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Mysterious world of "Tomorrowland" recreated in gorgeous Minecraft map

Mysterious world of "Tomorrowland" recreated in gorgeous Minecraft map

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You have to give the folks at Walt Disney Pictures credit. Because when it came to getting word out about "Tomorrowland," they certainly didn't go by the standard summer blockbuster promotional playbook.

If you think back to February of 2013 when photos of that mysterious "1952" box first popped up online ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... or that alternate reality game, "The Optimist," which Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Studios worked up. Which sent Disney's biggest fans all over LA as they looked for clues in some of Walt's favorite hang-outs like the Tam O'Shanter and Griffith Park. Game participants were eventually allowed to enter some of the most exclusive spaces in the Disney universe, among them Club 33 and Walt's private apartment over the firehouse at Disneyland Park.

To help properly set up the world of "Tomorrowland," Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case worked with Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof to create "Before Tomorrowland" (Disney Press, April 2015), a prequel to this upcoming  Walt Disney Pictures release. This handsome hardcover gives you all sorts of insights about that secret society of extraordinary geniuses who were about share an incredible discovery with the world.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

"What incredible discovery?," you ask. Well, that's where Minecraft comes in.

For those of you who don't know:  Minecraft is an extremely popular game with over 19 million sales. At its core, Minecraft is a world where you can pick and place blocks to create things, because everything is made of blocks. Think extremely simplified Legos. You can create things with friends. Heck, you can build a computer. You can even make Disney Parks.

Copyright Mojang 2009-2015. "Minecraft" is a trademark of Mojang AB

Minecraft seems to draw in large amounts of fans with Let's Play videos (Videos where someone else plays a video game and the viewer watches. Sounds boring, but it's really quite fun. Think ride videos), with these videos garnering millions of views.

So it shouldn't really be a surprise to see Disney reaching out for this audience, right? The audience for minecraft and minecraft Let's Plays seems to skew towards younger teens, and given the action/adventure focused advertising we saw with "Frozen," it seems to be an audience Disney especially strives for.

Copyright Mojang 2009-2015. "Minecraft" is a trademark of Mojang AB

Polaris (on Disney's behalf) commissioned the BlockWorks team to create this map. And what a GORGEOUS map it is. Especially considering it was built in only a week and a half! Here's a video tour from the project manager.

The Tomorrowland map comes with a game that -- at the time -- requires at least three players (a later single player version is coming). One player, the gamemaster, controls the amount of time the other players have to collect varying items to present to them that one would find in Tomorrowland (Circuit boards, robot parts, DNA strands, etc). They start off with the Tomorrowland pin that teleports them randomly, and allows them to detect whether an item is 'safe' to pick up (When not safe, it triggers random bad incidents- Such as being attacked by killer angry chickens, or spawning hostile explosive enemies at your location) and a teleport ring that can help you control where you teleport. Here's a video of some players in action, playing the game. 

Insert Plus Ultra 5.

It's fascinating to see Disney using promotion like this for "Tomorrowland," a gorgeous world made through innovation and teamwork (and a commission). It's neat to see something this creative and clever funded by Polaris and Disney, and made by these players. Projects like this with such a huge scale in a game for a promotion aren't funded often. The only thing that comes to mind is when Ubisoft used Minecraft to promote "Far Cry 3," or when the Disneyland map was shown in Disney Infinity 1.0.

I've gotta say I'm really impressed with this gorgeous map, and I think I'm going to be taking it out for a spin. If you want to do the same, you can download the resource pack here (if you have a copy of Minecraft). Or if you'd rather wait out to see the movie before checking it out, "Tomorrowland" opens at a theater near you on May 22nd.

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