30 July 2013

Transportation Departure Center to Tomorrow

In 1983 when Horizons opened in EPCOT Center there weren’t a horde of reporters and bloggers crashing down the gates and reporting back to the waiting ears of the world. Instead guest publications were the way to get a lot of information about the new attraction, and you had to be in Walt Disney World to get the best information. One of the best descriptions and enticing stories I’ve seen on the now extinct attraction came from the Walt Disney World News issue from September 30 through October 13, 1983.

“EPCOT CENTER – Twenty-first century living – on land, at sea and out in space – is explored in Horizons, the newest, Epcot Center adventure which opens on October 1, 1983. The multi-million dollar spectacular, presented by General Electric, is located in Future World between Universe of Energy and World of Motion.

“Upon entering the three-acre pavilion, guests find themselves in FuturePort, a transportation departure center to tomorrow. Here, they board four-passenger suspended vehicles for a 15-minute journey to the future.

“After a nod to visionaries of yesteryear, the show moves on to a look at some present-day phenomena as they’re rarely seen. In the Omnisphere Theatre, the largest film format in the world fills twin hemispherical screens (80 feet in diameter) with micro- and macro-images of growing crystals, DNA chains, computer chips and an awesome space shuttle launch.

“Today’s world leads to Tomorrow’s Windows, through which we see a series of three-dimensional sets depicting communities of the future. In Nova Cite, the first destination, advanced communication and transportation systems, such as holographic (screen-image) telephones and trains that run by magnetic levitation, keep members of a scattered family in touch with one another.

“In Mesa Verde, a once-arid desert has been transformed into a blooming agricultural complex. Voice-controlled robotic harvesters and genetically engineered fruits and vegetables populate this scene. Overhead, “helium lifters” drop their hooks to collect the harvest, which is then flown off to market.

“At Sea Castle, an island-like floating city in the Pacific, schoolchildren take underwater field trips to nearby mining and kelp farming operations manned by robots.

“At the Brava Centauri space colony, crystals are grown for use by computer back on Earth and colony inhabitants keep in shape in a health and recreation center that features games like zero-gravity basketball.

“Life is just as it is on Earth, but with a couple of twists. When a boy newly arrived at the space colony doesn’t put on his magnetic shoes (for the zero-gravity environment), he floats away. And when the family gets together to celebrate a birthday, those who can’t attend in person appear via holographic telephone.

“What we see on the ‘horizons’ is a positive and viable future. As we look toward tomorrow, we do so with the resources to chart any course we choose.”

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