Friday, Oct. 8th was the opening night for the Disneyland Resort’s new TRON promotional event, ElecTRONica. It is held in the Hollywood Pictures area of the Disney California Adventure theme park.
At first glance, ElecTRONica appears to be a better-themed Glow Fest, which premiered around the same time as World of Color (presumably as a way to handle the massive crowds of people who did NOT get a coveted World of Color Fast Pass). But ElecTRONica offers much more.
Glow Fest featured ’60s decorations and a seemingly-random dance party happening in the middle of the Hollywood Pictures area of the park – and it did not thrill me at all. Those elements combined with serving alcohol created an uncomfortable environment with many small children dancing near inebriated adults.
But all of the complaints I had with Glow Fest (that I dutifully registered with Guest Relations) were improved for ElecTRONica. It isn’t just a random dance party and it isn’t just about drinking. ElecTRONica is an experience.
Sure, the whole idea is to promote TRON: Legacy, due in theaters on Dec. 17. If you can look past the massive advertisement, it’s actually quite enjoyable to enter the world of TRON for an evening.
The experience begins with the “Portal Opening” ceremony. At 6:45, dancers appear on a stage at the Sunshine Plaza. They’re dressed in ’80s attire and dance to an ’80s song in front of ’80s gaming machines. The stage transforms halfway through and a video screen transitions to present day. The dancers are transformed as well and they perform in the sleek new costumes from TRON: Legacy.
Then the host comes on stage and he welcomes you to ElecTRONica. It’s basically a gathering of “Programs” and “Users” to relax and refresh. There is a count down and then at 7pm, the Portal is opened and all of the lights in Hollywood Pictures area turn on. It has been transformed into “The Grid.”
Here is a video of the full Portal Opening from opening night:
Theme & Decor
As I walked under the Hollywood Pictures entrance, I could tell immediately that ElecTRONica had a much larger budget than the similar, but not nearly as entertaining Glow Fest. From the lighting to the digital projections of light cycles racing around on the buildings, ElecTRONica is top quality.
The main street is basically an entry way. There are small stands set up to sell drinks and merchandise (more on that later). The music is tame and cyber-like. The transition from California Adventure to ElecTRONica is slow and easy. It’s quite a contrast to Glow Fest where I couldn’t wait to get far, far away. This is welcoming and smooth.