This officially stands as unconfirmed information, but several sources, including one speaking directly to DLRP Today, have reported this evening that Captain EO will close once and for all at Disneyland Paris on 2nd April 2012. The final day of operation for the reborn Discoveryland 3-D cinema attraction will reportedly be Sunday, 1st April 2012 — ironically also the first day of the 20th Anniversary celebrations. News of the closure was apparently revealed to Cast Members at the attraction today, with no announcement of an imminent replacement.
A somewhat out-of-the-way location and a similarly dated neighbour in the original Star Tours, which remains in operation at Disneyland Paris, can’t have helped its success.
We noted last September that the attraction, already operating limited daily opening hours, was even beginning to remain closed completely on some quieter off-season days, as attendance clearly failed to meet requirements. Another potential factor in a closure could be the problems faced by its sponsor, Kodak, with Eastman Kodak Company having filed for bankruptcy in January, though the company remains an official partner and is ever-present at various other locations.
If the attraction’s Cast Members were hoping for a boost in attendance, they’ll now surely get it on the weekend of 1st April, when fans and Annual Passholders will descend on the resort for the premiere of Disney Dreams! and a grand, final farewell to Captain EO…
Is Disneyland Paris beginning to wind down its Captain EO encore? A quick look at the latest Closure & Refurbishment dates for the parks now shows the Discoveryland attraction marked as closed on weekdays for the first three weeks of October: 3rd to 7th, 10th to 14th and 17th to 21st. Those infamous yellow 3-D glasses were also kept out of guests’ hands last week, when EO closed from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd September, suggesting that — rather than simple refurbishment as first expected — a new “peak days only” operating programme could be coming into force.
Michael Jackson and George Lucas fans have already had to contend with some very limited hours for the 3-D theatre show this year, with the first performance of the day held back until 11am and a closing time set far short of the rest of the park at around 5 or 6pm. The return has always been on an indefinite run, but if you’re a particular fan of this “rag-tag band lead by the infamous Captain EO”, you might want to catch an encore next time you can, just in case.
Captain EO returned to all its original locations at Disneyland in California, Epcot in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Park in Paris last year. Though originally confirmed as “not returning” in the Backstage magazine for Cast Members, it ended up reopening in Paris a month ahead of the other international parks on 12th June 2010. This was still some way behind the February opening of the “Tribute” show in California, and though the relaunch garnered some initial publicity it is clear there has been only muted excitement for Jackson’s return to Disneyland Paris among regular guests. With no replacement yet in sight for the other parks, Discoveryland faces having a high-capacity theatre shuttered for much of the time — all the while, right next door to an out-of-date Star Tours.
Oh, but then 23rd February this year came and went, and the slightly re-titled ‘Captain EO Tribute’ opened in California, proving an immediate crowd-puller — especially compared to the tired old tricks of HISTA. As MiceAge calculated, the theatre was now welcoming not 1,500 to 2,500 visitors a day but more like 15,000 or 16,000, clearly using the space much more efficiently.
So it’s confirmed: ‘EO’ will return to ALL its former locations, officially opening (or re-opening) on 12th June 2010 at Disneyland Paris. This of course means we have to say goodbye to Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, which closes in just a few days’ time on 3rd May 2010, giving around six weeks for a swift changeover of the theatre to get it looking a little more like its original 1992 state.
Still don’t believe it? Here’s the press release:
‘Captain EO’ Returns to Disneyland Paris
Classic Attraction Featuring Michael Jackson to re-open in June
LONDON 28 APRIL 2010 Due to the overwhelming response from both guests and Michael Jackson fans at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim since February, “Captain EO,” the classic musical spectacular that thrilled Disneyland Park guests from 1992-1998 will return to Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland Resort this summer.
The attraction’s return to Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland on 12 June 2010, provides new audiences with the opportunity to experience the original 3D production for the very first time, as well as a nostalgic look back for longtime fans wanting to see “The King of Pop” in a rare performance created for the big-screen.
Twenty-three years ago, at the height of his phenomenal entertainment career, Michael Jackson joined forces with Disney, producer George Lucas and director Francis Ford Coppola to create a groundbreaking 17-minute 3D film experience starring Jackson as Captain EO performing two original songs, and featuring Academy Award®-winning actress Anjelica Huston, and a cast of merry, mythical space characters with dual personalities who undergo magical transformations to become Jackson’s electronic band in conquering the forces of darkness.
The colorful Disney-created characters include: Hooter, the little green elephant-like creature who sneezes wild musical notes through his flute-like trunk; Fuzzball, the orange-haired space monkey with butterfly wings; the Geex, a golden-haired, two-faced personality with two left feet, one right foot and two shaggy heads named Idy and Ody; Major Domo, whose mirrored silver costume becomes a complete set of drums, and Minor Domo with his sparkling purple torso that turns into an electronic synthesizer played by Hooter.
For all its technology, “Captain EO” is first and foremost a musical spectacular and a thrilling space-fantasy adventure. The realism of the 3D process will once again make it seem that Jackson dances right out of the screen into the theater. It will boast a new 70mm print of the film and sound better than ever thanks to acoustical enhancements made to the theater since the film last played there. The total effect is one of motion, color and high energy filled with Jackson’s musical brilliance and various illusions to create an exciting and realistic journey in space for the audience.
During the journey, Captain EO and his merry crew discover a colorless planet where they are confronted by the Supreme Leader (Huston) and her forces of darkness. Using the power of music, dance and light to fill the planet and the theater with all the shades of the rainbow, the EO crew turns the black and white land into a magical world of color and happiness.
“Captain EO” makes use of more famous-name talents than any other film of its length ever produced. The production called on Hollywood’s finest choreographers, set designers, costume creators and special effects artists — all of them excited by the challenge of shooting this kind of imaginative film in three dimensions.
“Captain EO” will be presented multiple times daily at Disneyland Paris from 12 June 2010
Along with the video above, several stills have been dug out to accompany the press release:
The attraction will also re-open at Tokyo Disneyland on 30th June and at Epcot in Florida on 2nd July, making Disneyland Paris the first park beyond California to welcome back the sci-fi adventure film. Something that, given the resort’s past reluctance to catch up (‘EO’ was already almost six years old when it opened, ‘HISTA’ took over five years after its Epcot debut) comes as even more of a surprise.
Of course, though 16th August 1998 was the last time you could see the 3-D George Lucas “space opera” in Paris, guests actually enjoyed it under the name of ‘CinéMagique‘ (probably making our Disney resort the only one to have had two completely different attractions share the same name). Like the Magic Eye Theater in California, this was the name given to the building — but also as the title on park maps and at the entrance. Captain EO just happened to be the film playing. So, in a round-about way, ‘Captain EO’ (or perhaps ‘Captain EO Tribute’) will be a brand new addition to the park maps come 12th June — that’s presuming they’re reprinted, since the current lot extend to 6th November but will now soon be out-of-date.
Captain EO‘s return to these parks will be on the same “limited time” basis as its reopening in California, though with no end date currently announced, serving both to celebrate Michael Jackson truly at his peak and to bide some time before a true follow-up to HISTA can be Imagineered. Rumours for California have suggested the interactive “living character” attraction Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, but this already being at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, would still leave Epcot needing a new filler for its Imagination pavilion, and for us, those Pixar monsters (even with a now-confirmed sequel on the way) might finally prove one step too far from the original Discoveryland concept.
But back to today — let’s say our fond farewells to HISTA, the mice tails and dog sneezes which so entertained us on our first visit, and prepare to welcome back an unexpected piece of the past — a rare chance for the visitors of today to experience some Euro Souvenirland history… in 3-D!
Regaining interest since the death of its lead earlier this year, the short film will return to its original home in Disneyland, California, for a “limited engagement” from February 2010.
Since this rumour first appeared, and especially since these plans were confirmed, fans of the other international resorts have obviously been questioning whether ‘EO’ could also, even temporarily, replace ‘HISTA’ in their home park.
Now, Disneyland Paris have given their answer. As confirmed by the press department in Le Journal and reported by Photos Magiques on Twitter, Captain EO will not be returning to Marne-la-Vallée.
Original CinéMagique: Captain EO entrance.
The 3-D special effects attraction originally played in Paris from opening day on 12th April 1992 up to 17th August 1998, when it closed to become Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (HISTA). On this date, Disneyland Paris was the last park in the world you could see the film — it having closed elsewhere over a year earlier and at Epcot over 4 years earlier.
Starring Michael Jackson in a film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, executive produced by George Lucas and featuring music by James Horder, it was one of the flagships of Michael Eisner’s arrival at the company when it premiered in the US parks in 1986. In Paris, the attraction was actually named CinéMagique, a variation on the “Magic Eye Theater” of California, making the resort perhaps the only one to have had two completely different yet identically-named attractions in its history.
With Honey, I Shrunk the Audience hardly doing a roaring trade over the back of Discoveryland, opening such limited hours as 11am to 6pm during the Summer high season, it remains to be seen what all-new replacement will eventually come about for the tired 3-D film. Rumours on MiceAge.com have suggested the limited-time showing of ‘EO’ in California could be followed by the arrival of Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, a living character show (think Stitch Live!) from Florida’s Magic Kingdom. Could this be rolled out to ourselves and Tokyo? That’d still leave the problem of Epcot’s theatre.
In any case, Paris will likely have to wait for the other resorts to make their move in replacing HISTA first. It doesn’t appear to be much of a priority and, with the Californians now buying time with a nostalgia trip, this firm “non, merci” to EO‘s return means Wayne Szalinski will likely be winning Inventor of the Year a good few more times yet — even if there’s hardly any Audience left to shrink.
Some items copyright Disney. This website is independent of and not supported, endorsed by or connected to Disneyland® Paris, The Walt Disney Company, Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., Disney Enterprises, Inc. or their subsidiaries and affiliates.