Monday, October 10, 2016

#132: Epcot Center

"Good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. All of us at Epcot Center are glad to have you as our guests today. We welcome you and hope you find your day with us to be a most enjoyable one.

Walt Disney was a dreamer and a doer, a man who cared about the world and its problems. He believed that people could develop solutions to problems if equipped with information, technology, and opportunity.

Epcot Center has been created to showcase prototype concepts and technologies that may someday serve people everywhere. This is the essence of Epcot Center: a collective endeavor by people, for people in the hope for a better world.

From all of us in the Disney family, we hope you enjoy your stay in Epcot Center. And now we ask for your safety and those around you that you walk slowly and carefully to your first destination. Have a great day and welcome to the 21st century!"

- Epcot Center rope drop spiel

While creating this story arc, I've been watching old promotional videos for Epcot Center back when the park was still under construction, including the 1978 preview video by then Disney CEO Card Walker and the 1981 preview special, "The Dream Called Epcot." Even knowing in the back of my mind that the park has been open for more than 30 years, these videos always make me wax nostalgic for the park and wonder what could have been.

By now, I'm sure you all know that the park was originally intended to be Disney's model city of the future. That was his original intention for Disney World when he first purchased the land in Florida during the 1960s. However, with his unexpected death, his concept was changed from that of an actual city to that of a theme park serving as a permanent world's fair to showcase both new technologies and different cultures.

However, as much as I love Epcot, and as much as I bemoan what the park has since become, I can't help but wonder what everything would have looked like had Disney lived long enough to have his initial vision implemented. What would his city of the future actually look like in real life, and how long would it have lasted? Would it even still be around today, or would the company have abandoned it like it did Celebration?

The world may never know, and that's the saddest part.

On a lighter note, I'd recommend watching the following 1981 special that aired one year prior to the park's opening: