As I was planning our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, I read about a surprise that only a true Michael Jackson lover could get so excited about. We were going to be there when Captain EO returned to Epcot after a sixteen year absence. Having last seen it in the late 80’s, I was curious as to what I would think of it now. Would Michael Jackson’s passing change how I felt as well? Maybe it was best left a fond memory of childhood.
Obviously, curiosity got the better of me and soon I was planning our days so that we could be at Epcot on July 1st. I was excited and driving Jim, my husband crazy. But as we approached Journey Into Imagination, I came crashing back to Earth. Nothing I had read online had warned me that July 1st was an advance screening for Annual Passholders and D23 members. It wasn’t that I couldn’t come back. I actually was going to be at Epcot the next day. BUT I WANTED TO GO THE FIRST DAY!
As I gloomily dragged Jim to go see Figment, a cast member approached and saved the day, asking if we would like to go see Captain EO. Why yes, we would! We filed in grabbing our glasses and I was taken back. Watching the Making of video felt so familiar. The people in it that I recognize look so young. It was fun to watch but I was really here for the main attraction: Michael.
Jim is an upfront kind of guy and we ended up way up front. The screen was very close. Our seats were right dead center. Perfect. After a brief announcement from a cast member, the show began. I was surprised how bits and pieces came back to me and even more surprised by how emotional I was every time I saw Michael Jackson on the screen. Some of it seemed silly. About four minutes in I realized I still had my 3-D glasses on my head. Putting them on ended the blurriness but I still thought it was silly.
Suddenly all of that changed. Michael and his crew had been taken hostage and the music began. Hearing the music I knew everything was about to turn upside down. The music and dancing would not be mistaken by many to be anyone other than the King of Pop. (I am bopping in my seat as I write this just thinking of it.) As one of THOSE Michael Jackson fans, I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried as I saw him larger than life dancing in front of me. He had been gone just over a year and it was a final farewell for me.
As we left the theater, I was excited comparing what we had just seen to what I remembered from childhood. I sang the songs the rest of the day. I was happy I could buy a pin (although I would have liked a cooler one!) and the best part was I got to see it again the next day when we were at Epcot with my parents. I don’t know that they loved it the first time back in the 80’s but they were good sports!
I hope the things I read are true and that EO is here to stay for a while. I can’t wait to see it again. My next task is to track down the soundtrack so I can share the songs with my 2nd grade class. I’m always telling them they’re going to change the world!