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The Timekeeper

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The Timekeeper (also known as Le Visionarium) was an attraction that used to be located at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland. It was a Circle-Vision 360 film that featured animatronics within the theater as part of the experience.


The attraction first opened as part of Disneyland Paris' Discoveryland under the name Le Visionarium: Un Voyage à Travers le Temps on April 2, 1992 with the rest of the park. Keeping with the area's classic science-fiction theme, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells would be characters in the attraction. Compared to other Circle-Vision films, production on Timekeeper would be far more difficult as with cameras going in all directions, hiding various infrastructure and crew-members would make things difficult. With the attraction's success in Paris, it would be imported elsewhere and opened at Tokyo Disneyland on April 15, 1993.

Discoveryland was considered for a new theme for the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland and the Timekeeper and a restaurant extension to the storyline called the Astronomer's Club would be a primary fixture in early plans. However, plans were scaled back and only the Circle-Vision film would appear, opening in Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland on November 21, 1994, in the renamed Transportarium theater, which itself would be renamed the Tomorrowland Science Center a few months later.

Gradually, the attraction went into Seasonal operation at the Magic Kingdom and eventually be closed entirely on February 26, 2006 and be replaced by the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club. It closed at Tokyo Disneyland several years earlier on September 1, 2002 and at Disneyland Paris on September 5, 2004 and both Circle-Vision theaters would be transformed into Buzz Lightyear's Astro-Blasters.



American pre-show

Before the actual show, guests are introduced to the invention of the show, "Circumvisual PhotoDroid", more frequently referred to as "9-Eye". The nine eyes she has represents the nine cameras used in filming the show in the round, thus showing the view from one of her "eyes" on each of the nine movie screens. She is the latest development by The Timekeeper , the inventor of the Time Machine. Guests are invited to be witnesses of the first use ever of the newly invented Machine. Guests also watch 9-Eye's training videos, which include; a plunge over Niagara Falls, a flight into a barn full of dynamite in Topeka, Kansas, a swirling ride aboard a centrifugator, and lastly, hitching a ride on a space shuttle.

The Movie

After guests enter the Theater, Timekeeper comes to life and has 9-Eyes prepared for the journey through Time. Timekeeper then turns on the Machine for its first use, then watches from his control panel as 9-Eyes is thrust back to the Jurassic age period in Earth's history. She narrowly escapes a hungry Allosaurus as Timekeeper sends her to the last great ice age about 12,000 years ago. As she starts freezing up, Timekeeper sends her to 1450, for what should be a demonstration of Johannes Gutenberg's Printing Press.However, Timekeeper has yet again messed up and sent her to a Scottish battlefield in which one warrior comes after her. Finally working the kinks out of the Time Machine, Timekeeper sends 9-Eye to the year 1503, at the height of the Renaissance. The Machine is placed right in the middle of Leonardo da Vinci's workshop, where he is painting the Mona Lisa and working on a model of his Flying Machine.

9-Eye, being curious, picks up an item close to her, and is quickly noticed by Leonardo, who becomes fascinated by the strange machine, and starts drawing it on paper.However, the meeting between 9-Eyes and Da Vinci is cut short. Her next stop in Time is 1763 in a French Castle, where a child named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is giving a performance to a crowd, which includes King Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. The meeting is again short as she is noticed by the people, who start chasing her through the hallways. Timekeeper decides to send her to the 1878 Exposition Universelle, but the Machine is stuck on fast forward, so she witnesses a Paris skyline in such a motion that the progress of the Eiffel Tower, symbol of the 1889 Exposition Universelle, is shown in the background. Finally Timekeeper has the Machine stopped in 1900, just in time for the 1900 Exposition Universelle.

Timekeeper announces that guests are in time for a meeting between H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. 9-Eyes hides from the fair-goers but not so that Verne and Wells are hidden. After a brief conversation about their conflicting visions of the Future, Wells walks away, leaving Verne with a model of his Time Machine, which Verne has just criticized as impossible. After a sarcastic comment about Time Travel from Verne, 9-Eyes rebuts his claim and appears to the author. Jules Verne decides to take a closer look at her and tries to grab her. Timekeeper seeing this tries to bring her back to the present, but he also takes Verne.Timekeeper and 9-Eyes, realizing their mistake, try to send him back, but he refuses after discovering he has finally arrived in the future he had always dreamed of. He begs for them to show him the world of today in 10 minutes or less, so he can return to 1900 and deliver his speech at the Exhibition (which makes Timekeeper ironically reply that he did it in 80 days).

They agree, and Timekeeper sets the Machine for today. He sends Verne and 9-Eyes to a dark tunnel, which Verne believes to be a "dark future". They are unaware they are standing in a railroad tunnel. The next thing to happen is a collision between Jules Verne and a French TGV train, with Verne becoming a new hood ornament.From the train, Jules Verne and 9-Eyes explore the modern streets of Paris (with Verne walking among the traffic, nearly causing an accident), which leads Verne, curious, to try driving. As such, Timekeeper puts him in the front seat of a race car, and Verne takes off, albeit in the wrong direction. From race car driving, Verne then enjoys a bobsled run.

After this bobsled run, Timekeeper sends Verne and 9-Eyes to the bottom of the sea, to show Verne how his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea has come to life.The scene changes and goes from underwater to flying. Jules Verne now stands in a balloon soaring over Red Square in Moscow, sharing it with a Russian couple on their honeymoon. Since Verne's presence is inconvenient, Timekeeper sends him to Roissy airport near Paris. The two Russian lovers are accidentally taken to Paris as well, where they could start their honeymoon. As Verne witnesses planes (the "flying wagons" as he calls them), he begs for Timekeeper to let him fly. An employee soon arrives, discovers 9-Eyes and start talking to her. However, Verne, who ventured far from there, is arrested by policemen. With the help of the employee and Timekeeper's grip on time, Verne is finally freed (these two scenes were not part of Orlando's version).

The screen then shows a flight through the air above the European countrysides featuring Castles and Mountains. Verne is shown in a helicopter, sitting dangerously close to its open door. After flying over Mont Saint-Michel, Neuschwanstein Castle, English countrysides and New York skyline (only in Orlando's version), Verne requests to go even higher. They take him to Space, in order to show that another dream of his, space travel, has come true from his book From the Earth to the Moon.Time is running out, so Timekeeper and 9-Eyes return Verne to the site of the Grand Palais of the 1900 Exposition Universelle. However, Timekeeper makes one mistake in the wrong year, and Verne is in the right place, but at the wrong time (in the 1990s). When they finally return Verne to his right time, H.G. Wells happens to go back to the site of his discussion with Verne, and therefore sees all that is going on with the Timekeeper.

Wells is flabbergasted, and Verne and 9-Eyes exchange goodbyes as Wells tries to understand what is happening. 9-Eyes returns to the present time, and now that guests have witnessed a "flawless" demonstration of his Time Machine, Timekeeper decides to see the Future. Timekeeper sends 9-Eyes and selected guests to 2189, 300 years after the Exposition Universelle of 1889 and the completion of the Eiffel Tower (both evidenced by the Timekeeper's clock, and by the appearance of the number "300" on the Eiffel Tower). As they explore a futuristic Paris aboard a flying car named Reinastella, they see Jules Verne and H.G. Wells appearing in what looks like Wells' Time Machine from 1900. A stunned 9-Eyes questions how they got there, to which Verne replies "In the future, anything is possible!". The show ends as they jet off, and Timekeeper wishes everyone well. As guests leave, Timekeeper makes plans to see other important events during History and in the Future with his Machine and 9-Eyes.


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