At the Tomorrowland Preview exhibit unveiled yesterday to annual passholders at Disneyland, several people reported finding mysterious slips of paper which match messages found during the Optimist ARG:

Players quickly realized that this lead to a new viral site: PlusUltraSociety.com

The main page greets you with the question, "ARE YOU THE OPTIMIST WE ARE LOOKING FOR?" There is a Plus Ultra logo beneath this which, when clicked, reveals a cryptic password box. 

Across the top appears Plus Ultra's signature style of morse code. Players decoded them to reveal a set of coordinates which point to Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York, at the exact location of the "it's a small world" attraction pictured on the site. (And, as we know, featured in the film.)

What is this site? Is it connected with other viral elements that have appeared surrounding Tomorrowland? Looks like we won't know until someone goes out to Flushing Meadows to see what there, and hopefully unlocks this new site. 

Here are some pictures of the exhibit itself:

The 1952 box is on display. Great! We had thought they might have abandoned this backstory. 

Lots of props and other stuff from the film.

Athena's pin case. Looks like she can recruit up to 9 optimists to see Tomorrowland.
The theatre queue itself has some neat World's Fair signage. I'll take a waffle!

As for the preview, here is our full recap:

An in-theater audio announcement by Athena welcomes you: "Hello. My name is Athena. And while you may not know me, I know you. Sorry if that seems a bit strange, but it just so happens to be my job to know you. And you should feel very special, indeed. Because you have been selected specifically for this experience. In fact, you have been invited to this very theater, because there is something I believe you need to see." 

She then runs through the theater's safety spiel before closing with, "Now pay close attention, because the future is in your hands."

The preview begins as the Destination D footage began: Young Frank Walker arrives at the 1964 World's Fair via Greyhound Bus. He carries a large canvas backpack. As the bus lurches to a stop, the driver exclaims, "Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, World's Fair! Don't forget your valuables, and enjoy the future."

Young Frank drops his huge bag in front of an older couple exiting the bus, who give him a bothered look. "Watch your step, kiddo." As he exits the bus, composer Michael Giacchino's score quotes the Sherman Brother's "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," from The Carousel of Progress attraction. 

The Carousel of Progress itself is conspicuously absent from this preview, after having been shown in the Destination D footage in which Frank looks admiringly at Father Progress. Also missing is the thematically relevant IBM pavilion "Probability Machine." Whether or not these scenes were omitted just for this preview, or from the movie itself, is unknown. Likely they were excised from this preview simply for time.

Frank lugs his huge bag over his back as he walks toward the iconic Unisphere looming in the distance. He passes fair patrons and zooming vehicles of the period. He makes his way to the ficitonal "Hall of Invention," where outside fair guests have queued to present their amusing array of home-built creations. (If you look closely, two gentlemen in line appear to wearing the antennaed 1960's equivalent of VR headsets.)

The song crescendos as Frank PLOPS his bag down in front of a seated David Nix (Hugh Laurie) inside the Hall. Nix looks doubtingly at the boy.

"Hello sir." "May I help you?" "My name is John Francis Walker. I'm here to win the fifty dollars." "Is that so?" Frank unzips his bag to reveal a dismantled contraption. "I took it apart because of the nitrogen compartment. Seeing as how the bus ride was kinda bumpy. You know nitro!" Frank snaps the nitro compartment into place and assembles the rest of the gadget as he continues. "I could have used a hydrogen-peroxide-powered engine, Bell Labs tested that with their rocket belt. I guess there were some issues with maneuverability and flight duration and stuff." He pauses for effect.

"It's a jetpack. Obviously."

"You made this yourself?" A small, unseen voice asks. Pan left to reveal Athena, a young girl wearing a blue dress adorned with radiating lines of equations. Franks looks at her. The young boy is smitten. Nix asks, "Athena, what are you doing here?" She steps toward Frank. "Did you? Or didn't you?" "Um ... what?" "Did you make this yourself?" "Yeah." "Why?" She asks, quizzically.

"I guess I got tired of waiting around for someone else to do it for me."

"Does it work?" Nix asks, punctuating the moment. "Uh, sure. Yeah. Mostly." Intercut here are flashes of Young Frank on his farm, testing out the rocket pack. With comically oversized gloves, he readies himself for flight. "It just doesn't really, you know, technically ..." Young Frank BLASTS across his farm, zooming into a field, but not gaining any vertical rise. "... fly."

"Even if it did, you know, technically fly, what would its purpose be? How would your jetpack make the world a better place?" Nix asks. "Can't it just be fun?" "Mr. Walker, please tell me you can do better than 'Fun.'"

"Anything's possible." Nix flinches. "I don't know what that means." "If I was walking down the street and I saw some kid with a jetpack fly over me, I'd believe anything's possible. I'd be inspired. Doesn't that make the world a better place?" Nix takes a moment. "I suppose it would. If it worked. Unfortunately, it does not. And if it doesn't work, it has no purpose at all. Thank you for your time, Mr. Walker."

"But I can make it work!" "That's the spirit. Until then, young man, have 'fun.'" Nix pushes Frank's helmet across the table, dismissing him. Frank gather his things and leaves.

Athena looks to Nix. He preemptively shuts her down. "Absolutely not." "I like him." "Athena, no." Nix stands and leaves. Outside, Frank sits on a bench. Athena joins him. "Don't turn around. Be cool." Frank turns around. "What did I just tell you?! Sorry, stop talking. Look over there. Five o'clock." Frank turns in the wrong direction. "No. A clock. Where the five is. That way."

Frank looks. Nix exits the Hall of Invention with six guests. (The "Nix Six" as they were called behind-the-scenes.) Athena instructs him: "I'm going with them. You count to twenty, then follow us. Don't get spotted." She shoves something into his hand. Frank, confused, looks up at her. "Who are you?" She smiles. "I'm the future, Frank Walker." She leaves. The music swells as Frank looks down into his hand: the pin.

At the Pepsi-Unicef "it's a small world" pavillion (where the Pepsi logo has been cropped out for this preview, presumably due to Disney Park's relationship with Coca Cola) Frank attempts to weave through the line and get onto the boat behind Athena and Nix's group. Frank is stopped by a cast member who is preventing the following boat from being loaded, to provide an empty bumper behind Nix's boat. (This loading cast member is a fun cameo by the film's composer, Michael Giacchino.)

Undeterred, Frank skips the line and HOPS over a fence to jump into the empty boat. He floats through the ride we all know and love ... until he reaches the France segment. From the tip of the Eiffel Tower, a laser scans Frank's pin. His boat is isolated on its path, and the entire track DROPS into a ramp, sending him BENEATH the ride.

His boat approaches an isolated station in a black void. A faint blue fog represents the horizon. Lines of light encircling the station flicker on. Frank enters a retro-styled aluminum enclosure -- an elevator -- in which signs indicate directions for "WORLD'S FAIR" and "TOMORROW."

A modulated voice greets him, "Good afternoon. Please step aboard the transport. The site is active." The lights begin to flicker, and Frank himself begins to phase and distort.

He falls to the ground, the lights return, and the distortion normalizes. He schleps his bag onto his back and faces the door, which opens as binding white light spills in. Frank walks out on a foggy platform. He spots Athena waving at him from a departing flying ship. He attempts to run after her, but the platform ends.

From the fog before him emerge two gigantic construction robots, which materialize a double-helix support strut. As other robots continue to construct the walkway, a handrail is locked into place, pushing Frank off the edge of the platform. He lands on a platform just beneath, but his jetpack lands hard, breaking into several pieces. A large repair robot appears, identifies the broken jetpack, chants a modulated "FIX" and process with repairing Frank's pack. Frank doesn't quite realize what's happening, "Hey, that's mine!" The robot shoves Frank into the finished pack, and extends a tool attached to his hand to form a mechanical "thumbs up." "Did you just fix it?" Frank returns the gesture.

"Hey! There he is!" Two construction guards race toward Frank on the platform. Frank looses his balance and FALLS off the edge, plummeting through wisps of fog. He "swims" through the air to grab his pack. As he hugs it, the fog breaks for just one glorious moment overlooking the under-construction Tomorrowland. Giacchino's new Tomorrowland theme kicks in here, and it is a truly beautiful, goosebump-inducing moment:

He fumbles with the harness before finally just tying it together. (Alan Grant style.) 

He ignites the pack JUST before hitting the ground, pushing back passers by. He soars into the sky as the music swells -- a triumphant moment which garners massive applause from the audience!

The preview ends with a montage of shots, mostly from previous trailers.  

1 comment:

  1. Do you think that T-Land officials are going to confiscate Frank's jetpack and create this?: