The Trouble With Tron at Disney World

tron lightcycle run lights on
Credit: Disney

For theme park enthusiasts, there is nothing more exciting than a new attraction at Walt Disney World Resort. With iconic classics such as Space Mountain or rides tied to popular intellectual properties like Star Wars and Marvel movies, it is the best place in the world to experience new and innovative thrills and attractions.

Tron Merch

Credit: Disney

Even basic rides at Magic Kingdom Park that don’t have the most innovative technology (such as “it’s a small world” or Dumbo the Flying Elephant) still hold cache among world travelers, Disney park fans, and theme park lovers.

RELATED: Move Over Tron- There’s a NEW Coaster in Town!

Enter The Grid

When Tron Lightcycle Run debuted at the theme park resort on April 4th of 2023, it left many guests scratching their heads. I can confirm firsthand that throughout the queue, many guests had no idea what the ride Tron was based on. Younger guests had never heard of either movie, and even guests who were teens and adults when the original film premiered in 1982 couldn’t tell you the first thing about it. “I think it’s something with bikes,” “I think it’s about people who go into a video game,” or “I never heard of Tron” were among some of the commentaries that could be heard.

RELATED: Duct Tape Now Holding Together Disney’s Newest Coaster

What is Tron?

For those unfamiliar with Tron (1982), it centers around a video game developer who is transported inside a virtual reality world known as “The Grid.” While there, he interacts with programs in his mission to get back to the real world. The Walt Disney Company did produce a sequel Tron: Legacy (2010), and has a third film Tron: Ares, in pre-production.

Tron Legacy

Credit: Disney

But the first two Tron movies were considered box office bombs, so why would Walt Disney Studios attempt a third movie and build a new roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom around the property?

RELATED: Try to Spot This Unique New Feature at TRON Lightcycle / Run

It’s a good question.

Tron 1982

Credit: Disney

According to a 2020 Forbes article, Scott Mendelson posed the same thought process.  “We had two Tron movies in 1982 and 2010, and neither were terribly successful,” he wrote. “History shows that this third installment will have no better luck in a far-less forgiving theatrical environment. When a sequel/prequel happens because the studio, not the audience, demands it, it usually (Solo, Dark Fate, Dark Phoenix, Uprising, Winter’s War) bombs quite badly.”

RELATED: ‘TRON’ Director Shares His Favorite Part of Lightcycle / Run Attraction


Although there are no doubt fans of the sci-fi adventure from the 1980s, and perhaps fans of the sequel produced by Walt Disney Studios, Tron: Legacy (2010), the general public appears lost. Of course, that didn’t stop any guest from wanting to ride the newest attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, especially a roller coaster. But the decision to utilize it as a movie series to hold up an E-ticket attraction at the Disney Park is bewildering.

Tron Legacy

Credit: Disney

Conventional wisdom seems to be that it was easy. The Walt Disney Company already had a Tron roller coaster in Shanghai Disneyland, so simply copying and pasting it into Walt Disney World Resort wouldn’t be terribly complicated (although it still took over four years).


Credit: Disney

But was anyone asking Walt Disney World to offer a Tron ride? Does it even fit in Tomorrowland? No, and no.

Other Options

While the Tron Lightcycle Run does provide a fantastic launch with beautiful lighting effects, it’s not much more than Walt Disney World already offers between Space Mountain and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Perhaps it’s an attempt to try and revive an old franchise, but if that’s the case, they might as well have made a Star Wars coaster in its place. It still would have seemed out of place in Tomorrowland (since it wouldn’t be connected to Galaxy’s Edge), but at least it would have been a property people knew about. Even the casual park guest who hasn’t seen a single Star Wars movie or show, at least knows what it is and can identify Darth Vader. Not sure how many kids (or adults) have heard the name Kevin Flynn.

TRON Lightcycle/Run

Credit: Disney

If Walt Disney World Resort wanted to incorporate Tron into its parks, they could have set it up in EPCOT – maybe even replace Mission: Space and tie it into the futuristic science fiction section of the park near Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.

RELATED: Change My Mind: Journey into Imagination with Figment is BETTER than Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Anyway…just my humble opinion as a theme park, Walt Disney World Resort, and roller coaster fan.

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)