The Future Ends Today

The list of Top Ten Disney Theme Park Controversies continues today with #2.

If you just joined us click HERE for the first 8 entries on our list.

2) Horizons is shuttered and demolished

Take a beloved fan-favorite attraction. An attraction built on a huge scale. An attraction designed by some of Walt Disney Imagineering’s greatest. An attraction that showcased everything Disney does best. Then suddenly shut it down… permanently. And then for good measure demolish the building in full view for the world to see. No problem right? It’s a perfect storm for fan frustration.

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Herb Ryman could capture the essence of an attraction in concept art like no one else ever could.

If EPCOT Center was an exploration of our optimistic future shared by a united world then Horizons was a crystallization of that future. It was the crown jewel of EPCOT Center. It was the single attraction that represented the spirit, the hope and the goals of EPCOT Center (and Walt Disney’s personal ideals) more than any other.

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The marhcing bad of the future, here today (or in 1984 at least)

Each of the other Future World pavilions focused on a singular idea or industry: Communications, Agriculture, Imagination, Transportation and so on whereas Horizons encapsulated them all into one glorious mega-attraction. Poised like a spaceship on the brink of take-off Horizons was architecturally unique, a beautifully detailed and skillfully executed vision of the future. It was an exciting and unifying vision of things to come and a knowing nod at our past visionaries. Using a side facing Omni-mover ride system Horizons picked up where the Carousel of Progress left off. Guests explored the future of life on Earth, both on land and under the sea, before leaving terra firma and venturing into outer space. It was a long attraction with an abundance of technology and deft storytelling… in other words it was classic EPCOT. Though Horizons debuted a year after the park’s grand opening, and had its budget and scope reduced along the way, the end result immediately made it a classic and the first attraction many think of when discussing EPCOT Center… and then it was gone.

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Horizons had a bit of everything, from comedic robots to Omnimax screens to Pepper’s Ghost “holograms” to orange scents, it showcased everything Disney did so well.

The exact reasons for the closure are murky at best. We know that Horizons lost its sponsor (General Electric) and that is never a good sign for an attraction. But there is a lot more to it than just that. The most popular theory or excuse is that the building was collapsing upon itself and that the land beneath it was hiding a sinkhole necessitating its removal. Some say that Disney management felt the attraction was corny, old-fashioned and passé. Others claim that it simply came down to dollars and cents and that Disney needed the space and a fresh start in order to attract a new sponsor. No one outside of Disney really knows the true reasons why Horizons was so unceremoniously dismantled but we do know that it sent fans into a tizzy.

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These are honestly hard for me to look at… just so sad.

This was the first time in history that a marquee “E-Ticket” attraction was not only shut down, but the entire building was razed erasing any trace of its existence. A new version was not being created, the building was not being re-used, and instead the entire shebang was simply being deleted.

Horizons

Perhaps more than any other now extinct attraction fans have kept Horizons alive in their hearts. Fan-made DVDs, tribute web pages and even fully recreated interactive virtual rides have been created to keep Horizon’s message optimism for the future going strong. If you are old enough to know the original spirit of EPCOT Center then you know that the loss of Horizons was almost unimaginable. It was ripping the very heart out of the park and in fact Epcot has never been the same since.

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You should check this out if you have not already.

Horizons was closed in December of 1994. A year later it suddenly re-opened unchanged (thwarting many theories that it had to be closed due to pressing safety issues). Horizons remained open while both World of Motion and Universe of Energy were closed (due to a bad mismanagement of refurbishments brought on by major design issues with the new Test Track ride) but by 1996 was no longer operating on any regular basis and by the start of 1999 was closed for good. In 2000 the Horizons building is slowly, painfully demolished.

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Roomba my ass!

Today Horizons lives on in the memories of the legions of fans that so fondly recall the power of the message it carried. Far more than a thrill ride or a cavalcade of special effects, Horizons had a soul. A few relics of the attraction have survived and Disney occasionally trots out the robotic butler figure for display on special occasions. Most of the attraction found it’s way to a landfill and a few parts oddly ended up rotting in the Parisian sun (click here to see what I mean).

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I have no tattoos… but if I were ever to get one…

I recently met a park enthusiast in his twenties, he considered himself a fairly hardcore fan. He had visited the parks annually since he was a kid; I could relate. Then I found out that he had never even heard of Horizons… it meant nothing to him, that was a bit sad for me to hear. Sure he was probably 7 or 8 when it shut down and likely never rode it, but to never have heard of it at all was a shock. We all want our heroes and our most vivid memories to live forever… but they cannot.

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As loud and sustained as the fan community complaints may have been Disney knows that eventually they will all subside and that new generations of fans will come in replacing the jeers of the old guard with cheers for the newest and “best” attraction to come along. Such is the theme park circle of life.

Did you ride Horizons? Do you miss it?

For the next entry click HERE

54 thoughts on “The Future Ends Today

  1. At 33 years old I can’t say that I ever even recall the name horizons, let alone remember the ride. Granted I’ve only ever made 3 trips to Disney World (90 and 95 as a kid and 2010 as an adult) but I don’t really recall anything about it. I still have a photo album from the 90 trip (and a few undeveloped disposable cameras from the 95 trip…) that may document my haven ridden this attraction (I’m sure that I did, at least once) but nothing about it really stands out. Part of the reason, as blasphemous as this is to a lot of people, I never really cared for Epcot all that much. I liked it alright, but it was always my least favorite park. I found most of the attractions boring as a kid (some of them painfully so) and didn’t really bother riding any rides beyond Test Track and Soarin’ in 2010. Which is said, because I’ve reached a point in my life where I think I would actually appreciate all of those educational attractions now, and they are all starting to go away….

    • Well Matt you fall into an age group that hit Epcot at the worst possibel time. As a kid of the 80’s EPCOT Center (the original from 82 to about 90) was an INCREDIBLE place. It had a vibe to it not only unliek any other Disney park but really unlike any place on earth. I think it got unfairly protrayed (partly by Disney themselves) as some sort of educational field trip but the fact is that those attractions were magical. They coudl trasnport you unlike any others and each pavilion was huge, you woudl spend hours in one place. By the early 90’s it totally lost its way. By the time Test Track went in (which was totally botched) the place was a mess and today it is shoking what it has become. I am glad that they are going to pour money into it and I am sure that it will become at lease a nice looking and fun park again but it will never have that “The future is so bright you have to wear shades” feeling it once did. Horizons was the epitome of that feeling, it was all of the EPCOT ethos rolled into one place.

  2.  Just a few thoughts.
       It would have been great If Walt Disney had not died and his original ideas for EPCOT had come to pass. But the Epcot Center that was opened in 1982 and ran through 1994 was a far better experience than what exists now. FutureWorld was a well themed, comprehensive look at man’s potential. It was, for the most part, educational, entertaining, and inspirational. My family visited EPCOT Center four times between 1983 and 1996. My children, ages six through sixteen, had no problem understanding the scientific “adult” level at which the exhibits were set up. We all loved the park.  
       Returned in 2007, and several times since, to the shocking changes. What was once my favorite park has become my least. Theming is gone. The once contemporary colors and sight-lines are now gaudy and circus like. Once open areas are now cluttered with kiosks hawking junk. The once magnificent entrance way with colored fountain is now cluttered with tombstone-like tributes to those willing to spend money to have there names inscribed. Disney seems to have lost all direction, either adding “thrill” rides that make people ill or dumbing down the pavilions for preschoolers just to sell merchandise. Only The Land pavilion has held on to it’s original educational orientation. Like Soarin’ but miss Kitchen Kabaret and Food Rocks. The Living Seas has been taken over by Nemo. There are less aquatic exhibits and what is there is presented at a very elementary level. It’s like going to a children’s museum. Spaceship Earth’s ending is terrible. Imagination is horrendous. Complete loss of Horizons, Motion, and Wonders of Life. Now Energy is going. Because of the ruin of a once great FutureWorld, I hate to see them go down the same path in World Showcase.
      But, I see things have changed and corporate sponsorship is not what it once was. Yes the park needs work. But change just for the sake of change? Hopefully they can come up with an overall plan and stop the seemingly random way in which they have addressed changes over the last twenty years. 
      I really think it may have to do with the fact that those people that had Walt Disney’s direct influence in their lives are now mostly gone. The scriptures say “For lack of a vision people perish.” If EPCOT is to survive, Disney needs a vision. I hope they can find one….. A recent observation: with more Disney IP attractions coming, EPCOT is dead. EPCOT Center, RIP

    • Randy,

      I could not agree more; well said. EPCOT Center has been dead for 25 years and will never be anything remotely like it was. A pulsating vibrant sense of optimism coursed through its veins. It embodied the future not in what it predicted, not in how it looked but how it felt. It was magic.

      For 20 years it has been a slow decline that has been hard to watch. 1980’s EPCOT is my favorite park by far bar none and it is gone forever. What we have today is a complete embarrassment. The new announcements of big changes is partially good news. I believe that they will visually improve it. I think it will look nice when the refurbishments are complete. I think several new rides will be impressive and fun. But ultimately Epcot will be another Magic Kingdom with similar rides and a similar feel. That is better than what we have today but a far cry from the original greatness.

  3. Huge fan of your website! Love these posts and I can’t wait to see what number 1 is!

  4. Pingback: Near Misses |
  5. Ha. Just by coincidence I decided to listen to that podcast ya’ll were on in June on my way to work this morning. The hosts brought up the new Haunted Mansion store in Liberty Square. Shane said something about laughing at the look on your face…..you said, “I try not to be cynical but…..” I felt like I was hearing the audio version of your thoughts on Disney that you posted yesterday. LOL

    • Well I have never been shy about sharing my thoughts Ben.

      I tend to come off as if I have a lot against Disney or something… the fact is I LOVE the parks. It is only because I care so much and I knwo that they can be so great that I sometimes point of the short comings. This enitre series is more or less about mistakes that they have made so the tone veers in that direction.

      I guess a lot of what has happened in the parks in the last 20 years or so seems very transparent to me.. but I will always be a fan!

  6. Star Wars Land Wish List:

    -Proper Entrances/Exits that make you feel encapsulated within the SW Universe
    -Surrounded by immersive detail that incorporates Tatooine, Hoth, Endor, Coruscant
    -Expedition Everest style thrill ride mixed with Dark Ride Segment involving a Rancor, Sarlaac, Space Worm, Darth Maul, Jabba, etc.
    -Full Size Walk-Through Millennium Falcon in EXTREME detail
    -Great Movie/Pirates style ride with AA’s that incorporate the whole series
    -Death Star Trench ride with Toy Story Midway Mania Tech
    -Bounty Hunter attraction
    -Jedi lightsaber/force stunt show

    • If I were to make a prediction… not a wish list but a guess as to what they actually will build I would say:

      • A large scale thrill based ride… probably based on an X-Wing. I hope it is not a roller coaster or a straight simulator. My best guess is that it will use some combo in a Spiderman / Transformer kind of way…

      • Jedi-Academy: Who cares. I see them building a permanent hall to house this and also perhaps some sort of stage show later in the day or on special occasion… it will have some special effects built into the stage.

      • Cantina restaurant… this seems like a no brainer and will probably be located near Star Tours

      • Some sort of kid oriented small-scale ride… think Dumbo but in tie fighters or that type of thing. They will feel that they need to address little kids and this will do that.

      • Of course Start Tours will remain… maybe the facade will be redone.

      And that’s about it… this to me would be a worse case scenario. Remember Potter has JK Rowling approving EVERYTHING. She drives that ship… the deal requires them to build things at a level beyond what is typical for Universal. Disney has no such deal in place for Star Wars… they own it outright and will do what they think is best. What they think is best will be driven by a ton of research that shows them the balance of exactly what they need to provide in order to spend the least but get the most draw.

      I did not mention a bunch of shops… they will have a fancy light-saber store (think Harry Potter wand store) and much more. Maybe they can find a way to squeeze one more ride or some sort of interactive Turtle Talk type of thing only set in the Star Wars universe. But they will feel that between Star Tours and the new ride that they will have two major attractions, a couple smaller attractions, dining and shopping and that is all they need.

      Meanwhile Star Wars may be the only franchise that could actually support and entire park in and of itself. I’d love to see them go full out Star Wars on a huge scale… maybe that happens in one of the Asian resorts?

  7. I really miss Horizons… I think the best feeling at EPCOT was to ride it at night, come out, see the magic twinkling pavement in the warm night, and the astounding palette of colors reflecting off Spaceship Earth, and to feel down to your core that people will be able to work through their problems– that one day we might farm the ocean sustainably, make the desert bloom with fragrant fruit trees, and feel more connected as families and as peoples. One of my favorite Horizons scenes was the underwater restaurant, with patrons of all races at the tables. Some would say the optimism of Horizons, and of EPCOT as a whole is naive and unrealistic, but I think that’s why so many of us love it so much– because that’s when change starts to take place, when you believe it is truly possible. Between the powers of imagination, energy, communication, transportation, and the riches of our planet in land and sea, EPCOT was the one place where optimism was held up as a beacon. Add in a showing of “The American Adventure” and you felt like you could fly over that lagoon, touching all the countries surrounding it. That’s the EPCOT I still hold in my heart, and always will.

    • Very well said Melanie!

      Whenever I discuss EPCOT or really pre-Eisner parks in general I always focus on optimism and reassurance.

      That was what the park experiences were about and that is extra powerful to children.

      Now it is much more about meeting movie characters and being asked to purchase things.

      It’s still fun but it is not the same. The heart is largely missing. Most if EPCOT still looks very much the same on the outside, but the insides both literally and figuratively are missing.

    • Potter could not have been easier. Don’t get me wring they killed it, but everything was laid out for them. The design, the environments the signage even the food and merchandise were already done by the filmmakers.

      Star Wars is much broader and more abstract. Which planet do you do and so on. It will be a challenge especially as Star Tours will need to be worked in as well.

  8. definitely .I think when people hear “star wars” land they are imagining Potter -level detail.

  9. definitely . I think when people hear “Star wars” land they are imagining Potter -level detail and environment.

  10. How awesome would a Death Star Trench ride be using some Toy Story Mania tech? Or a Death Star dark ride (probably wouldn’t happen)?

    • I hope they avoid things like roller coasters themed after X-Wings an Tie FIghters and aim lerger and more themed… thing Harry Potter level. I want to live the experience, not just a ride with some logos on it.

  11. Well said and explained. I heard about those comments from Iger and thought he meant the comment about branded attractions specifically about how successful he feels the Star Wars attractions will be. I hope he didn’t mean they will no longer do anything original.

    • Here is part of what he said when discussing building attractiosn based on existing movies:

      “the likelihood of their success is greater. When we grow ‘Star Wars” presence, which we will do significantly, you will see better bets being made that will pay off for us than were made in the past,” adding that leveraging the collection of popular franchises and properties that the company owns for rides and experiences will deliver “better returns than we saw in the past.”

      See Disney has a problem seeing the forest for the trees sometimes. They may feel that the original DCA failed because there was not enough attraction branding for example. Or they may feel that Carsland is a success specifically because it is based on Cars. What they miss is that it is really all about the execution. Avatarland may be a giant success or it may be a total faiulure but that will be based on EXECUTION of the theme… not the theme itself.

      Now I must agree that even a poolry done Star Wars land will still be a draw. Star Wars is just so massive that the name alone can carry it… lets hope they knock it out of the part though. But what we see over and over both within Disney (Tokyo Disney Sea, Carsland, etc.) and outside Disney (the universal Potter stuff) is that incredible EXECUTION of rides will draw massive crowds… cheaping out and doing poorly executed rides on a limited scale will fail.

      Disney started to lean on thier name… they thought putting “Disney’s” in front of it would mean success. They thought not spending on attractions would protect them from failure… they were proven horribly wrong.

      The good news is that the current management gets that much… they understand that you need to actually build attractions to get guests to visit the parks. And frankly they are probably correct that all things being equal it is safer to build a Star Wars or Marvel attraction then creating soemthing totally new. Thsi is exactly what you see in movies… sequels are safe… new visions often fail. So they are playing it safe… maybe good for my stock but I fear not the best for the parks themselves.

      Regardless I don’t want to sound like a downer here… if they pull off a giant scale Star Wars land no one will be happier than me (well maybe Shane but that’s it).

  12. I feel like I understand old-school Disney though I didn’t see it like you did. I do wish more changes were made in that vein. Like you said, changes should utilize new technology, but with that old-school Disney approach and work ethic. Maybe this is more of a cyclical thing as opposed to “it’s all down-hill from here!”
    We did at least get a dark-ride segment in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train after all.

    And I definitely don’t think all change is good. That Jack Sparrow experience thing over in HS? Garbage. I wish they would blast Stitch out of the atmosphere in MK and give us some sort of scary alien experience again. Maybe Big Hero 6 will be a huge success and take over Stitch. It would certainly fit in Tommorowland.

    As for Epcot, I think today’s perspective is much more focused on the World Showcase as opposed to Future world. Future World does seem disjointed, lost, but with Soarin’ which is awesome. Test Track and Mission Space are fine, but not great, but all of that Innoventions stuff I could care less about.

    I am loving your list. I THINK I know what #1 will be (later today?) but feel like I am forgetting something obvious.

    Thanks for the kind and thoughtful reply,
    Ben

    • Let me just say that Disney as a company certainly is capable of creating incredible park experiences, maybe even more so today then ever. If you visit Tokyo DisneySea you will see a park that is incredibly well done and thought out top to bottom. It incorporates original ideas as well as basing attractions of well-known characters and movies. It has an incredible depth of immersion and detail. But more than anything… and maybe this is what I mean by old school… it just feels like they did it as well as they possibly could. They were not worried about marketing toys and t-shirts or cutting costs or pushing the latest movie… it just feels as though they did it this way because it was the right way to do it. That over simplifies things but you get the idea.

      Before my time Walt did things because it was the best experience that they could create and he trusted an audience would find it… and they did. After his death (my first experiences with Disney) the regime that followed was basically scared to do anything new and therefore they still followed that old school thought process… So those same guys who built Disneyland more or less following the same principles built WDW and EPCOT. When Eisner took over in 1984 it became much more of a true bottom line focused business and that eventually reached the parks. Suddenly small things that existed in the parks not to make money but simply to enrich the experience were being replaced by sweat shirt shops… eventually we get to where we are today.

      Just this week Iger announced that they will no longer build attractions unless they are based on existing franchises. He feels that is the safe way to go and will bring bigger return on investment. That may be great because we will get Star Wars and out west they will get Iron Man and so on… but that also means given that philosophy we never would have had Pirates, or Mansion or any of EPCOT.

      This gets into a really much longer discussion… much too long for a comments section… but suffice it to say that there is still good stuff that they are doing but it is now done for very, very specific reasons most of which have very little to do with providing the greatest experience that they could for guests.

      You are still going to have to wait a bit for the final entry… sorry!

  13. I am 29. I just finished reading all of your posts on the whole site. I love this site and Disney, especially WDW. It makes me sad when I heard ya’ll say things like “EPCOT doesn’t exist.”

    I know what you mean by this. You are saying the “original” intent and message of EPCOT is not nearly as present as it once was. You are saying it has been jumbled, destroyed, and “branded” by Frozen, Nemo, and the like.

    I know you have acknowledged this before, but for legions of fans such as myself, who grew up through the “Disney Renaissance” (I was 4, 6, 7, and 9 at the debut of Mermaid, Beast, Aladdin, and Lion King) WDW IS branding, it IS characters, it IS a place where magic is alive. This combines perfectly (to me) with the older aspects of the park with original lands and rides.

    I love Adventureland. I would be extremely sad if they did away with the Swiss Family Treehouse (another movie I loved as a kid). But at the same time rides that don’t necessarily fit a theme like Rock N’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Soarin’, etc. are also a big part of the WDW experience for my generation right along with some of the older rides. Do I think any of those are better than Pirates or Mansion? No I don’t. Do I wish we got more dark rides than meet and greet areas? Yes I do.

    But, for me, the Epcot I love completely co-exists with it’s various parts like the World Showcase, Soarin’, Nemo, etc. It is a place where you can see Alice and Mary, and Aladdin and Jasmine along with taking a Mission to Mars or a trip around the world. Illuminations is an incredible show of hope and unity.

    I am sure this makes older fans sad that Epcot has changed from their youth. I am sure I will feel the same someday myself. But just know, that for some of us, Epcot is still beloved and cherished, even if it’s for different reasons than some of you.

    Ben

    • Thanks for the insight Ben.

      I get it, I really do. It’s no different than me accepting Star Wars and Indy in the parks because I grew up with and love those properties. As we saw earlier on this list some fans older than I could not stand Lucas coming to Disney. It represented the loss of the original park they loved.

      I’m not 80… I’m in my
      Mid 40’s – a generation ahead if you. But I got to really see and understand old-school Disney and you just have to trust me when I tell you it was different and in some ways better.

      I still love the parks… LOVE them. I only criticise what I know they could and should do better.

      As I have said I accept and even welcome change but I want change for the better. I’m ok with taking out Horizons if you replace it with something that blows me away. Something that advances the art. But this list is generally about when that did not happen.

      I really love hearing your insight and I’m happy that EPCOT still resonates with you. I often have wondered what people even think of it now that most of the original intent has been removed.Does it even mean anything any longer? Your point of view is great to have!

  14. For whatever reason Horizons never left a mark with me. I always preferred The Living Seas so the loss of Horizons didn’t hit as hard for me as the take over of Nemo.

    I have very little memory of Horizons even though I’m sure I rode it many many times over the years. Watching the ride through videos I remember bits and pieces of seeing the ride in person the ride but not a solid recollection of riding it. I’m glad that sites are out there that keep the pavilion alive

    I don’t think Mission to Mars is a very good ride overall, I do think it fits fairly well with the old school educational side of EPCOT, but you can count me as one of the die hards (in his early 30s) that doesn’t mourn Horizons as others do. I will say the exterior of Horizons was the best pavilion design EPCOT will ever have so visually it is greatly missed.

    • Well Ryan this is probably a straight up age issue. You were too young to “get” Horizons and older when Living Seas got taken over by cartoon fish.

      Mission to Mars is if course a totally different attraction (also before your time whipper snapper) but I agree that Mission Space is just OK at best. I don’t see a lot if old school EPCOT in it though. Maybe the exterior but the rest is basically a lightly themed thrill ride. Notice the cop out that you are not really going to mars, you are just training to do so. That gives them an excuse to half ass much if the attraction while still remaining in “theme”.

      • I guess my thoughts were that at least the ride is educational in it is how astronauts do train, or did since the program is basically shut down. I know its not Kennedy but I think it uses the same simulator as Kennedy and other zero g training facilities. That was my “old school, educational” angle.

        • But at actually does not use any actual training systems Ryan… that system has nothing to do with actual flight training simulators and was designed only for theme park rides (though Star Tours is based on a an actual simulator platform).

          Old Shcool EPCOT would have focused more on big picture issues… the thrill ride may have been there as a means to get you onto a “space station”… once there topics that ran a range from serious to frivilous would have been presented and tackled.

          I don’t hate Mission Space… but at the end of the day it, just liek Test Track, is really just about thrills with very little actual substance behind it.

      • Man, I miss Mission to Mars! It was the very first Disney attraction I ever experienced as a kid. I still get a pang walking by Stich’s Great Grossout.

    • I got a chance to go upstairs and behind the scenes at The Living Seas (er… The Seas with Nemo and Friends) on my last trip to WDW. I’d never done that before and it was pretty amazing. The cast member who took me upstairs to look down onto the tanks had all sorts of interesting facts about the pavilion so I thought to myself, “she seems like a fan… let’s test her Disney trivia”.

      I asked her who the pavilion’s original sponsor was and she said she didn’t think there ever was a sponsor. I informed her that there was, in fact, a sponsor and even gave her a hint that it was an unusual fit. Not a sponsor most people would think of when walking around an aquarium.

      She hesitantly answered, “Chicken of the Sea?”

      I smiled, slowly shook my head in disbelief, and answered, “United Technologies. A helicopter company”.

      Sadly, Teevtee is right. Disney really doesn’t have much longer to wait for that next generation to replace the old guard. They’re already working inside the parks.

      • That’s hilarious Parker.

        I can’t blame the girl working there… she probably is a fan, just a fan who was never educated about the place she works. Very few people know or care about United Technologies so Disney sees no reson to train cast members about former sponsors. I get that… I don’t blame them… but your point is very valid nonetheless.

  15. “Then I found out that he had never even heard of Horizons” – aah, the young “hardcore” fans… I once talked to a “park enthusiast” about Spaceship Earth, and I mentioned that Walter Cronkite´s narration was still my favourite – and how he asked me who Walter Cronkite was… (For all you kids out there: Walter Cronkite used to play Q in the James Bond franchise, his wife, Miss Moneypenny, is the current narrator at Spaceship Earth. From 2015 on, the narration will be done by J.J. Abrams…)

  16. About once a year, when I get simply too frustrated, I re-read Stephen M Fjellman´s “Vinyl Leaves” – never fails to transport me back to the good old days… 🙂

  17. Okay, I have seen those demolition pictures before, but you need to put some kind of “Graphic Content” warnings up or something beforehand. I swear, it’s like suddenly stumbling onto a picture of a dead relative’s corpse. I’m not joking when I say it felt like a punch in the gut. A ludicrous reaction for a picture of a demolished theme park building, but that’s the way it is.

    Also, I see that John Hench included those nice twin girls from The Shining in his concept art. Not creepy in the least to find them running around Epcot.

    • Sorry Shane… my bad. I didn’t mean to freak you out but those photos do suck don’t they? I did n’t even post the worst ones!

      And it’s Ryman not Hench… but I know that you are still a Disney novice so no worries.

  18. I’m just glad that Hoot and Chief (RIP Chief) were able to document the entire attraction over at Mesa Verde Times. I’m sure that site will remain an invaluable resource for Disney parks historians.

    • Their site sure is fun and wait they did was a but nuts. However that was done near the end of Horizons. In the mid 80’s it and all if EPCOT felt very different.

      Notwithstanding the footage they got is fantastic.

    • I never had the good fortune to experience Horizons, but reading Mesa Verde Times makes me feel almost as if I did. Hoot and Chief’s writing, pictures, and videos made it as real for me as many of my own actual childhood WDW memories. The flip side of that is, of course, that I feel as horrible about its loss as I would have if I’d actually been there.

  19. Horizons is still my favorite attraction of all time. I was lucky to go there in 1998 when it was open and had a feeling its days were numbered. I agree that EPCOT hasn’t been the same since, and I don’t just mean because Horizons is gone. When you add that to replacing World of Motion, changing Journey to Imagination, killing the descent at Spaceship Earth, the loss of Communicore, etc., it’s not the same.

    I still keep holding out hope that a new regime will recognize the potential with EPCOT. I’m not talking about resurrecting Horizons (though that would be awesome). It’s just like to see imagination and optimism about the future present in the park. The shell is still there and it wouldn’t be crazy expensive to fix it. Anyone?

    • EPCOT will likely never return to the forward thinking place it was born as. It’s a lot easier to market Nemo than it is futuristic optimism. Anna and Elsa will pack waits for hours while world unity means very little (unless you are getting drunk as you stumble past the pavilions).

      EPCOT was GREAT but EPCOT really does not exist any more and it kills me.

  20. I will say that I can definitely recall riding horizons as a very small child. It was odd and wonderful that you could go to this atraction any hour of the day, ride it with no wait and then just stay on and ride again. Hours of my time in Epcot would be spent just ridibg this attraction. Our favorite thing to do when i was about 8 or so and all rides would operate till close was hit up horizons a couple of times then get the last UoE ride before park closing. We would have the park to ourselves as we left. It was awesome.

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