Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Grand Tribute to Epcot's HORIZONS

Here is a grand tribute to Epcot beloved extinct attraction and one of my favorite: Horizons. And this one is going to be 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 including the links to the previous Epcot original attractions artwork articles.

Horizons, designed by imagineer George Mc Ginnis and Collin 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

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. 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...

But also inside 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.

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 this awesome ultimate Horizons tribute edited by MartinsVidsDotNet whom i thanks a lot, and congratulate for the high quality of the video.

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!

You can know more about Horizons, read the original script and listen the great music theme on the excellent Horizons web site HERE

I remember you that you can find the previous articles about Epcot's original attractions artwork: for Spaceship Earth HERE, for The Living Seas HERE, for Communicore HERE
, for The Land HERE, and for Journey into Imagination HERE. More coming next week about Universe of Energy!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Photos and artwork: copyright Disney Enterprises Inc

Youtube videos: many thanks to black562 !


Matt said...

Thanks for the great pics! This was (and still is) my favorite ride in any of the parks... the TTA being a close second.

The_Mad_Hatter said...

what exactly was horizons anyways? I mean, what kind of ride. It looks really cool

Matt Steninger said...

Wow!!! Great pics!

The guy who actually built the miniatures for the three selectable movies at the end has a site where you can watch the video in high quality. Sadly, he's a scrooge and only lets potential clients have access to them behind a password.

Matt said...

(^) Who is that guy?

Anonymous said...

Horizons was a "Great Milestone" for the Imagineering Production Designers and Artisans who created all these wonderful sets and props. I was wondering how they would do that level of detail today without their Tujunga Production staff??????????

AJ said...

Thank you for capturing this, which is one of my favorite rides from the EPCOT Center of my memory. I'm going to forward to my family -- they'll love seeing the mural-painting photos.

Anonymous said...

great tribute to a great ride - I always loved Horizons its upbeat message of a happy future is something missing at most of Dinsey. Wishfull thinking but I'd love to see a new version of this is Japan or HKDL

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent website with wonderful text and pictures and I look forward to reading it daily.

Having said that, and with no disrespect for the author or Horizons fans, I want to go on record as saying I never liked Horizons and I really enjoy Test Track. In fact, I think Test Track is much better.
I toured Horizons many times. I kept wanting to like it. I kept hoping I was simply missing something. But I thought it was a big space full of poorly-executed ideas and an absolutely horrible theme song. (I'd prefer to be locked in iasm for a month than to hear "It's fun to be free" once.)
So flame me if you must. Know that I respect your choice and your everlasting devotion to what has come and gone and your dedication to preserving all of WDW's past.
But I am soooo glad that stinker of an attraction was gutted.
Carry on! :-)

Sarah said...

Epcot has always been my favorite park, and I loved Horizons. It was such a novelty when I was little to be able to choose 'my future.' Thank you for the wonderful post!

Rampler said...

Check out this site - these guys would jump off the ride vehicle and explore Horizons extensively:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous -- 'Fun To Be Free' is from World of Motion which used to be in the building where Test Track resides today. I think you got your rides mixed up!

Anonymous said...

Great post and love the photos! Lou Mongello does an awesome show about the history of Horizons with great sound clips and music on an old episode of wdwradio. He aslo has an interview on another episode with George MCGinness (sp?) about his work on the ride. checl out his show at

Hoot Gibson said...

Excellent work! Is till can't get enough of Horizons. Thank you for this tribute.

Very Special Events said...

Back on October 9, 2009 Anonymus said...I toured Horizons many times. I kept wanting to like it. I kept hoping I was simply missing something. But I thought it was a big space full of poorly-executed ideas and an absolutely horrible theme song. (I'd prefer to be locked in iasm for a month than to hear "It's fun to be free" once...

Are you sure you're talking about the right ride? "It's Fun to be Free" is not the Horizons theme song and I don't get the direct corelation with Test Track to Horizons. You might be confusing Horizons with World of Motion, which was next door to Horizons and a completely different ride.