Opened: Captain EO originally opened on September 12, 1986 and closed July 6, 1994. It returned on July 2, 2010, shortly after Michael Jackson’s death. It replaced Honey I Shrunk the Audience.
Location: Future World – Imagination Pavilion. It’s located up the ramp to the left of Journey into Imagination with Figment.
Extra Magic Hours: Evening
FastPass+: Yes – lowest priority. There is no reserved seating section and shows virtually never fill to capacity, rendering FP+ useless.
Type: 3D Show
Similar To: Muppet Vision 3-D
Scary Factor: Low. Unlike Honey I Shrunk the Audience, which featured large mice and a snake, Captain EO really doesn’t offer anything scary. Unless you find Michael Jackson scary in the first place. There are some fantasy elements near the end that are somewhat grotesque, but it’s nothing that should startle most children. If your child is scared of the dark or had trouble on any of the other 3D shows, then you may want to skip this one too.
When To Go: Visit after experiencing the more-popular Future World attractions or while waiting for a FP+ time. The late morning or afternoon is best, after you’ve raced around to Soarin’, Test Track, Sum of All Thrills, and Mission Space. Captain EO normally stops running at 7pm unless evening Extra Magic Hours are scheduled.
Expect to Wait: It’s unlikely that you’ll need to wait any longer than it takes for the next preshow to begin. Unfortunately, that can be as long as 20 minutes if the previous show just began. If there aren’t already a lot of people waiting, ask a cast member how long it will be until the next preshow begins. You may want to grab a snack or something in the interim. Otherwise, the waiting area is dark and air-conditioned.
Length: 8 minute preshow, 17 minute show.
What to Expect: Prior to entering the theater, there will be an 8-minute preshow on the making of Captain EO. It’s basically a documentary with thoughts provided by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola. After that, you’ll enter the theater. With a large theater and low popularity, guests can ordinarily pick their row and seat without any difficulty. The story follows Michael Jackson as he leads a ragtag group of misfits to a distance planet. They are instructed to deliver a gift to the Supreme Leader of the planet. The film is shot in 3D and the entire theater shakes intermittently throughout.
Where to Sit: It usually doesn’t matter much because the theater is rarely over three-quarters-full. Most seats provide a fine view. I prefer to sit in the middle of one of the rows closer to the back so I don’t have to crane my neck to see the screen or look from side to side during the show. If it looks like the show is going to be full, let about half a row enter before you so that you’ll end up in the center.
Spendy: At the time, Captain EO was the most expensive film ever produced on a per-minute basis. At 1.76 million dollars per minutes, it almost gives Michael Bay a run for his money.
Commentary: Captain EO is fun for the nostalgia factor or if you enjoy Michael Jackson’s music. Because it may take up to 30 minutes to experience, most people that are visiting Epcot over just one day will want to skip it. The effects aren’t particularly good and the show is going on 30 years old. With two days at Epcot, you may want to fit it in during the late morning or afternoon. It is a comfortable, air-conditioned theater and a nice respite away from the heat.