Sunday, April 22, 2007

Walt Disney's Lost Epcot? Says who?

“Epcot is a very unique park. Of course it is nothing like the plan that Walt originally had.” I have heard and read that comment many times in my wanderings through Disney Podcasts and Blogs and even while at Epcot. With so many changes happening to the park, there are many calls for Where is the Education? Where is Walt Disney’s dream? When you look at Walt Disney’s original ideas for Epcot, it was to be... well, let’s see what he actually said:

"But the most exciting and by far the most important part of our Florida fact, the heart of everything we'll be doing in Disney World...will be our Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow! We call it EPCOT."
"It's like the city of tomorrow ought to be. A city that caters to the people as a service function. It will be a planned, controlled community, a showcase for American industry and research, schools, cultural and educational opportunities…”

That being said, I think it is time to cut the cord and let that idea go. It is obvious that the Disney Company has. Take for example Soarin, and the new Nemo Ride/Turtle Talk combo in the Living Seas. They are two of the newest and are both great attractions, but where is the education? In the Orange Orchards? Was it behind Bruce? Or somewhere in the EAC? Even though it sounds wrong, if you don’t look for the educational value of everything at Epcot, you won’t miss it. Here is another quote from Walt Disney that seems to be the current philosophy with Epcot Mgmt.

“ I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.”

Basically, let’s make sure all are entertained and hope that some might pick up a useful fact or two.
One other item I heard this past week on the Magical Definitions Podcast was a Talk given by Charlie Ridgeway. He wrote the book ‘Spinning Disney’s World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent’ Mr. Ridgeway told many stories, but the one that caught my ear the most was a couple sentences about Epcot. With Nathan and Tims’ permission:

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He speaks of the un-practibility of what people thought Walt Disney's original idea was and it does makes sense.

So, do I like everything they are doing at Epcot? No, not everything, but I have learned to give the Imangineers a chance. I'm sure I'll talk more about this down the road. Send your comments to

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