Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Tribute to George McGinnis Part Two : Epcot Horizons Attraction

Here is the second part of my tribute to Legendary Imagineer George McGinnis, and a grand tribute to one of George's favorite creation, Epcot beloved extinct attraction Horizons. And this is a really big tribute with lot of pictures, plenty of artwork, and a great video of the whole ride at the end of the article.

On the picture above, George McGinnis and his family at the entrance of Horizons. 

Horizons, designed by imagineer George McGinnis and Colin Campbell opened on October 1, 1983 and was about the future!...and more specifically, Horizons was dedicated to "humanity's future" with this principle "If we can dream it, we can do it!".

Not only the building was huge, but the 14.45 minutes ride was one of the longest one ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering. Lot of audio-animatronics - 54, exactly , and 770 props all along the ride, not to mention the 12 film projectors, the two Omnisphere screenshow, and a huge capacity of 2784 guests per hour.Everything was great: the story line, the theming, the music, everything!

During 10 years - from 1983 to 1993 - the attraction sponsor was General Electric, as we can see on this picture of the entrance.

Right after the entrance, the Futureport announced the "destinations"

It's time to board in one of the Horizons vehicles.

Here is a sketch of George McGinnis for Horizons Omnimover.

First, we had a look back to some of the great visionaries like Jules Verne, then to how the future was dreamed in the 30's.
Here is a picture of the model of that scene.

And here are pictures of the real thing.

The next scene was a vision of the future from the 50's.

After these opening scenes the Horizons vehicle moved to the Omnimax film sequence with images of the DNA chain, or the space shuttle lift off. Here is a sketch of George McGinnis showing his original concept for three Omnimax screens which was later cut to two Omnimax screens only in order to meet the attraction's budget.

The next scene was the 21st century Habitat sequence , also called the Nova City living room.

A huge backdrop painting was done for that scene, here is three close shots of this artwork.

The next scene brings the guests at Mesa Verde, a desert farm of the future...

And then to a submarine habitat...

The two sketches below by George McGinnis shows how he double-sided the scenes of the Sea Castle scene, Combining two "bays" into one reduced the track length without losing any show.

The next scene was showing the inside of a space colony and the "crystal lab"...

The Holographic "happy bithday" party line was the next scene, and the special effects were at that time really impressive.

Here is a sketch of George McGinnis for the Finale scene of Horizons.

The guests had then the possibility to "choose their tomorrow" with a choice of three destinations: Space , Desert, and Undersea. A screen came in front of the vehicle and a short movie was played. A good idea, but the image definition was not as good as it would be today.

Before we arrive to the videos below, i have more rare pictures for you. First, a model of the building.

Then some artwork for the "Main Shuttle port"

Here is a fantastic painting showing a city of the future.

But one of the biggest backdrop painting was the "Looking back at tomorrow". Here are some very rare photos showing the painter at work - Robert McCall, a famous artist who worked mostly for NASA - and details of the painting.

And now it's time for you to board inside a Horizon vehicle and enjoy this fantastic ride, thanks to  great restored footage video posted on Vimeo by RetroWDW, whom i thank a lot, and congratulate for the high quality of the restoration.

Just like everybody who did the ride at Epcot, you will love Horizons instantly, it was Imagineering at its best! And don't forget: If we can dream it, we can do it!

Horizons POV Ride Through Restored Video - EPCOT Center - 1990 from RetroWDW on Vimeo.

You can learn more about Horizons, read the original script and listen the great music theme on the excellent Horizons web site HERE. Do not miss too George McGinnis articles about Horizon that he did in 2004 for Mouse Planet in three parts and which include George sketches HERE.

You can find previous articles about Epcot's original attractions artwork: for Spaceship Earth HERE, for The Living Seas HERE, for Communicore HERE
, for The Land HERE, for Journey into Imagination HERE, and for Universe of Energy HERE 

Photos and artwork: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc

Youtube video: many thanks to RetroWDW !

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