Thursday, February 24, 2011
History of WDW: Horizons
Opened on the one year anniversary of the Epcot opening day, October 1, 1983, Horizons was the attraction that seemingly made Epcot a relevant park in the Walt Disney World Resort. This attraction used the famed omnimover technology still found in attractions like the Haunted Mansion and contemporary versions like the Seas with Nemo and Friends. Horizons was supposedly known as the unofficial sequel to The Carousel of Progress, and went as far as to have similar narrator's voice. The attraction was an attempt to show guests the future and what it may look like in the coming years. Horizons introduced fans to terms like Brava Centauri, Mesa Verde, and Sea Castle (three separate endings the attraction supported, a first of its kind)
Occupying three acres of land after construction, Horizons was also a technological marvel at its opening, having two large OMNIMAX screens that were state-of-the-art in 1983. Horizons I, the name of your omnimover vehicle took guests on a trip first into a revisit of the past titled "Looking back at tomorrow" in which we saw how technology took us to our present stae, and then the attraction sped us to Century III, or what was later called the futureprobe. During the OMNIMAX loop, guests were shown the DNA chain, the microprocessor, and "crystals" on the enormous screen just to name a few. Then the Audio Animatronics are presented to show the "present" (it is actually Epcot's version of the future. Guests are introduced to the future of farming and agriculture, and everyday living. Scenes presented included the zero gravity sports, and a birthday cake presentation. This was the way the Disney believed the future could be. Guests were then given a choice for the first time ever in an attraction. We were given the choice of endings (sound familiar Spaceship Earth fans) Guests were given the option to return to the "futureport" by ways of space, (Brava Centauri) land, (Mesa Verde) or sea (Sea Castle) These choices led to a 31 second video presented in from of your omnimover vehicle.
Horizons lost corporate sponsoring from General Electric in late 1993, and by 1994 the attraction was closed. Fortunately for guests the closing of World of Motion, and the refurbishment of Universe of Energy prompted Disney to re-open Horizons to guests. The attraction remained open on more of a seasonal basis until 1999, when it shuttered for good. The reasons for the closure are well documented, however it is unknown if they are true, and if they contributed to its closure. The most obvious one was the loss of GE as a sponsor. As what happens many times with Epcot pavilions, the sponsor can be the reason for closure. (yes we are talking about you Wonders of Life) There is also a belief that a large sink-hole was found underneath the attraction building which made the attraction unstable. It has been also leaked that there was an issue with the roof of the show building, and that the attraction was close to crumbling under its own weight. It is not known which of these factors led to the closure of the attraction but many people were sad to see it go, and though Mission:Space replaced it, Horizons is not gone from many hearts and minds of Disney enthusiasts and fans.