Watch the on-ride POV
The ride at night in 1998
Location Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
Park section Future World (East)
Status Defunct
Operated October 1, 1983 to January 9, 1999
Cost $60,000,000
Soundtrack "New Horizons", by George Wilkins
Theme Tying together all of EPCOT: agriculture, the seas, the land, energy sources, health, transportation, communication
Replaced by Mission: Space
Designer / calculations Walt Disney Imagineering, George Ginnis
Capacity 174 inverted vehicles, seating 4 guests each
Hourly capacity 2,600
Speed 1.04 mph
Track length 1,346 feet

Horizons was an inverted omnimover Dark Ride formerly located at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States. Themed around tying all the pavilions in Epcot together, the ride was the spiritual successor to the Carousel of Progress show, as the main characters in this ride have moved out but are still bonded by future technologies. Opening on October 1, 1983, and being dedicated as a pavilion the year before, the ride would close on January 9, 1999, after reopening in 1995, closing down for the final time to be replaced with Mission: Space.


In 1976, when Epcot was still under development, an idea was proposed to have a ride focusing on all the core ideas of Epcot. The ride wouldn't be a ride at first, rather a pavilion that provided a look into the future and its technologies. However, this idea was scrapped later on, due to it not looking "futuristic" enough for Epcot at the time. George Ginnis, a designer for the ride, proposed a new design that would become the basis for the upcoming ride. He proposed a Futureprobe design, with a white and red color scheme, and an almost spaceship-look with many long beams stretching from the sides. It was also around this time the ride was reworked into a Dark Ride, utilizing inverted cars to take guests around scenes depicting the future's depictions of the 20th century.

As Epcot was being cleared out for construction, there was barely time to start construction. Construction started immediately, as one of the first and last structures to be built before the park opened. The ride used heavy steel beams, and many wood and metal frames to hold up the massive Futureprobe structure. The show scenes were built at the workshops inside WED, and then being transported to the park by vehicles. The pavilion's area, including the sign up to the entrance, was termporarily blocked off as concrete was being filled into the area. Many trees were planted to better hide the backstage areas of the park. Despite this, due to a now-cancelled concept, the building was themed on all sides, as it was going to be viewable from an upcoming Monorail route.

When the park opened on October 1, 1982, the ride was still unfinished and not ready to go. The coverings and facade were not ready to be implemented, and the ride was still under construction, thus leaving only the Universe of Energy and the World of Motion dark rides left in the pavilion. Around mid- 1983, the attraction was finally ready to open up, as all that was left was to implement the queue and animatronics around the attraction.

On October 1, 1983, Horizons opened up to the public. The ride, which was all about the future and its different depictions over the years, was a unique type of dark ride where guests boarded inverted vehicles, that only faced sideways. General Electric would be the sponsor for the ride and would help upkeep the ride as the years went by. Despite a new update in 1986 with a changed entrance, and several updates to the narration, the ride would remain essentially the same coming into the 1990s. However, that was going to change with a announcement that would doom the ride for permanent closure.

In September 1993, General Electric announced that they would not renew sponsorship for Horizons following late 1994. This was a bad sign for the ride, as Disney now had to find a new sponsorship for the ride combined with the absolute disaster of Euro Disneyland causing the company to have financial problems globally. So, in late 1994, Horizons would close down for the rest of the year, seemingly for good.

However, in January 1995, Horizons unknowingly reopened again. This was due to a couple factors. As World of Motion closed to become Test Track. and the Universe of Energy was being refurbished into Ellen's Energy Adventure (Ellen's Energy Crisis at the time), If horizons were to remain abandoned and closed, only Wonders of Life would be open at Future World East, which would be inefficient in absorbing the crowds that were expected for the Summer of 1996. In the next 4 years, as these revamped attractions opened up, Horizons would remain open, literally unchanged as Disney was gearing up for an inevitable permanent closure.

In December of 1998, Disney announced that Horizons would close permanently on January 9th of the following year. Now that all of the closed rides were back up, Disney saw no need to keep an aging and hard to maintain ride going, despite the ride's cult following and general enjoyment by guests. January 9th finally came, and the ride closed permanently, never being ridden or operated again. Demolition would proceed the following year, tearing down the structure, and selling off props, vehicles, and other memorabilia. By mid-2001, it was nothing more than just rubble, for a new ride to open up in. Eventually, Mission: Space would open up after numerous concepts about a Space pavilion revival before the ride's closure. Several Horizons references can be found in the attraction.


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