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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It's legacy

Horizon was a top place for Epcot to use in its promotion, with clips, and photos of it filling Disney souvenir books and videos. Yet it could often be overlooked by guests, and its fast loading meant wait times were among the lowest in Epcot. 

As the 1990s drew on, Horizons sadly started looking dated in some of the technology and its view of the future. Epcot was also starting to move away from the classic dark rides, and in 1993, GE ceased its sponsorship of the pavilion. That led to the ride suffering breakdowns and often closing in slower periods for Epcot. Finally, on January 9, 1999, Horizons closed for good. 

For a brief time, Disney considered upgrading the ride with new effects and scenes. Instead, they decided to tear the building down, the first time this had to be done for a new attraction. That ended up being Mission Space which opened in 2003. 

However, Horizons is still loved for so many reasons. There was detail in the scenes as guests loved spotting some new background items they'd missed before. The charm of the ride, the way it showed an optimistic future and even the music combined into a perfect package. There was also how it predicted such things as video calls and other technologies we use today.

In so many ways, Horizons was the epitome of EPCOT Center's original statement to showcase an idea of the future humanity could aspire to. It was also a wonderful experience for so many who visited it, and as fun as Mission SPACE can be, more than a few classic EPCOT visitors wish that Horizons could be reborn today as its vision of a brighter future is needed now more than ever.