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  1. #1

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    Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track - Pictures

    My picture threads consist of images I have taken that focus on the architecture, landscape architecture, planning, design, and theming of the facilities highlighted. They may also contain short descriptions and commentary, but will not focus on construction progress or special events or memorabilia or food selections or my traveling companions. Hopefully these threads are a good introduction for those who have not seen these places yet. All killer, no filler!

    Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track photographed in February 2008 and January 2010:
    I have artificially subdivided the 8 pavilions of Future World at EPCOT into three threads because this land is too large to cover thoroughly with one and eight separate threads would be too many. This thread focuses on the three adjacent pavilions on the East side of the land. EPCOT is divided into two lands, Future World and World Showcase, the former being a collection of 8 pavilions that each focus on one aspect of the future. They are each housed in a large modern building (or two) with at least one major attraction (several are almost entirely one attraction); in addition, some of them feature activity galleries or a shop or restaurant. They form a roughly circular symmetric layout centered on two of the pavilions.

    UNIVERSE OF ENERGY:
    This is the only pavilion in Future World that is composed entirely of one attraction with no accompanying exhibit area, shop, or restaurant. It is housed in a large stepped wedge-shaped building covered mostly with mirrored surfaces and photovoltaic tiles. Inside, the 45 minute attraction is called Ellen's Energy Adventure and features a story starring several celebrities on an investigation of past and future energy sources. The first room is a wide standing area for gathering prior to the attraction; once the guests are inside, a short introduction film is projected on a wide series of screens. Then guests enter an even larger theater to be seated in a strange flat arrangement that is actually composed of 6 massive ride vehicles on a turntable. A relatively small screen is in front and begins the next short film segment, and then the theater rotates to face a much wider film segment projected on another wide series of screens. The theater rotates again, a curtain lifts, and an eerie prehistoric three-dimensional panorama is revealed. The 6 ride vehicles then separate one at a time to journey through a realistically detailed series of robotic dinosaur scenes (to illustrate the source of fosiil fuels) before rejoining each other in yet another widescreen theater. Another film segment plays, another curtain lifts, and all together the vehicles advance back into the original starting room where film segments play on the previously seen screens before the attraction ends. That is alot of movie! Despite the potentially boring subject matter, the experience of this massive moving theater and presentation is impressive.





























    FORMER WONDERS OF LIFE:
    The next building is the shell of a former pavilion called Wonders of Life which is closed but its central interior space is used occasionally for special events.



    MISSION: SPACE:
    This pavilion features a thrilling simulator ride by the same name with two different motion intensity options. It is themed to a flight training center for preparation of a journey to Mars. The exterior of the pavilion is truly futuristic and a great fit for the space flight theme; its scale and proportion and flowing details make it one of the greatest architectural achievements in the entire company's collection of buildings.



























    Ride Queue:
    The interior of the building is nicely detailed as well; the most memorable feature is a spinning gravity simulator set next to part of the waiting area.













    Simulator Vehicles:
    The ride takes place inside these small enclosed pods arranged in a circle and attached to a lifting armature for motion simulation.



    Ride:
    Inside the simulator, guests sit at one of four individual control panels with a video screen directly in front for watching the film synchronized with the motion.









    Advanced Training Lab:
    After exiting the ride, another attractive gallery is reached with these interactive exhibits.







    Shop:



    TEST TRACK:
    Unfortunately, Mission:SPACE's adjacent neighbor is the least attractive pavilion in the land and focuses on a theme of road vehicle testing more tailor-made for its corporate sponsor than the park. It is composed of a large circular flat-roofed building surrounded by an elevated outdoor course for the ride and fronted by a clumsy spaceframe canopy. Detailing consists of standard road signs and symbols both outdoors and inside the large queue area for the ride, filled with demonstrations of current vehicle safety testing techniques in a garage-like space. The ride of the same name is the main attraction and it is certainly thrilling and fun; 6 passenger cars are ridden through an extensive series of sets simulating various testing conditions and maneuvers before going outdoors for the fastest portion of the track which eventually curves around a steeply banked section in front of the entrance before racing back inside.























    Inside Track Discovery Center:
    The following exhibits are all part of the display gallery part of the pavilion.

    Assembly Experience:
    After exiting the ride, guests walk through this weak factory reproduction.





    Fuel Cell Display:
    More interesting is this exhibit of actual future technology.





    Showroom:
    A nice presentation of current corporate sponsor car models, some of which appear on rotating stage sets revealed with baffled curtain walls. Too bad the concept is ill-conceived and it is a waste of space!







    Shop:



    Cool Wash:
    Just outside is a corporate sponsor soda stand; for what it is, it is perfectly matched to the theme of the adjacent pavilion.





    ODYSSEY CENTER:
    This special events food facility sits next to Test Track on a lake that terminates this side of Future World and leads to World Showcase. The monorail circles the middle of Future World, nicely reflected here.





    Enjoy!
    Last edited by geomorph; 02-17-2010 at 04:52 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Thanks again Geomorph! I don't know if you were aware, but did you know that the original architecture of Test Track (as World of Motion) was simply the round, modernist building without the scaffolding? (Picture) I think that the original design was much more inspiring and a better match to Epcot as a whole.

    I would agree that Test Track's current look is terribly ugly, but at least the ugly elements are, to my knowledge, mostly superficial. Theoretically, the scaffolding in front of the building and the street signs throughout could be removed at any time, and the yellow and grey stripes can be removed and repainted.


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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Mark Twain, yes I remember the original World of Motion fondly and with a sense of loss! I have an even greater regret that Horizons was demolished, although its replacement in Mission:SPACE is a masterpeice! If they felt so compelled to demolish something, why couldn't they have demolished Wonders of Life instead and replaced it with Mission:SPACE????

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Great pictures as always geomorph. Seeing all those wonderful shots of Epcot while I'm at work puts me in a good mood.





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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    I disagree about Mission: Space. It's far from a masterpiece, it's a disaster. Apparently lots of people agree since the wait time is rarely over 20 minutes, which is pathetic considering how much they spent on it.

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    ryno1986, I should clarify my 'masterpiece' designation...I really intend that for the design of the exterior, the ride itself is nice but not worthy of that descriptor! Shall we start a new 'Bring Back Horizons' group?

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Quote Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
    Mark Twain, yes I remember the original World of Motion fondly and with a sense of loss! I have an even greater regret that Horizons was demolished, although its replacement in Mission:SPACE is a masterpeice! If they felt so compelled to demolish something, why couldn't they have demolished Wonders of Life instead and replaced it with Mission:SPACE????
    Eddie Sotto, a highly accomplished Imagineer who came up with Mission Space, explained on another site that at the time of its closing Horizons had one of the lowest ratings of all the attractions in WDW in guest surveys. He said there was basically no choice but to close it down, and he came up with the idea of a "Space Pavilion" as its replacement. If I remember correctly, in his original idea, once the capsules reached "Mars", the seats would detach away from the screens and carry you on a flying dark ride through a space station. Unfortunately, only the part with the screens was built. It's still a very neat concept IMO, and one I'm sure would make the pavilion much stronger if it were realized. Maybe it will be someday.

    As for Test Track, my biggest problems with it are what it did to the original World of Motion's architecture, and for the fact it doesn't support the futuristic theme of Future World. The first, as I explained earlier could be easily fixed. As for the theme, I think that, if GM were to the sponsorship, WDI could refurbish the ride so that it keeps the current ride system but instead takes you on a tour of a futuristic city, or something of the like.


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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Quote Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
    ryno1986, I should clarify my 'masterpiece' designation...I really intend that for the design of the exterior, the ride itself is nice but not worthy of that descriptor! Shall we start a new 'Bring Back Horizons' group?
    Thanks for all your recent pics, Geomorph, and I agree with your statement.
    Down with the Hat


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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    thanks, esp. for the pictures of the Universe of Energy. We're never taken the time to check that out....and now, I regret it. Our daughter is in love with dinosaurs...and it looks like something she would love. I hope we make it back there before she grows out of that stage.




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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Another awesome thread geomorph . The last time I was at EPCOT was pre-Test Track, so it was really nice to see that and the Mission: Space buildings. I agree on the architectural comments as well - Mission: Space looks like Disney, Test Track looks like Universal.

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Another very nice set. Back in the olden times Future World east used to be my favorite part of any park. My opinion wavers on the architecture of the Mission: Space building. Sometimes I like it sometimes I don't. Sometimes I think I may be blinded by nostalgia for Horizons.

    As for Test Track, I think my girlfriend put it best when she said, "Every time I look at it I think, when are they going to finish construction and take down all that ugly scaffolding?"

    Edit: I almost forgot, since these photos the Universe of Energy's exterior paint has returned to its original color scheme. It was always weird to me that not only did the colors change, they also switched which sections got the colors and which got the background tone.
    Last edited by Dapper Dan; 02-19-2010 at 02:11 AM.
    It bothers me when people selectively edit quotes to support whatever point they are trying to prove.

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    So happy to see this post! I love looking at your photographs...
    Its Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Dapper Dan, yes Test Track looks unfinished in some ways...they had just reopened after refurbishment when I took these photos so they obviously did not take down the 'scaffolding'!

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Quote Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
    Dapper Dan, yes Test Track looks unfinished in some ways...they had just reopened after refurbishment when I took these photos so they obviously did not take down the 'scaffolding'!
    Do any of the set pieces/props and effects in the line queue still operate?

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    Re: Future World at EPCOT - Universe of Energy, Mission: SPACE, and Test Track

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkie313 View Post
    Do any of the set pieces/props and effects in the line queue still operate?
    I was there in November and June and both times they didn't work.

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