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13 Reasons Disney Parks Fans Still Love Horizons Today

posted on October 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Today is a special day in Disney history. Not only is it the anniversary of Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but the fan-favorite attraction Horizons also opened October 1, 1983.

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The attraction opened in 1983 (and ended its run in 1999) to offer a look into what future living, work, learning, entertainment and more might look like, based on the hopeful theme, “If we can dream it, we can do it!”

Here are 13 reasons why we just can’t let go of this attraction. Jump on the Omnimover (in your mind) and let’s go…

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  1. The FUTUREPORT DEPARTURE sign in the queue line could make you feel like exploring even the farthest destinations in space was possible. A quick trip to Mesa Verde or Brava Centauri, anyone?

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  1. In a home of the future, just about anything was possible, thanks to robots who cooked, cleaned and even took care of one’s personal grooming.
Robot Butler from The Horizons Attraction at Epcot Robot Butler from The Horizons Attraction at Epcot
  1. Horizons made us dream of having a robot butler. I’d still take one, especially this charmingly dressed chap who handled dusting and vacuuming.

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  1. And the idea of a robot chef was awesome. Who cares if he made a mess? He’s fully equipped to clean up after himself.

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  1. Of course, fun tasks like making a birthday cake could still be done by (human) hand.

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  1. That orange smell!

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  1. Who didn’t want to test out the piano of the future or the home’s hologram phone?

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  1. Who wouldn’t want their school to feature deep sea exploration in “the world of liquid space” with seals by their side?

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  1. Horizons workspaces were literally out of this world.

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  1. Gravity was optional! (I always wondered if Tommy got his teddy bear back).

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  1. Celebrating birthdays with loved ones all over the galaxy was possible.
  1. We can’t forget about the part of the attraction where guests could choose their own adventure. Destinations included the Omnimover for Desert (Mesa Verde), Space (Omega Centauri) or Sea (Sea Castle Resort). Which was your destination of choice? Tell us in the comments section below!

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  1. Next to the original Journey Into Imagination attraction, Horizons had one of the coolest post-show paths. (The bright light at the end was a spinning GE symbol, the then-sponsor of the attraction).
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Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

#TBT: Watch Epcot’s Iconic Spaceship Earth Being Built

posted on October 1st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


As we shared earlier, today is Magic Kingdom Park’s anniversary. But it’s also the anniversary of the second Disney theme park built in Florida – Epcot!

The park was the brainchild of Walt Disney himself, who dreamed about building a place where the possibilities of the future could be explored and enjoyed. Walt’s dream eventually evolved into the park that became EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), which was fronted by the park’s iconic attraction, Spaceship Earth.

We shared this rare time-lapse video of Spaceship Earth being built with Disney Parks Blog readers back in 2012, and are happy to share it again today in honor of the park’s anniversary.

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Filed: Disney History, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Days of Past: Magic Kingdom Park Getting Ready To Open!

posted on October 1st, 2015 by Rose Monahan, Librarian, Walt Disney World Resort


On this day in 1971 the Walt Disney World Resort opened. Here we look back at some of the construction photos of Cinderella Castle. These photos represent the hard work and dedication it took to build the magical place that we all know and love.

Happy Birthday, Walt Disney World!

Cinderella Castle Under Construction at Magic Kingdom Park Cinderella Castle Under Construction at Magic Kingdom Park
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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Caption This: Minnie Sets Sail at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

posted on September 21st, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


This week’s “Caption This” image was snapped in 1991 at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

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Here, Minnie sets sail out on Seven Seas Lagoon for some Polynesian fun. This photo could sure use a caption. Share yours in the comments section below!

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Filed: Disney History, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Days of Past: Constitution Day

posted on September 17th, 2015 by Rose Monahan, Librarian, Walt Disney World Resort


In honor of Constitution Day we take a look back at the All-American Parade, which made its debut in Magic Kingdom Park in 1987. Mickey and Minnie Mouse donned their finest colonial-wear while greeting guests from atop a parade float. The float consisted of a very large copy of the Constitution of the United States of America and a replica of the Liberty Bell.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in the All-American Parade at Magic Kingdom Parks Back in 1987 Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in the All-American Parade at Magic Kingdom Parks Back in 1987
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Filed: Disney History, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

Today in Disney History: Pluto Makes His On-Screen Debut

posted on September 5th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Earlier we shared that Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was first brought to the screen September 5, 1927 – but he wasn’t the only Disney character to do so on September 5. The loveable Pluto made his onscreen debut just three years later in the 1930 short, “The Chain Gang.”

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Interestingly enough, Pluto actually made his silver screen debut in “The Chain Gang” alongside another dog. The two played bloodhounds in the short and were so popular that Pluto was brought back for more, returning as Minnie Mouse’s dog “Rover” in “The Picnic,” and then as Mickey’s pup in “The Moose Hunt” in 1931. In the years that followed, Pluto popularity propelled him to star in 48 shorts of his own.

When it comes to appearances at Disney Parks, Pluto has appeared as a part of the “Fab Five” – along with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy – for decades, appearing in parades, stage shows and greeting guests at our theme parks around the globe.

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Filed: Characters, Disney History, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

Happy Birthday to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

posted on September 5th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


On this day in Disney history, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit made his on-screen debut in the 1927 short “Trolley Troubles.”

Created by Walt Disney and (now Disney Legend) Ub Iwerks, Oswald was Walt’s first hit animated character, who appeared in 26 shorts and was so popular that Oswald became the first Disney character to inspire a merchandise line. Unfortunately, Oswald was lost to another company in a business deal in 1928. But the loss of Oswald went on to be a blessing in disguise, however, as losing his most successful character yet motivated Walt Disney to create Mickey Mouse, who debuted on screen in late 1928.

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The Walt Disney Company regained the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 2006, and in the years since, he’s begun greeting guests at Tokyo DisneySea and Disney California Adventure park. He can also be found on merchandise at Disney Parks around the globe.

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In addition to his theme park success, Oswald continues to be a fan favorite, especially for those who love Disney history. In 2013, Disney Parks Blog readers voted Oswald as the #1 character they wanted our fellow author and artist, Will Gay, to feature as the subject of his latest downloadable wallpaper. (To get the wallpaper, click on the image above – be sure to check out the terms of use about using the wallpaper before you download it).

And in honor of Oswald’s birthday, we’d like to share with you our popular “Learn to Draw” tutorial so you can learn how you can bring this historic character to life yourself! Check it out below.

Want to learn to draw other Disney characters? Check out our full list of tutorials below.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney History, Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disneyland

Disney Days of Past: Mickey Mouse Rides In Style

posted on September 3rd, 2015 by Rose Monahan, Librarian, Walt Disney World Resort


In this photo from 1989, Mickey is riding in style in a plush limousine. He is likely on his way to pick up Minnie for a glamorous event.

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Filed: Characters, Disney History, Walt Disney World Resort

Building the Dream: The Making of Disneyland Park – Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship

posted on August 28th, 2015 by George Savvas, Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort


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A unique Peter Pan-themed restaurant opened at Disneyland park on August 29, 1955. The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant was a Fantasyland icon that once stood where Dumbo the Flying Elephant is today.

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Part of the elaborately themed restaurant location included Skull Rock Cove where you could sit and enjoy your meal.

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In 1969 the location changed its name to Captain Hook’s Galley, and in 1982 it was removed during the creation of New Fantasyland at Disneyland park.

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The legacy of this popular Disneyland park location lives on today. At Disneyland Paris, guests can enjoy Pirate Galleon, a recreation of the Disneyland park original, and at Disneyland park itself, some say the watery rockwork adjacent to the Dumbo Flying Elephant queue and Storybook Land Canal Boats is actually part of the original Skull Rock Cove.

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Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

posted on August 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


A highlight of this year’s D23 EXPO for Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller and I was visiting our old blog friend, Nate Rasmussen, at the Disney Archives Exhibit at the EXPO. In case you aren’t familiar, the Disney Archives was officially established in 1970 to collect and preserve artifacts important to the history of The Walt Disney Company and even Walt Disney himself. We were excited to see what the Disney Archives exhibit would feature this time.

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Abominable Snowman and Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicle Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

In honor of the the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration , this year’s theme for the exhibit was “Walt Disney Archives Presents—Disneyland: The Exhibit.” The display, measuring 12,000 square feet and offering up more than 300 historical items, was the largest exhibit the Archives has ever hosted. It was chock full of amazing pieces of Disney Parks history, such as the Abominable Snowman and Matterhorn Bobsleds vehicle.

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Fantasyland ride vehicles were also a popular sight. One display included a prototype of a ride vehicle from the Alice in Wonderland dark attraction, while another featured a pirate ship from Peter Pan’s Flight.

Maleficent Dragon Head from 'Fantasmic!' Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO Props From The Country Bear Jamboree Vacation Hoedown Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

Aside from vintage ride vehicles, the original Maleficent dragon head from “Fantasmic!” at Disneyland park was available for up-close viewing, as was an illuminated bug from “Main Street Electrical Parade.” Props from The Country Bear Jamboree Vacation Hoedown included a tire swing, summer-themed guitars and other instruments.

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Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

Some artifacts gave guests a behind-the-scenes look at the making of what are now considered to be classic Disney Parks attractions, such as models, maquettes, sketches, artist renderings, prototypes and more.

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Tour The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO Mini-Tombstones Seen in the The ‘Walt Disney Archives Presents-Disneyland: The Exhibit’ At The D23 EXPO

We were also excited to see some of the vintage Disneyland park merchandise included in the display, including mini-tombstones that could be personalized with guest names, Adventureland boardgames, tin Matterhorn coin banks, and much more.

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