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World of Motion
World of Motion offered a tongue-in-cheek look at the history of transportation utilizing over 150 Audio-Animatronic figures and 22 scenes over the course of about 14 minutes. It was sponsored by General Motors and the ride utilized Omnimover vehicles. The wheel-shaped pavilion was an opening day attraction. It was 318 feet in diameter, 60 feet high and covered in stainless steel. The World of Motion theme song was called It's Fun to Be Free and was written by Buddy Baker and X. Atencio, who also wrote Grim Grinning Ghosts for the Haunted Mansion. The song was used as a transition between scenes in the ride and was played in many different period styles in the queue area. It was featured in the ride both as an instrumental and with lyrics.
It's fun to free,
to be on the move.
To go anywhere,
with never a care.
To do all you wanted to do,
it's fun to free!
It's fun to free,
to be on the move.
To go where you please,
with comfort and ease.
To see all there is to be seen,
it's fun to free!
World of Motion closed on January 2, 1996 and was replaced by Test Track. The building shell has remained but the interior has been totally revamped and tracks for the new ride now surround the front and back of the building.
World of Motion Script
(Note: This is mostly onboard audio with a selection from certain show scenes.)
Male Announcer: Your vehicle doors close automatically. Please keep your hands and arms inside your vehicle and remain seated while traveling. Thank you.
Narrator (Gary Owens): Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the wonderful World of Motion. General Motors now invites you to travel the open road, to discover that when it comes to transportation, it's always fun to be free.
After boarding on the ground floor of the building, the ride vehicles spiraled up a ramp and then briefly went outside the building before bringing the passengers up to the second floor.
Once on the second level, the cars traveled through a cave, with illuminated footprints blinking along the wall while a bouncing sound was heard.
Gary Owens: Throughout the ages, we have searched for freedom to move from one place to another. In the beginning, of course, there was foot power. But with our first wandering steps, we quickly discovered the need to improve our basic transportation.
Cavemen are shown blowing on and fanning their hot, overheated feet.
Gary Owens: After years of stumbling around, we launch a new idea. Our first safe highway, water.
Projections of ships from ancient civilizations are shown. A man resting on the shore is unaware of how close a crocodile is to him.
Gary Owens: On land, our animal friends give us new freedom. And we test drive many new models.
People are shown leading and riding all manner of stubborn and hesitant animals to a toll booth. These include an ox, zebra, elephant, camel, ostrich and donkey. Above them all is a man on a flying carpet.
Gary Owens: A revolutionary turn of events. The wheel! Now things really get rolling. It's fun to be free.
A man is shown presenting the first wheel to the king, while a guard turns away men holding square, triangular and pentagon examples.
Gary Owens: With our new found freedom, empires expand, cultures flourish, trade and commerce grow.
A transition tunnel shows spinning projections of the wheel and of scenes such as a horse pulling an Egyptian chariot and a man pushing a Chinese rickshaw. A centaur is shown pulling a woman in a chariot and near the projection, a giggling woman holds a rope attached to a centaur. A used chariot lot is shown, complete with marked-down prices-in Roman numerals. The Trojan Horse is even for sale!
(Photos courtesy of Mark Thompsom.)
Salesman #1: Lend me your ear, friend. This is a colossus bargainus! It's just like new!
Salesman #2: This is beautius maximus. Loaded with extras! Power reins, marble floorboards. Four speed whip. Ah, suitable for the throne of Venus!
Salesman #1: Fly on the wings of Mercury! Pass anything on the Appian Way!
Salesman #2: This colosseum cruiser is fit for the Gods. Truly glorious. Caesar's wife has one.
Salesman #1: This was driven by Caesar himself!
Gary Owens: With proud new ships, we sail forth in search of new worlds, undaunted by age old myths and silly superstitions.
Nautical music plays as animated projections of ships are shown sailing on an old sea chart off the edge of a flat Earth. A sailor (Christopher Columbus?) squints into his telescope as a sea serpent squints back at him.
Gary Owens: The age of the Renaissance. Great minds are turning from works of art to flights of fancy.
Harpsichord music plays as an impatient Mona Lisa taps her foot and waits for her painting to be finished as Leonardo da Vinci watches a straining man pull the rope to keep a man modeling da Vinci's flying machine suspended in the air. Another transition tunnel shows projections of flying machines and then a man is shown riding in a hot air balloon with a pig, goat and chicken.
Gary Owens: From hot air to the power of steam. Now nothing stands in the way of progress on the open road.
An early English steam engine is shown being lifted up in the air by an unhappy bull snorting smoke. Projection on the screen behind it show animated images of steam-powered vehicles.
Passenger: Hark, what goes on? Why are we stopping? I should have ridden me horse!
Driver: Get thee gone, fat bullock! Move to yon pasture. You art a bull-headed beast. Begone!
Gary Owens: Great boilers of steam change our sails to paddle wheels.
A riverboat called the Cotton Queen is shown at the dock. The shadows of people can be seen in the window. A man on the dock tries to pull a donkey, who sits down and refuses to budge. A child sits on the edge of the dock facing the water. Two men play a banjo and a harmonica from the back of a horse-drawn wagon while a dog howls along.
Gary Owens: Beyond the Mississippi, passengers enjoy the scenic west with the freedom and adventure of the open road.
Honky-Tonk piano music plays as a wagon train is shown circled against animated projections of Indians on the war path. The U.S. Calvary chases after them. A man looks out of a stagecoach (A real Well-Fargo stagecoach over 150 years old that Disney got in Phoenix Arizona) window with surprise at the events going on.
Gary Owens: Another kind of horse arrives. A steam powered, iron horse bringing fast, dependable, safe travel to the new frontier.
A train robbery is in progress. One bandit is off to the sides by some rocks. Another is at the front of the train holding out a hat and gesturing to three passengers and the engineer while yet another thief supervises a shaking conductor as he hands over the goods. A lawman is off to the side, ready to catch the crooks.
Bandit 1: Keep your hands up! This means you! This is called passin' the hat. (Laughs) Drop it in the hat. Drop it in the hat, Mister. Come on, come on.
Bandit 2: Hold her steady, Grandpa! Or I'll blow your head off! (Fires gun) I said hold that box steady!
Gary Owens: Ah, the peaceful countryside. What more romantic way to enjoy it than with that infallible combination of man and machine: the bicycle!
A dog has chased a man up on top of a fence. He tries to shoo the dog away.
Man on Fence: Beat it dog! Scram! Leave me alone, you mangy mutt! Go on, get out of here! Get lost!
A man has taken a tumble off of his bike and is sitting in the mud with pigs. His female companion giggles. A screen projects animated images of bicycles while a man nearby balances on a unicycle. A woman stops on her bike while her male companion inflates his tire.
Gary Owens: The call of the open road brings us a new wonder: a carriage without a horse. Yes, with the horseless carriage, we thunder full speed into the 20th century!
A screen projects black and white footage of cars driving in a city. A man is shown working on a car in a garage while a blacksmith and horse look on at a another garage with a man taking care of his car. There is a collision on the street between an ice truck and a startled horse, which is causing other vehicles to get stuck in a traffic jam. Fruit has spilled into the street, which causes a stunned man to come out of the manhole cover. Crates of chickens have fallen out of the wagon as well, causing a man from the sanitation department to look on in dismay. Two children have taken the opportunity during the ensuring chaos to take pieces of ice from the back of the truck.
Gary Owens: Our newest tradition: the Sunday drive. Now we quickly get away from it all to the beautiful carefree countryside.
A man serenades a woman on a mandolin or ukulele as they picnic. A screen behind them projects animated images of an airplane flying past a covered bridge. Further along, there is a billboard for an air show being held on April 30th at the county fairground. A policeman hides behind the billboard on a motorcycle to catch speeders. A moving plane is projected on the billboard and a car full of people on the sign sit watching it.
Gary Owens: The dashing heroes of the wild blue yonder. Now, the sky's the limit!
It appears to be the Roaring Twenties. A family sits in their car watching airshow and a flapper girl poses with a pilot as another girl takes their picture.
Gary Owens: Mobility is the byword of modern transportation. A way to move from here to there, for every need and every care. Now it's really fun to be free!
A line of vintage cars appear, accompanied by vintage film footage to depict the era that each car is from. The first car encountered belongs to a Bride and Groom. In addition to it saying "Just Married" on the car, it says "Just Wed" in the window as a sly reference to the then-name for Walt Disney Imagineering. The next car contains slogans on it and has college students as passengers. The next car is a station carrying a Little League team. The car after that has a family traveling on a road trip. The Omnimover then make a trip through a speed tunnel similar to the type used in If You Had Wings. The curved tunnel depicts 70mm film clips of things such as a toboggan run, white water rafting and underwater scenes. This then leads to images of a black hole/eye of a hurricane and then swirls of light and a kaleidoscope effect. The images then turn into a computer grid style reminiscent of Tron that was meant (especially in the early 1980s) to depict "The Future". The ride vehicles emerge into a new room depicting a futuristic city with blurs of light depicting traffic zooming down the streets past tall buildings while spaceships fly in the sky.
Gary Owens: Yes, our world has indeed become a World of Motion. We have engineered marvels that take us swiftly over land and sea, through the air, and into space itself. And still bolder and better ideas are yet to come. Ideas that will fulfill our age old dream to be free. Free in mind. Free in spirit. Free to follow the distant star of our ancestors to a brighter tomorrow.
Lights flash on the sides of the walls, similar to the footprints at the beginning of the ride, although now they are reminiscent of the markings on a road.
Gary Owens: Ladies and gentlemen, General Motors now invites you to share the challenge of the future. We need you to help us shape tomorrow's mobility.
The tunnel also contains a "Pepper's Ghost" effect that makes the Omnimover vehicle appear to be a futuristic vehicle design.
Gary Owens: Just ahead is General Motors' exciting Transcenter. Join us behind the scenes where we are working to ensure that tomorrow's world will continue to be a World of Motion.
Male Announcer: Your vehicle doors will slide open automatically. Please gather your belongings and step out to your right. Your vehicle and the moving platform are traveling at equal speed.
Female Announcer: Your vehicle doors will slide open automatically. Please collect your belongings and step out to your right. The moving platform is traveling at the same speed as your vehicle.
World of Motion Tributes
Some of the World of Motion figures have been reincarnated as characters in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Chicken figures from the attraction's traffic jam scene were featured in Goofy's Barnstormer at Mickey's Toontown Fair in the Magic Kingdom. Other props from the World of Motion are in the queue of the tram tour at the Studios. Some of the cars such as the LaSalle and '55 Chevy Nomad were also moved to the Studios for street props. The weirdest tribute/reuse of a World of Motion figure is that one of them was remade into the Ellen figure for Ellen's Energy Adventure!
Bird and the Robot
Here's the script featuring the "boid" with the New York accent.
(Please note there is a part where my audio drops out when Bird uses a word to describe the painter robot.)
The show started out with Bird (who was originally built for Tokyo Disneyland's Tiki Room) acting as a sort of latter day Tropical Serenade barker bird, counting down the seconds until the show began while the screen behind him flashed the show's logo and the time remaining.
Bird: Come on in folks! This guy Bird is the greatest! He's fantastic! Step up to the rail so's you'll have a great view. Only 20 little seconds and he's here to entertain and amaze you! Standing room only 'cause we got no seats. Fifteen seconds 'till the Bird! Places down front while they last. See the incredible Bird. Eight seconds! This is it. Here he comes! The excitement is mountin'. Three! Two! One! (A screen behind Bird shows the countdown, then the title of the show superimposed on a grid. Searchlights shine on the title. Bird's perch begins to rise and the spotlight reveals Bird dressed up to look like Groucho Marx. )
Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, General Motors is proud to present the one, the only, bird! (Fanfare plays) Hiya folks and welcome to my show. My name is Bird and I'm here to entertain, educate and amaze for I am an audio anamatronicated figure. I'd like to introduce my assistant. He's a robot. I call him Tiger. Come out Tiger, help me entertain the nice people. Tiger! (Tiger remains down, looking shy as only a robot can.) He's a little shy. Ya see folks, I've been in showbiz since I was an egg but Tiger here, he's in manufacturing. He's got no aim in life beyond making a better car for you folks to drive. But today, I'm giving him his lucky chance to break into showbiz. He's a little nervous, so give the kid a break, huh folks? Tiger! (Tiger moves his arm up and faces Bird) Thata boy, that's better! I'll give him something easy to start out. Roll over! You gotta talk slow. Tiger! Roll over! (Fanfare plays as Tiger performs by rotating his arm around.)
Thank you, thank you, I trained him myself. Alright, Alright. Tiger! Play dead! Dead, Tiger! (Fanfare as Tiger extends his arm so it's straight, then makes it fall over.) Thank you, thank you, I don't deserve it. Ok Tiger, now get the doughnut. Fetch it to me. Go on, fetch the doughnuts. He'll get it in a moment. (Tiger reaches for the doughnut but doesn't pick it up.) Hey, Tiger! What's the big idea? I give you your big break and you deliberately humiliate me in front of all these nice people. (Tiger puts his arm down and acts like he is ashamed.) Want me to send you back to General Motors where I found ya? (Tiger nods.) Think about it kid, they do terrible things to robots. (Dramatic music plays and images appear on the screen behind Bird. Tiger moves to look at each images as Bird talks about it.) They can lock you up in a room full of smelly paint fumes and make you spray paint out of your nose all day. Or force you to pick hot parts out of an oven with your bare fingers. Or they could make you hold hot parts together, while they get welded right in your hand. Heh heh, you wouldn't like that, would you? (Tiger nods again.)
(Photo courtesy of Brotherdave.)
Kid, you got a bug in your program. Shut up and do your song. Are there any requests? Anything at all you'd like to hear? Just- (Tiger turns around and starts playing a set of handbells.) Not yet! I'm not through talking! As I was saying- (Tiger interrupts again with the handbells, playing the tune that Big Ben's chimes play.) Thank you! Thank you! It was nothing, really. How about some applause for my assistant here? (Fanfare and applause track plays as Tiger holds up an "Applause" sign.) Alright, alright enough for him! How about some more applause for me? (A cowbell is heard as Tiger flips the sign around to say "Boo".) Put that thing away! Wise guy, eh? I taught him everything he knows and this is how he-what the? (Tiger removes from a suitcase some sort of laser/thermal image camera. Images of Bird appear on the screen showing his mechanical insides and the message "Needs Cleaning".) This is the most ridiculous-you're not fooling anybody. He can't see anything out of those things. What? So, think you're funny, don't you? (Tiger nods.) Seriously folks, he can't see, but some robots can see. Take this guy for example, (Images of real-life auto assembly robots appear on the screen) he's got laser eyes. He goes around measuring critical stuff on the car part, and big as he is, he's very delicate. Accurate to the nearest ten thousandth of an inch. Of course, most robots don't need to see, they just remember where things are. This is robot school. This...painter robot is learning the shape of a new body. A new car body that is. And with instructors like that, school don't look so bad. Look at him go! Perfect! This one graduates with honors!
The best part about it, these guys 'paint 'em perfect every time! And look at this guy. He's no dummy. Let the robot be out there in the smelly paint fumes. This guy's got air conditioning! Look at that reach! With arms like that, maybe I can get him into basketball! That's it! I'll sign him to a contract and retire for life! Look at those moves! Pure poetry in motion. (As the film ends, Tiger reaches into his suitcase and brings out a music stand.) Now it's time for the cultured portion of our show. I'm a great believer of culture. (The grid on the screen parts like a stage curtain and Tiger pulls out a conductor baton.) So now, it is my privilege to present-remember, I taught him everything he knows-Tiger! Conducting the Detroit PhilRobotic orchestra! Maestro? (Bird's perch lowers and Tiger conducts songs such as Beethoven's Fifth, Waltz of the Snowflakes, and the 1812 Overture while robots are shown at work.)
(As the music ends, curtains made out of the screen grid close.) Now what? (Tiger uses the baton to hook the doughnut.) Well folks, that's my show. The exit is to your right. (A scrolling marquee appears on the screen with the words "Exit" and arrows pointing to the right.) Tell everyone out there that you saw the one, the only, Bird! Oh yeah, and the robot.
The Rest of the Transcenter
After exiting the ride, the exit led to the Transcenter, which had a neon sign announcing "The Future of Transportation is Here". In addition to Bird and the Robot, there was show called Aerotest narrated by Gary Owens, a "torture test" demonstration area, a film called The Water Engine and The Dreamer's Workshop, which showed prototype cars.
Here's the Aero 200 GM concept car that was in the Transcenter for many years.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Thompson)
The Transcenter had a showcase for the latest car models from GM.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Thompson)
Maybe you got one of these folded-tab pins when you visited World of Motion. They were given away for free in the Transcenter .
Anyone know what the "Special Offer" was in this ad? Maybe it was an invitation to the GM Corporate Lounge, which can be seen above the pavilion entrance in this photo.
(Thanks to Johnny Casella for the above picture.)
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