Welcome back to Disney Extinct Attractions. My name is Cole, and I'll be your guide on today's unofficial journey to some of the Disney Parks around the world.
Just yesterday, Disneyland announced that they will be moving forward on their plans to build a luxury hotel and new parking structure in the resort. I was a little surprised by the placement of the hotel as its location right against the Disneyland Hotel seems a little forced, but I think that it will ultimately help define the area. The parking lot is also a fantastic idea because they will definitely need the extra spaces for when Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge opens.
Thinking about these changes helps me reflect on how much the Disneyland Resort 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 completely back into the Parks, let's take a trip to the cinema of 1989.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids debuted on June 23rd, 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 primarily 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 was practically screaming to be put in the theme parks.
So sure enough, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (or HISTA as I'll refer to it throughout this article) opened in the Imagination Pavilion of EPCOT on November 21st, 1994. Originally sponsored by Kodak, 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 was truly one to behold, so check it out below.
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. This short film perfectly epitomizes everything that Walt stood for, bringing his ideals together in a way that most full-fledged attractions cannot.
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.
So now let's take a peek at what happened in the attraction. 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 even 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 increase the realm. But I don't want to say much more in case you want to watch it for yourself, which you can find below.
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 15th, 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 below.
Other than that, the experience was almost identical, with the exception being the show was dubbed in Japanese, of course. They also accommodated for guests who preferred English, 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, which opened on March 28th, 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 a part of New Tomorrowland on May 22nd, 1998, HISTA 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 4th, 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 23rd, 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 by 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. 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.
- These attractions both appeared in the same park.
- The park these attractions appeared in no longer has an opening day attraction.
- One of these attractions featured was based on a Disney channel show and the other featured Drew Carey.
I hope you guys enjoyed this attraction because I really enjoyed having the chance to revisit it. It serves as my chance to say good bye.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!