The attraction opened on September 18, 1986 in the Tomorrowland section of the theme park. It closed on April 7, 1997 to make way for Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. It then returned on February 23, 2010 replacing Honey, I Shrunk the Audience as Captain EO Tribute.
The attraction opened on March 20, 1987 in the Tomorrowland area of the park. It then closed on September 1, 1996 to make way for Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. It returned on July 1, 2010 in place of Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. It closed on June 30, 2014 and was replaced by Stitch Encounter on July 17, 2015.
The movie tells the story of Captain Eo and the ragtag crew of his spaceship on a mission to deliver a gift to the Supreme Leader, an alien queen ruling over a world of rotting, twisted metal and steaming vents. Captain EO's alien crew consists of his small flying sidekick Fuzzball, the double-headed navigator and pilot Idee & Odee, robotic security officer Major Domo, small robot Minor Domo (who fits like a module into Major Domo) and the clumsy elephant-like shipmate Hooter (Tony Cox) who always manages to blunder the crew's missions.
Upon arriving on the planet, the crew is captured and sentenced to be tortured. Before being sent away, EO tells the Supreme Leader (Anjelica Huston) that he sees the beauty hidden within her and that he brings her the key to unlock it: his song.
The two robot members of the crew transform into music instruments and the crew members begin to play the various instruments. As Hooter runs toward his instrument, he trips over EO's cape and breaks his instrument, stopping the music. The spell broken, the Supreme Leader orders her guards to capture EO and his crew.
Hooter manages to repair his instrument and sends out a blast of music, providing EO with the power to throw off the guards. He uses his power to transform the dark hulking guards into agile dancers who fall into step behind him for a dance number. As EO presses forward toward the Supreme Leader, she unleashes her Whip Warriors (two cybernetic defenders, each with a whip and shield that can deflect EO's powers).
The others all run away, leaving EO to fight the Whip Warriors alone. EO is trapped by a closing gate and is preparing for a last stand as both of the Whip Warriors draw their whips back for a final blow. Fuzzball drops his instrument and speedily flies over to tie the two whips together, causing the Whip Warriors to be thrown off balance, giving EO an opportunity to transform them as well. With no further obstacles, EO uses his power to transform the Supreme Leader into a beautiful woman, her lair into a peaceful Greek temple and the planet into a verdant paradise.
A celebration breaks out as EO and his crew triumphantly exit and fly off into space.
Captain EO was a pioneer of the current wave of 4-D films in which the special effects extend into the auditorium with the audience. Effects included lasers shooting over the audience, laser impacts on the walls of the theater, smoke effects, and starfields that filled the theater. These effects resulted in the 17-minute film, costing an estimated $17 to $30 million dollars to produce. At the time the most expensive film ever produced on a per-minute basis due.
The story was adapted in the comic book Eclipse 3-D Special #18.
Kahea Bright • Donald Devoux • Cameron English • Bruno Falcon • Eric D. Henderson
Hugo Huizar • Evelyne Jezej • Ben Lokey • Lezlie Mogell • Stephen Nicholas
Mary Ann Hermansen • Beverly Shofner • Timothy Solomon • Kevin Bender
Janeen Damian • Derrick Brice • Bill Burns • Alex Cole • Dennis Daniels
Felix Montano • Tony Fields • Forrest Gardner • Barry Lather • Reggie O'Gwin
Smith Wordes • Michelle Rudy • Darrel W. Wright • Timothy Scott
James 'Jazzy' Everett • Bobby Walker • Paul Scott Adamo • Doug Benson
Sheila Best • Gabriel Bologna • Renee Collette
The design of the Borg Queen from Star Trek: First Contact was influenced by the Supreme Leader.
The logo design for Captain EO inspired the logo for 1980s computer games company Electric Dreams Software.
The costume for Hooter is believed to be based on Max Rebo, from Return of the Jedi, because George Lucas produced Captain EO.
The Sega video game Space Channel 5 makes reference to Captain EO: it includes a singing, dancing character, named Space Michael Jackson (voiced by Michael Jackson himself) whose in-game biography card reveals that he'd previously saved the world with his singing and dancing.
No doubt due to the high cost of the 3D process limiting the ability to reshoot scenes, the film contains a number of continuity errors such as props moving location between shots and Jackson's jacket buttoning and unbuttoning instantaneously. There are also some effects errors such as the small robot puppet being seen on the stick that supports him. At one point, Huston's legs can be seen extending behind her as she is suspended above the set.
In the summer of 2009, fan sites such as MiceAge reported that Captain EO would be returning for Disneyland's Halloween Time, but was then postponed until January 2010. At D23 Expo, Bob Iger dispelled the rumors, saying there are no definite plans to bring back the attraction.
On December 18, 2009 (6 months after the death of Michael Jackson), it was announced in the Disney Parks media blog that Captain EO would indeed be making a comeback in February 2010. The announcement was made by Heather Hurst Rivera, Manager of Print and Social Media for the Disneyland Resort.