Disney World Update: Epcot Celebrates 30 years and Magic Kingdom grows

Written by Cory Disbrow. Posted in Dateline Disney World, Walt Disney World

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Published on October 04, 2012 at 11:58 pm with 22 Comments

About Cory Disbrow

Cory likes Walt Disney World so much, he recently packed his bags and moved to Orlando. Cory is a photographer and writes MiceChat's Dateline Disney World columns every Friday.

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  • ParkerMonroe

    I believe the aforementioned “tall spikey things” are the supports that will eventually hold up the rockwork facade.

    • Cory Disbrow

      That was the notion I got too, but until they go up, all we can do is speculate!

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    Fantastic update Cory.

    The fact is that WDW did not even come close to doing enough for Epcot’s 30th. This should have been a year of rebirth for the park. Where is the redevelopment of the central plaza in Future World? Why wasn’t a new country added to World Showcase? No new attractions or shows? Why?! Epcot is as stale as ever. It is a park I love, but it is clear that the WDW suits don’t give a crap about doing what is right. They absolutely 100% failed Epcot’s 30th.

    A few D23 events and a special 5 minute tag to the end of Illuminations for one night is the cheapest and least invasive thing they could have done. WDW management should be ashamed of themselves and Burbank should be asking lots of questions. If the suits in Florida can’t use a major milestone as a way to freshen up a park and drive prolonged new business, then perhaps they need new suits.

    This is not just a question of budget, because nothing was seriously proposed to begin with. The 30th was simply forgotten until the last minute and then park officials started to scramble when unofficial sites like MiceChat began announcing events to fill the void.

    I spent the last week mostly at Epcot. And while I had a GREAT time at the 4 events MiceChat planned to celebrate the park, I couldn’t help but wonder where were the new attractions, banners, expanded anniversary shows and Food and Wine Festival. A monkey in a zoo could have planned a more spectacular celebration than Disney came up with.

    So, here we are a week later and Epcot’s 30th is over. What a waste of potential nostalgia. 18 months of celebrations should just be getting started. If this isn’t the final nail in the coffin for WDW management, it should be! The 30th was an embarrassing failure that the folks at Disney’s competitors are all laughing about.

    I’m sick to my stomach that Disney flubbed this golden opportunity so badly.

    • jcruise86

      So, Dusty, you DIDN’T like the way WDW honored the 30th anniversary of EPCOT?

  • Showoffca

    Walt loved the number 13 … in fact when he built Disneyland, he was allowed to choose the address number for the park as there was nothing around yet at that time. He picked 1313 Harbor Blvd.

    • Cory Disbrow

      Very cool. That would certainly make a great reason for the number 13 showing up on that car then.

    • MickeysImagination

      Walt amy have liked the number 13. The 13th letter in the alphabet is M. Disneyland’s address is 1313 Harbor Blvd, so one could assume the address is MM Harbor Blvd. and our favorite Mouse has the very same initials.

      Coincidence?

      This Mouskespirator says it is not coincidence.

      :)

      Justin

  • SpectroMan

    I understand where Dusty is coming from, though these days I’m conditioned not to expect much of anything for FL anniversaries. The 50th should be better.

    What would have actually impressed me the most was year-long banners with that nice retro 30th logo placed throughout the park. That goes a long way in showing the companies’ pride in their product while also subconsciously reminding the average guest how much history the park has. Those banners would have ended up in millions of photos – great free advertising.

    • jcruise86

      Disney could save money during Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary, by just having the slogan, “Celebrate Disney Parks!” at all of their American parks.

    • Cory Disbrow

      Banners going throughout the park would be a nice touch, and something that would not cost them a ton of money. I too have gotten used to them not doing full fledged celebrations anymore, but kind of pine for them. I remember the excitement before a trip during things like the 25th anniversary and the Millenium Celebration, and it would be wonderful to experience that feeling again.

  • Reddog

    Unfortunately, they cannot hide the bright red box on the castle wall. It’s an emergency switch and it has to be in plain view and easily identifiable.

    • Cory Disbrow

      Yes, it clearly has a purpose. It’s just sad to see it right in the middle of something that is so hyper themed and detailed. A necessary evil.

    • crlachepinochet

      To my eye, it looks like an “E-stop” button… but what’s it for? There’s nothing that moves near the castle wall to my knowledge. Could it be for the fireworks in case of a fire?

    • MickeysImagination

      It appears to be a fire alarm box, hence the red color. By code it cannot be hidden and must prominently display the red background around the red button. It is possible that some local code would allow the switch box enclosure to be recessed, with the red faceplate being enough exposure. What I will further add, this is within Reedy Creek Improvement District and I would believe they are still using the EPCOT Building Code in all of its glory; perhaps someone close to RCID and the available codes can shed more light. The EPCOT Building Code is fairly stringent on fire safety.

      -Justin

  • SFDave

    Seems like the WDW management is saving money for the DHS remodel, I hope! That park is getting very stale. I love Epcot but it needs desperately something new. They have all the WOC technology why not do something in the lagoon there? Extra pavilions have been rumored for years. I think Australia would be great but its on again off again all the time.

    • Cory Disbrow

      I genuinely think that Disney is putting all of its efforts into the DHS 2.0 project and whatever will happen with Avatar over at DAK. Sadly, this puts Epcot on the back burner. I think that the folks at Disney think that the Test Track re-do will be enough to satiate guests for the immediate future before they can focus their energy on something entirely new for the park. Whether or not it will remains to be seen!

  • Disneykin Kid

    I like that they’re paying tribute to classic characters like Humphrey, Lambert, Hippo etc, but the inevitable question for people who see these signs will be – where is the attraction for these characters? Also in your Big Top Souvenirs video, there is someone yelling, is this a cast member or customer? If it’s a cast member hawking something, it’s very annoying.

    • Cory Disbrow

      Agreed 100%. I thought that Pete’s Silly Sideshow could be a great place to have some “typical” Disney characters along with some of the classic, less used characters. But instead, we just have the Epcot character spot with circus attire.

      As for the screaming in the video, it was a group of teenage girls who didn’t (sadly) have a mute button. It was definitely not a cast member, thankfully!

    • WorldLover71

      Where’s Bongo the CIRCUS Bear? I love Humphry but I think they put the wrong bear in this area.

  • tcsnwhite

    I’m still wondering when WDW is going to update is outdated, badly designed, and just plain old live entertainment-as in parades, stage shows, spectaculars, etc…?

    I know Steven Davison and team at WDI-CE were working on some sort of massive daytime parade for MK, and supposedly some major updates or complete re-staging of Fantasmic!…but the years go by, and nothing is done. They are still basically running leftovers from other parks that are a sad shell of their former self (BPB), or stuff from 2001 like the MK and AK’s daytime parades…and Epcot as NO live entertainment spectacles other than the outdates ROE?

    Not to mention the design standards of WDW’s entertainment is HORRIFIC. Where are these folks from, the 1970s?
    Take a look at what Steven and his Creative Ent. team have done for DLR, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and now Paris… and compare to WDW’s QUALITY. For WDW being the cash cow, flagship Disney global resort…it’s pathetic.

    For a management team that doesn’t want to spend money on updating the outdated WDW…live entertainment seems like a total no-brainer. Even DLR relied on live ent. when it was going through it’s rough patches.
    If they can’t even do that to keep the parks a bit fresher in time when they don’t want to spend on attractions…then there’s a real problem.

  • Ravjay12

    Fantastic update as always! It is a shame that they couldn’t get the re-themed Test-Track ride open in time so at least they had something for the park’s 30th. A new country also would have been cool, but they just spent billions on their other theme parks to give them a much needed boost that Epcot doesn’t really need right now. Hopefully now that management has seen that the great work they’re doing in Fantasyland will be a hit with guests, maybe they’ll make the same investment in Epcot in the future

  • KCmike

    I always heard he picked the number 13 because the letter M is the 13th letter in the alphabet. MM stands for Mickey Mouse.