I DREAMED OF TOMORROWLAND (then found something FAR better)



(then found something FAR better)

By David Outten, Production Editor


Since 1987, I’ve worked with Movieguide®, but in the early 1980s I worked for WED Show Productions. I was a Disney “imagineer.” I made Small World dolls, did paintings for Haunted Mansion and painted dinosaurs for the EPCOT Center. A few years earlier, I had graduated from St. Cloud High School just a few miles from the gates to Disney World. I dreamed of Tomorrowland. I loved Walt Disney’s original concept for EPCOT (truly an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). I even submitted a design for an EPCOT pavilion.

The movie TOMORROWLAND features a futuristic city that looks like something Walt would have dreamed up. He loved monorails and people movers. He would have loved iPhones and iPads. Walt wanted to bring together the best and the brightest to solve the world’s problems and advance civilization.

Shortly before I became a Disney artist, I became a Christian. It changed my life. The song Amazing Grace fits my life very well: I was blind, but now I see.

I love new technology as much as anyone, but now I see what will really change the world for the better. Jesus told his followers to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Now, THAT would make a great Tomorrowland.

The new movie TOMORROWLAND features a city (in another dimension) that impacts life on earth. This city was created by “the best and the brightest” as an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The intent was to make something great and then share it with the world. The problem arose that even the best and the brightest have flaws. The model city came to need a savior.

We actually live in a world where there is an unseen dimension. Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.” He told his followers, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” Christians believe in one true God, who is the Holy Trinity, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. A right relationship to God includes “the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” This is God with you and in you, providing peace, joy and guidance. It’s a connection to the kingdom of heaven, and to God.

Imagine a Tomorrowland where God’s will is done. I would literally be heaven on earth. At the core of this Tomorrowland is the belief that the very best and brightest is God himself. No man is wiser that the wisdom of God. This assumes God knows and wants what’s best for mankind. It assumes God has the authority to make laws governing mankind. It sets boundaries that limit human leaders, boundaries like “We hold these truths to be self evident:  That all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

When you look to mankind for the best and the brightest, you wind up with arguments over who is the best and the brightest. Those who think they’re the best and the brightest want to tell others what to do. Power struggles ensue until you wind up with a Hitler or Stalin. Without assuming God’s law is supreme, you get gulags, gas chambers and abortions.

This theme is very common in movies (including TOMORROWLAND). Some group that considers themselves the best and the brightest become tyrants. The society winds up needing to be saved by the movie’s hero.

As much as I still admire Walt Disney to this day, he was far from a perfect man. Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison were admirable as pioneers of technology, but were far less than perfect in their human relations. Only God can be trusted to know and to want what’s truly best for mankind.

If you really want to see a brighter tomorrow follow the advice of Jesus, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I enjoyed being a Disney “imagineer,” but I know now that the most important way to change the world is to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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