If I Were King Of EPCOT

Written by Sam Gennawey. Posted in Disney Parks, Features, Samland, Walt Disney World

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Published on July 11, 2012 at 10:08 pm with 23 Comments

Back in the early 1960s, author Ray Bradbury was concerned that the quality of life in the Los Angeles region was being threatened by urban sprawl and the lack of investment public transportation. He felt that the current leadership had no vision. He also felt that he knew one man who knew how to get things done, his good friend Walt Disney.

Bradbury tried to convince Walt Disney to run for the office of Mayor of Los Angeles. Walt felt the same way about Los Angeles but his reply to Bradbury was, “Why would I want to be Mayor when I am already King?” Walt had the power to pick and choose which attractions, which shows, which landscapes that he wanted to keep and which to change. Imagine possessing that kind of power?

That is the point of this game. If you were king or queen of EPCOT and you could do anything you wanted what would that be? Keep in mind that I am not restricted to reality, budgets, or Disney company politics. However, as they say (and Disney owns) with power comes great responsibility. The good thing is that I am a pragmatic and benevolent dictator or so I have been told by my “yes” men.

This installment will focus on EPCOT. No, not the Experimental Community of Tomorrow that I write about in my book Walt and the Promise of Progress City (got to get in a plug). I am talking about the permanent World’s Fair that millions visit each year.

EPCOT was the first time the Disney organization tried something different than another Disneyland. The concept struggled for many years until a decision was made to combine two different concepts on one property. The front half is supposed to be a showcase for technology and the sciences. It is organized around the traditional Disneyland hub and spoke layout. The back half was an idea from Imagineer Harper Goff and was supposed to be a cul-de-sac of nations around a scenic retention pond. Sadly, the developer left before he sold all of the lots.

When I visit Florida, I tend to spend more time at EPCOT than any of the other parks. EPCOT was designed differently and was always intended to be more “adult” than the other parks. Over the years they have tried to make it kid friendly but with little success. Something about the park’s core mission that makes this very difficult. I find that this is a park best savored at a much slower pace. As you let your trip unfold, the Park will usually deliver.

Now for the good, the bad, and the whatever else there is.

Whenever I can, I try to arrive via the Monorail. EPCOT was designed by people with movie backgrounds and they knew that a proper preview can build build excitement and reduce people’s apprehension. The way the monorail gently glides around Spaceship Earth, allowing you to peek at the Future World pavilions and the World Showcase off in the distance, is just brilliant. I try to position myself on the left hand side so that I can get the best possible view.

Weaving my way down the ramp I am spurred on by the glorious, optimistic, and dramatic entry area background music. Gets me every time. I view the arrival experience to EPCOT as the same as passing through a time machine. This is very similar to the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland where you go back in time. In the case of EPCOT, it should be projecting yourself into the future. There is something simply uplifting about this soundtrack.

All is good until you get to the Leave a Legacy “mausoleum” in front of Spaceship Earth. I recognize that the monument was designed by the legendary Imagineer John Hench himself but it just sits there, weighing down the ground, obstacles to be avoided.

I sometimes think was the aliens will think when they visit Earth after the Zombie Apocalypse and they see these burial mounds. Who were these people? The only other thing likely to survive are the supports for Spaceship Earth merely because they are buried so deep into the Florida soil. EPCOT demands a proper Modernist entry statement that speaks of grandeur and one that enhances and embellishes the glorious Spaceship Earth building. Be gone tombstones.

Speaking of Spaceship Earth, like many of you I prefer the original story of communication versus the current celebration of communication technology. My disappointment goes beyond the somewhat lame ending with the TV screens showing you your future as envisioned by the artist SHAG. Spaceship Earth is the the theme building for the entire park, yet it only represents the Future World side of the park in this version. One more thing. I am truly offended that Jewish and Islamic scholars have been reduced to the “first back up system” to Western thought. The newest version is a swing and a miss at a truly remarkable attraction.

I would also like to rethink the flying sails behind Spaceship Earth? It is time for them to go. We are at the cusp of that moment when Mid-Century Modern is going to come back in a major way. I say update the dancing fountain. EPCOT’s fountain was one of the first of its kind and there is a chance to integrate the latest technologies and create a show that stops people in their tracks and changes touring plans to include getting there early. What an opening statement after passing under Spaceship Earth.

As many know, Future World is divided in two halves. To the left are the hard sciences and technology. To the right are the natural sciences. This is reflected in the choice of pavilions and the landscaping.

Let’s begin with The Universe of Energy, one of the original attractions. I have a confession. I kind of like this attraction. Maybe that is because I like Ellen  DeGeneres, Bill Nye, and Jamie Lee Curtis. I like the length of the attraction and the air-conditioning on a hot Orlando day. I like the fact you can even have an entire bench to yourself on a slow day. You can slide from side to side or take a nap. In many respects, this thing should feel more dated but it doesn’t. And who doesn’t love dinosaurs?

But what we have is a missed opportunity. Our relationship to energy is one of the most important issues of the day and this attraction could be so much more. The basic theme is important and needs to be retained but it is time to take a fresh look.


The Wonders of Life pavilion seems to have been successfully repurposed as an exhibition space. I can’t help but wonder that in an age where health care is one of the most discussed issues you would think that somebody would step up and take advantage of all of these guests.

Mission Space can stay. It may lack a sense of humor (other than how many warning messages you hear on the more intense version) and it begs the question; what is going on with Gary Sinise’s forehead but the sustained G-forces and the momentary weightless bits are a unique experience not to be found elsewhere. Did I mention that playing with the switches and hearing the reactions is just the coolest way to kill a couple of minutes before a ride starts.

I have always enjoyed test track and I am glad that we now have the supersized version here on the West Coast with Radiator Springs Racers. I understand that the team working on the remodel is first rate and I am looking forward to the update.

And I would be remiss if I don’t highlight my favorite bathroom in all of Walt Disney World. It is inside of the Odyssey. It is sad to see such a prominent building languish. I would retain the architecture but install a world market dining experience, sort of like a continuous Food and Wine festival. Just don’t mess with that bathroom.

There is no imagination (or visitors) in the Imagination pavilion and this is a shame. Walt Disney Imagineering uses a technology they call Computer Assisted Virtual Environment (CAVE) that creates a virtual-three dimensional environment that changes with the viewers point of view. It allows the engineering teams to “walk thru” an environment much like Walt tried to do with three-dimensional models. Imagine entering into a real version of the famed Star Trek Holodeck.

But here is my command. Celebrate Imagineering by recreating virtual versions of favorite past attractions like Mr. Toad or Adventure Thru Inner Space. In the future you could bring back Snow White.  Think of the t-shirt sales!

Many of my people have suggested updating the Soarin‘ film and I agree. Although the attraction remains a huge hit and the sharp pencil boys would suggest leave it alone, sometimes it pays to exceed expectations. I would make one change to pavilion itself. Just for my own enjoyment, I would revamp the internal circulation system into a giant helix by removing the escalators and building a big ramp. Just think of the crowd spinning down toward Soarin’. We royalty have to entertain ourselves somehow.

I never got to visit The Living Seas when it was Seabase Alpha. I like that idea. Now we have The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends and the use of a Huge Intellectual Property to Cover up the Fact it is Not Much More than your Local Regional Aquarium. Did I get the name right?

The ride’s queue is a successful example of a transition between the outside and inside environments that helps guests suspend their disbelief. I think it is great and rather simple. The ride itself is interesting and will always be compared to the Subs at Disneyland in my mind. The EAC sequence, the integration of real fish and the characters, and the starfish at the end are all highlights. They all stay. After that, maybe it is time for a major rethink for the rest of the pavilion. Take me someplace not just an overlay. The parts do not add up to something greater.

A lap around the World Showcase is still one of the great theme park experiences anywhere.Most of the pavilions would remain the same including Japan, China, the UK, Italy, Canada, and Morocco. What else?

A quick survey tells me that all is well in Mexico. I enjoy the silly song on the boat ride and it stays even though it doesn’t have much to do with Mexico. As a guy who lives in LA, the price of street tacos is shocking but I am glad they are an option.

The removal of the Viking boat playlot in Norway reminds me that such a facility is still needed someplace. Kids can burn off a little steam with some unrestricted play while the parents can sit and eat lefse. Maybe one day I will watch the film. I am sorry.

It is time to put an attraction in that giant building behind Germany. A boat ride through miniatures was the original idea and I still think there is merit. Another family friendly attraction is needed.

Do whatever it takes to maintain and upgrade the American Adventure. And, as a proud Californian, where is the wine bar?

Keep the French film. It is so old it is almost timely again. However, clean up the print, digital projectors, and a revamped sound system. One of my favorites.

All of this is fine. What is missing are more countries. There are large gaps between some of the pavilions and this ultimately saps some of the potential energy from the park. It is like being in a dynamic downtown and passing by a parking lot.

Where is India, Brazil, and Australia? The possibilities are endless.

EPCOT is so close and it can be so much more. What would you do if it were you that was King of EPCOT and not me?

As a post note, I’d like to let you all know that I’ll be discussing Epcot and my book, Walt and the Promise of Progress City, at the Disneyana convention in Anaheim later this month on Saturday, July, 21st at 1pm. To purchase tickets, please visit this link: http://disneyanamania2012.eventbrite.com/


MiceChat Celebrates EPCOT’s 30th Anniversary this September, Join Us!


Join us on the evening of Saturday, September 29th 2912 in the Norway Pavilion Special Events Lounge in EPCOT’s World Showcase for this one of a kind event!

Your ticket includes:

  • Admission into the live taping of CW in the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT (note: admission into the park is NOT included)!
  • Meet special guest, Ron Schneider, the original Dreamfinder!
  • Decadent dessert reception!
  • Short scavenger hunt hosted by Kevin Yee before the show will be available to those who would like to participate (prizes will be awarded)!
  • Prizes, giveaways and more!
  • The chance to be a part of EPCOT and Communicore Weekly history!
  • Endless Five Legged Goats and perhaps even a real life Bathroom Break!
  • Exclusive late night ride after park closing on a selected EPCOT attraction to cap off the evening!

For more tickets and more information, be sure to visit MiceChat.com/store!


Sam Gennawey is an urban planner, historian, and author.

If you enjoy reading SAMLAND, you’ll love Sam’s book. Walt and the Promise of Progress City is a detailed look into how Walt Disney envisioned the future of communities. Along the way, we explore many facets of a fascinating man.

Follow Samland on Facebook and Twitter.

About Sam Gennawey

Sam Gennawey is an urban planner who has collaborated with communities throughout California over the course of more than 100 projects to create a great, big, beautiful tomorrow. Sam is a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Regional Planning History Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving municipal, county, and private sector planning documents from throughout Los Angeles County. Sam is the author of Walt and the Promise of Progress City which you can find on Amazon.

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  • Jeff Heimbuch

    “Now we have The Living Seas with Nemo and Friends and the use of a Huge Intellectual Property to Cover up the Fact it is Not Much More than your Local Regional Aquarium. Did I get the name right?”

    I literally laughed out loud at this.

  • mratigan

    ^me to

  • DizneGreg

    Impressions de France is literally my favorite attraction at EPCOT. I know, I’m weird. It is my understanding that they actually did clean up the print and install digital projectors in the last year. I haven’t been since 2011, so I haven’t seen it myself.

    It pains me to know of the huge building space in Germany that is just being used for storage. So sad to think there could have been another boat ride type attraction there (possibly my favorite type of attraction.) Yes, I love Tower, Soarin’ Everest and the big boy rides as well.

    The first thing they need to do is get rid of the gravestones, like you said. How depressing to walk in and that is the first thing you see. Anyone know when the “contract” for those things expires?

    • wdwprince

      I included a clip from Impressions de France in a video from my visit to Epcot last month. The video is a show trip around the world. As you can see, the quality of the Impressions clip looks great. It must have been refurbed.
      http://youtu.be/pe25U6vzess

      • jcruise86

        This film is one of my favorite things at Walt Disney World–I’m glad it’s been restored. I love the soundtrack with French classical music, which is included on my music of WDW CD.

  • bocabear

    I agree with alot of these sentiments… Primarily I think the countries all need to feature an attraction of some sort… Having a shop or restaurant is not enough. UK, Italy, Japan, Germany offer nothing more than a store or food. Surely WDI could do more to make the World Showcase more dynamic. We have all heard the rumors of the many attractions slated for Japan, and the empty warehouse behind Germany. Make sure each pavilion has at least one attraction before adding the next country featuring a shop and restaurant.
    In Germany, they sell LGB toy trains… Why not get LGB to sponsor an enchanted train ride through the German countryside…partially inside, partially outside family style ride, ending in their toy shop… Add any of the attractions slated for Japan. Likewise with Italy and the UK. After 25 years, it is time to complete the existing countries….and then maybe add a new pavilion as well. And I didn’t even get to Future World yet…

    • wes69

      Agreed, we do need to see something in these pavilions. If Brazil, Russia and Australia come in, they need to have some form of attraction. As for current pavilions, this needs to be done over a period of years.

      Britain – Tower of London Haunted Tour
      France – Ratatouille dark ride similar to the old Snow White ride that closed in Magic Kingdom
      Moracco – Siinbad’s Magical Adventures similar to what is in DisneySea
      Japan – Bullet Train – Bullet Train with Godzilla( if they can get the rights) PIE IIN THE SKY – Mount Fuji Bobsleds
      Italy – Gondola ride into the past over around Italy
      Germany- Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale ride.

      • jcruise86

        Love the Tower of London Haunted Tour idea. How about the same Ratatouille ride they’re building at the Disney Studios in Paris. I HATE that park and would like to ride its attractions at other parks.

  • Algernon

    What a shame that Walt Disney’s city of the future was never built, after all the time and money he spent designing it. It would have revolutionized the world. And yes, make virtual re-creations of all those discontinued rides–and a virtual recreation of Disneyland and Disneyworld for each year of their existance, including the opening days, with the people of those times walking all around you. I would prefer the past versions of both places to today’s parks.

    • DizneGreg

      As cool at Walt’s original idea for EPCOT sounded, it would not have been successful in the long run I believe, and certainly would not have drawn copy cats. The reason – the cost. Many of the things he envisioned were not feasible in reality, like the giant dome over the whole thing. It was all wishful thinking I’m afraid.

      I also miss a lot of what is missing at the old parks, but to throw all the good stuff that has been added in the last 20 years away would be a huge mistake (obviously they would never do that, I’m just saying.)

      • DizneGreg

        Oh, and EPCOT would not have been a theme park at all. I am happy to have the theme park.

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    Great article Sam. I love your “If I Were King” stories.

    In many ways, Epcot was born as an adult with all the shops, attractions and shows necessary to be a multi-day park. Compare that to Animal Kingdom and Disney MGM Studios which both opened as half day parks (at best).

    But recent changes to Epcot haven’t really made the park better, they have just muddled and confused the strong themes of the park (adding Nemo to the Seas, Sorin’ to the Land, Mission Space in place of Horizons, Test Track in place of World of Motion, and removing the strong story to Spaceship Earth).

    If I were King, I’d fix those problems. I’d add all of the story elements and theme songs from World of Motion to the current Test Track ride and then rename it back to World of Motion. That would make it a worthy Epcot attraction and keep the ride system that guests seem to love. I’d also fix the storyline to Spaceship earth to return to a history of human communication and at the top of the ride, in the huge open part of the dome, I’d use digital mapping projectors to display awesome special effects and clips which evoke our potential future. That dome is a real potential WOW factor which is currently just thrown away with an Earth projection. I’d also relandscape the entire central area in Future World to be a lush futuristic garden with lots of trees, fountains, streams and artistic and futuristic shade sculptures.

    The most important thing is to add a MAJOR E-Ticket to the very back of World Showcase which will help fix traffic patterns. They really need something which has guests running to the back of the park first thing in the morning. Each of the pavilions MUST have an attraction. Not all of them need to be E-Tickets, but one or two of them should be. Epcot is heavy on films. I’d recommend adding a dark ride or two, perhaps a flume ride and certainly a family dark ride. Japan needs it’s Mt. Fuji ride. Germany needs a small world style boat ride. Fix the Malestorm ride in Norway to feature a single storyline with the trolls rather than the current hodgepodge mess it is today.

    Epcot is a magic park with great shops and restaurants and a mixed bag of attractions. The Imagineers need to get the theme of the park back into focus and make Epcot the crown jewel it deserves to be.

    • wes69

      Enjoyed reading your post. We are thinking on the same liine. Give us a big budget and imagineers and we can restore this park.

  • KENfromOC

    SAM-
    The sad thing about Epcot is as much as I love it, it is a victim of the past. Th entire concept is outdated, and Future World is even worse.

    I was there when it opened in 1982 (and several times since – the last in 2005) and I was wowed (as everyone was) by it’s sheer size and technology. Do you remember those information kiosks that not only had touch screens but the ability to speak live to a person who could help you make reservations at the many restaurants! Almost 30 years before touch iPads and Skype! And the art screens in the Imagination Pavillion? Again, touch a color and paint -wow!

    Future World was great at showcasing new technologies, but what most impressive were the advanced ride systems that carried you around. Universe of Energy was cutting edge with it’s “guide by wire” system. But let’s remember that back then folks had confidence in our corporations – But today? No way! Exxon still sponsoring the U of E? Really??? And what does Nestle have to do with preserving our “Land”? GM was a joke just 3 years ago, but at least it is finally making great products again. Future World in many ways suffers the same problems as today’s Disneyland Tomorrowland (when compared to the late 1960′s to early 1970′s) when we had the likes of Monsanto (and all it’s wonderful agricultural products to save us from pests!) to sponsor Adventure Through Inner Space. It’s just doesn’t work anymore.

    So who would you get to sponsor these places now that the public in general would respect? Apple? Google? I’m a big fan of both, but in essence those pavilions would turn into giant Apple Stores (and would Apple showcase technology from Samsung, etc.?? Or course not!)

    Same can be said, to a lesser extent for World Showcase. What nearly bankrupt country has the funds to sponsor a pavilion now? And we can “visit” any of these places now with the touch of your finger on an iPad! Or eat there foods or buy their products relatively easy.

    Let’s remember that when Epcot opened at about $800 million, much of that money came from the 10-year sponsorship commitments of these corporations and countries. This was a huge way to advertise. But today? It’s not needed nearly as much for obvious reasons.

    Epcot is 30 years old and for the most part has remained sadly stagnant. Even the Spaceship Earth icon building is an aging relict of the past. I don’t fully blame Disney because of the reasons I listed above. I’m not sure what the answer is – But they need to put the same effort and funds into that they have for California Adventure. I hope they can do it!

  • TheTTC

    Great piece, Sam!

    I agree, Leave a Legacy detracts from the image of EPCOT. Move it or lose it.

    The Wonders Of Life pavilion should be re-worked into something along the lines of the original Science pavilion. Either that or restore it like Sam suggested and bring back Community Core.

    Speaking of bringing things back….I also like the idea of virtual rides. Revamp Sum Of All Thrills to do that [unless you bring back communicore]…and the first virtual ride? Ummmmm…..HORIZONS! Get your fast pass early, ’cause lines will be longer than Soarin’!

    And of course, restore the Imagination pavilion and bring back ImageWorks. Dust it off and fire it up! Don’t make me sneak up there again!

    I haven’t put a lot of thought into World Showcase, just PLEASE leave the uniforms for the American Pavilion alone. I don’t want Secret Service agents working the doors.

  • MikeT1975

    SAM! Thanks for the post. I loved your “King of Magic Kingdom” article and have been waiting – patiently, or course – for your article on EPCOT.

    I share many of your sentiments on the current state of EPCOT. It is by far my favorite of the parks and I wish more care and attention were paid to it. How I would care for it:

    I completely agree with you about the memorials in the front of the park. For a company like Disney that focuses so much on how the story unfolds as you walk into the park, I’m surprised that they thought the beginning of the story should be these tombstone-looking monuments. It detracts from the awe of approaching Spaceship Earth.

    I have always loved the show inside Spaceship Earth, too, for the way it sets the tone for the rest of the park. It would be nice to see the show retooled to better communicate (no pun intended) that message to visitors.

    I found your comment about Universe of Energy humorous: for a pavilion that is supposed to be about energy and the ways in which we power our world, nothing speaks stronger for the argument to replace UofE than what a great place it is to take a nap! The Imagineers could surely replace this with an exciting new concept attraction. (I’m not a huge fan of this idea, but thinking about this pavilion I can totally see Disney doing this: put that Monsters Inc. coaster idea housed inside a Monsters Power Station to retain the “energy” theme of the site. They have already Pixar’d the Living Seas and Disney is always looking for ways to make Epcot more kid friendly. How bad would that really be?)

    I have a GREAT idea for the Wonders of Life pavilion: Move the Carousel of Progress over here along with the progress city model and the PeopleMover. Re-imagine the pavilion as an ode to Walt’s original vision for EPCOT and give people the chance to virtually experience what living in Walt’s city would have been like. The more I think about this idea, the more I like it! You could actually put the PeopleMover to use as a dark ride that introduces people to a more advanced concept of urban planning. This also frees up space in Tomorrowland at MK for another E-Ticket or to pave the way for another re-theme of Tomorrowland – not to mention that none of these things ever really fit in with Tomorrowland thematically.

    Mission:Space and Test Track are fine. Wouldn’t change a thing. I would also update the movie for Soarin’ to something more Florida-friendly, but more important to me would be to put Listen to the Land back as the theme music to the Living with the Land boat ride. I really miss that song and catch myself humming it every time I am on the ride.

    Imagination needs some serious TLC. Last time I was there it looked like a deserted mall inside. Honestly, the whole pavilion could be razed to the ground and started over from scratch. As much as I like Figment, I could do without him if the idea and the execution of a replacement pavilion were good enough. If I had my way – that is, if I were king – I think this would be a great spot for a “Defense” pavilion. Tongue-in-cheek, of course, it might be a great place for a Stark Industries attraction starring Iron Man with something along the lines for the new Transformers ride at Universal Studios Hollywood. When you think about, you know those classic circle symbols for the pavilions? Wouldn’t it be cool to go retro on a new attraction like this with the Iron Man chest plate as one of the symbols at Epcot?! I’m LOVING this idea!

    Moving over to the World Showcase, it is obvious that we need some new pavilions here, too. Spain, Brazil, and Russia would make for fascinating cultures to incorporate into EPCOT. I, too, would also like to see a Rhine River ride appear at Germany, but would prefer to keep character-based dark rides out of the rest of the pavilions. (Ie., no Ratatouille dark ride in France!) It is important to retain culture in World Showcase since it is culture that the WS is celebrating – not Disney characters.

    I would also like to see an extension of the Food and Wine concept throughout the year. Its nice to walk around EPCOT during the Food and Wine festival and sample all of the unique items, but food is so paired with the concept of culture that it almost feels like something cultural is missing when the Food and Wine festival ends.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. (Or, given the length of my post, my dollar, twenty-two cents. :-/ ) I never even mentioned Communicore/Innoventions because, frankly, I just don’t know what can be done with these spots. Apparently, neither does Disney management.

    • wes69

      The incorporation of some Pixar characters like Monsters Inc. for Energy is a super idea. Giive the Imagineers a budget and some freedom and Energy could be a child friendly- child learning center.

      As for the PeopleMover, it needs to be throughout Future World with possibily four stations.

      Imagination needs to go. Horizons can take its place. Soarin’ needs to be about Soarin’ around the world.

      I see there are others that walki around this park sketching in their mind what they would love to see in this park.

  • dobberdoo

    I would love to see an in-depth article on how the corporate sponsorships work and what overall impact they have on Disney’s development plans for the parks, specifically with regards to new attractions/pavilions. I have often read that the reason new pavilions and rides are not built is because the respective corp/governments and Disney cannot come to terms. Are we talking huge amounts of money or just a token “investment”. What do Corp/governments gain other than basic advertising? Why is it not in Disney’s best interest to build the rides and pavilions on their own and then hire people from those counties to work them? I for one pay no attention to any of the corporate sponsors of any of Disney’s rides…and I know no one who does.

    It seems that EPCOT is “held back” because the counties of the world do not see a value in a investment in EPCOT. Maybe the spirit in Field of Dreams was right…”if you build It and they will come”.

  • wes69

    Samland shares the same attitudes as I do. It is a wonderful parkl to walk around, but it does, as a whole, need TLC.

    First, World Showcase – At least three or two new countires need to come in. I propose Russia and Brazil. If given a third, I would go with Australia.

    Additionally, we need some rides here, not every pavilion, but enough to interest the kids and adults. A Mt. Fuji bobsled ride is pie in the sky, but a bullet train may not be. Germany could have a Brother’s Grimm ride about their fairy tales. Britain could have a haunted Tower of London ride. Moracco could be given an Arabian Niights night or Sinbad’s Adventures as they have in DisneySea.

    Where the current (closed) restaurant sits between Test Track & Mexico, I would build a new attraction about the Cultures of Mankind. or create a bigger Soar’in Around the World in conjunction with world wide cultures.

    Second, Future World – While I agree that Energy needs to be improved, the Wonders of Life needs to be restored. Once again, I would turn to the original ideas of the imagineers, who saw the true potential of this park. Now, the technology exists. Space and Test Track need some updates, but are largely okay as it, however, I would tie in a FUTURE aspect to it. .

    As for Imagination, this would be replaced by Horizons 2125. HORIZONS IS EPCOT. It should never have closed. I would use the same builidings to house Horizons. The small building in that complex could house the new Carousel of Progress, which would leave the Magic Kingdom.. I would go to the original ideas dealing with the biomes in the Land and restore some of the original ideas of the Sea.

    As for the central hub to the back of Spaceship Earth, which needs a better ending, you have Epcot Village, complete with the new and improved PeopleMover, that would travel all around Future World and possess more than one station. All sorts of shops dealing with the future need to be in this space. An exhibition hall needs to display and advertise new ideas for the future – closer to the idea of Communicore.

  • jcruise86

    Sorry to those of you who have honored loved ones, but I find the leave a legacy thing to be a real downer too. if Disney put up the money and honored Nobel scientists, or America’s soldiers, firefighters, police officers, teachers I might not mind, but I think it’s an out of place intro. into a future world, and I also would remove the “sails” behind Spaceship Earth. This structure is incredible–don’t block our views of it.
    Mr. Iger,
    TEAR
    DOWN
    THOSE
    TARPS!

    I also liked Ellen’s Energy ride past dinosaurs the last time I rode it 12 years ago.
    And I concur on having a different Soarin’ Adventure. How about over parts of the U.S. not in California.

    Thanks, SAM!

  • Omnispace

    Thanks for such a thought provoking article, Sam! There has been a lot of commentary written about Epcot and the consensus seems to be that it’s a fantastic park but it has lost it’s way in many regards. I feel that the essential element that needs to be restored to Epcot is the set of lofty aspirations that governed it’s initial development. It wasn’t that Epcot was only about the future, it was about inspiring guests to think positively about what the future can bring them, and how they can participate in shaping it’s outcome.

    Sure, it was sometimes hit and miss but at least it aspired. As a part of that the attractions were designed to exceed guests expectations, not to pander to marketing and consumer studies. The Future World pavilions were “tied” together with the concept of defining different aspects of our future — and a simple and very effective use of logos. World Showcase was a unified collective of Earth’s cultures existing in harmony. Those strong concepts have been allowed to diminish.

    As your list outlines, there are a multitude of little details in the park that need a person with a strong sense of design to bring them in harmony — a person who understands what Epcot is supposed to be about and won’t miss opportunities. Finding Nemo could have taken guests on an amazing voyage of learning about the seas with Mr Ray, not just a rehash of the movie. El Rio del Tiempo could have used the Three Caballeros to interject the vitality of Latin culture to the Mexico Pavilion without succumbing to a “where’s Donald” shtick. Canada’s film could have been updated without dumbing it down with the irony of Martin Short. Communicore could have been updated without destroying the openness of the original architecture.

    So as King of EPCOT, I my goal would be to restore guests’ relevance when visiting — once again give them a truly fulfilling experience that exceeds their expectations and keeps them inspired even after they exit the park..

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