Disneyland's Honey, I Shrunk the Audience will close today, January 4, in order to make way for the return of Michael Jackson's Captain EO.
Disney confirmed in December that Jackson's 3D movie would be back at the park for a "limited run" from February 2010. The park has not yet confirmed an opening date for Captain EO, but the Disney Parks Blog has revealed that January 3 was Honey, I Shrunk the Audience's last day of operation - at least for now.
The aging Honey, I Shrunk the Audience could be set for replacement in the next few years, so it is possible that Disney might use Captain EO as a stop-gap while it decides on a new show to take its place in the long-run. However, Disney has not confirmed any plans beyond the initial run of Captain EO - or even when that will end.
Captain EO originally opened at Disneyland in 1986, finally closing in 1997. Disney has not confimed whether the interior and exterior of the theater will be re-themed for the Jackson show, but it seems likely that this will be the case. It is also not yet clear whether all of the special effects from the original show will return, with likelihood being that more expensive effects such as those involving laser beams will be dropped.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and executive-produced by Star Wars creator George Lucas, Captain EO was produced in 1986 when Jackson was at the peak of his fame. The show's story sees the eponymous Captain EO (played by Jackson) and the crew of his spaceship travelling to deliver a message to the wicked Witch Queen.
At just 17 minutes long, the film cost a massive $30 million to produce. It included "4D" elements such as lasers, smoke effects and starfields. At the time it was the most expensive film ever produced if measured per-minute (at $1.76 million), however this has since been topped by Universal's Terminator 2: 3D at $5 million per-minute.
It is likely that Captain EO will also return to Epcot at some stage in 2009 in place of Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, but this is yet to be confirmed.
Captain EO reached number 7 in Theme Park Tourist's recent list of the 10 most exciting new theme park attractions opening in 2010.
You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions over at Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section.