Magic Behind the Music: Epcot – Future World – Horizons

Credit: Disney Parks

Let’s take a look back at tomorrow, shall we? We live in an age where Mission: SPACE is well-known among Epcot fans, but there are a number of people in the over-20-years-old crowd that can recall a wonderful time when a different pavilion occupied that area of Epcot. Horizons made its debut early in Epcot’s history on October 1, 1983 and rapidly became one of the greatest highlights of a trip to Epcot’s Future World. Probably not coincidentally, early in D-COT’s history, the audio from Horizons was added to the Jukebox on June 20, 2008. Since that day, the track has been played 22,271 times, with 44 of those times just in the past week. Here, the audio track gets a 4.8/5 average rating with 92 votes.

What gained this attraction such a large following? Well, many considered it to be a well-thought-out sequel to Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. It showcased past visions of the future, technology of today that is contributing to the future, and what the future might look like in one of three diverse settings: the moon, the sea, and the desert. Riders got to vote which setting they would visit with the push of a button. You could say this was one of Walt Disney World’s very first interactive attractions because of that feature.  Horizons managed to bring all of Future World’s elements of communication, motion, energy, human anatomy, the sea, the land, and imagination together under one roof! If ever there was an attraction that embodied Walt’s hopes and dreams, Horizons captured it best – well over a decade after Walt passed away.

Unfortunately, as we know, Horizons didn’t last forever. It took a hard hit in December 1994 when General Electric ended its sponsorship of the attraction. It sat there for a year, unused until it reopened in 1995 while Universe of Energy and World of Motion were closed for refurbishment. It closed permanently in January 1999. Disney decided it would be a better idea to demolish and start anew with the cutting-edge attraction, Mission: SPACE, than to update and renew Horizons.  This marked the first time in Walt Disney World history that an attraction was completely demolished to make way for a new one. For many Epcot fans, this was an unpopular decision and remains so to this day. The attraction is gone, but far from forgotten. Even as park goers venture into Walt Disney World today, subtle tributes can be found waiting in line for Mission: SPACE, and in the post queue of Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. Thanks to D-COT, the attraction remains immortalized on the Jukebox where 291 Members have it as a favorite and Supporters have added it to 26 Custom Playlists. The audio from Horizons continues to remind us that when it comes to the future, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

RocketEAR99 is one of our contributors that specializes in Disney music in the series we call "Magic Behind the Music". You will find some fun and exciting information about the music you can listen to in the jukebox.

8 Comments

  1. If I could go back and experience any attraction I was never alive for, I think it would be this one. I want to see what all the hype is about. Sure, I can watch a video of it on YouTube, but it’s one thing to watch a video, it’s another to experience it. :horizons:

  2. I wish I could remember it. My first visit was in 1985 but I don’t remember much about it. I remember Spaceship Earth and FIgment the most. They were building The Living Seas when we were there. I remember the boats in The Land and have a vague perception of The World of Motion but I don’t recall anything about Horizons.

  3. I’ll always remember my first ride on Horizons i was blown away with the space colonies. Jamie if my memory serves me right it was her birthday.

  4. This was and still is my favorite attractions at Epcot. I truly miss this ride and I wish they would bring it back… somehow!

    • I’m not trying to come down on Mission: SPACE or anything, but I honestly thing if this was brought back (and updated) and they tore down Mission: SPACE to do it, that location would get 10-fold the riders that it currently does. Too many people (not including myself) just can’t handle Mission: SPACE – even the mild version.

  5. I’m not trying to come down on Mission: SPACE or anything, but I honestly think if this was brought back (and updated) and they tore down Mission: SPACE to do it, that location would get 10-fold the riders that it currently does. Too many people (not including myself) just can’t handle Mission: SPACE – even the mild version.

  6. One of my biggest pet peeves: when people attribute that quote to Walt Disney. It was actually George Wilkins’s theme song to Horizons, created long after Walt’s death. Glad you understand the true origins ;)

    Horizons is one attraction I remember so vividly :horizons: You know those early impressions you get as a child. I would love to see it brought back! So many people support retro and nostalgia that I think it would be successful like you said. I miss it so much and I listen to it all the time! :heart: at least they have tributes at Mission Space and Space Mountain. It makes me happy when I see them :)

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