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  1. #1

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    March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    I made it to EPCOT Center in January 1983, just a few months after the park's opening on October 1, 1982.

    While visiting the park—now called Epcot—in February 2011, I went back to some of the same spots that a friend and I had captured on color slides in 1983.


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    The park just looks so cluttered these days, and none of seems to work towards anything either.

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    Boy, is it just me or did everything look worse when updated. The old photos looked futuristic (minimalist clean lines, cool logos and well thought out). The Epcot makover looks like the sad quick, cheap, ugly, and not-well-thought-out makeover that Disneyland's Tomorrowland got before the park got its act back together. That fugly sign pointing directions just makes me sad, like the lost reflection pool, and fountain hidden by that stage (epcot is HUGE with tons of space for cheesy performances).

    Anyways, as a Disneyland regular, on my first trip to the Florida parks in 1987 I remember being underwhelmed by the Magic Kingdom, but thought Epcot was the coolest thing ever. After another trip when they opened animal Kingdom I felt that EPCOT, my second favorite park on Earth (next to Disneyland) was gutted and just felt kinda sad and dazed my whole time their. I could really tell a lot of great minds put a lot of work in the original park, but much of that careful thought and planning was being dumbed down and covered up with cheese.

    But hey, if Disneyland can do a 180 so fast, I have hope for EPCOT in 10 years. Go Epcot, GO!!!

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    If you got to visit EPCOT from October 19, 1989 to January 1, 1995, then you were lucky. These were the best years, when EPCOT was at its finest. It was a triumph and an inspiration. After that, it's all downhill.

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    I had to comment on the signs. The original signs had small fonts and little arrows. I can't see how the so-called clean design had to be less useful that the current signs, which are actually more readable. The icons are not useful to the lost visitor. I also like the restrooms sign in the newer version. Restroom signs are never in short supply especially in a vast complex like EPCOT.

    EPCOT had the good and bad. The improvements probably helped a lot, but I can't seem to understand why they replaced some excellent original attractions like World of Motion for Test Track, or Horizons for Space, when they could have added to the ride count.

  6. #6

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    In most pictures the park looked substantially better before.

    The Leave a Legacy "tombstones" look like an uglier version of Superman's Fortress of Solitude, and clutter up what would have been a view that was both serene and awe inspiring.

    I agree with the "time for EPCOT to bring back the clean look of the original signs and logos." The new ones might do the job, but they look cheap, boring and ugly. Maybe bring back the originals but make them 30% larger.

    The tent-like canopies in two of the pictures obstruct part of the view of Spaceship Earth.
    Domes are common in architecture; what's extraordinary about Spaceship Earth is that a mirror image of the awesome domed top exists at the bottom. Try not to block the view of the whole enormous ball.

    I wish I could be as forcefully brief as Reagan at the Berlin Wall, but, "Mr. Iger, tear down everything that isn't a big permanent building built since the mid-80s that obstructs the view of Spaceship Earth. Mr. Iger, move the legacy rocks and the canopies! (Please.)"

  7. #7

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    EPCOT Center had a vision. Epcot is just another theme park. EPCOT Center had style and design aesthetic (as sterile as it may have been, granted). Epcot is a mish-mash of whatever works.

    Test track just looks awful now. Why didn't they just keep those clean lines and rebrand the building? You don't need all that extra scaffolding for signs that make it look (purposely) like an ugly construction site.

    Wow, those palm trees in front of Spaceship Earth framed the geosphere better than Leave a Legacy or the trees that are there now.

    EPCOT Center may have been antiseptic to some, but that was part of the concept -- it seems sterile, but you add your OWN imagination to it. It is anything you want it to be.

    How much better it would be to remove the trinkets and doo-dads and just go back to SIMPLE!

    On the issue of the signage, by the way, part of the concept was that pictograms would help international/global audiences. If every pavilion had its own image, and all of the images were similar, you didn't have to have written directional signs. Just like a little stick figure represents "restroom" all over the world, the individual circle icons represented attractions. The idea was terrific in execution, but has, like most of EPCOT, been horribly forgotten, tinkered with and mangled. EPCOT is a classic example of how seemingly little changes compound until you're left with something that makes no real sense anymore.

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    "Mr. Iger, bring back EPCOT."

    That's putting it simply.

    It's not about being a hater of change ... it's about restoring vision and presenting a future that is always just around the corner. It's about having a theme park that is unlike any other in the world. And for those who say, "But EPCOT Center was not a popular hit and that's why it needed to change, because it was losing its audience," I answer: EPCOT has always, ALWAYS been the third most-attended theme park in the United States, even in its "leanest" years, behind The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. It was never any sort of "drag" on Disney, except that the creative executives who came from consumer-goods companies like Coca-Cola, AmEx, etc., didn't know what to make of it because it didn't fit the mold of other Disney theme parks. So, instead of realizing that EPCOT created a DIFFERENT mold, they forced it to become like the other theme parks that they understood. That's too bad.

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    I'm a huge fan of trees in general, but if I ran the World I'd look into a judicious pruning initiative. Trees in the park ore wonderful when they enhance the view, but not so much when they block it (and in the case of some areas, mess up the forced perspective!)

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    What have they done to Future World? Very messy and very unlike the 1982 EPCOT I first saw. I was part of Holidays Around the World in 96 and was aware things weren't going to be the same, ie, World of Motion. Oh how the cast members talked and wondered if Test Track would ever come to fruition. Then a few years later here on the West Coast Rocket Rods came and went (using what Florida learned from Test Track) EPCOT used to be my favorite park at WDW, haven't been there in 14 years and my thoughts might change. Hey Werner how about a story on the Big Bamboo?

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    Werner, are you going to do a similar article on the changes in World Showcase?
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  12. #12

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    I think new signs that hearken back to the old design would be wonderful (I can see what the UoE one could look like already.)


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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by Not My Real Name View Post
    Werner, are you going to do a similar article on the changes in World Showcase?
    Yes!
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    I just can't get over the loss of the 3-pronged plastic sculpture. Wasn't it placed on top of the existing fountain? Which now has nothing? No reason not to restore it.

    And yes, Test Track has always been hideous on the outside. Deserves better for such a good attraction.
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    Re: March 29, 2011: WDW Then & Now - Future World, Part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by SpectroMan View Post
    I just can't get over the loss of the 3-pronged plastic sculpture. Wasn't it placed on top of the existing fountain? Which now has nothing? No reason not to restore it.
    The 3-pronged plexiglas sculpture on the fountain featured the old EPCOT Center logo (with the five circles forming a larger circle and the globe in the middle). Disney has retired that logo.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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