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13 Reasons Disney Parks Fans Still Love Horizons Today

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

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).

Comments

  • Wow, these photos really took me back. I thoroughly enjoyed Horizons. My 2 girls got to ride it in 1997 when they were little, but it closed the year my son was born. Such a shame, but I do believe the Soarin’ ride is a wonderful replacement. I think our future focus is now based more on nature, the environment, and becoming environmentally-conscious rather than going the way of large clunky robots and cold, sterile home environments where everyone wears the same suits. lol

  • Thank you, Jeffrey. My thoughts exactly. Epcot is dead unless there’s a festival going on. Used to be favorite park and now we skip it. Every pavilion had a catchy song, humor and a sense of adventure, optimism, etc.
    Horizons was our favorite attraction resort-wide, not just EPCOT Center. I think we’ve done Mission Space 2 or 3 times since it opened. The omnimover just makes sense.
    And we miss World of Motion as well. Loved original Test Track, but new version leaves us apathetic.
    And while we’re lamenting, we miss you Living Statues, Miyuki,
    Off Kilter, stilt birds, MoRockin’. You made EPCOT Center come to life. Thanks for the memories!
    Thank goodness the Mariachis, Voices of Liberty and British Revolution are still there!

  • my most favorite ride I’ve never ridden, unless you count riding it online through video uploads.

  • It was wonderful to see a corporation (GE) showcase such a prosperous and hopeful future, it was truly one of Imagineering’s best attractions of all time. Presently just as in the 80’s where most corporations only cared about profit they had created a subtle and creative advertisement embedded in this attraction. As the suspended non-omnidirectional ride vehicle moved guest through the attraction you couldn’t help but be inspired by all the forward thinking ideas that would spawn a future of brilliant minds today. EPCOT CENTER was one of a kind, the kind of thing that you were lucky if you were able to experience. Great job Disney for knowing no boundaries and always believing that quality is the most important part of any attraction. It’s truly a shame that we lost Horizons after the corporate sponsor left. We will always miss her.

  • Totally agree with Bryans 19 comments and Eric 18 and Michael 21..we have triplet grandkids that are 6 now, we have bought them yearly Passes since they first needed tickets. We have bad backs and can only ride a few attractions at each Park with them. They took out Mr Toad and Snow White at the Kingdom that we used to do with our nieces and nephews years ago. Even my one nephew says he misses Classic dark rides from 1970-80’s now he has kids that he would love to share those rides with like Horizons and World of Motion.
    now that we have grand kids most of the great CLASSIC Disney Dark rides are gone at the Kingdom and EPCOT.
    Because they were CLASSIC every age group found things that they loved..the kids used to laugh at all the antics in the world of Motion…and loved riding Horizons together…now we sit outside Test Trac , Space, all the different roller coasters, and wait for the grandkids to come out and we go on to the next.
    We are grateful that we still have the Mansion, Peter Pan, Pirates, People mover, Carousel.
    Evertime they close an attraction, rest assured it will create one less attraction that we can enjoy with them. Not as much to do as a “Family” at Disney these days.

  • Please bring EPCOT Center back. The world needs the hope and optimism that were once there.

  • This attraction really helped guests connect to the what Epcot Center was all about. We need something like this again in Epcot – something that gets guests excited about the future. The latest version of Test Track does that well.

    I’m all for a new, 21st. Century Horizons (keep the original soundtrack, though, please)

  • Oh, my heart aches, I loved this ride so much. Nothing else before or after came close. It was one of the few attractions that educated and entertained and inspired everyone that knew it. I still listen to the audio if I want a happy memory. I wish it was here today!

  • Yes! Can it be brought back?! I miss it! My husband and I loved it!

  • And Bryan, don’t forget that both Horizons and Motion were continuous loaders, so there was no such thing as 60 minute waits for these attractions. Disney, please bring back Horizons & World of Motion!

  • Let’s reopen Wonders of Life, completely reinvent Universe of Energy, and remove the Journey Into Imagination/Imagination Institute altogether. Maybe add a Tron rollercoaster instead (computer science pavilion).

  • I am a huge fan of Mission Space, but this ride should not have been closed. Both Horizons and World of Motion were attractions that the entire family could ride and experience together as a family (both young and old). Due to the length of each attraction, they were a perfect way to get out of the Florida heat. Unfortunately, the entire family cannot experience Mission Space and Test Track together. This is an aspect that may not have been considered when retiring these attractions. I will agree with the previous post. EPCOT needs to bring back more attractions of these types. The theme park should have the feeling of a World’s Fair atmosphere. Disney fans also miss the large collection of animatronics in these attractions.

  • I’ll second Jeffrey’s comment: EPCOT Center in the 80’s was the World’s Fair that Walt wanted to build (in the middle of his city), and it ended up replacing all the other real World’s Fairs in North America for the next 30 years. Most anyone under 30 doesn’t even remember the World’s Fairs of Vancouver or Montreal, but Living With the Land, Universe of Energy and especially Horizons felt the most like the “Future with a ride” that real World’s Fairs pavilions had.
    I wouldn’t give up Test Track to have World of Motion back again, but I miss the feeling of future and education that Imagination and Wonders of Life used to have.

  • Horizons closed long before my time, but every time I see photos like these, or read the experiences of people who got to ride it, it makes me wish I’d been around then!

  • Thank You Jeremy. Your comment it appreciated. I will be celebrating 24 years with the mouse on Oct.17. I still make memories for you, our guest.

  • Worked at that attraction from 1992-1999. My favorite to ride AND to work at. We called it ” The Hole “

  • Please bring back Horizons, and the original Imagination, and If You Had Wings. I beg you.

  • Thank you for posting this article, Jenn! Horizons was my absolute favorite Disney Parks attraction. I will always recall with great fondness my visits to EPCOT Center in the 80’s and early 90’s.

  • Horizons is the difference between EPCOT Center and Epcot.

  • The first time I rode horizons was with my father. At the part where you could choose your destination, he let me choose and I picked underwater. As the screen came down my dad said, “if we get wet I’m going to kill you!” Another unforgettable Disney memory.

  • Oh, Horizons, I do miss you so. And World of Motion. The sterile, heartless attractions that stand now can never replace you.

  • @ Keizo : I never saw Horizons, but I did think that the dog in photo #7 looked a bit familiar! 🙂

  • Dear Robert, thank you for the correction. I may have to go cry. Though, Disney always comes through for me. I will be visiting in January 2016. I cannot wait!

  • I can hear “There is a great big beautiful tomorrow……”

  • Horizons was such a positive and hopeful look at the future. It really made me want to be in that future. The people who worked on that pavilion should be so proud of all the happy memories they created.

  • Great article, Jen – thanks!

  • Debra: unfortunately the building that housed Horizons is gone. Mission Space now occupies that location. What we need is an investment in Epcot to see the Wonders of Life pavilion reopened for all guests on a year round basis! And the Energy Adventure could possibly join us in the year 2015 too.

  • Honestly, I barely remember Horizons, I guess because Mission Space took over the real estate. But that does bring up the question, what will be the final disposition of the Wonders of Life pavilion, which celebrates a birthday on October 19th?

  • Please re-open Horizons. I barely remember it from my childhood, but I would love for that attraction to be available again. Thanks 😉

  • Horizons was, by far, my favorite ride! I don’t remember the colorful post-show, however. Maybe that was before my time.

    I always felt Horizons best represented everything that EPCOT Center was meant to represent.

    I always voted for Mesa Verde, by the way.

Comments are closed.