One of the first attractions you see when entering Discoveryland is “Orbitron – Machines Volantes” (Flying Machines). This is a simple, yet visually appealing attraction.
Twelve 2-passenger rocket ships circle a stylized orrery. (An orrery is a mechanical apparatus that displays the relative positions and motions of the moon and the planets as they orbit the sun.) The ride lasts about two minutes and you control the up and down movement of your rocket by using a small lever on the front panel of the cockpit.
In reality, this is nothing more than a carnival attraction, but the ornate theming turns an ordinary ride into an adventure.
The Videopolis building is modeled to be a large airship hanger. The craft docked here is the Hyperion.
For you movie buffs, Disney released a film in 1974 titled “The Island at the Top of the World.” The movie starred Donald Sinden as Sir Anthony Ross who hires Professor Ivarsson, played by David Hartman, to help him locate his missing son somewhere in the arctic. The airship Hyperion was their means of transportation to this remote area. The movie was a box office failure.
An interesting bit of trivia”¦ In the early years, the Disney Company had a studio on Hyperion Ave. in Los Angeles. Also, Disney has a publishing company that operates under the name Hyperion.
In the mid-1970’s, a new land was planned for Disneyland in California called Discovery Bay. This future area was to represent San Francisco immediately after the gold rush. If you look at the artist rendering of the land (below), you can see the Hyperion docked in a large hanger. You can also see the Nautilus from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
For a number of reasons, one being that “The Island at the Top of the World” was a flop, this land never materialized. But the idea was not completely forgotten. As we can see, the Hyperion airship rose from the ashes and the Nautilus also lives elsewhere in Discoveryland.
The Videopolis building houses both a counter service restaurant and a theater. The restaurant is called CafÃ© Hyperion and serves hamburgers, sandwiches, and salads.
This interesting vehicle is a topping bar for your burgers and sandwiches. The funny looking machine is a beverage dispenser.
The Videopolis Theatre has a separate entrance from the food facility.
The productions here are first rate, Broadway-type shows. They could be compared to the “Beauty and the Beast” show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or the “Festival of the Lion King” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Coincidentally, “The Legend of the Lion King” is currently playing at the Hyperion. However, the shows are completely different.
The theatre is large and non-dining guests are seated in the front section of the auditorium. Guests with meals are seated in the back half of the theatre at long tables.
Like any Disney theatrical show, it’s a good idea to arrive at least 30 minutes before the performance for the best seats. The presentations are offered in either English or French. Check the schedule for appropriate times.
In my next blog I’ll discuss Space Mountain: Mission 2 and Les MystÃ©res du Nautilus.