Epcot is 30 years old today. When the park opened on October 1st 1982, it was a groundbreaking and ambitious project not unlike a large scale Tomorrowland with a World’s Fair tacked on to the side. The scale, vision and detail of the park was stunning. Since opening, the park has been transformed in lots of little ways, slowly chipping away at the cohesive opening day feel of Future World, but incorporating in popular characters and attractions which make Epcot seem more theme park and less educational in tone.
In celebration of 30 years, we’ve assembled some original Imagineering artwork and concepts. Many of these made the final cut, some didn’t and others have already come and gone over the course of time.
We’ll start at the logical spot, the iconic centerpiece of the park, Spaceship Earth. Most of the renderings below were done by artist/illustrator Claudio Mazzoli, except the rendering on the top which was done by Herb Ryman.
We begin with this Herb Ryman painting showing the exterior of Spaceship Earth. Next are some images for the cro-magnon cave sequence.
Strangely, it seems that a scene with dinosaurs was considered before being cancelled.
Here is the rendering of the Egyptian temple sequence.
This one is for the Phoenician scene.
Three renderings , now, for the Gutenberg press scene.
Artwork for the Michelangelo – Sistine chapel scene.
Two artwork for a scene called “the age of invention”
The model for the telephone-telegraph scene of the “age of invention”
Artwork for the outer space “planetarium” sequence as it was envisioned at the beginning
For those of you who were too young to remember it, the area which now houses Innoventions was once a totally different concept called Communicore.
The Imagineers developed lots of different concepts for this attraction. Here are a couple of interesting ideas for the interior.
And this one below shows what was called the Communicore Forum. Last time i walk through Communicore was in the early 1990’s, so i must admit that i don’t remember it very well. In fact, i don’t remember this Communicore Forum, but perhaps some of you do.
Here is another drawing, obviously showing an area where guests could experiment….
THE LIVING SEAS
There was a time before Nemo when the Living Sea operated as a gee wiz must-see attraction.
As you will see, the artwork is beautiful. WDI Imagineer Tim Delaney was the show designer of The Living Seas and you will instantly identify in the artwork below his unique style.
Here is a first concept for the attraction which looks great!
This one shows the inside of the famous “Hydrolator,” a sort of elevator to the bottom of the sea.
The sea cabs transported you underwater to the main viewing areas of the pavilion.
This scene shows the guests riding in the sea cabs, through the underwater tunnel
Here is a view from “outside” . I don’t think the divers ever dressed as futuristic as they look here – not to mention the submarine vehicle…
Let’s come back to Sea Base Alpha
Does anyone else think this looks like a strange TRON costume.
This is the artwotk for the “scuba tube” scene
It seems that a “show” was envisioned with king Neptune (in the days before Little Mermaid)
And a restaurant with windows on the sea.
More Epcot original artwork coming soon! In the meantime, those of you who like seeing all these old Walt Disney Imagineering renderings, you will be happy to know that you can find 250 gorgeous WDI images in my Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book – which is currently on sale for $40 off in the MiceChat Store.
Don’t miss the special offer. The book is wonderful to own as a collectors piece or give as a gift (perhaps for the holidays). Order a copy of the acclaimed Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality book before the price goes back up! I show off the whole book in the video above.
Come back soon for the next part of our Epcot adventure.