I’ve been listening to some Disney podcasts today, so here comes the nerdery! This actually is one of my most vivid Disney World memories from our trips growing up.
The discussion about Horizons, beloved & much bemoanedly closed omnimover attraction from Epcot, was brought up on a recent episode of the 3 O’clock Parade podcast. Discussing their feelings when the ride closed & their memories of it made me think of my most vivid memory from my childhood at Epcot.
For our 1997 trip (my third trip to WDW, first one that my wonderful mother let me help ‘plan’ for), I was given a copy of this Birnbaum’s Disney for Kids by Kids book. I remember spending so much time pouring over it & looking forward to our trip to the Happiest Place in the World. I knew the descriptions of all of the rides & had the ones picked out to avoid due to the scare factor & knew what cool souvenirs I wanted to buy (they included general prices!). Pretty sure there was a place to write down what you wanted to do on a page in the back as well.
The one description that spoke me to so much was that of Horizons. It might have been the fact you traveled into the future or you got to choose the ending, but I was all about it. I was so excited to get to ride it the day we spent at Epcot & can remember loading the omnimover with very little (if any) wait- & this was in mid summer!). We might have ridden the attraction two times, if that, but it has always stuck with me. Of course the next trip we went on in 2000, it was closed & I wasn’t too thrilled about that. Go figure- take paradise & put up a parking lot- or in this case a spaceship simulator I refuse to ride due to claustrophobia (aka Mission Space).
It should also be noted that Horizons was designed as almost an extension of “The Carousel of Progress” over in the Magic Kingdom. As the Carousel looks back on technology around the home of the past, Horizons explores what’s ahead- even paying homage in a scene with the theme of “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” playing. (Thanks for pointing out that connection, @DrunkatDisney!)
One of the things that was mentioned in the discussion of Horizons on the 3 O’Clock Parade episode I referenced earlier was the blog, Mesa Verde Times. Hoot & Chief explored the inner workings of Horizons & in the last few years posted videos and posts of their adventures where folks weren’t supposed to go. It must be said, I by no means am suggesting folks jump out of the cars of their favorite attractions to see what’s behind the curtain, but I’m glad these guys did. They took the time to scope it out, really figure out the guts of the whole ride & I’m so glad they did- such great footage for the Horizon nostalgics around today. (Also, remember, Disney has so many plain clothes security officers & cameras around their parks today, this would be the utterly impossible to do & you’d be ejected- plus possibly arrested- within seconds. It was just the time in history, friends…).
If that last paragraph has intrigued you, go on over to Mesa Verde Times & start digging around- I admittedly paused the podcast as soon as the “.com” was said for their website address & had the youtube videos rolling in less than five minutes.
And while there are many other communities & websites dedicated to the good ole’ Horizons, my friend Michelle has recently started an awesome blog, Looking Back at Tomorrow, aimed at “preserving the memory of one of EPCOT Center’s most beloved attractions, Horizons.” The girl knows her stuff & is one of the most passionate Disney fans I know, so I wholeheartedly suggest you check out what she’s got going on over there.
I know I’m going long here, but I’d like to say thank you to my mom & dad, Vicki & Jeff, for taking us to Disney as we were growing up. Thank you for that Kid’s Guide to Disney & letting me help plan our 1997 trip-it started a love that I know will span all of my life & I am very grateful for that!