We are back for another FUNKO FRIDAY and today we will be looking at another forgotten character from a bygone attraction.
I was lucky enough to go to EPCOT in the 1980’s when it was still know as EPCOT Center. Back when the park was this amazingly futuristic world that attempted to make a theme park that educated you devoid of existing Disney character. Walt Disney had passed away and the park is nothing of what he envisioned his Environmental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow. However, it still always rings very true to me as very much in the spirit of the man. It was a blending of enjoyment and education, a combination of entertainment fueled by working with corporate sponsors, a kind of permanent World’s Fair, but more than anything the whole place oozed a futuristic optimism. No ride encompassed all of that more than the pavilion known as Horizons.
Now, you may be saying to yourself “I have never seen a Horizons pavilion” and that would be because it was sadly closed in 1999 and subsequently demolished because a sinkhole that was found under the massive show building. It had been temporarily reopened only to handle the volume of guests as World of Motion was transitioning to Test Track. Today, Mission Space sits in the space previously occupied by this ride. If you want to learn more about the fascinating history of the ride I would recommend videos by Park Ride History or Expedition Theme Park.
Today I still love the retro futurism of a park that just screams 1980’s. From the architectural lines, the rounded font, the style of the art and the sounds of the “futuristic” synthesizer music, it all still makes me feel like a kid. Today EPCOT is evolving and becoming more of a traditional theme park with thrill rides and intellectual property. It is good that the park is evolving, I don’t want to be too negative and overreact and Walt wanted the parks to evolve, but it does sadden me that each year when I go back the EPCOT of my childhood is gone a little more.
The ride was like a Haunted Mansion meets Carousel of Progress giving us magical look at our past, the various ways we have envisioned the future in those eras, and finally a look at how we would live in the future with looks at the space station Brava Centauri , the desert farm of Mesa Verde , or from the Sea Castle underwater research base. When I went on Horizons as a kid I remember riding it with my sister and my best friend Brandon. We would ride the omnimover attraction over and over. In the beginning we were just trying to take it all in and get each of the 3 custom endings you could have. Then we just wanted to keep getting the space ending, I mean it was the 1980’s. As you exited the ride you were shown an amazing mural (seen below) called the “Prologue and the Promise” which simultaneously looked at the history of mankind and the future we could build (This is frequently the background on my computer.)
The ride just overflowed with optimism to this day I still think the ride had a profound impact on me, including my love of Jules Verne and Art Deco style, my chosen career, and my general outlook. It is also in part probably why I loved the optimistic message of Brad Bird’s film Tomorrowland so much. I am a history teacher but each year following the inevitable last chapter that looks at terrorism, global pandemics, climate change, and more we conclude with a future unit of all the the amazing ways we are trying to tackle those problems and make the future a better place.
When it comes to Horizons there is no more iconic character then the surly looking robot butler that showed how they thought future might some day look in the art deco style of the 1930’s.
My custom Funko pop consists of a blank head on a tuxedo chest but with completely scratch build arms and legs made out of poly polystyrene. I even cut small polystyrene rods into thin slices for the bolts all over his body. I custom sculpted the plates on his head. I was very torn and wanted add more details and his angled head but thought I should keep the look more in the real of the the minimalist Pop style. But I did add the lowered eyelids and the nose.
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Until next time…
The Imagine Ears features the DIY projects, adventures, and thoughts of a father and daughter who use a shared love of all things Disney to create memories together through encouraging her interests in architecture, design, Imagineering, while exploring history and science.