Sunday, January 22, 2017

Looking Back at Tomorrow is now a web series!

Hello, everyone! Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I've wanted to transition it into a video series.

Here is Episode One!

As the series progresses, I do plan to make the videos longer and more in depth. This was just an short introduction of Horizons, and of ME! 

I hope you all enjoy it, and if you have any suggestions, comments, or corrections, please let me know! 

Have a great big beautiful day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Remembering EPCOT Center Through The Art of Comics

A few weeks ago, someone had posted this illustration on another fan page for Horizons of what appeared to be the female version of the Robot Butler. I was instantly interested in it and found that it was part of a webcomic series called Future Worlders.

It follows the adventures of the Attraction Keepers that inhabit each attraction at EPCOT Center and look after the day-to-day operations. As the attractions shut down or cease operation, they become trapped or worse, in the case of the Attraction Keeper for Horizons, become ghosts.

I wanted to learn more about the webcomic and who was writing it, so I contacted the author and illustrator, Aleyah Lyon, and asked her a few questions about it.

First off, thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview for the archives! Before we get into the actual details of Future Worlders, I would like to know when you first became interested in webcomics.

Aleyah: I’ve been interested in comics and manga ever since I was in elementary school but I didn’t discover web comics until early 2016. I don’t remember the first webcomic I read, I just came across the website Tapastic one day and started reading them like crazy. After I had read a few, I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.

Who were your inspirations? 

Aleyah: My biggest webcomic inspirations were ‘A Turn For Change’, ‘Anti-Social Media’, and ‘The Little Things.’ Another one of my inspirations is my favorite book series, Kingdom Keepers, which takes place in Disney as well.

Awesome! Kingdom Keepers is a great series to read, especially if you're into this particular genre of fiction. What made you decide to make the setting Future World and EPCOT Center?
Aleyah: On the way home from a trip to Epcot, I came up with the idea of a personified Spaceship Earth. A few months after that, I doodled a personified Imageworks that looks a little like Mage today. I started drawing more and more characters and the idea for Future Worlders came. Originally, it was going to be about a River Country character and Mage rebelling somehow, but I couldn’t find any plot ideas, so I decided to stick to just EPCOT Center.

I have to tell you that the Attraction Keepers from Future Worlders are absolutely adorable. I want to be either Riz or Mage for Halloween this year. 

How did you come up with the names for each "Attraction Keeper"?

Aleyah: They’re all taken from their attraction names - ‘Mage’ from Imageworks, ‘Magi’ from Journey into Imagination. My favorite is Sora from Soarin'. I almost called her Rin, but then I learned that Sora means ‘sky’ in Japanese and it fit too perfectly. One character doesn’t even have a name - Body Wars. I couldn’t come up with a name off of the attraction, so I just call her ‘Doc.’

Which attraction was your personal favorite? Going off of that, if you could see one attraction brought back to its original state, what would it be?
Aleyah: Although the comic is centered around Journey into Imagination, my favorite attraction is actually Horizons. I never actually got to ride it since it was torn down before I was born, so that would definitely be the one I would want to see. The Horizons character in my webcomic, Riz, has an interesting backstory, too, so I’d love to write something about her one day, but not a webcomic.

Speaking of that, how do you feel about the current state of Epcot?

Aleyah: It’s really disappointing. I’d always loved reading about EPCOT Center, but after doing so much research about it for Future Worlders, I love it even more. EPCOT Center had so much detail and care put into it, seeing the Epcot of today really depresses me. Even though today’s Epcot won’t ever be exactly like EPCOT Center was, I have hope that it can become something great.

I totally understand that. The same thing happens to me when I do research for the archives. It's definitely bittersweet. 
Overall, what is the number one thing you hope people take away from reading your web comics? 

Aleyah: I really hope it creates interest in EPCOT Center. I’ve already made some EPCOT Center fans out of my little sister and her friends. She’ll show the comic to the kids at her school and they come up to me talking about Journey into Imagination and Horizons and ask questions about EPCOT Center. I really want it to inspire more webcomics, too. I have a couple friends that want to start webcomics now after reading Future Worlders, and it makes me really happy to know my comic could be an inspiration like the comics that inspired me.

Thanks again, Aleyah, for taking the time to talk about Future Worlders! I know a lot of fans of EPCOT Center are going to be very happy it exists!

If you'd like to find out more about Future Worlders and follow the adventures of the Mage, Magi, and the rest of the Attractions Keepers at EPCOT Center, go to:


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Looking Back at Tomorrow: The Video!

Here is a short promotional video for the archives I just put together, which I hope to transition into the opening sequence for a video series I plan to run in conjunction with the archives. I'm still in the process of getting the proper equipment for filming in order, but first, I need YOUR help!

What would you like me to film?

Do you have any specific topics regarding vintage Epcot that you think need more attention?

Are there any facts about EPCOT Center or Disney in general that you would like to know more about?

Comment below or send a message to me on Facebook or Twitter. I know what I would like to write and film, but I want to make sure it's also something that you would want to read as well!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years...Part Three!

With Thanksgiving upon us tomorrow, and the rest of the holiday season rapidly approaching, the lament for the now defunct Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights is already in full swing. As a Backlot Merchandise cast member that worked on and around The Streets of America (also now defunct) in Fall of 2010, I saw it so many times that I lost count.   

With so much of Disney's Hollywood Studios now closed or walled off, I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back at what The Disney-MGM Studios looked like in the beginning, before Star Wars Land, before the Osbourne Lights, and even before Sunset Boulevard. So, why not take a break from your last minute Thanksgiving prep and take a journey with me back to Hollywood in its heydey:

Disney-MGM Studios well under construction. If you look closely, you can the faint outline of the upside down Mickey head that could later be seen in the aerial photos of the park. (Hint: Mickey's nose is the oval directly in front of The Great Movie Ride.)

Hello again, old friend.

In the early days of the park, New York Street was merely set dressing for the Backlot Tour. It was not meant for foot traffic, and when it was later opened to the public to walk through, many guests (right up until its demise) were confused as to why there were so many buildings with nothing in them.

This clock tower and church would later be replaced by the bathrooms next to Lights, Motors, Action.

As we make our way over to the Echo Lake area of the Disney MGM-Studios, we find Superstar Television, as well as the Monster Sound Show. This is one attraction that I truly miss and in my mind truly embodied the idea of Disney-MGM Studios. I would have loved to have been chosen for the "Job Switching" scene (aka the chocolate factory) in "I Love Lucy."

Also in the book, we find a publicity photo taken at the entrance of Hollywood Boulevard. Luckily, most of this remains intact, however the car is gone. I remember seeing it on my first trip in 1991.

Soundstage Restaurant used to be where Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage! is now, across from Voyage of the Little Mermaid. It featured movie memorabilia and the famous Catwalk bar, high in the rafters above the restaurant.

Since the pictures included in the Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years book are pretty limited, I've decided to include the pictures I took of the Streets of America, which includes New York Street, San Francisco Street, and the area in front of the Backlot Tour. 

I took these in March of 2016 after it was announced that the entire area would be demolished to make room for Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. I honestly didn't even truly appreciate all the small and beautiful details until I started taking the pictures, even though I had worked right next to them every day for six months. 

Backlot Tour Entrance Area:

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground:

Even if it wasn't being taken down for another attraction, it's probably for the best it was getting an overhaul since the wood was heavily rotted in some places.

                                                   New York Street:

I'm pretty sure this pink marble column is an homage to the original Penn Station.


Rat pizza, that is. No, wait...

I didn't intentionally get this bird in the shot mid-flight, but looking back, I am so glad that I did.

   San Francisco Street:

Looking back, I will probably have to make this a two-parter, just based on the sheer number of details there were to take pictures of. I included a great deal of them, obviously, but there are still many more I can post. 

I hope you enjoyed this trip down the Streets of America with me, and were able to discover little details you never noticed before. I know I did while I was taking them, and I still do every time I look through them again.

Until next time, to you and yours, a very safe and happy Thanksgiving!