The 1977 Walt Disney Productions Annual Report was one of the first times that Disney shared the initial plans and designs for what would become EPCOT Center almost five years later. We looked at the first part of Master Plan 5 a few weeks ago which provided a good overview of what was to come. It’s simply amazing to see what was planned and how the pavilions were modified based on budget or technological constraints. The Space Pavilion would never really materialize and when we do finally get Mission: Space, it’s a thrill ride with thinly-veiled educational overtones.
So, let’s take a look at how Disney explained the Future World Pavilions for Walt’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.
As conceived here, EPCOT will be a “Showcase for prototype concepts,” demonstrating practical applications of new ideas and systems from creative centers everywhere. It will provide an “on-going forum of the future,” where the best thinking of industry, government and academia is exchanged to communicate practical solutions to the needs of the world community. It will be a “communicator to the world,” utilizing the growing spectrum of information transfer to bring new knowledge to the public. Finally, EPCOT will be a permanent “international people-to-people exchange,” advancing the cause of world understanding.
This concept model always reminded me of what we’d see in the Seas pavilion. I’m assuming the section revealed in the cut-away is for the earliest eons before recorded history.
Spaceship Earth is the major theme show and introduction to the concept and meaning of EPCOT, focusing on the relationship between communications and humankind’s continuing dynamic-survival. It is an optimistic statement recognizing our enormous challenges and concluding strongly that creative men and women of the world can develop a viable “instruction book for Spaceship Earth.”
Central to the meaning of the show is the fact that access to accurate and relevant information and the continuing ability to create new and better tools for survival have been the real dynamic of our voyage aboard Spaceship Earth .
The Disney staff is creating an exciting and unique theatrical experience for the dramatic spherical structure which will dominate the entrance to EPCOT Center. A time machine journey into the past to trace man’s progress as he acquires and utilizes new knowledge. Surging forward through time, guests will see historical milestones unfold as man records, communicates more broadly and finally uses computer technology to process ever increasing amounts of information.
As the Spaceship Earth show concludes, the audience is invited to go forth into EPCOT’s Future World, into the many pavilions offering dramatic new vistas into vitally important topics affecting the future of humankind.
Besides being the namesake of The Greatest Online Show™, Communicore (the communications core) had some pretty lofty goals that simply couldn’t be met at the time or had fallen out of favor by the designers. Some of the concepts simply didn’t make sense five years later.
As its name suggests, this global marketplace of new ideas will be the communications core of EPCOT Center. Here, industry and the public will participate in a “hands on” exchange of new and exciting ideas, systems, products and technologies.
Some of the beginning concepts for this “information marketplace” include:
Telstore-a Future World “video bookstore” where guests could experience first-hand the newly emerging world of video information for the home.
Future World Travel Port-an electronic travel port where visitors could “dial-in” their travel interests and other itinerary requirements and watch an “instant preview” of their upcoming vacation.
FuturePlan-a career center concept where immediate information would be offered about careers for young people and the newly developing field of second careers for retiring citizens.
Informat Arcade- a concept providing new experiences for the public in information retrieval, which would include a “Casino of information” in game-playing format…taking the penny arcade of the past into the information age.
Other ideas for the Communicore will be developed by joint task forces of Disney designers and industry participants and may include such things as The Good Health Emporium, the drug store of tomorrow and The Future World Office, a paperless place of business.
The drug store of the future? I wonder if there was any thought of being able to print your own medicine, like with a 3D printer? Even after almost more than 40 years, we still are chasing paperless office. The Telstore is an interesting concept, especially since it was hawking a way of learning at home via videos. When television was promoted, there was always the thought that people would be able to learn from home. Of course, you finally can learn at home by watching Communicore Weekly!
The Energy Pavilion, surprisingly, is close to being the least-changed pavilion since 1982. I guess having a corporate sponsor with deep pockets means you can simply keep going. Or something.
Even from the outside, the Energy Pavilion will be a strong visual statement as it generates power via its own solar energy systems. Here, the formation of fossil fuel energy will be portrayed, climaxed by a sudden energy storm of wind, lightning, rain, fire and volcanic eruptions, demonstrating the almost endless potential of raw energy available for man. Then visitors will see man overcoming the major crises of the past and finally the choices he must consider today . . . racing against the clock in a search for new energy, and finally harnessing tomorrow’s vast new sources for “The Future World of Energy.”
Life & Health Pavilion
It would take ten years to see the Wonders of Life pavilion and it would be the first EPCOT Center pavilion under the Eisner era. It seems like it’s been a pavilion that had a hard time being more than a science museum.
Visitors to the Life & Health Pavilion will experience a new awareness and appreciation of themselves. “The Joy of Living,” a multimedia show, will extol the beauty, the dignity and strength of man from birth to the golden years. “The Incredible Journey Within” will take guests to explore the inner workings of the fascinating, complex human machine. Along the ” Great Midway of Life,” they’ll participate in a whimsical series of experiences, learning that good health is based, more than anything else, on their own personal responsibility and behavior.
This would have been a fairly massive pavilion with a lot to do. Many of the concepts made it, including the restaurant.
Guests will board the clipper ship, “Spirit of Mankind,” to sail through moments of peril and triumph with seven legendary mariners … the great explorers who charted the seas for civilization. In another adventure, Poseidon the Sea Lord will challenge visitors to journey through the ocean depths … from the Continental Shelf to the Great Coral Reef. Finally arriving at “Sea Base Alpha,” guests will experience an authentic ocean environment with live marine life, an undersea restaurant, and a showcase of oceanographic exhibits and displays.
The Land Pavilion went through a few changes before settling on the 1982 incarnation, which was driven largely by the first corporate sponsor, Kraft Foods. A few of the ideas set forth by the lead designers (including Tony Baxter) would heavily influence the Imagination Pavilion.
The Land Pavilion will graphically illustrate man’s role as a “protector” of this finite resource, as well as his alternatives and choices in maintaining, and even enhancing, the delicate balance within the natural environment. Through a variety of exciting and informative shows and experiences, guests will be introduced to the basic concepts essential for understanding the need for harmony between man and his home on “The Land.”
From the onset, the Transportation Pavilion doesn’t look like the World of Motion, until you look at the details. The track on the lower-left looks like the part of the ride that started at the bottom of World of Motion and entered the ride building on the second level. It also shadows the circular design of the wheel-like final design.
The Transportation Pavilion will show how man has progressed through time in direct relation to his ability to move from one location to another. Visitors will see man’s earliest and most humble designs grow and change as he reaches out to explore the world around him. They’ll be treated to simulated trips aboard some of today’s modes of transportation … and have a glimpse at future transportation systems … including a “hands-on” involvement with working prototypes of tomorrow’s vehicles.
Probably one of the most complex pavilions, Space would be shelved in order to create Horizons and would ultimately replace one of the most beloved Epcot Center attractions. Still, it’s hard to think of a pavilion on the scale of the Space Pavilion.
A huge, interstellar “Space Vehicle” will transport passengers to the outer frontiers of the universe, highlighting man’s efforts to reach out for the stars around him … from the early pioneers who looked and wondered … to modern-day space travelers and their triumphs … to the challenges and possibilities of future space technology and exploration.
Which pavilion would you liked to have visited? What do you think about Master Plan 5?
Looking for a good book (or two) about EPCOT Center?
- Walt and the Promise of Progress City by Sam Gennawey is a great look at the philosophies and the various ideas behind Walt’s vision.
- Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center by Richard Beard is a book that is a must-have for every Disney fan. There are at least three different versions, so make sure you get one of the 239 page editions.
ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor
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