by: guide4wdw – Collin
Epcot has always been, and likely will always be, my favorite Disney park. I wasn’t around for the parks original debut but it has been an iconic piece of my Disney vacation experiences for as long as I can remember. I’ve been touring the parks all of my life, and for some reason or another, Epcot has always stood out as an iconic theme park experience unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else in the world.
As many of you may know, Epcot celebrated it’s 35th anniversary today, and it did so while welcoming incredibly large crowds to celebrate the occasion. For many guests in attendance today, the park had been apart of their lives for many years in a quite similar way to my own circumstance. Debuting in 1982, on this very day, the park welcomed guests into an experience that was unlike anything they had ever seen before. It a concept not dissimilar from the World’s Fair (which Disney played a huge roll at in 64′). The park put innovation on display on a grand stage that promoted technology, increased guest engagement, and set the stage for an entirely new theme park concept.
Of course, this new concept wasn’t the original design in many ways, but rather a variation of a stock concept developed many years prior by Walt Disney himself. It was set to be
“an experimental prototype community of tomorrow that will take its cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise.” – Walt Disney
In the early days of Epcot, the concept deviated slightly and no longer would be a “live-in” community but rather a place to go and explore new concepts and ideas. While we lost a part of Walt’s plan after his unfortunate passing in 1966, we’ve always been able to experience one true goal of his planned development, innovation. Epcot itself has played a grand role as a stage for innovation and new ideas for many years. It’s been a place of technological development through attraction design, but also provided hands on learning opportunities to guests throughout early experiences (many that are now “departed”) such as the Earth Station, Astuter Computer Review, Horizons. Innoventions, Wonders of Life, and many others. Today, the learning experiences and hands on interaction isn’t quite as pronounced as it once was, but the parks are always changing and developing in new ways to capture the imagination. Walt said it best, Epcot will never be complete!
As we undoubtedly move into a new generation of the park, as big changes were announced just recently at the D23 expo, it will be interesting to see what direction the park moves in next. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the future, but that’s only natural when something has been apart of your life for so long. Many of us have grown to expect a certain distinct “Epcot experience” and one that we have vastly appreciated the opportunity to experience time and time again. It’s a place that has created memories not only for me, but for families spanning many generations. Moving forward, we have a lot of questions (See this post for more on that!) and a few early answers, but Imagineering is always creating new concepts and new ideas that continually outdo our expectations and create lasting experiences that transcend whatever Intellectual Property or theming tied to the experience.
To be quite honest with you, I was really concerned about the Pandora expansion, but looking back on it now, there was no reason to be concerned. Imagineering is often times as invested, if not more invested, in these parks that each and every one of us in a personal way. They live and breath these parks each and every day and use that experience to develop astounding attractions that exceed expectations time and time again.
Epcot is far from what it was originally, but as the scenery changes, the history of the place itself only grows richer and more detailed that ever before. The vacation destination has had an incredible run at Walt Disney World for many years and as it continues on in a new direction, Walt’s original goal won’t be far away. Sure, things will likely change (potentially drastically), but the joys of a Disney vacation will never go away!
If you liked this article, I’d love for you to share it with friends. As always, this is simply my opinion and one of many opinions across the internet. I’d love to hear what you think and be sure to share your early Epcot stories with us!
As an added bonus for reading today, we’re debuting a special Disney Cruise Line offer from Destinations to Travel: Details below!
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*Valid for new bookings made Oct. 1-31, 2017. Not combinable with other offers or discounts. One onboard credit per stateroom. Onboard credit is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Offer is subject to availability.