The film starts with Frank Walker (George Clooney) and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) addressing the audience. They want to tell a story about the future, starting with Frank. He says that the future is scary and grim, but Casey doesn't think the story should go that way. She suggests he start when the future for him was looking brighter.
In 1964, a young Frank (Thomas Robinson) attends New York World's Fair. He carries a heavy bag, walking past other aspiring inventors. He meets renowned inventor David Nix (Hugh Laurie). Frank shows him his jet pack that he built himself. Then Frank meets a young girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy). She asks him if the jet pack works. Frank tested it out, and it doesn't quite fly (it launched him through the field outside his house). Nix inquires as to how such an invention would make the world a better place. Frank answers that it's just a fun invention, and if anyone saw someone flying it, he hopes they would be inspired. Nix dismisses the jet pack and sends Frank out.
In a brief flashback, we see Frank arguing with his father, who also thinks the jet pack is useless. Frank insists that he won't give up on it.
Outside in the fair, Athena approaches Frank and slips him a pin with a T on it. She tells him to follow her and Nix as they go on the "It's A Small World" ride. Frank sneaks onto a boat, where in the tunnel, a light scans the pin on his shirt, and it takes him through an underground passageway. It leads him into a pod that transports him to a mysterious place. He steps out and sees Athena flying in a pod, waving at him. Two larger animatronic pods start to construct something, pushing Frank off the ledge. He lands on another ledge, and his jet pack falls after him, breaking apart. A big robot takes the jet pack and fixes it, then gives Frank a thumbs up. Two men come out and call after Frank, causing him to fall again. He goes to reach his jet pack as he falls through the clouds, getting a brief look at the futuristic utopia that he's been led to. He slips the jet pack on in the nick of time and soars through the air before everyone's eyes. He lands before Nix and Athena, the former still unimpressed. Athena smiles and takes his hand to guide him through what is known as Tomorrowland...and then Adult Frank says everything went to Hell.
Casey starts her story with a little more optimism. We see a video of her as a child with her parents, looking up at the stars as she names all the major ones. She wanted to go up there someday. In the present, we see Casey sneaking into a NASA launch site in Cape Canaveral. She sabotages a machine that is being used to replace certain workers, including her dad Eddie (Tim McGraw), who is an engineer. Casey leaves, not knowing that Athena is watching her. She returns home where her little brother Nate (Pierce Gagnon) catches her sneaking back in. He promises not to tell their dad what Casey's been up to.
Athena sneaks into the Newtons' garage and gets Casey's helmet. She plants a pin like the one she gave Frank in the helmet, and then takes a strand of Casey's hair for a scan.
In the morning, Casey is heading to school when she helps her dad fix a device he's been working on. Eddie has accepted that the NASA platform is shutting down, despite what Casey thinks. She tells him a story that she's always heard about The Two Wolves, wherein there are metaphorically two wolves fighting within all of us, and the one that wins is the one that is fed.
Casey tries to break in to the platform again. She uses a flying toy with a camera, only to get caught and arrested. Her dad posts her bail, and she goes to collect her items. Among them is the pin, which she has never seen before. She briefly touches it and is instantly standing in a wheat field. Casey springs up in shock, and then finds herself still in the station. She picks the pin back up and is back in the field. She looks ahead to see what looks like a big castle. She walks toward it, only to bump her head on the ceiling. Eddie picks her up and is angry. She tries to show him what the pin does, but it doesn't work on him. Casey touches it again and sees herself in the field, floating above it as she's being driven. Eddie takes it from her and tells her to stop.
That night, Casey sneaks into Eddie's room and takes the pin back. She starts walking toward the castle and falls down the stairs. She goes outside and rides her bike in the direction from where she sees the castle. Still holding the pin, she finds herself right in Tomorrowland. She sees three guys flying in jet packs. One guy crashes and lands with his suit that forms an airbag. Casey continues walking through the place and is amazed at all the inventions she sees. It appears as though the other attendants can see and interact with her. Casey then notices that the pin is counting down to less than two minutes. She rides a shuttle and is invited by one attendant to ride with her and a few others. As Casey walks toward them, it appears she's walking through water. The time on the pin runs out, and she is walking through a swamp, frustrated with the pin's limited power.
Casey runs back home and gets Nate to log into their dad's computer. He helps her find an address to a shop where they have pins like the one Casey has. She tells Nate that she saw the future, and he will get to see it, but not yet. She asks him to tell their dad that she went on a camping trip.
The next morning, Athena shows up at the Newton home posing as a girl scout. Nate knows she's faking, but Athena knows that Nate is lying when he says Casey is camping. He tells Athena where she really went.
Casey goes to a shop called Blast From The Past, filled with vintage memorabilia items (and an excuse for Disney to plug "Star Wars"). She meets the two shop owners, Hugo and Ursula (Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn). When Casey shows them the pin, they ask her if she saw something and where she found it. Casey says she got it after she was arrested, prompting Ursula to push a button. They start to ask her menacingly if she saw a girl. They then take out two plasma guns and aim them at Casey. Athena then bursts in and fights Hugo and Ursula. She fires a time sphere that traps the two in a bubble before they can kill Casey. Athena convinces Casey to follow her as she pulls her out of trouble. She then gets Ursula to impale Hugo, and then she rips off Ursula's head, revealing both of them to be robots. Athena grabs Casey and runs as the robots self-destruct and destroy the shop. Athena breaks into a car and uses a special key to take it.
Casey learns that Athena is also a robot and that she knows of what Casey has seen. She admits that she planted the pin in her helmet. Casey makes Athena stop the car and leaves. Athena follows after her and gets hit by a truck. The driver runs out, giving Casey a chance to swipe the truck. Athena gets up and runs after her before catching up and hijacking the truck herself.
The girls ride to find Frank's house. Athena takes Casey far enough to leave her right in front of Frank's house. A wild dog runs out to Casey, which turns out to be a hologram. She goes up to the door and calls Frank out. She holds the pin to the camera and then gets thrown back by a powerful blast. Frank tells Casey to go away, and that he won't tell her anything about the pin, and that he couldn't even take her to the place she saw because he's been banished from there.
A team of robots goes to the burnt-down shop. They pull out Ursula's burnt robot head, revealing their nature to the cops on the scene before vaporizing them with their plasma guns.
At night, Casey sets Frank's tractor on fire, distracting him long enough for her to sneak into his house. She finds a few of Frank's inventions, including a recording device showing him as a child with Athena. He apparently tried to make her laugh but did not succeed. He still didn't seem to know that she was a robot. Frank gets back inside as Casey goes to his room where he has a bunch of monitors linked around the world, along with a countdown clock. Frank has apparently built something that is about to go off in 58 days time, bringing about the end of the world. Frank has lost all hope, but Casey hasn't, and the 100% probability meter on Frank's screen goes down a few point. The robots then show up and threaten to attack Frank if he doesn't give Casey up. They break in and attack, forcing Frank to use whatever inventions he prepared against them. Casey finds a portal machine and uses it on one robot, while Frank uses a laser trap to kill a few others. They go into the bathroom and hop in a tub where Frank ejects the tub and blows up his house. He and Casey land in the lake and run into Athena, and Frank is not very happy to see her.
Knowing that they'll be hunted, Frank brings Casey and Athena to a teleportation machine of his invention. Frank makes Casey cover her eyes with padding and then braces her for blood sugar loss. When they arrive at their destination, Casey falls to the floor. Athena fetches her a bottle of Coke, which she chugs instantly (and then chugs Frank's other bottle). They walk outside to see themselves in the Eiffel Tower. They go into a room with mannequins of Gustave Eiffel, Jules Verne, Nikola Tesla, and Thomas Edison. They were the founder of Plus Ultra, a group of inventors dedicated to finding other dreamers and inventors with the hope of shaping the future for the better. Together, their experiments uncovered a new dimension that would become Tomorrowland. Frank brings the girls to a rocket in the tower. Three robots then come in to attack. The rocket launches into the sky, with many people watching. The pod with the three inside breaks off and blasts into the next dimension.
The three crash-land into Tomorrowland, which looks broken down and desolate. Nix, now the governor of the city, arrives, not surprised to see Frank and Athena. He takes them and Casey to his building where they stand on a platform that shows them a few seconds into the future using tachyons. They come across a monitor that shows certain events in time, in this case, Casey with Nate and Eddie a few days ago. Casey is given the chance to see into the future. She looks into Cape Canaveral at the NASA platform. As she goes through the time passing, the platform becomes practically destroyed. She looks all over the rest of the world and sees riots, natural disasters, and utter catastrophe. This is all because of Frank's device, and because he gave up when he said he wouldn't. Casey still refuses to believe this will be what happens to the world, offering another glimpse of hope.
Although upset at first, Casey comes to realize that the monitor doesn't show what WILL happen, but what COULD happen, which means they have a chance to stop Frank's doomsday device. It turns out that Nix is keeping the device going because he had shown the people of Tomorrowland the monitor featuring the destruction, saying they can stop it, but nobody listened to him. He just figured he ought to let it happen and then shape the world in his own way. Nix opens a portal to banish the three before the world ends, but Frank ends up fighting him while Athena and Casey try to use on of Frank's kiloton bombs to destroy the machine. Casey rides a platform up to throw the bomb, but she misses her chance and is forced to throw it through the portal. Two of Nix's giant robots come into the battle, with Athena programming one to fight the other. The portal is destroyed by the bomb, and part of it falls on Nix's leg, pinning him down. He attempts to shoot at Frank, which Athena sees moments before it happens, giving her a chance to jump in and take the shot herself.
Frank takes Athena to try and get repaired, but she knows her time is running out. She plays a recording of when she knew Frank as a child. She knew he was smitten by her, but she didn't know how to tell him that she was not human and therefore could not feel for him what he felt for her. She watched Frank as he grew and was banished from Tomorrowland. Athena tells Frank to use her self-destruct sequence to destroy the machine. Frank carries her with his jet pack up to the highest point. They say goodbye as Athena shuts down completely. Frank drops her into the machine, causing it explode and come crashing down on top of Nix.
Together, Frank and Casey decide that they can help change the future for the better. They start by recruiting Nate and Eddie by having Casey return home through another portal. We then see that the people they've been telling the story to are dozens of Athena-like robots, with the hope that they can continue to bring about the vision of Tomorrowland. Frank and Casey give all the kids pins and send them to various places around the world with the portal. The kids drop them around to other people that they deem worthy of seeing the future. The people find the pins and touch them, allowing them to also uncover the mystery of Tomorrowland.
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