How DisneyWorld's TRON: Lightcyle/Run Tells Its Story

In this blog post, Prof. Burnett takes a close look at the new TRON attraction at DisneyWorld. How does it narrate the TRON world, and even tell a new TRON story?

A DisneyWorld theme park attraction might seem like a poor medium for storytelling and a strong medium for world-telling. Strolling about in sweltering heat, waiting in long queues, dodging other lollygagging patrons, and juggling children, backpacks, water bottles and big turkey legs, most visitors probably aren’t in the best frame of mind to take in even an elemental plot. Theme parks are rife with what psychologists call distraction stimuli.

But the art and craft of DisneyWorld imagineering–the creation of these attractions–assumes otherwise. These attractions and the parks that give them context presuppose a patron who, even amongst these distractions, is able to perform some fairly complex entertainment- or thrill-oriented tasks, like picking out relatively elaborate stories and imagining relatively detailed worlds–or picking out the stories built into these detailed worlds.