I’ve said many times that you don’t need to know a movie well to enjoy a Walt Disney World ride or land based on it. I’ve never seen Avatar, but I still get goosebumps when I enter Pandora after dark! Sherriff Woody is ready to greet you, even if you’ve never seen any of the Toy Story movies. The same is true with TRON Lightcycle / Run. You might not have watched either movie, you could be like me and have seen only one, or you may have watched long ago and the details are fuzzy. You can ride without being a know-everything-about-TRON person. That said, if you’d like to learn some of the basics, Disney Parks Blog has you covered.
Everything You Need to Know About the World of TRON
by Steven Miller, Senior Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Walt Disney World Resort
Greetings, Programs! It’s a phrase often heard in the world of TRON as it’s the greeting shared by the character Kevin Flynn in the original 1982 film. That is just one of several phrases, terms, characters and more that you may hear or see when entering the Grid at TRON Lightcycle / Run presented by Enterprise. This thrilling new attraction officially opens on April 4, 2023 at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World Resort. To prepare you for your journey to the Game Grid, I’ve compiled this reference guide for everything you need to know about TRON.
Released on July 9, 1982, this original Disney film chronicles the adventures of Kevin Flynn, a brilliant video game maker who hacks the mainframe of his former employer ENCOM looking for evidence that the video game programs he wrote were stolen by a company executive named Ed Dillinger.
While attempting to find the missing files, Flynn is beamed into a digital world by the Master Control Program (MCP), an artificial intelligent computer created by Dillinger. Inside this electronic world, Flynn meets computer programs that are alter-egos of the programmers who created them.
A security Program named TRON and another digital simulation Program named Yori joins Flynn on a quest to defeat the MCP, thus sending Flynn back to the “real” world with evidence of the stolen game programs.
Disney’s “TRON: Legacy”
Released on December 17, 2010 and set many “cycles” (a measurement of time on the Grid) after the original film, Sam Flynn, son of Kevin Flynn, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the abandoned Flynn’s Arcade – that could have only come from his father – he finds himself pulled into a digital world, known as The Grid, where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years.
With the help of the last Isomorphic Algorithm (ISO) named Quorra, father and son embark on a life-or-death journey across a dazzling digital universe created by Kevin himself. The ISOs were a race of Programs that spontaneously evolved on the Grid without being written by a User, which makes Quorra extra special.
The trio battles a ruthless villain named CLU (an acronym for Codified Likeness Utility, a program created by Kevin Flynn) who is determined to create the perfect system in the “real” world and will stop at nothing to prevent their escape.
Stream both of these films, and the stunning animated series “TRON: Uprising,” on Disney+.
TRON Lightcycle / Run at Magic Kingdom Park
The story of TRON Lightcycle / Run picks up after “TRON: Legacy” where Kevin’s son, Sam Flynn, has opened a second gateway into the Grid. The first gateway is found at Shanghai Disneyland with the original TRON Lightcycle Power Run.
After being digitized and transported to the Grid for a special Lightcycle race, it’s your Team Blue against one of the Grid’s menacing Programs – Team Red, Team Yellow or Team Orange. Your goal is to be the first to race through eight Energy Gates, digital markers that Users and Programs compete to “capture.” The first team to capture all eight Gates by passing through them is declared the winner.
Flynn’s Arcade and Workshop
Kevin Flynn’s beloved video arcade is mostly stocked with video games he created. It was his business and his home for some time, especially in the original “TRON.” In the arcade’s basement, Flynn used a Shiva laser to digitize himself to the Grid as seen in “TRON: Legacy.” A giant replica of this laser – the ENCOM SHV 20905 – in the queue at Magic Kingdom is the conduit by which human Users pass from the real world into the digital world of the Grid.
Programs and Users
Programs were created by humans to perform functions, like accounting or security, inside a computer world. They take commands from their Users, who are people who create Programs and give them purpose. Until the arrival of Kevin Flynn on the Grid, Programs thought Users were only a myth.
One Program you will encounter at TRON Lightcycle / Run is a Siren. Dressed in white, Sirens prepare programs for the games by providing armor and identity discs.
Every Program on the Grid receives a circular identity disc. Everything a Program does or says on the Grid is recorded on this disc. It allows Programs to synchronize with Lightcycles and can be used as a weapon capable of “derezzing” (short for “deresolution” or simply “deleting”) other Programs.
The Grid / The Game Grid
In the original “TRON,” the Grid was a game simulation environment inside a computer mainframe that evolved into a virtual universe. After defeating the Master Control Program, Kevin Flynn reprogrammed the computer’s servers to create a technically superior Grid.
Throughout the Magic Kingdom attraction you will notice hexagons, which is the geometric shape most associated with Flynn’s Grid.
The Game Grid is a central location of gladiator-style games where Programs are pitted against each other. In each game, there can be only one victor.
Lightcycle is a game played on the Game Grid. Powered by a program’s energy, Lightcycles are incredibly fast and agile two-wheeled vehicles which generate light ribbons. These near-indestructible, temporary walls of light generate behind vehicles within the Grid and disappear after a short period of time.
End of Line
This phrase was uttered by the Master Control Program in “TRON,” which references the end of a computer program code before a new line begins in that code. In “TRON: Legacy,” the End of Line Club was a nightclub for programs to enjoy dancing and libations.
While “Greetings, Programs” is a perfect greeting, “End of Line” is a great way to say farewell. With that said, as someone who plays video games better than anybody, I hope to see you on the Grid starting April 4!
END OF LINE.