A tribute to Horizons
October 1, 1983-January 9, 1999
Hello, it's me again with another Epcot article, only this time it's about on of my most favorite attractions, an attraction that I'm sorry to say is no longer with us, but only in spirit and the internet. It's Horizons. Horizons opened exactly one year after the official opening of Epcot itself. The purpose of was to view life and ideas for the future, and give guests an in depth look at life as it may be in the 21st century; of course we know, life today in the 21st century is still the same, but let's take a look at how Horizons' 21st century will shape up to be.
Horizons is a blend of almost everything of what will shape the future and how it will improve our daily lives, along with that, it also brought new elements in a Disney attraction. I remember when I first went on Horizons, I was 9 years old, and when I went on it, it was like something I have never seen before. One of the key note lines is "If we can dream it, we can do it." I think that is true to people who have great ideas that want to be a reality.
The gem like building itself is mostly a resemblance of futuristic monument; it ranks up there with Spaceship Earth and Universe of Energy. Now it's time for the description of the ride.
Once you make your way inside, you come to see some kaleidoscope like images of where you can go, an announcer tells us that we can go to certain places in the future about where to go on vacation, and wonderful job opportunities.
Sea Castle in the deep blue ocean
Brava Centauri in outer space
Mesa Verde in the desert
These locations will play an interesting part in the latter part of the ride, but we'll get into that later on. And now, we have come to our vehicles and now depart to the future.
The whole thing is narrated by a middle aged couple, as we ride; we start off with them telling us about great visions of the future from the past.
We see classic moments of how people back then thought what the future would be like to them, and see some great thinkers as well.
The famous rocket ship hitting the right eye from the classic "From Earth to the moon"
The future of Jules Verne
Now we come to see three interesting fictitious views of the future.
The first one is in Paris of how people will fly in the air.
The second one is the future from what I would probably say is the 40s.
Two of the most famous props, the cooking robot and the butler robot. I think that they're on display at in the Epcot historical room, last I heard.
Now, we enter a cinema that shows us some classic films on the future, along with sci-fi classics.
And my personal favorite is the 50s version of the future. I kinda thought it was mostly being with the Jetsons. I gotta say that that was one of my favorite parts of the ride.
Now we come to the most famous three Omni screens. When I first went on this, I was kind of spooked and shaken. I remember that I had to hold onto my mother's arm in the hopes that I wouldn't fall out. Here, we see fascinating things up close, depending on what order we enter, this is how it goes.
Shuttle launch and a computerized image of it docking on a space station
Other things I remember were a DNA molecular blueprint and a cityscape. That's all I can remember on that.
Now, we have come to the future itself, and we start with seeing our narrators the happy couple, who reside in the futuristic city of Nova Cite.
As we pass, they tell us how their children and grandchildren adapt to the future and how it improves their lives.
We start with their oldest daughter who is working on a farm in a desert on Mesa Verde, harvesting orange trees.
Surprisingly, Mesa Verde used to be a barren desert and now it blossoms with life. A very special thing about this part is it makes you feel like you're actually there because the scent of oranges fill the air, I remember that very well, that's something I actually miss. If you ever want to smell something and feel like you,re there, you can go to Spaceship Earth and pass by the fall of Rome, that's a real good effect.
We see the daughter observing the harvesting ships, then she gets a message from her husband on a video COM link, warning her about a sever storm heading her way, she makes an announcement for all harvesters to stop what they're doing.
The hovercraft that will play somewhat of an interesting part for the finale
Now we see the daughter's family at their home. The husband/father is preparing for a birthday party for someone.
Now we come to the sea. The parents argue about their oldest granddaughter who lives at the sea complex about her boyfriend.
The granddaughter is talking to her boyfriend, Tom, via video phone, she tells him not to be late for the party, the same party the daughter's husband is preparing for. Tom argues about having never been late before and promises he'll be there.
Now we switch to his side and see him working on a submarine vehicle, which is also gonna be used for the finale, it's a sort of continuing conversation between him and the granddaughter, whereas on side one is an audioanimatronic and the other is real and vice versa.
Now, we see a group of kids and their teacher, along with their pet seal about ready to go on a sea dive; some of the kids don't take her instructions seriously and the teacher warns them that it,s no joke, even the pet seal jokes about as well. From there we see what is probably the underwater city of Sea Castle, after passing through a restaurant and a kelp farm, we follow the underwater diving class.
The diving class
This portion of the ride brought about most things that came to life by using actors, modeled into animatronics figures.
Now, we have gone from the way bottom to the endless top. We enter the future of outer space.
We first pass through the construction of a space station from inside and outside.
A ship that plays an interesting part in the finale
We then pass through a laboratory or gym of sorts as we see someone exercising on a bike in the background while someone studies crystal like samples.
Now we see a mother trying to get her son who is floating in the air while trying to get his shoe; her husband is trying to retrieve a teddy bear. The parents inform us that his oldest son living abroad in the space station.
The parents then have to conclude their narration because it's time for their grandson's birthday party.
We now see the parents' youngest grandson's party and the parents, the daughter's family, the granddaughter, and Tom, who was late, wish him a happy birthday.
And now for the big finish. Before returning to the present, we are given a choice on how we get to choose to go back. An announcer tells us on how we wish to return by a push button selector that lights up. Three or four of the same set of buttons light up and we can choose either to go on the desert, the sea, or outer space. I had no idea why there were a different set of buttons, but I just realized up till now that it was by a majority ruling by what we chose. For some odd reason, I always got stuck with the space film. I could never get the hang of it. Anyway, I forget what the first one I watched and the others as well but I do remember that when I first saw one of those films, they almost looked like they lasted like a fraction of a second, then when I went back I started to see they weren't like that at all.
So now we have returned to present and the parents tell remind us the future is possible and if we can dream it, we can do it. And that's the most exciting part. After we exit our vehicles, we make our way down a hallway, and before we exit the pavilion, we see a grand mural of probably the history of man, up to the future. I never saw that mural up close, and I don't know how long it lasted but the whole thing was replaced by a holographic logo of G.E., which became the pavilion's sponsor for some while.
All in all, I did say in a previous article that Universe of Energy was my second favorite attraction, but this one really opened my mind to amazing wonders. It looked like Horizons was gonna close permanently in 1995 due to G.E. cutting offtheir sponsorship, it became almost invisible to the public and no one had published the attraction in their brochures, so after a short delay, the ride was brought back to life and became the only Epcot attraction without a sponsor. Sadly, the ride permanently closed on January 9, 1999. I am happy to say however; that I was able to ride it one last time in 1998, so it's wasn't a total loss for me. Of course, as I stated before with the ride completely closed, the entire building was demolished. I'm not gonna put no pictures up about that because it'll be very heartbreaking for me.
As I said from the beginning, Horizons is still with us in spirit and of course, the internet. Surprisingly, the attraction has a huge fan base of supporters, and there even was a petition to try and resurrect the ride as well. I even signed that petition myself.
Well, that concludes my article, and possibly any other article on Epcot. I don't know when I will be writing my next one and what it will be on but I hope that it'll be interesting, so take care, and rememberâ€¦
If we can dream it, we really can do, and that's the most exciting part.
My special thanks to Horizons1.com and Mary Rolfe's site for the pics. Oh and Wikipedia for the previous pics from the previous articles as well. Thanks.