No EPCOT Center extinct attraction is as loved and lamented as Horizons. An optimistic look at the future that shared bloodlines with Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, many consider Horizons to be the greatest Walt Disney World attraction ever. Horizons opened one year after EPCOT Center on October 1, 1983, and closed (for good) on January 9, 1999 to be replaced by Mission: Space.
Horizons was an elaborate attraction dedicated to humanity’s future (my words won’t do it justice, check out the links and photos below). “If we can dream it, we can do it” was Horizons’ mantra. During its development, a few possible names were considered for the attraction, including “Century 3,” “Futureprobe,” and “New Horizons.” Horizons was a culmination of all the concepts of Future World, combining elements of other pavilions including communication, energy, transportation, creativity, and technology to showcase how our lives might be better in the future.
My firsthand memory of Horizons is almost non-existent. While I have some recollection of every other original EPCOT Center attraction, I don’t recall Horizons much at all. I suspect that my parents didn’t care for the attraction for whatever reason (communists?), which is generally the cause of any gaps of knowledge I have of 1980s-era Walt Disney World. So I can’t provide much in the way of insight here. Moreover, the photos I have collected below pale in comparison to some of the other photo galleries in this Vintage EPCOT Center series.
However, and luckily for us, since the attraction resonated with so many Disney fans, there were extensive efforts to document and rediscover the attraction, which have led to several incredible resources and a wealth of resources online pertaining to Horizons. If you’re not really familiar with Horizons, and want something to check out as a jumping-off point, check out Martin’s Horizons Tribute, below:
If that video has you itching to learn more about Horizons, the preeminent Horizons resource, which everyone should set aside a day to explore (I spent 4 straight hours on the site back in 2009 when I first discovered their site!) is the Mesa Verde Times. This site is an absolute must read for any EPCOT Center fan. Hoot and Chief actually exited their ride vehicles on Horizons to explore and document the attraction sets on multiple occasions, and they have been posting photos and stories from their adventures online since 2009. Through their photos, Hoot and Chief convey some of the meticulous details on the Horizons sets. Through their writing, Hoot and Chief convey their engaging and fun-loving personalities. When I’ve linked to their posts in the past I’ve received messages questioning why I’m “endorsing” their acts. To be perfectly clear, I’m not endorsing what they did at all, and definitely don’t recommend anyone do it in this era of heightened security and risk. That said, I view these two as national heroes/treasures for their efforts to document this attraction. Complain about their methods if you will, but they are the best Horizons “historians” out there. Their excellent blog is like “Horizons 404,” an advanced course in Horizonsology.
For an incredibly high-quality 720p ride-through shot in 1996, check out this video on Mousebits (note that you’ll have to be registered to view this torrent…and know how to torrent to download the torrent).
The coolest new thing in the Horizons preservation movement is Chris Wallace’s incredible “Horizons Resurrected.” Some guests for EPCOT Center’s 30th anniversary will have the chance to see the next generation of this virtual ride-through in a virtual recreation FLIRT unit. The stuff Wallace is doing with technology to recreate Horizons is nothing short of amazing.
While I can’t list off every single other fan site that is dedicated to Horizons, a few that come to mind are Horizons1, Lost EPCOT, The Horizons Tragedy (not for the faint of heart), and The Horizons Tribute on Yahoo. All of these sites are also well worth checking out if you’re interested in learning more about Horizons.
Okay, now that you have all those pages bookmarked, let’s check out the reader-submitted Horizons photos!
To all of you who submitted photos, I am eternally grateful. These vintage posts would not have been possible without your generosity. For photographer attribution and other information, hover your cursor over each photo. Also, be sure to check out our photo credits page. If you have EPCOT Center photos, please check out our EPCOT Center Photo Search page for details on how to submit them!
Please share your Horizons memories in the comments, and be sure to share this post with your friends via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.!