle. We got on the ride and looked at each other on launch.
“This is perfect for the TRON ride. It’s actually really comfor…” Jerry said as the ride launched and we were on our way to TRON ride bliss with our dream in tact.
As the years went by and a sequel released in 2010, our interest piqued once again to examine the new style of lightcycle and see if it can add anything.
It was neat to see the new designs take shape along with the new ways they move, even eliminating the sharp 90 degree turn. Jerry saw the design and dug the aesthetics of the way it looks, but still wanted it to be based on the original film due to the 80’s still being big. The sequel gave the audience of the modern world another vision of a fully realized world and I felt we could take some of the aspects of that and insert it into the ride.
Little did we know that this dream was already in the planning stages of turning into a ride. This year, the dream we’d never thought we see was realized at Shanghai Disneyland.
Shanghai Disneyland is now home to a dream ride known as TRON Lightcycle Power Run. From what I gathered from the website, the ride allows people to experience the beauty of the lightcycle and the Grid to face off against evil programs in a race that is sure to be thrilling. It sounds awesome and better than what we can imagine. We imagined a ride closer to that of the classic Grid, but this goes above and beyond the call of what we dreamed. Yes, we are upset it doesn’t cheat out a beautiful 90 degree turn, but it accomplished something. Something I’d never thought we’d see.