The Future Technology Disney Predicted Right and Wrong Back in the 80s

May 15, 2015

If you’re stumbling onto this blog for the first time I’ll preface this post with…this is really random but I felt compelled to write it nonetheless.

Last night my kids were talking to my mom on Facetime on my phone. I was cooking dinner and they were telling her about their soccer game and other things. As I was cooking dinner my mom made a comment about how long my hair was and I just smiled and waved as I continued to cook dinner. The entire scene seemed very familiar, it was very Deja Vu-like. A little while later a memory hit me of watching a very similar scene as a child when on a Disney World ride. The scene in my memory was of a Disney World attraction where they showed what the technology of the future might hold. I specifically remember watching in awe as a family was speaking to their grandparents on live video at a birthday party perhaps? The family lived in what seemed like outer space and the grandparents lived in what seemed like a futuristic city, at least, that’s what my 10-year-old memory had remembered. Here’s the kicker, I remember thinking how cool yet improbable that was to be communicating that way yet here we were essentially communicating exactly like that not even 20 years later. It made me start thinking, what else did Disney World get right?

My first task was to figure out the name of that ride so I could research it. Interestingly enough, Disney itself as well as many Disney super fans have cataloged almost every retired attraction ever built. My biggest problem was remembering if the ride I had encountered was at Disney World or Epcot since I knew I had visited both. I finally stumbled upon a name that was familiar, Horizons, which indeed was a ride that was created in 1983 at Epcot. After I knew the name it was easy to find all the information I wanted about it mainly because some of the super fans are actually super fans of the ride itself! Enough so that they created and dedicated entire websites for Horizons and had gone through the stuff when the ride was demolished in 1999. Some of these fans even raved about their most precious moments when they met the actors who were in the videos on the ride in the most fan geek fashion. (See for yourself).

Anyway, after a little digging here’s what I came up with that Disney got right and wrong 20 years down the line. Keep in mind that I’m in no way a scientist so I’m speaking from what the general society sees in everyday mainstream…not what someone is doing in a lab because for all I know they are cooking up some crystals somewhere right now that really can heal you but as of today I still can’t buy any at CVS.

What “Future” Technology Disney Predicted and Got Right


With the dawn of Skype, Chromecast, Alexa and of course FaceTime people have been communicating very similar to how Disney depicted back in the 80s.

Aeroponic Gardening

Aeroponic Garden

Photo Lamanda Joy

If you’ve been to the Chicago Airport lately you’ve perhaps seen in Terminal 3 the first-ever airport aeroponic garden which is used to supply the Airport restaurants. This is a type of gardening that is used to grow plants without soil.  Disney had an almost identical layout to the real-life picture above on the Horizons ride.

Drones, AI, and Digital Printers

Drones in desert

On the Horizons ride, Disney had AI helping out farmers in the desert gardens. AI has is currently reshaping not only agriculture but very much in use with logistics (such as shipping), manufacturing, and more.

Virtual Reality Cycle Trainer

There is a quick screenshot of someone exercising on a bike in the space station/city. The cycling trainer is essentially hooked up to a VR screen. Although we’re not all living on a space station plenty of people do use trainers such as CycleOps, Peloton Cycle to perform virtual training.

A Few Casual Narrator Quotes that Ring True

While visiting the underwater city on the ride there is a classroom of kids all suited up in their scuba gear. They’re hanging out with a seal and the teacher is preparing them for their underwater adventure at which point she asks, “What’s the most important tool while underwater?” The answer she corrects a student is “good judgment.” As a mom, I’d agree that if there ever was an underwater city that good judgment is the most important tool. Point Disney.

The Future Technology Disney Predicted and Got Wrong

Life Below Sea

We’re still landlubbers in 2015 and other than a few novelty hotel rooms under water and very expensive submersibles to purchase not much civilization is forming within the ocean…..yet.

Marine Mining Cities

I know of ocean drilling rigs but as far as I know, underwater floating cities have not been built around these rigs to support infrastructure.


Lots of talk about crystals in the future for Disney. While crystals might not have our focus today, rare earth metals certainly do.

Relive the Ride Horizons Through the Technology of YouTube

Little did Disney know that we future humans would be able to share home videos on a massive scale instantaneously through a technology known to the world as “YouTube.” If you’d like to watch the ride via the lens of a past ride-goer here is the video where you can do just that.


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