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Throwback Thursday: Horizons

This is one of three Throwback Thursday posts that I was dreading. Not because I didn’t like the ride, quite the opposite in fact, I love this ride as did many others. So my dread stems from my fear of not doing this ride justice or perhaps gushing with sentimentality about a ride of years past. My fear was about capturing the magic that was Horizons.

Horizons at Epcot

The exterior of Horizons at Epcot

Horizons was a dark ride at Epcot that operated from October 1, 1983 until January 9, 1999. This ride opened during Phase II of what was then called EPCOT Center. Many believe that Horizons was intended to be the sequel to Carousel of Progress. There is much validity to this claim including the set-up of the narration as a man (and occasionally other family members) talking about the advancements of society and how it impacts day to day life. During the barber of the future scene you will hear the famous song from Carousel of Progress, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”.

Horizons used audio-animatronics and movies to describe the not-so-distant future and all of the technological advances that were made by mankind. Horizons showed everyday life in a variety of futuristic landscapes – the city and deserts, undersea and in space. Each scene showed the unique landscape and how technology allowed life to grow and thrive in these sometimes harsh conditions.

But most people’s favorite part of Horizons was the choose your own ending feature. Each omnimover vehicle was equipped with push buttons that allowed you to pick one of three final scenes (majority ruled). Your three options were Brava Centuri (in outer space), Mesa Verde (the desert agriculture area) or Sea Castle (an underwater city). Your choice, as a vehicle, determined which of the 31 second video captures you would be shown. And since each vehicle chose their own, it was a unique screen for each vehicle.

In the latter portion of it’s life, Horizons had trouble retaining a sponsor. The lack of sponsorship was originally thought to have been the primary reason for the closure. After the ride was closed it was announced that a very large sinkhole under the building was contributing to structural problems with the ride building and that was why the ride had closed.

For a little over a year the Horizons building just stood there. Many long-time Disney fans, myself included, hoped that this meant Disney would be repairing the issues and bringing back our beloved Horizons. But alas, in April of 2000 Mission:SPACE was announced as a new attraction along with the sad news that the Horizons building would be demolished to make way for the new attraction.

Truthfully, I have never ridden Mission:SPACE. It is one of the few rides that I haven’t been on so I cannot give an honest opinion of Horizons vs Mission:SPACE. What I will say is that Horizons was one of my favorite rides – and based on the sheer volume of people who mention it to me – I am not alone. But alas, time moves forward and the future is full of amazing things (just one lesson we learned on Horizons).

Did you ever get a chance to ride Horizons? Would you like to be able to take one more ride? Thanks to Joe, one of the amazing friends of Mickey by Mel on Facebook, we can take one more ride. Check out Horizons and all it’s beauty in this video of the full ride. Thanks Joe!

Do you have a ride or attraction that you would like us to remember on Throwback Thursday, contact us here or on Facebook and take one more journey on one of your old favorites!

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