1979 - Early concepts were pitched by eventual project show designer George McGinnis, but records give official 'idea germination' date of 1980.
1st October 1982 - EPCOT Center opens to the public. Horizons appears on guide literature and is scheduled to open a year later.
1st October 1983 - Opening day.
30th September 1993 - General Electric's contract to sponsor the attraction expired. Within a couple of months, signs and dialogue mentioning GE are removed.
Late 1994 - Horizons is closed to guests.
December 1995 - Horizons is re-opened 'by default' because both the neighbouring attractions - Universe of Energy and World of Motion - were to close in January for updates and renovations. If Horizons stayed closed, the only open pavilion would have been the Wonders of Life on that whole side of Future World. Bad show!
9th January 1999 - The last day Horizons was open to guests. When Test Track opened (which replaced the World of Motion), Horizons closed forever.
September 23, 1999 - Horizons signs are removed.
October 1, 1999 - Some press groups supposedly rode Horizons at night, confirming that the ride is intact nearly 10 months after it closed to guests.
January 1, 2000 - Horizons surprises guests when it does not open on millennium night to the capacity crowd.
March 2000 - Horizons begins to be emptied for demolition. Some set pieces are preserved, and some animatronics are kept for use with other attractions running a similar vintage of audio animatronics.
13th March - Omnimover ride vehicles are removed.
20th April 2000 - Disney and Compaq announce at a press that the new Mission: SPACE attraction is so big it won't fit into the current (Horizons) building (which seems odd, as the new building is considerably smaller than the Horizons one - see satellite photos at bottom of page). The announcement took place in the evening in front of the Horizons pavilion which was used to launch fireworks up the front and off the top (many thought they were going to demolish the building pyrotechnically at this event!). Destruction of the Horizons building could be seen throughout the summer of 2000. A black wall surrounded the site with "Watch this SPACE for a future announcement." Trees were added behind the wall in an attempt to cover some of the destruction of the building. By October 2000, the land was all cleared and the foundation work for Mission: SPACE had been started.
30 May 2000 - Ride vehicles seen on back of a lorry leaving WDW.
- Demolition continues
- the building's
front now showing
real signs of
- At least half
of the front view
of the building
- Only the triangular
prism of the Omnimax
with parts of
the roof structure
it like cloth.
23rd July 2000 - The building is now rubble.
- Ground clear.
Why did Horizons close?
There are many theories and rumours behind the reason for the closure of the Horizon pavilion.
When the land was cleared, a large hole at the back left of the site was visible, into which was put metal girders...
What happened to all the props?
Many were kept and shipped to Tokyo DisneySea, others (as you can see below) took a trip to Disneyland Paris. Quite a number of props ended up in private collections (blue lamp in futuristic lounge, film strips, art work, voting panels, etc.). Imagineers will have salvaged their fair share to adorn their offices. Most wanted was the "Space colony" birthday cake as seen in the kitchen and the cat drinking spilt milk. George McGinnis received a rescued 'triple-apple'. Animatronics would have been kept and dismantled to re-use the servos and valves in other animatronics of the same era in other parks. Judging by photographs showing the 'emptying' of the scenes, the clothes of the animatronics were one of the first things to be removed, and other props have tags attached to them (so presumably they weren't just thrown away). The IMAX and GE projectors were salvaged (but were absolutely huge!)
below seems to
indicate the location
of these items
on the ride track
in Paris. Incredible!
In the 1990s, Disney were planning "Westcot" - a smaller and improved yet highly ambitious west US coast version of Florida's Epcot to be built in Anaheim, California at a cost of $2.75billion. It was to be built in the Disneyland car park. In a similar way that they have successfully duplicated rides at their parks around the world, Westcot would have had a cloned (probably improved) versions of Horizons. But in late 1993, the success of EuroDisney made the company think differently about bold new ventures. Westcot would have opened in 1998. Around the same time they were considering Tokyo's Disney Sea and a $700million park, Disney's America in Virginia. Only Disney Sea was built. Instead of Westcot they built "California Adventure".
A nice report from a Horizons fan riding a preview day on Mission: Space ...
is a view from
the Russian spy
and mapping satellite
1995. I've highlighted
Horizons in yellow.
Compare the footprint
of the Horizons
pavilion to that
of Mission: Space
in the newer satellite
shots below it.
At the unveiling of the plans for Mission: Space with the agreement between Disney and Compaq, the official press launch script said that the new attraction would be "so big that the current building won't hold it"...which is an odd thing to say because the new Mission Space building was considerably smaller than the Horizons building as can be seen from the satellite photos above.
Horizons icon, script and music © Disney. Horizons and Epcot are trademarks of The Walt Disney Company.
This site is in no way affiliated or connected with Disney.