Magic Kingdom

Friday, April 07, 2006


The Timekeeper was a Circle-Vision 360° film that was performed at three Disney parks around the world. Unlike previous films, it was the first show that was arranged and filmed with an actual plot and not just visions of landscapes, and the first to utilize Audio-Animatronics. The film features a cast of European film actors of France, Italy, and England.
The Timekeeper and its original French counterpart Le Visionarium, formerly at Disneyland Paris, marked the first time that the Circle-Vision film process was used to deliver a narrative story line. This required a conceit to exlain the unusual visual charactersitics of the theater, hence the character 9-Eye. 9-Eye is sent through time by The Timekeeper, so that she can send back the surrounding images as she records them in whichever era she finds herself in.

"Le Visionarium" (the original title) was not just an ordinary Circle-Vision 360° film, but was important in the fact that for the first time in a Circle-Vision film, that creators at Walt Disney Imagineering wanted to tell an immersive story and attempt a light-hearted dialogue without just switching between scenes of landscapes, as had been done in all of the previous Circle-Vision films.

The original concept for the film had included Jules Verne and the culture of past and present European history and events, and new inventions. Along with the previous elements, the story had to do with the idea of time travel with one concept including a child that explored the story of the great European scientists of the past on a computer. However to keep the audienced focused and use imagination to depict situations and places that do not cater to the average person, the number of visions of the past and extreme situations of the plot kept increasing all the time for the project.

The film first premiered in Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris on April 12, 1992 as Le Visionarium. It was an extravagant attraction and was touted by then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner as the showcase of the land at the time. The attraction had long been on the 'Discoveryland' proposal for the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. However when financial difficulties arose because of the EuroDisney Project, the Discoveryland Project was canaceled.

However, the film later did open as "From Time to Time" on November 21, 1994 as part of the New Tomorrowland expansion. It opened in the "Tomorrowland Metropolis Science Center" and enjoyed a long run. A few months after it opened, the attraction was formally known as The Timekeeper. The same year, the third incarnation of the ride opened at Tokyo Disneyland.

In 2001, the attraction was moved to the seasonal list of attractions along with Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. In February 2006, the Walt Disney World Resort reported that The Timekeeper was to be closed on February 26, 2006. Walt Disney World's version was the last version of the attraction to be closed. Both the Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris "Visionarium" films had closed in 2002 and 2004, respectively.

The Timekeeper attraction in Walt Disney World Resort was the last Timekeeper still entertaining guests, as the Tokyo Disneyland version closed in 2002 and was replaced with Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters in 2004 and the Disneyland Paris version closed in 2004 and is now being renovated for Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast with an opening date of April 2006.

After being placed on a seasonal schedule in April of 2001, The Timekeeper was open on a sporatic schedule during the busy seasons. After the events of September 11, 2001 the attraction faced even harder times. Due to the downfall of tourism due to the terrorist acts in the United States and the fact the film featured a scene of New York that still included the now-destroyed World Trade Center Towers, the attraction's demise was only certain. However it managed to last five more years. During the time when construction was occurring on Stitch's Great Escape, it was open more frequently along with Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. On days when the show was not opened, the queue was a meet-and-greet for such Disney characters as Stitch and Pixar characters Buzz Lightyear and The Incredibles.

As for the now abandoned show building, several rumors are abound on Disney-fan sites as to what the new attraction might. A strong possibility is that the new show or ride will be based on popular Pixar films. One plan is that a ride with a plot revolving around the film, The Incredibles is rumored to be replacing The Timekeeper. However, some sites are reporting that a remake of the ill-fated 1960s attraction from Disneyland, "Flying Saucers", might be rebuilt indoors with a theme featuring the little green aliens from Toy Story.

Another plan has a dark ride featuring characters from the film Monsters, Inc., similar to the Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! ride at Disney's California Adventure, being considered by officials and yet another rumor states that a show similar to Turtle Talk with Crush, but featuring Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc.


Post a Comment

<< Home