Captain EO approaching

The musical space adventure starring Michael Jackson in the 3D movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola featuring two original songs by Michael Jackson and a score by James Horner has been attracting guests at the original Disneyland in Anaheim, USA, in droves since it returned as “Captain EO Tribute” earlier this year to replace (temporarily) the aging “Honey, I Shrunkt the Audience” movie (short: HISTA). Also reports on various websites indicate that the merchandise (even so limited in scope) is flying off the shelves.

Therefore, fans who had wondered about a possible return of the movie to the other Disney parks it originally played in were wondering, whether or when the resorts in Orlando, Tokyo and Paris would follow the lead of Anaheim. The answers are now coming in. Disneyland Paris will close its Imagination Institute showing HISTA according to a leaked internal memo on May 3rd to start the transformation and then open “Captain EO” either in mid-June or July (for details check out our coverage on

On Monday, local time, the Oriental Land Company as operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort also confirmed with a press release that it will close HISTA as of May 10th for the return of” Captain EO”. Note that the press release does only speak of “Captain EO” – the “Tribute” tag-on used by Disneyland Anaheim isn’t mentioned here (btw neither is the leaked internal memo from Disneyland Paris). While Disneyland only stated that the run of the movie would be limited, Tokyo Disney Resort announces exact dates. Apparently the show will only be featured from July 1st, 2010 till June 30th 2010. As the resort expects high guest demand and the 17 minute movie is shown in a theater with just 369 seats they will even offer FastPass service for it! For comparison: the Magic Eye Theater at Disneyland Anaheim (in which the movie plays) has seats for 575 guests, the theaters at Disneyland Paris and EPCOT each about 600 seats.

This only leaves Walt Disney World as the final remaining Disney resort in which “Captain EO” was originally featured…

Originally there had been some rumors that the management of Walt Disney World was looking into bringing “Captain EO” back to the Magic Eye Theater in EPCOT at the same time as Disneyland, however, they decided against it. With the success in Anaheim, though, WDW seems to reconsider it. Screamscape yesterday reported that it is getting slipped according information. If correct WDW might – just as the other two resorts following the lead of Anaheim – be looking into closing HISTA sometime in May to get Captain EO back up in time for the busy summer season. As in Anaheim and Tokyo the return would be for a limited time only. Screamscape mentions a limited run of one year that could be extended – based on the success – for a second year.

Considering that HISTA hasn’t aged very well in any of the four resorts that were showing it a “successful” return for “Captain EO” and thus extensions of the limited runs should be nearly slotted in. Afterall HISTA often was playing to many empty seats in the theaters and – different from the “Captain EO Tribute” in Anaheim – wasn’t moving any merchandise.

If the currently rumored closing dates for HISTA at Disneyland Paris (May 3rd) turns out to be correct that would be a week before Tokyo Disney Resort. I.e. for now Tokyo Disneyland and EPCOT jostle for the honor to be the last Disney theme park in which HISTA is shown. For “Captain EO” (prior to its return) this honor went to Disneyland Paris btw, where it closed only in 1998. However, what will happen AFTER the limited run of “Captain EO” is finished in the various locations?

In theory HISTA could return. However, its lackluster performance / popularity (sometimes neatly described as “HISTA not having aged very well”) is a good point against bringing it back. Rumors for Disneyland Anaheim mention that it might be replaced with the “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” already found in the Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” is a “living character” experience in which CGI-animated stars of the Disney Pixar hit “Monsters, Inc.” entertain the audience in a comedy club with various jokes. However, the program i.e. the selection of jokes changes randomly between shows and guests can text joke proposals while waiting in line for the show to start.

While no rumors for Tokyo Disneyland have surfaced so far they could adopt this attraction as well. But then there is already a hugely popular “Monsters, Inc.” darkride just a few steps aways from the theater location in Tomorrowland. Also Tokyo Disney Resort in the past has been willing to fund the development of new, exclusive attractions frequently on its own, so it might come up with something all new instead.

For EPCOT – assuming that “Captain EO” will return there as well – “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” is not an option. Afterall the original version is already found at Walt Disney World. Also here it has to be considered that the theater is part of the pavillion sponsored by Kodak. However, so far no rumors have surfaced.

This brings us to Disneyland Paris. In theory “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” could be an option here as well. However, if realized it would require the performances to be conducted in changing languages similar to “Stitch Live!” at the Walt Disney Studios Park to adopt to the various mother languages of the European guests. But then once again so far no rumors about the future replacement for “Captain EO” have been mentioned and the leaked internal memo does not with a single word mention that the return of “Captain EO” would only be temporary…

Looking at the overall situation of potential replacements there might even be a chance that Disney could produce a new 3D/4D movie as replacement for “Captain EO”, afterall there would be up to 3 theaters to play it in, even if Disneyland Anaheim does go with the “Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor” rumor. In addition it could be an option to add a theater for such movie also to Hong Kong Disneyland and the upcoming Disneyland in China bringing the total count then up to 5 theaters and thus resorts that could share the costs. On the other hand it has to be considered that all 3D/4D movies age notoriously bad and are often considered to have a low “re-visibility”-factor. In other words: more interesting rumors should be coming right on the heels of the openings of the various “Captain EO” presentations…

UPDATE: an official PUBLIC confirmation for the return of “Captain EO” to Disneyland Paris and to EPCOT has been released – check out our breaking news coverage!

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One Response to “Captain EO approaching”

  1. Captain EO – an update from outerspace | - Disneyland Paris News & Rumors Says:

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