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  1. #1

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    So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    I've been doing a bit of reading and since im basically quite new to Disney History etc this came as a bit of a shock to me. So Walt Disney wanted to build an entire city huh?

    I know he died a little after these plans were announced so what happened, did they decide to scrap the idea when his brother took over cause I find this quite puzzling and an odd thing to do, to totally forget about a project Walt obviously had his heart set on?
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  2. #2

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Well, the closest they got was Celebration, FL, which was nothing like the original EPCOT.

    It died because of a lot of issues...

    From wikipedia:
    Walt Disney passed away on December 15, 1966. Even when he was dying from lung cancer, his brother, Roy O. Disney, stated that Walt was still planning his city in the hospital. Walt was using the ceiling to imagine his city, planning excitedly.


    After Walt's passing, the company directors decided that it was too risky to venture into city planning now that its biggest advocate was gone. But Roy persisted and took the reigns on the project, stepping out of retirement to do it. Unfortuantely, Roy could not convince the board to build EPCOT. But, he did pull ahead with the Magic Kingdom project.


    The Walt Disney World Resort opened in October of 1971 with only the Magic Kingdom and a two hotels. Roy insisted it be called Walt Disney World as a tribute to the man who dreamed it up.

    Epcot

    In the late 1970s, Disney CEO Card Walker wanted to revisit the EPCOT idea. But the board was still weary and all agreed that Walt's EPCOT would not work in its initial incarnation; they thought that no one would want to live under a microscope and be watched constantly. The result of the compromise was the EPCOT Center theme park, which opened in 1982.


    While still emulating Walt Disney's ideas, it was not a city; it was more of a World's Fair. But it did, and still does, revolve around technology and the future in the Future World area. The World Showcase is a embellished version of the downtown shopping area, albeit without the enclosure.
    -Tim

  3. #3

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Walt had his heart set on this project, but it was never going to happen with Walt either. Walt wanted autonomous control over that entire city and the state of Florida would never give that to him. Take into thought, the fact that he would have also had to have a large underground portion to this city and Florida's water tables are much too shallow for this to work.

    It was an ambitious idea and something Walt was very interested in and he was trying so hard to make it happen, but it just wasn't going to, even had Walt lived another 30 years. You can also imagine how ambitious this idea by Walt was. The main brain behind this idea was Walt and once he was gone, no one really knew how to proceed with what he really wanted to do.

    The original idea for EPCOT was Walt's baby and had it been feasible I have no doubt that Disney may have tried to finish it, but no one really knew how to handle it without Walt around and couple that with the fact that it was really just blue sky to begin with as Florida would never give up the kind of control Walt wanted and you get a good idea for why this project never completed.

  4. #4

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Those damn board of directors. Pretty interesting though it seems weird that this is the first time i've ever heard about this. I heard about Celebration and I hear it's pretty bad though.

    It seems a big shame that it never happened. If Walt's vision for EPCOT had been completed would any of you have wanted to move in cause I definitely would.
    "I never miss the chance to have sex or appear on television."

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    I think the biggest thing that stopped EPCOT was reality - for starters, there is no way that Walt or Disney could afford such a massive undertaking. If EPCOT Center cost $1 bil (And that Drained Disney at the Time...) , think about how much EPCOT would have cost...

    There are a multitude of other reasons, but to be fair I'll leave it at that.

  6. #6

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    As a student of both Disney and Architecture, I feel safe to say that it was a good thing Epcot was never built. It was the brainchild of Walt Disney, but it still reflected 1960's design aesthetics which the world today is trying to recover from. Imagine if an entire city was designed in the form of the old WDW Tomorrowland or even Future World of Epcot. No one would have wanted to live there.

    Celebration is a unique idea in city planning. It features prominent architects designing civic buildings as well as perfectly manicured and designed roadways, yards, and homes. I feel that it is a more timeless approach to city planning, which will make Celebration successful for years to come.
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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Le_Poof
    I heard about Celebration and I hear it's pretty bad though.
    Bad?!?!??!?!? NOT AT ALL!!!! Everyone seems to love Celebration that lives there. The only bad part is the cost. Celebration is EXPENSIVE!!!!! But bad? No way, no how. Though I know most people don't like the detached garages on some of the homes.

  8. #8

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niyxstyx
    It was the brainchild of Walt Disney, but it still reflected 1960's design aesthetics which the world today is trying to recover from. Imagine if an entire city was designed in the form of the old WDW Tomorrowland or even Future World of Epcot. No one would have wanted to live there.
    What's wrong with those 1960s design aesthetics? They were wonderful!

    What needs recovering is the 70s design... ew.
    -Tim

  9. #9

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Sounds like it's probably a good thing that they never attempted to build EPCOT. Probably would have dragged the company into bankruptcy! Still, EPCOT is a very interesting concept that still inspires people to dream.

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Le Poof, If you are interested in reading more about Walts original EPCOT and why it was not built and its problems etc, look into a great book called Walt Disney and the Quest for Community it is an insightful look into why EPCOT in its original incarnation would and would not have worked ( and alot of it did not have to do with arcitechture styles).

    I do have to say I went trhough celebration and would have been happy to spend my life in the Pleasantville knock off town. Although it does not include the ideas that made EPCOT revolutionary in its antidote to Urban Sprawl, it does bring back the front porch, the Main Street, and the feeling that community is something we can still have if we fight for it.

    When They created EPCOT (then) Center, they took the core concept of Progress and a place always changing with new technology, as well as the World Shopping Area, and morphed it into a Place where you could go to learn about technology both in the past and the future, and learn about various world cultures, making EPCOT Center a perpetual Worlds Fair.

    And in my opinion EPCOT ( Center has been dropped) is moving out of learning and understanding and into a theme park where no one even remembers what EPCOT stands for anymore.

    I hope this helps!
    " And we can dream our dreams forever, dream our dreams together, we open our hearts make a wish on a star in the sky..."
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  11. #11

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    The EPCOT Walt wanted was an actual city with residents living there. Since Disney (in the form of teh Reedy Creek Improvement District) likes to have total control over the property, this would not have worked. If there were actual residents there, they would have to have repreesentation in the government, they would have to be able to vote on projects etc. More than likely it would have costs a LOT of money to live there, and then there would be the tourists coming to visit this city of the future. I think EPCOT in it's current form really is a better match to Walt's idea. It showcases the future, promotes world cultures and it's residents are the guests hat come every day ans well as the cast members that workd there. There were several ideas passed around before Epcot was built and this was the best incarnation that would work. This way RCID still has control and Disney can do as they please in the property. If Epcot was a city with permanent residents it'd end up being like every other city and projects would get bogged down in red tape, people would complain about the tourists, blah blah, blah.

  12. #12

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    There's a great presentation on Walt's orignal vision for EPCOT on disc 2 of the Walt Disney Treasures "Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond" DVD. It's basically Walt personally giving the whole pitch on how the city would be set up. It's genuinely fascinating. Definitely worth a look if you have access to the DVD.
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  13. #13

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrumiousBoojum
    What's wrong with those 1960s design aesthetics? They were wonderful!

    What needs recovering is the 70s design... ew.
    I agree that the 70's need help too.

    Recently I attended a presentation by the chief planner of the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities campus, and I think he explained the 60's best. Where in a group of similarily designed and unified buildings you find one that stands up and out among the rest, you can almost bet it was a result of the 1960's. Function ruled out over aesthetics, minimum was gospel.

    Some of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen come from the 60's, but granted, the 70's were much, much worse!
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  14. #14

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Ok... I'm guessing what I'm meaning by my love of the 60s architecture more deals with the futurisic 60s architecture, full of nice curves and sharp angles. Stuff like the Tomorrowland of the 60s -- House of the Future and such.

    The minimalist blocky buildings? Very agreeable.
    -Tim

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    Re: So what exactly happened to Walt's vision for EPCOT?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niyxstyx
    I agree that the 70's need help too.

    Recently I attended a presentation by the chief planner of the University of Minnesota -Twin Cities campus, and I think he explained the 60's best. Where in a group of similarily designed and unified buildings you find one that stands up and out among the rest, you can almost bet it was a result of the 1960's. Function ruled out over aesthetics, minimum was gospel.

    Some of the ugliest buildings I've ever seen come from the 60's, but granted, the 70's were much, much worse!
    I don't agree. Poor design can be found in any era, not just the 60's. And, there were some great designs that came out of that decade. (Saarinen's TWA Terminal, anyone?)

    There is about a 50-60 year gap between when a particular architectural style is new and fashionable, and when it is considered "classic" and becomes appreciated again. 50's architecture was dismissed as "dated" and "old fashioned" for decades. Now it is trendy again. I predict that in about 10 years, architecture from the 60's will be fashionable again - considered worthy of preservation.
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