Captain EO Returns

michael jackson as captain eo

Captain EO returns to the Disneyland Resort for a limited engagement in honor of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop who died June 25, 2009. This 3-D movie that he starred in was revived in February 2010 at the Southern California theme park and will run indefinitely. Under the new title of Captain EO Tribute, the movie replaces the long-running Honey, I Shrunk the Kids at the Tomorrowland Theater.

About Captain EO

Back in the 1980s, Michael Jackson began work on a science fiction-themed space opera with Disney Imagineers. The goal was to create a 3-D movie about a man and his crew's journey to change the world. Disney brought on Rusty Lemorande (Journey to the Center of the Earth) as head writer, Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather) to direct, George Lucas (Star Wars) as executive producer and Jeffrey Hornaday (Flashdance) as choreographer. Between 1986 and 1992, the 17-minute film, which cost $30 million to produce, opened at four Disney theme parks -- Epcot, Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Park in Paris. They closed at various times between 1994 and 1998. The show at the Southern California park ran from 1986-1997.

The story is about Captain EO and his alien crew whose mission it was to deliver a gift to "The Supreme Leader" and in the process, discover an all but dead planet. They prove their worthiness by conquering the forces of good vs. evil with music, light and dance. Michael Jackson belts out two tunes during movie, ''We Are Here to Change the World'' and ''Another Part of Me,'' both of which were later released as singles.

Special Effects and Merchandising

Captain EO brought about a variety of special in-theater effects such as:

  • Starfields
  • Lasers
  • Smoke
  • Laser impacts

At the time it was made, these types of special effects were revolutionary. That, besides starring Michael Jackson, helped make Captain EO a smashing success. The popularity of the movie spread out into merchandising too. Trading cards, backpacks, t-shirts, plush toys and pins were all the rage when the movie was released.

The Cast of Captain EO

Captain EO did not boast a large cast, but it did produce quite a few characters:

  • Captain EO (Michael Jackson)
  • The Supreme Leader (Anjelica Huston)
  • Commander Bog (Dick Shawn)
  • Hooter (Tony Cox)
  • Idee (Debbie Lee Carrington)
  • Geex (Cindy Sorenson)
  • Major Domo (Gary DePew)

Captain EO Returns to Disneyland

After Michael Jackson unexpectedly died in 2009, his many fans wanted another way to honor him. They took to social networking sites such as Facebook to try and persuade Disney officials to bring back his hit movie. It was already receiving an increased amount of hits on the Internet.

In December 2009, Disney officials announced that Captain EO would return for a limited engagement to the Disneyland Resort only. On February 23, 2010, thousands of Michael Jackson and Captain EO fans lined up outside the Tomorrowland Theater to welcome back the film that was on a 13-year hiatus. They donned space gear, futuristic outfits and a couple even were dressed like the King of Pop himself.

This time, however, the film is a bit different. It was digitally remastered and it made full use of the theater that was already wired for 3-D effects such as hydraulic seating. Besides the lasers and smoke, moviegoers were also treated to having their seats tilt along with the captain's spaceship. Heavy bass was also used for some of the musical numbers. Neither of these effects were present when the movie was shown the first time around. Disneyland officials even posted a new entrance sign for the film to commemorate its revival.


There are many reasons why you should see Captain EO on your next visit to Disneyland, but the main one is because it is a limited engagement. When you do get there, line up early and expect to wait awhile, as there are only two shows every hour. While the theater holds up to 500 guests, it will fill up fast.

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Captain EO Returns