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Horizons at Epcot
Horizons Epcot Ride
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Walt Dated World's Horizons
(Photo courtesy of Brotherdave.)
Horizons didn't open at Epcot until October 1, 1983. At one point in its planning stage, it was to be called Century 3 because it was going to depict life in America during the Tricentennial. There was even a shuttle in the ride that had the words "Century 3" on it. It was also going to be called New Horizons at one point during development. The building can be described as looking like a pyramid, gemstone or spaceship. The message housed inside of this pavilion was "If you can dream it, then you can do it!" This pavilion tied in the messages of all of the other Epcot pavilions by combining communication, agriculture, energy, transportation, the oceans and imagination in a way that showed how they all shaped the future. Horizons was sponsored by General Electric up until September 30, 1993 and guests who walked through the sliding doors to the queue would often hear an instrumental arrangement of GE's commercial jingle We Bring Good Things to Life. After GE dropped sponsorship of the ride, Horizons closed for about two years before reopening again in late 1995 while World of Motion was being remodeled into Test Track. The attraction finally closed for good on January 9, 1999. There are often-repeated stories about a sinkhole and problems with the roof that hastened the closing of the building but no concrete evidenced has surfaced to prove this was the case. The Horizons building was later torn down so Mission: Space could be constructed on the site.
New Horizons Song
(This song was written by George Wilkins and could be heard by the entrance to the pavilion and in instrumental form throughout the ride.)
If we can dream it, then we can do it,
yes we can, (yes we can.)
If we can dream it, then we can do it,
yes we can, (yes we can.)
Have you ever looked beyond today, into the future?
Picture you're in a world, we've yet to see.
The wonder of finding new ways,
that lead to the promise of brighter days.
Have you ever dreamed the dreams of the children?
Just imagine the magic, their minds can see. (If we can dream it.)
Horizons, all shining and new. (Shining and new.)
Horizons, where dreams do come true. (They do come true.)
And it will be, a future filled with care.
For you and me, a world we all can share.
For today holds the challenge to make this world a better place to be.
New Horizons, for you and for me.
The Ride and Onboard Audio
(A note on the audio: the script was changed slightly around 1984/1985. This transcription is taken mostly from dialogue circa 1994 once GE dropped their sponsorship. As a result, there are no longer any references to GE in this script. Variations to the dialogue are noted in italics. The narration by the husband and wife was provided via onboard audio while the individual scenes were played out to passing cars, not broadcast into them. In cases where the audio from individual scenes could not be fully captured, such as the scene with Tom II and the granddaughter, descriptions of the scene are used instead.)
(Guests entered into the pavilion by going through what was called the Futureport. A departure board showed destinations. There were three mirrored windows that contained a poster of a specific destination site along with the following announcements:)
Male Announcer: Sea Castle, the newest and most exciting floating city in the Pacific, invites you and your family to come away with us to the sea. Convenient daily departures by sea train and sky lift.
Female Announcer: Mesa Verde, the most advanced desert reclamation complex in the western hemisphere, invites you to explore its wide range of career possibilities. Maglev express service to Mesa Verde leaves every thirty minutes.
Male Announcer: Brava Centauri, newest of the exciting Centauri series of space stations, offers remarkably rewarding opportunities in Earth support vocations. Come up to Brava. Space shuttles depart daily.
(As guests approached the loading area, the following announcement was heard.)
Male Announcer: Please take young children by the hand and look down as you step out onto the moving belt. The belt is moving at the same speed as your vehicle.
(Guests boarded the continuously moving sideways ride vehicles, which were suspended on an overhead rail. The following was then heard inside the ride vehicle:)
Female Announcer: The doors of your vehicle will close automatically. Please remain seated with your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times. (This line was originally slightly different when the ride first opened and was said by a male announcer.)
(An unnamed husband and wife narrated the tour and started out by showing guests past visions of the future.)
Female Announcer: The doors of your vehicle will close automatically. Please remain seated with your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times.
Male Announcer: Horizons 1 is now departing. Our final destination today - the twenty-first century. (This line used to refer to General Electric Horizons 1.)
Wife: Hey, that's some destination.
(The vehicles travel past blinking and glowing clouds to signify that they are about to travel to the future.)
Husband: My wife's right. Wait'll you see the new towns of tomorrow. Desert farms and floating cities- even colonies in space. But you know, this isn't exactly the first time anyone's tried to make this trip. People have been dreaming about the future for centuries.
(Parisian music is heard. Pictures are projected showing old-fashioned images of flying contraptions and launches to the moon.)
Husband: Well here, here's the stuff dreams were made of, several hundred years ago. Yep, it's always fun looking back at tomorrow. Come on, I'll show you what I mean.
Husband: There's the grand old man himself, Jules Verne. This is the way a moon shot looked to him back in the late 1800s. Old Uncle Jules may not have had all the answers, but he had the right idea.
Wife: He was just a little ahead of his time.
(A depiction of Paris in the future is then shown with people in hot air balloons and flying machines. The artwork in this section is in the style of French artist Albert Robida.)
Husband: You know, people have painted some pretty fantastic views of the future.
Wife: And some pretty mixed up ones, too.
(The scene moves to an Art Deco style apartment.)
Husband: Easy living- it's always been just around the corner.
(Guests were then shown a 1920's interpretation of the future, complete with domestic robot servants and a TV with a man singing There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow from the original version of Carousel of Progress. This attraction was sponsored by GE in the Magic Kingdom until 1985.)
Wife: Say, we're just in time for the matinee.
Husband: Yeah, “Looking Back at Tomorrow” through the movies of yesteryear.
(Silent footage from films such as "Metropolis" and "Woman in the Moon" are shown accompanied by a piano score.)
Movie Dialogue (From the Charlie Chaplin movie "Modern Times"): Hey! Quit stalling, get back to work! (Note: This was redubbed and not the original audio from the film.)
(The neon movie facades shift to TV sets and suburban houses and then transitions into the fifties scene. The Disneyland episode "Magic Highway U.S.A is shown.)
Television Dialogue: Tomorrow's living in spacious, well planned communities will be closely integrated with the highway system. In the private motorport the family car is automatically washed, dried and refueled. As Father chooses the route in advance on a push-button selector, electronics take over complete control. Progress can be accurately checked on a synchronized scanning mat. With no driving responsibility, the family relaxes together. En route, business conferences are conducted by television. On entering the city, the family separates. Father to his office, Mother and son to the shopping center. These new forms of vehicles will bring about special purpose roadways. Office buildings will combine unique parking and elevator services.
Husband: Look! The future from the fifties.
(A 1950's futuristic scene was then shown, complete with neon, rocket jet packs, and a clogged freeway where the speed limit was 200 miles per hour.)
Wife: A bit far out, don't you think?
Husband: I guess so, but we always thought the future would be kind of fun.
(The vehicle enters another corridor with blinking lights to signify transition to the future.)
Wife: I suppose people have always dreamed of the future. We sure do.
Husband: The only difference is that today, with what we know and what we're learning to do, we really can bring our dreams to life. (This line used to be “The only difference is that today, we don't have to do so much guessing.) It takes a lot of work, but the truth is, if we can dream it, we can do it. (This line used to be “It take work, lots of work, but the truth is, if we can dream it, we can do it.”)
Wife: Tomorrow's Horizons are here, today!
(The following looping dialogue would differ depending on when the ride vehicle entered the Omnispere.)
Husband: Crystals. Inspired by nature, now engineered by man for an ever growing role in micro-electronics.
(The screen fills with water and an underwater scene is shown.)
Husband: The world of liquid space. Oceans of minerals and food ready to fuel tomorrow's needs.
Husband: The DNA chain. Life's molecular blueprint. Decoding its secrets is leading us to dramatically improved health.
Husband: The sun. Today we're learning ways to harness its limitless energy.
Husband: Colonies in space. Habitats where people live and work. This is no distant dream, we're at the threshold now.
Husband: A computerized view of Earth - Landsat photography providing vital data on agriculture, resources, and ecological concerns. (Note: Landsat was series of satellites launched by NASA to film pictures of Earth from space.)
Husband: The cityscape. A living tribute to our richest resource - people.
(A close up of a city building is revealed to be a microchip.)
Husband: Here's a new kind of cityscape - the microprocessor. An entire computer on a tiny silicon chip.
(Screen darkens and then crystals start to form as the looping cycle starts again.)
Husband: What you've just seen are the building blocks for the future up ahead. And while it may look fantastic, remember, it's all possible.
Wife: That's right.
Husband: And we ought to know, we live there. Come on, take a look at 21st century living: on land, and sea, and even out in space. But let's start off at our place.
(Guests then arrived in the future. They could see the narrators' apartment in Nova Cite. This scene had a building with the NBC logo, because the network was owned by GE. The city scape also supposedly had a hidden view of Disneyland in it.)
Husband (Playing a Theremin-type instrument): Wrote this myself, like it? My wife, there, has a good ear for music. She's talking to our daughter, the desert dweller. That little girl and her husband are into farming. Like music? (Dog howls.) My wife, there, has a good ear for music. That's our daughter she's talking to. She's doing wonders out there on one of those desert farms.
Wife (Talking to a "Pepper's Ghost" daughter on a holographic TV.): Oh, that reminds me, we both love the solar berries you sent.
Daughter: Mmm, I'm happy to hear that. Did I tell you that they're the pet project of that solar agronomist granddaughter of yours? (Note: An agronomist is a scientist that uses plants for food, fuel, feed and fiber.)
Wife: That makes me proud. I can hardly wait 'til little Michael starts getting involved with the farm.
Daughter: Ha, ha, I can.
Husband: Isn't it something! Send a city kid to college for seven years and what happens? She becomes a farmer!
Wife: Oh, I think agricultural engineer is a little more like it.
Husband: OK, but me, I'll take the city.
Wife: Yes, it's always exciting.
(The scene transitions from the narrators' hydroponic plants on their balcony to their daughter at a farm in the desert colony Mesa Verde. She had two different sets of dialogue during the pavilion's operating years.)
Husband: Look at that, will you? A few years ago this was all barren dessert. No crops, no irrigation. Quite a transformation.
(As the daughter controlled the robots that harvested the citrus crop, guests could smell the oranges as they passed by. Her husband then appeared on the monitor to tell her a storm was coming.)
Husband: You know, this really makes me proud.
Wife: And you wanted her to go to law school.
Husband: But do you suppose they ever miss the fun of the city?
Wife: Oh, I think they get their share right here.
(After passing some more desert landscape, the narrators' son-in-law and grandson are shown at home talking about getting ready for a birthday party.)
(In another room of the house, the narrators' granddaughter is shown talking to a guy on a video screen who is working on a submarine. She is telling him to be on time for a birthday party later that night and in a flirting way reminds him not to be late. The guy was played by an Imagineer name Tom Fitzgerald and his Audio-Animatronic figure is known as "Tom II".)
Husband: Shouldn't your granddaughter be studying instead of flirting with that beach boy?
Wife: He is not a beach boy. He's studying marine biology there on the floating city.
(The vehicles go past Tom II as he talks about the party to a video image of the granddaughter. The cars drop down into the under sea colony called the Sea Castle. A teacher, her class and a seal were getting ready to take a dive in the ocean.)
Teacher: Ok class, settle down. Now we're almost ready to go. But before we do, let's review our diving rules one more time. (Seal barks.) Relax, Rover. Come on kids. Underwater safety is no joke. Scott?
Teacher: Let's hear those safety rules.
Scott: Stay in your group, keep your buddy in sight, always check your gill apparatus for full recirculation. (This line used to be "Stay in your group, keep your buddy in sight, always check your air regulator for fluctuations.")
Teacher: How often?
Class: Every ten minutes.
Scott: Or more!
Teacher: That's right. Now you're all good swimmers and I'm not worried about your swimming at all. And I know this isn't your first dive. But tell me, what's the most important tool under water. (Seal barks) Wrong, Rover. It's judgment. You must use good judgment. And what else must you do Scott?
Scott: Swim safely, follow your diving rules and-
Teacher: And never horse around while diving. Never. Don't even seahorse around.
Husband: Floating cities. They're amazing! I mean, whole new industries have developed in them-and under them. Mariculture. All sorts of marine mining. Fuels, energy-
(The vehicles pass two people have dinner in front of an underwater window and a girl and her mother peering at Rover the seal swimming outside. A man is shown in another window looking at the restaurant menu.)
Wife: And fun. Remember fun?
Husband: I'm serious!
Wife: Well so am I! Floating cities have opened up whole new ways for people to enjoy their lives, as well as their work.
(The teacher and her class are shown out on their dive.)
Teacher: Ok class, let's stick together. Sue? Come on, keep up with the group.
Teacher: It's almost time for us to do something. Anybody remember what that is?
Scott: Take a break?
Teacher: Not quite, Scott. Ah, anyone else?
Sue: Check our fuels?
Teacher: Right. Did everyone hear that?
Class (In unison): Yeah.
Teacher: Good. Who'd like to explore one of the kelp farms?
Class (In unison): I do.
Teacher: There's one up ahead. We can stop for a few minutes and check our fuel.
Scott: Can we take a break, too?
Teacher (Chuckles.): Yes, Scott. At the farm.
(Underwater subs with robotic arms are shown on the ocean floor.)
Husband: There's always been something sort of mysterious about our oceans. We knew they were filled with valuable gifts for us.
Wife: Yeah, water and seaweed.
Husband: Very funny. But seawater has become an excellent source of energy, as well as being valuable for dessert irrigation. And kelp-
Husband: Kelp is a tremendous source of low cost fuel. Oh, we've found lots of good things under our oceans.
Wife: And don't forget space! We've found lots of good things out there too.
(The vehicles would then travel in a giant starfield out in space, where astronauts were shown working outside of a space station. The woman captain is telling then what to do while the others joke and pretend to give her a hard time.)
Husband: These space colonies are out of this world. Let's take a quick look around.
Wife: Now there's the new frontier.
Husband: Our son and his family wouldn't live anywhere else. Hey, maybe you and I ought to move up here. (This line was originally “Don't mention new frontiers to our daughter. She'll want to move her family up here!”)
Wife: Oh, what a wonderful idea!
(A resident of the Brava Centauri space colony is then shown riding an exercise bike upside down while a health scan monitors everything. A projection of a forest is shown and birds are heard chirping. Two people are shown in silhouette flipping each other in zero gravity.)
Husband: Now, there's my speed. Sports and exercise in zero gravity.
Wife: It looks like fun!
Husband: It is, once you get the hang of it.
(The narrators' son and his family are shown floating around. Notice the Winnie the Pooh doll floating around in the scene below.)
Tommy: Hey mom! Mom!
Mother: What is it, Tommy?
Tommy: Look, mom, I'm flying! Why don't you try?
Mother (Laughing): I don't know what I'm going to do with you. Don't let go of Napoleon! We don't want to lose him.
Tommy: Hey mom, what if he just floats away?
Mother: He won't.
Tommy: Hey mom, what if I just float away?
Mother: Then your father will get you as soon as he manages to get your shoe.
Tommy: What about Napoleon? (Dog barks.) He needs mag-shoes, too. (Dog barks again.)
Mother: Napoleon's fine. (Dog barks.)
(The scene then shifted to show crystals being grown in the colony.)
Wife: Oh, now that's really lovely.
Husband: Practical too. Just think, materials from space for all kinds of industries back on Earth. And that's- (Buzzer sounds.)
Wife: Uh, oh. We gotta run.
Husband: Time for our grandson's party? (Originally this line was “Time for the party?”)
Wife: Uh, huh.
Husband: We'll catch up to you later.
(The husband, wife, granddaughter and Tom II appear as "Pepper's Ghost" holograms in the living room of the birthday party.)
Tom II: Cute little kid, isn't he?
Wife: Thank you. We kind of think so.
Granddaughter: Gee, we wish you were here. We made gallons of homemade ice cream. (Davy laughs.)
Wife: Oh, he's a doll.
Mother: Thank you.
Husband: I think he looks a little like me.
Wife: He does not! He's beautiful!
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Davy.
Happy birthday to you!
Husband: Terrific kid.
Mother: Thank you. Don't you think he looks like his Dad? And his Grandad?
Granddaughter: And his uncle. And his cousin! (Davy laughs.)
(The vehicles leave the scene and go past signs for the Omega Centauri space station, which is another station in the Centauri series along with Brava, Mesa Verde and the Sea Castle Resort.)
Female Announcer 1: Attention please. Horizons 1 Earth Shuttle. Now available for boarding at Gate 22. Final boarding call for Horizons 1.
Female Announcer 2 (Beeping noise): Attention Horizons passengers. You are invited to choose your own flight path back to the FuturePort. Please look down at the lighted panels in front of you. Press one of the three ride choices: Space, Desert, or Under Sea. Everyone can choose, majority rules. All passengers, make your selections now. (This dialogue was removed in 1984/1985 and replaced by the Female announcer above: Male Announcer: (Beeps) “Attention Horizons passengers, this is Mission Control. You're required to choose your flight plan back to the FuturePort. Please look down at the lighted panels in front of you. Press one of the three ride choices: Space, Desert, or Under Sea. Everyone can choose, majority rules. All passengers, make your selections now.”)
(Divider panels would then separate each car as they picked their selections. The film was called "Choose Your Tomorrow" and was supervised by Dave Jones. It was produced in an empty hanger at the Burbank airport. The three choices in the film were as follows.)
Mission Control: Dive Chamber 4 is clear for descent.
(A sub was shown as it raced through the ocean, past other under water vehicles before arriving at a docking bay.)
Mission Control: Stand by for pressure stabilization.
Mission Control: Horizons Inter-colony. You are clear for departure.
(A shuttle was launched from a mothership. It flew past a space station, over the surface of a planet, and then into an airlock.)
Mission Control: Horizons Inter-colony, this is Omega Control. Hold for Omega transport.
Mission Control: You are clear for takeoff.
A shuttle flew over the desert landscape, swooping over the orange groves of Mesa Verde before flying over rocky hills and on to a landing pad.
Mission Control: Landing sequence complete.
(The divider screens pull back and the riders face a twinkling star field. The GE logo was shown at the very end until the sponsorship agreement ended.)
Husband: Well, we're almost back from the future.
Wife: Oh, it went by so quickly.
Husband: Yes, but one of the nice things about traveling into the future is that the journey's just beginning.
Wife: That's right.
Husband: And I'll tell you something. If we can dream it, we really can do it. And that's the most exciting part.
Female Announcer: From all of us, thanks for exploring Horizons. Now, please take small children by the hand and watch your step onto the moving belt. The belt and your vehicle are traveling at equal speed. (This was the unload spiel once GE ceased sponsorship. This line used to be: "All of us at GE look forward to bringing good things to life for you - today and tomorrow. Now, please take small children by the hand and watch your step onto the moving belt. The belt and your vehicle are traveling at the same speed.")
This large wall painting called "The Prologue and the Promise" by Bob McCall could be seen at the exit of Horizons but was later covered up. It was replaced with globes with the GE logo that had a lightening-type effect in them. This was supposedly to reinforce the sponsor name for the pavilion.
(Photo courtesy of Mark Thomspson.)
Before and After Horizons Sponsorship Signs
Like all other sponsored pavilions at Epcot, there was a private lounge for GE employees and VIPs. It was located to the right of the entrance. While you visited, you would be treated to refreshments, have use of restrooms and be able to board the ride from a private entrance.
Mission: Space has a hidden tribute to Horizons on the rotating space station in the queue. At the very center of the station is a tiny Horizons logo. One of the robots from the Looking Back at Tomorrow portion of the ride could be seen for awhile at the Epcot 25th Anniversary display at Innoventions while some of the space ship and shuttle props have been spotted at Disneyland Paris. For many years the "Choose Your Tomorrow" choices could be selected and viewed at Star Tours in Tokyo Disneyland. The space music that was played in the Omnisphere during the ride can still sometimes be heard near the entrance to Epcot. One of the biggest tributes to Horizons can now be found in the technology used in the remodeled Spaceship Earth ride. The Time Machine vehicles now feature touchscreens that allow you to customize the ending of the ride.
Horizons Under Construction
Brotherdave snapped this photo from the Monorail when Horizons was under construction. The sign on the wall said: "Horizons: A vision of the future. Right on schedule to open October 1983. Presented by GE."
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See ya real soon!