It's back! Almost 13 years after it's last showing, Captain EO has made a return to Disneyland. Personally, I'm very happy about this. It's not because it was my all-time favorite Disneyland attraction, although I did enjoy it a thousand times more than what replaced it. It's just the fact that ANY retired attraction that gets to make a return to Disneyland gives me hope for more of this happening in the future. I was practically shocked out of my wits to see the 1967 version of "America The Beautiful" make a return to the CircleVision Theater in 1996. Until then, I don't think anything like that had happened before. Then the Canoes made a return to the Rivers of America after being closed for a year in the late 1990's. The Submarine Voyage also made a return, even if it does have a new theme now. We've also gotten to see the reopening of the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-thru. Now if we could just see the PeopleMover come back.....oh, and Adventure Thru Inner Space......and the return of the Carousel Theater as an ACTUAL theater....oh, and Nature's Wonderland. Am I being too greedy? Okay, just the PeopleMover would be a nice start!
So Captain EO is back, but how long will it stay? Well, Wikipedia already has the closing date listed for it as January 2, 2011, but knowing Disney, that date isn't necessarily set in stone. Whether it stays one year or ten years, will probably depend on how popular it is and whether or not Disney wants to spend the money to put something else into that space. In the meantime, I thought that it might be fun to go back through the history of this particular attraction "space" at Disneyland and look at all the different things that have sat on that spot over the years. Ready for another time traveling post? The time machine is engaged........here we go!
In the beginning, there were the Flying Saucers. Speaking of returns, they're coming back too, but this time to DCA. They are going to be redesigned as "hovering tires." Will they be as visually attractive as the 1960's Tomorrowland version? I guess, we will just have to wait and see.
Next, there was the Tomorrowland Stage which played host to The Kids of the Kingdom, The All American College Marching Band, The Osmonds, E. J. Peaker , the broadcast of the 1969 moon landing, and a whole lot more during it's nine year run.
In the 1970's, when Space Mountain was planned for this spot, a stage was worked into the design so that outdoor stage shows could continue in Tomorrowland.
After EPCOT CENTER opened in 1982, the 3-D movie "Magic Journeys" premiered at Disneyland on the Space Mt./Space Stage. Of course, since it was an outdoor theater, performances couldn't begin until "Nightfall."
Then in 1986, this pleasant open air space was walled up, changing the appearance of the original Space Mountain Complex forever. The newly enclosed area was renamed The Magic Eye Theater and hosted Captain EO for the next ten and a half years. Personally I would have rather seen a temporary ceiling and walls go up around this space so that when attendance declined over the years, the film could have been shown only at night, allowing for the Space Stage to be utilized again during the day.
The photo above was taken in 1997 after Captain EO had already closed permanently. Note the empty case that once held the attraction poster. Below is a photo of the poster and the display case from two years earlier.
POST UPDATE: Check out my newer post: Captain EO-Land At Tokyo Disneyland!