Honey, I Shrunk the Audience – Disney Parks Best 4D Attraction

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Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience played from 1996 to 2010 and remains Disney park’s best 4D attraction.

This November”Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” is 25 years old. We were among the first to see Honey I Shrunk the Audience in December 1994 and fell in love with it instantly.

Many guests were disappointed that “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” replaced Captain EO in Epcot’s Imagination Pavilion Theater . Michael Jackson was a known Disney fan and poured his heart into this mini Disney masterpiece. That was true for us as well.

But our son, soon to be seven, had loved the Honey, I Shrunk movie series and had spent hours in a previous Disney World Trip playing in Disney MGM’s Honey I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure. What parent couldn’t be happy traveling to Walt Disney World to see their kid play in a really nice play space? Stu was in, so off we went.

The “Honey, I shrunk the Audience” Pre-Show

We enjoyed the show from the sponsor’s ad to the final curtain.  Kodak sponsored the show and guests in the pre-show were treated to an extended version of the song “True Colors”. Kodak’s most beautiful images were shown on the monitors while the song played. Loved the song, loved the video.

The true pre-show was your invitation to attend the Inventor of the Year Award Ceremony. The award went to Wayne Szalinski.  At the ceremony he was scheduled to provide a scientific demonstration. The show sponsors advised you to take “safety goggles” (3D glasses) as you entered.

The 3-D movie was true to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids franchise. It was full of slapstick and sight gags delivered fast paced and in a good-natured manner. Many of the 3-D effects are pretty standard gags but some were darn right amazing.

The show starts with Wayne Szalinski riding over the audience in his hoverpod.

 “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” Show

The movie begins with a search for Wayne Szalinski who zooms over the audience in a miniaturized hoverpod. Szalinski drops the Hoverpod’s controls and zooms off. The show’s hosts and most of the family take off to find him.

Nick Szalinski decides to stall for his father by demonstrating the Dimensional Duplicator, a copy machine. Nick copies his pet mouse hundreds of times. The mice get loose and charge the audience.  It’s here that “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” really began to shine.   Leg ticklers and air bursts gave the impression of a hoard of passing mice.  This effect shocked the audience.

After Wayne returns he demonstrates his shrinking machine to shrink the family luggage. The machine goes awry and shrinks both Nick and the Audience.   Then, the machine breaks and the audience experience a variety of well scripted 4-D adventures.   There’s a blinding camera flash, being picked up like a toy and the fun of nearly being eaten.  When the audience was picked up the entire theater moved up four inches to enhance the feeling of movement.

Just in time, the audience is returned to full size.   But while this happens the dog, Quark, is blown up to giant size. The final 4D trick occurs when Quark sneezes on the audience.  Sprayers embedded in the seats wet the guests.

A cat turned into a lion was the cure for the marauding mice.

What we loved about the attraction

The film was very watchable.  The script well written and the acting well directed. Randal Kleiser, who directed the original “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, directed this park film.   He maintained the look and feel of the original movie.

But, the 4D effects and how the guests reacted to them were the real stars of the show. Our favorite effect was the attack of the mice.  During the attack the leg ticklers were employed row by row.   Each row screamed as they were tickled. Subsequent rows waited in anticipation. When the mice hit the back of the theater they returned by row. Then, the waves of screams were replaced by laughter.

Another 4D effect happened when the theater was “Picked Up”.   To create the feeling of being lifted the floor rose four inches.  This effect caused more guests to  scream or laugh.

Finally, Quark’s sneeze was a terrific send off.  The sneeze came from jets between the seats and never felt like water.  The sneeze grossed adults out and made little kids giggle.

We loved returning to “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” to watch the audience react. The reactions were as fun as the show itself.

Honery, I Shrunk the Audience
A blown up Quark, the attraction’s poster icon, provided a memorable surprise at the end.

Why Honey, I Shrunk the Audience won’t come back

The 4D effects were expensive and difficult to maintain. Captain EO and subsequent 3D films did not require this level of effects.  A standard theater can’t play “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience”.

“Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” was too intense for many smaller children. The show was loud and some 3D or 4D effects were too scary for kids.

Unfortunately, “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience” closed in all four parks (Disneyland, Disneyland Park Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Epcot) by May 2010.  A reprise of Captain EO replaced the show. While the film lives on in various forms within the Internet the fun of watching the audience react to the 4D effects will be gone forever.

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