The incredible true story of the Epcot Horizons superfans who ruled the ride


Originally published at:


Do they not charge admission?


Season passes.


That was the only ride I liked at EPCOT. (I also remember “Captain Eo” but it was always packed with screaming little girls.) The rest of the park was just a blur with comments of “Damn it’s hot. Can we leave yet?”


“Capricorn-15’s born 2244: Enter the Carousel. This is the time of renewal.”


not exactly in the same league, but me and my buddies from school figured out how to get into Nashville’s Opryland when it was still in business but while it was closed for the season. They would re-open just the courtyard to the entrance for their Christmas light display. Due to the terrain, the fence was slightly under waist-high at one out-of-the way section. Once inside, there was nobody but us. It was a maybe eight or nine of us just leisurely walking around at night, chatting and laughing in our normal voices–no hint of any security. We stepped into the drained log-flume ride and walked up to the top (and then smoked out, naturally.) There was a section of one of the roller-coasters that you could get onto at the lowest point, but really climbing it was beyond our abilities. nothing too earth-shaking, but a fun memory.


Everybody should have a hobby.


Shades of Spider Robinson’s The Free Lunch.


I grew up within walking distance from a legit urban/industrial area, freight yard, and heavy cargo docks. Not as cool as Epcot backstage, but still pretty fun for a kid.

Do kids still have this kind of access to places they shouldn’t go?


The unfortunate truth is no, it’s a sad fact that our urban industrial landscapes are now verboten to exploration.


I adored Horizons – I have a few unauthorized DVDs of ridethrus and documentaries – so seeing these scenes up close is just crazy pants. This was truly a different era, before high security and too many litigious guests; these days if you even stretch your arms too far out of your vehicle it can stop the ride, much less step out of it.

The only time I got close to this was sneaking into Wonders of Life after it’d closed and getting into some of the rooms. What I’d really love to do is sneak upstairs at Imagination to see what’s left, if anything, of ImageWorks.


So sad.


At the very least there are lots of intrusion mats along the rv paths for pretty much any of the rides now. I’ve been told a couple old stories about specific incidents at DW Haunted Mansion involving guests that got hurt after disembarking mid-ride, prompting some of those security changes. Plus changes made for cast safety on many rides such as LOTO (lock out, tag out) protocols for halting ride op while someone has to go in the works


Technical minor here, saying from completely anecdotal experience: yes. I’ve grown up in a shipping town no longer in its prime, with a number of derelict grain elevators ripe for exploration surrounded by abandoned piers and railroad tracks. These places were unquestionably dangerous and out of the road, so of course they’re the perfect locations for exploration. Outside one police warning for trespassing, we never had a single problem getting in or out. This was engaged in regularly until about 2014 so I don’t think it’s too dated. Those who say that it’s no longer possible aren’t giving us “kids” enough credit for getting into places we don’t belong in.


Well, I lived just across the river from Cincinnati in Kentucky for about five years, and there were abandoned houses, churches, factories, and warehouses all over the place that my friends and I would sneak into and photograph on weekends. That kind of thing’s a terrible idea within urban areas of cities, but in more rural or industrial areas, it’s great fun. We even got inside an abandoned waterpark once. Never had a single run-in with security.


Short answer, no. AFAIK most kids (urban or suburban) are not allowed to explore on their own.


How are you supposed to have a decent adventure if there aren’t any creepy caretakers around?


a theme park in East Berlin didn’t survive reunification and was left rotting. so what to do when you’re exploring* the scenery? climb over the fence




but aside from the break-in we were totally on the right side of the law, we even bought S-Bahn tickets!

* over 7 years ago! fuck! time flys by faster and faster


It has always been verboten, I don’t think kids will ever stop finding places they shouldn’t be.


Speaking as a parent, I have mixed feelings about this. I do hope my kids will feel the same curiosity about the world around them that I felt (and still feel). On the other hand, there’s this: