Welcome back to Disney Extinct Attractions! My name is Cole Geryak, and I will be your guide on today’s unofficial journey to Disney Parks all around the world. First, I want to thank all of you guys for reading and helping this blog become a success! Currently, if you search “Disney extinct attractions” online, it is on the second page of Google and twice on the first page of Bing! So thank you for reading because it is pretty awesome that it is that high up after not even four months!
Speaking of readers, let’s jump into the segment where I answer questions from you guys! Today’s question comes from one of my buds from school, Carl Blew. Carl asks, “When did Disney first invite live musicians into the parks daily?” Disney has actually had live performers in its parks since the very beginning of Disneyland’s history, with one of the most prominent being Wally Boag. Wally performed at the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Disneyland for decades, and one day in the future I’ll get around to writing about his show, so keep a lookout for that! Thanks for the great question, Carl! My stash of questions is running low, so be sure to keep sending them in either on Facebook or email me at email@example.com.
In the parks, Disneyland celebrated its 61st anniversary last Sunday, and I was lucky enough to be there with some family and some great Disney friends! There was a short birthday celebration in Town Square, but other than that there were no special events. Any day in the Disney Parks is an amazing day, though, so I’m not complaining!
Being there on the anniversary helped me reflect on opening day back in 1955 and on how much the park has changed over the years. As this blog talks about, so many attractions are always coming and going, as are restaurants, shops, and especially sponsors. But some of those sponsors stick around for the long haul, presenting attraction after attraction. One such sponsor was Kodak, the presenter of this week’s attraction (though no longer a Disney sponsor as of 2012).
But before we move back to the Parks, let’s take a trip to the cinema of 1989!
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids debuted on June 23, 1989, right as the Disney Renaissance was beginning to bring the Disney Company back to the center of the entertainment spectrum. Most people remember this time for the reemergence of Disney animation, so great movies like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids tend to get overlooked. In fact, the film was so successful that for five years, it was Disney’s highest grossing live-action movie ever! With results like that, the movie practically screamed to be put in the theme parks!
And sure enough, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (HISTA) opened in the Imagination Pavilion of EPCOT on November 21, 1994! Originally sponsored by Kodak (They’re back!), the attraction took over the Magic Eye Theater, where Captain EO had helped guests change the world for years before.
Kodak’s presence was seen the most in the attraction’s preshow, where guests watched a slideshow set to the tune of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.” Normally, I kind of tune out the preshows when I am at the Parks because I’m busy talking to friends and getting excited for the main experience ahead, but this short film really amazed me when I watched it in preparation for writing this article!
The preshow simply shows pictures of people doing various activities, with different inspiring quotes thrown into the mix from time to time. The quotes are really what hit me because they talk all about imagination and never giving up on your dreams. I truly feel like this short film perfectly epitomizes everything that Walt stood for, bringing his ideals together in a way that most full-fledged attractions cannot! I don’t want to say too much more about it because I really think that my words cannot do it justice, so here’s a link to the video so you can see the influence of Walt for yourself!
After the preshow introduced the beauty of imagination to waiting guests, they would move into the main theater where our favorite scientist, Wayne Szalinski, was going to be receiving the prestigious honor of Inventor of the Year! Wayne, along with much of the show’s cast, were played by the same actors as in the film, helping the attraction feel like a mini-sequel. But there was one extra treat because the great Eric Idle originates the role of Dr. Nigel Channing in this short film!
Dr. Nigel Channing practically took over the Imagination pavilion when Journey into Your Imagination opened, though it closed soon after! But luckily, he was included in the successor to that attraction, Journey into Imagination with Figment, so long live Dr. Channing! [Though his time there may be short because an attraction based off of Inside Out would fit perfectly there!)
Now that my Eric Idle tangent is over (it’s merely a flesh wound!), let’s take a peek at what happened in the attraction. I really love the above picture because it hits some of the highlights of the show and the pictures are better quality than almost any of the other ones I could find!
Just as in the movie and its sequels, mayhem and hilarity ensue when Szalinski’s incredible shrinking machine malfunctions! As you could have guessed from the name, the machine shrinks the audience to the size that a child can pick up the theater. What made the whole experience more fun was that the theater was actually a giant simulator, so guests’ seats would move along with the movie to up the realism ante. But I don’t want to say much more in case you want to watch it for yourself! You can find the video right here, and if you skip to around minute 34:00, you’ll find the best quality version of it. It is a 3D movie, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to!
Walt Disney World did not get to have all the fun, though! Honey, I Shrunk the Audience made its way around the globe reaching three different continents by the end of its run. The next iteration of the attraction opened in Tokyo Disneyland’s Tomorrowland on April 15, 1997 as MicroAdventure! Tokyo’s version was the only version not sponsored by Kodak, with the Japan Credit Bureau taking over that duty. Unfortunately, that meant it was missing the amazing preshow from EPCOT. However, it did have a very funny preshow of its own, featuring the one and only Dr. Nigel Channing! I was actually surprised by how much I laughed watching it, so if you want a quick chuckle, you can find it right here!
Other than that, the experience was almost identical, with the exception being the show was dubbed in Japanese, of course! They accommodated for guests who preferred English, as well, as they could sit in the first couple of rows and use headphones, a neat little added touch.
That innovative headphone approach didn’t get lost in translation to the Disneyland Paris version (Ok, it’s not grammatically perfect, but I had to make the reference!), which opened on March 28, 1999 in Discoveryland. In fact, there were over five different languages that one could watch the show in, truly providing flexibility for the various guests coming to the park.
The only other notable difference from the EPCOT version is that “True Colors” was sung by Cyndi Lauper herself. In EPCOT and the next version of the attraction, two unknown singers lent their voices to a rendition of the classic song, but only Paris got the real deal!
Now if you liked the design of the entrance to HISTA in Disneyland Paris, you have Disneyland’s version to thank! Opening as part of New Tomorrowland on May 22, 1998, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience in Disneyland was a replica of the original EPCOT version. The queue changed obviously, but all of the logistics of the preshow and main attraction were exactly the same as its Florida counterpart!
However, Disneyland’s version actually left the Parks a few months before any of the others, officially closing on January 4, 2010. Michael Jackson had passed away in June of 2009, and fans immediately began to ask that Disney bring back Captain EO as a special tribute to the King of Pop. The fact that fans wanted this tribute actually worked perfectly at Disneyland because Star Tours was going to be transforming into Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, so management needed an attraction to pull in crowds in Tomorrowland. HISTA would have been unable to do that, so Captain EO returned to Disneyland on February 23, 2010! The revival was such a hit at Disneyland that the short film took over for Honey, I Shrunk the Audience at every single location in June of 2010.
Originally intended as a short-term replacement, Captain EO managed to stick around at each park for years before retiring again, leaving fans wondering what was going to happen to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. No official announcement was made as to its fate when it closed, so lots of rumors were floating around as to what would happen after Captain EO. Unfortunately, HISTA did not return at any of its former venues, but maybe if we can get enough fans asking for it, we can revive it as well! Eric Idle is no Michael Jackson, but I sure would like to see Honey, I Shrunk the Audience just one more time because I never got the chance to say a true goodbye!
And with that, we have returned to full-size with curiosity for what will come next week! Luckily, you can take a guess based off of these clues.
1. These attractions congregated in parks with references to the movies.
2. The attractions travelled throughout a park opening in 2001.
3. One of the attractions featured some of your favorite Pixar characters.
Ok, sorry for the weird clues, but it was hard to think of them for this week! Thanks again for your support, and I hope you enjoyed this post! As always, I love hearing back from you all about what you think! You can find me on this blog’s Facebook Group, Twitter Page, or at firstname.lastname@example.org! I really do love hearing everyone’s thoughts, so be sure to reach out, especially with questions!
And with that wonderful joke, have a magical day!