Horizons at 40: Why this remains Epcot's most beloved past attraction

A Disney trading pin is all that remains of the original ride and area of Epcot in Orlando
A Disney trading pin is all that remains of the original ride and area of Epcot in Orlando /
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Since its opening in 1982, Epcot has undergone a lot of changes. That includes the name from EPCOT Center to just Epcot. It has moved away from its original "edutainment" ideas to more rides based on IP, and some might argue it's forgotten what makes it special. Of all things, the France pavilion's movie is the only attraction that's remained the same since Opening Day.

The list of Epcot attractions that have come and gone is a long one, but 40 years ago, one pavilion opened that, to many, exemplified everything Epcot was about. It presented a view of the future in a fun way and a magic that anyone who rode it will remember: Horizons. 

It's been gone for almost a quarter of a century, but Epcot aficionados still fondly remember this pavilion. It was a perfect mix of fun, history, education, and some terrific Audio-Animatronics, and many would love for it to return. As it celebrates its 40th anniversary, here's a "Look back at tomorrow" as to why Horizons is the most missed Epcot attraction of them all. 

The history

Initially working under the name "Century 3," Horizons was conceived as a sequel to Disney's popular Carousel of Progress. It even had the same sponsors in General Electric. The original concept would have focused on Thomas Edison and his contributions to electricity and progress. 

As time went on, Disney convinced GE to move from a show in a theater to a ride to fit other EPCOT attractions. They also expanded the idea to look at just the future, not the past, to fit the futurism theme of the new park. They also shifted the name from Futureprobe to New Horizons and finally just Horizons. 

With construction on the rest of the park so busy, Disney decided that Horizons would become the first new attraction after opening. It opened on October 1, 1983, the one-year anniversary of the park. While never a packed attraction, the ride soon became a favorite thanks to its great presentation.