I guess I should start by admitting I have no real master plan. When I started this back in Feb 2011, I was just trying to see if I could do it at all and honestly expected to get bored with it and stop at some point. Somehow, that never happened and the project just kept expanding with no real direction.
Once I thought about it, I realized that I was re-creating memories from my childhood. These memories were fuzzy and grossly inaccurate as it turns out. And the gaps were filled in with whatever photos I could find on the net, regardless of the year they were taken. In fact, in the beginning, I modeled using the current building for reference (hence the colors in the photo above). When I finally started doing real research, I understood that I had created a pavilion that never actually existed. Let me 'splain...
This attraction has been around for nearly 30 years and has included 3 different rides, 4 different 3D movies, multiple movie pre-shows, countless Image Works configurations, and a hundred landscape / paint / decorating changes. And to make this more complicated, I can't find a good timeline of when many of these things changed. To get around this problem, I've been dividing the entire model up and picking different time periods for each section. Some of these are roughly on track and some need more research.
In case I've given the wrong impression, this project was never intended to represent opening day.
The landscaping and decorating outside is roughly set in the same time period as Captain EO's first run (1986 - 1994). I haven't nailed down a specific year yet, but it is probably after the original fountain sculpture changed. I'm still trying to figure out when the bushes around the ride entrance were added. Those may be part of the JIYI update. Right now, I kind of have both versions covered since the bushes AND the trees in pots are both there. At any rate, this time period accommodates the various EO graphics and structures in the area.
I should say that I would love to have that cool, original fountain sculpture in the model. However, it is really hard to work out that complex geometry from the photos I can find. It was hard enough figuring out the simpler replacement sculpture.
The ride is meant to represent its overall form during its 15 year run. I don't think there were a lot of changes but any subtle differences aren't documented enough for me to do anything about it. I can only really say that this is set after the exit speed belt was removed.
I get asked about this the most. I usually say that I picked EO over Magic Journeys because it was my favorite and I consider that period to be the Golden Age of that pavilion. There are some practical considerations as well though. I have almost no Magic Journeys reference material to work with anyway, but I think the best reason is that EO was a lot more interesting to look at. It had big graphic elements, bright colors, cool logos and signage. It is a lot easier and more fun for me to recreate, but I think it is a lot more interesting to explore since there is no actual movie playing in there. I can at least provide the static images and music.
But what about the pre-show? I'm still trying to work this out. My research indicates that "Makin' Memories" and ''Capture a Smile" ran during EO. I'm currently running "True Colors", but I guess I should change that. I can't find a good copy of the music from "Capture a Smile" so I may choose "Makin' Memories", which would put my time period around 1986.
Just to make all of this irrelevant, my current interior of the theater is modeled after HISTA (the weird frame around the screen). That's because I can't find any decent images of the theater interior when EO originally ran (let alone Magic Journeys). Still working on that.
THE IMAGE WORKS
Image Works is the huge exception to the "not opening day" thing. My Image Works is currently set in the opening day configuration. Why? I have pretty good documentation of that version and most of those interactives are much easier to model. I considered trying to time-align this area with the EO time period, but IW has gone through so many different configuration changes and I don't know the exact layouts by year. The only thing I really know for sure is what it was when it started and what it was when it died. "When it started" seemed like a better choice.
This part of the model is the most modular in construction. Since I did it after I had made all my mistakes in the other sections, I had a pretty good idea of how to set it up right. That makes it easier to update later. Maybe one day, I'll change its year. Maybe.
That's it. If you were wondering about the time periods and plans, there you have it. There isn't much of one. I'm still open to opinions and feedback so feel free if you have some. And as always, please send any reference that might help me be more accurate. I appreciate it.
And now back to work on it...