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TTA Narration: Now approaching Metropolis Science Center! Today at the Metropolis Science Center is the greatest invention of all time-a time machine! Be sure to stop by and meet the inventor, The Timekeeper. He'd love to take the time to take you through time!
A Disneyland Paris Import
This attraction opened at the Magic Kingdom on November 21, 1994. It was located in the Metropolis Science Center in Tomorrowland and the Circle-Vision theater was sometimes referred to as the Transportarium during the first few months of operation. The actual film was called From Time to Time. This attraction was the first attempt to merge audio-animatronic figures with a Circle-Vision film.
The show was based on an attraction at Disneyland Paris called Le Visionarium that opened there when the park debuted in 1992. The French title of the film was De Temps en Temps. There was also a Visionarium at Tokyo Disneyland that opened in 1993.
For the film's American debut, it was dubbed into English using Robin Williams as the voice of Timekeeper and Rhea Perlman as 9-Eye. Guests who saw the French or Japanese version of the show had the option to listen to an English audio track but it was not the Walt Disney World dubbed version, as this soundtrack was made prior to the stateside opening.
The American Preshow
Guests would walk into a holding area with pillars that contained bubbling water. The queue was nowhere near as elaborate at the one in Disneyland Paris or Tokyo Disneyland but it did have a "futuristic" feel. The wall had a picture of the Nine-Eye camera droid. Television screens would count down the minutes to time travel and featured a film with Nine-Eye. This show used some pre-existing visuals from the French and Japanese preshow but was mostly material unique to Walt Disney World.
(Countdown shows four minutes until Time Travel)
Nine-Eye: Let's see, scuba gear, spare wiring, extra batteries, tanning oil. What else do I need for a trip through time? Hey! Who took my toga? Oh, ah, hi there! Nice to see ya. The name's Nine-Eye and you caught me packing for my big trip through time. Oh, actually I should say our big trip because you're all coming with me! Courtesy of an amazing new invention. The very first, one of a kind, special limited edition, time machine super sport turbo XL! Isn't she a beauty? Don't worry, we're not all squeezing into that gizmo, just me. But, it will be just like you're right there with me because I have built in cameras all around me; nine of them. Giving a complete three hundred sixty degree view of everything I see. And I'll be transmitting everything back to you. LIVE. So, everything I see, you see. See?
(Countdown shows three minutes until Time Travel.)
Nine-Eye: Oh! We're getting close! I'd like to introduce you to the robot behind the machine. A brilliant inventor and scientific genius, Timekeeper! I think he'd like to have a word with you now...
(Screen show Timekeeper having difficulty with some sparking wires and screaming.)
Nine-Eye: (Nervously laughing) That wasn't exactly the word I had in mind. Um, what Timekeeper was trying to say is he's always dreamed of traveling through time. You see, he was inspired by the work of two incredible visionaries. I'm sure you all know Jules Verne. Noted writer and French guy. With books like Around the World in 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and From the Earth to the Moon. He dreamed up stuff like spaceships and submarines years before they actually happened. And here's H.G. Wells. An Englishman with a fabulous imagination. He wrote The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, and our personal favorite, The Time Machine. But none of H.G.'s visions ever came true. Until, today! Hey! Did I mention I'm a fully qualified time travel pilot? I studied at M.I.T.T.: The Metropolis Institute of Time Travel. Check out my training films. Meanwhile, I'd better check on Timekeeper and see what's keeping him.
(An old-style newsreel film is shown on screen. The dateline is Niagara Falls, NY and the heading says "9-Eye Takes The Plunge!")
Narrator: Nine-Eye prepares for the rigors of time travel! Her testing begins with a trip over the falls to prove she's water tight!
(The dateline then says Topeka, KS. The heading says "9-Eye Proves She's Dyn-o-mite!")
Narrator: Next, Nine-Eye flies into a barn full of explosives!
Narrator: To test her fire resistance!
(Nine-Eye is heard yelling in the background. The dateline then says Cape Canaveral, FL. The heading says "9-Eye Goes Where No Droid Has Gone Before!")
Narrator: Finally, Nine-Eye hitches a ride on a space shuttle, for the ultimate test of air-worthiness. Up, up and away!
(The dateline now says Tomorrowland with the heading "9-Eye Makes the Grade!")
Narrator: And so Nine-Eye graduates with flying colors! Ready for her time travel adventure! (A picture is shown of Timekeeper wearing academic regalia and giving Nine-Eye a diploma.)
(The screen shows one minute left until Time Travel. Timekeeper and Nine-Eye are shown.)
Nine-Eye (to Timekeeper): Hey, nickelhead, is thing ready or...
(Camera cuts out and shows Timekeeper getting enveloped in smoke.)
Nine-Eye: Not! Hey! Hey! Hey! Whoa! Wait! What are you doing? What's going on here? (coughs from the smoke). Um, this might be a good time to go over some safety instructions. (Timekeeper is heard screaming in the background) I'd pay really close attention if I were you. See you inside.
The American Film
As guests entered the main theater, Timekeeper urged everyone to come inside in typical Robin Williams fashion. All nine movie screens displayed a machine pattern on them as the guests filed in. After Timekeeper finishes some final checks on his equipment, he introduces 9-Eye and puts her into the time machine to beam her into the past. At this point, the film began on the screens, which were supposed to depict all of 9-Eye's camera eyes. After a wormhole-type effect on screen, 9-Eye opens her eyes in the Jurassic period and nearly gets eaten by a dinosaur.
Timekeeper teleports her out and into the Ice Age (this footage was recycled from Magic Carpet 'Round the World). After 9-Eye complains about the cold, Timekeeper attempts to beam her to 1450 to see Johann Gutenburg's printing press but instead he sends her into the middle of a Scottish battle, where she gets hit between the eyes.
After the narrow escape, 9-Eye gets sent to the Renaissance, where she sees Leonardo da Vinci (Franco Nero) in his studio with flying machines and the model for the Mona Lisa. After that, 9-Eye witnesses a young Mozart performing for Louis XV (Jean Rochefort)I. Suddenly, Mozart notices her and she escapes into the ballroom before getting beamed out by Timekeeper. He then sends her to the Paris Exposition in 1878 but he gets the machine stuck on fast forward as the Eiffel Tower is shown being constructed in fast-motion. He finally gets the machine to stop in 1900 at the Universal Exposition in Paris.
Nine-Eye then watches as H.G. Wells (Jeremy Irons) and Jules Verne (Michel Piccoli) meet and discuss the possible versus the impossible. After Wells leaves, Verne expresses his doubt about time travel, prompting 9-Eye to set him straight. He is amazed by the sight of her and grabs onto her right as Timekeeper beams her back to the present.
After Timekeeper discovers his mistake, he prepares to send Verne back to the past, but the author begs for a chance to see the future. Timekeeper agrees to let him stay until Verne's speech starts in ten minutes at the Exposition. Verne is shown back on the screen and then proceeds to say how dark the future is as he is shown holding a match. It turns out he's in a train tunnel and he ends up stuck to the front of the train. Timekeeper gets him off the train and on to a street in Paris, were Verne proceeds to almost get hit by traffic. Verne states he wants to learn to drive and Timekeeper and 9-Eye race to keep up with him as he zooms away in a race car and then rides a bobsled. Jules is then shown underwater, where he states that what one can conceive, one can achieve.
Timekeeper then pulls Jules and 9-Eye from out of the water and into the sky. Some European aerial footage is shown and Verne then appears in a helicopter, before flying over the English countryside and the made-for-US New York footage. He asks Timekeeper to take him higher and he is then shown up in space.
Lastly, Jules is taken to the Exposition site in the present where he briefly gets down to the music before returning to 1900. He presents 9-Eye with a flower as a shocked H.G. Wells looks on. Now that Timekeeper knows that the machine works, he decides to go visit the future. He beams a family from the audience to Paris in 2189 and Jules Verne and H.G. Wells show up in a flying ship. The film then ends with Timekeeper mentioning some of the places he wants to visit, followed by some snarky comments to guests as they exit the theater.
Film Variations at the Parks
(This artwork was done by George Stokes for the Disneyland Paris Le Visionarium attraction poster.)
In addition to the film being dubbed for the American release, several scenes were changed. A segment where Jules Verne appears in the hot air balloon of a wedding couple that was filmed in Moscow's Red Square was cut. This also deprived American guests from seeing a shot of the Mickey Mouse Earforce One hot air balloon among other balloons in the background. There was also a scene with Gerard Depardeu that was deleted from the US version. He played an airline employee at Charles de Gaulle airport that talked to 9-Eye as Jules wandered around in the background toward the Concorde and nearly got captured by airport officials. Timekeeper comes to the rescue by rewinding time by a few seconds so Jules doesn't get caught .
The music score was changed in the American version, although the composer (Bruce Broughton) was the same for both versions. Also changed was when Timekeeper beams 9-Eye to modern times. In the American version, the song was changed to "Motown Philly" by Boyz II Men. Other changes to the US film included less aerial shots over Europe and an added scene of flying over New York.
While not a variation, there were also product placements in the film that mostly got ignored by the audience outside of France. The film was sponsored at Disneyland Paris by automaker Renault and many of the cars in De Temps en Temps were made by the company. The flying car at the end of the movie was a concept vehicle designed by Renault called the Reinastella. The end of the movie featuring the Reinastella flying through Paris was also used in the queue area of Disneyland's short-lived Rocket Rods attraction.
Timekeeper Runs Out of Time
Timekeeper started operating only seasonally on April 29, 2001 but really began to enter into Walt Dated World after September 11, 2001. A portion of the footage shot especially for the US included a scene of the New York skyline that included the World Trade Center.
The main theater was often used even when the show wasn't operating, such as when the handrails were used for a makeshift queue for photos during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. As illustrated in the picture above, Timekeeper remained in plain sight when these events were happening but he did not move or talk.
The last show for Timekeeper was on December 31, 2005, although it wasn't announced as closed for good until February 26, 2006. It was the last of the Timekeeper shows to operate, as France's closed in 2002 and Japan's closed in 2004. Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is now in the location.
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See ya real soon!