Captain EO Returns to EPCOT’s Imagination Pavilion

This is the original sign from when the attraction closed 16 years ago

When you think of EPCOT you don’t typically think Retro. After all it’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. And yet, there is something natural about having science fiction at the park in the form of Captain EO, even if it’s a flashback from the 80s. It’s nice of Disney to offer this tribute to superstar Michael Jackson.

This is the first time I can remember a warning sign for ‘Loud Noise’

Nostalgia is playing a big role across Walt Disney World and Disneyland right now. MSEP, World of Color, A Princess heavy Fantasyland, and Carsland all tug on our fondness for the past. This mix of nostalgia, entertainment, history is what Walt Disney loved and built with Disneyland. So again, it just seems natural.

Lot’s more below the jump…

The new cast member costume isn’t very exciting, but I definitely want one of these Captain EO patches.

What wasn’t natural was fashion in the 80s. So actually watching the Captain EO pre-show ( they are replaying the original one from 1986 ) and the costume and production design of the movie brings back some fashion choices of my own that I wish to forget.

A new sign greets guests

Captain EO is returning for a limited, but open-ended, run. When they decided to bring Captain EO back, Imagineers started looking around for the original plans for the marquee sign. When they called Engineering, they said no need, they had the actual sign that was taken down 16 years ago hanging on their wall. So that’s pretty cool how Disney’s movie studio habit of saving everything comes back to save some money every now and then.

New decorations inside even down to the carpet.

The lobby has been redecorated with new carpet and wall signs — although a little bird told me they’ve just put the new stuff right over top of the old Honey I Shrunk The Audience decor for a swift transfer. The theater only needed some small cosmetic work — mostly they covered up the TV screen used in HISTA.

The Merch Cart is down in front of the Imagination Pavilion.

I want to take this moment to make another pitch for making a TRON 4D movie based on the new movie series and not bringing back HISTA. That film is wildly out of date.

All the tags have this special mention of Michael Jackson.

The biggest change was the lack of lasers. So the nifty laser logo has been replaced by a new one. They only other spot they’re really missed is during the space duel when the sound of lasers firing into the audience is in the sound track, but no lights or lasers were activated.

This button is a popular souvenir. I saw them around the park alot.

Whatever is missing was more than made up for by using some of the special effects that had been added for the HISTA show. No spoilers, so you’ll have to find out how they’re used on your own.

The back has the Michael Jackson mention and a price tag from Disneyland. Must have just shipped the merchandise straight from Anaheim.

This wouldn’t be Disney if they didn’t have a merchandise opportunity. It’s all pretty much the same merchandise that was available at Disneyland for Captain EO’s return there. Some of the items even have Disneyland Price Tags on them.

I do think this was a good move by Disney World. However, when I went again this morning, I didn’t see any special promotion of Captain EO in the park besides a listing in the times guide. There wasn’t even a mention in the Map (but it was a 6/10 print date, so maybe there is new one coming soon). A Map Cover would draw more guests than the sprinkling that were at my 9:45 AM show.

At the press event, which was also a cast member rewards event, it turned out that about 40% of the audience had never seen Captain EO before. I imagine the percentage of day guests it’s even larger. I hope more people come and experience the show, which was an amazing accomplishment in its time, and leave with the message of “you’re just another part of me” so we should all treat each other with love and kindness in their heart and a moonwalk on their feet.