Would EPCOT have worked as a city?

Rob from Rob Plays takes an in-depth look at Walt Disney's grand plan to make an experimental prototype city of tomorrow. Read the rest

Watch 'The Dream Called EPCOT' promo video from 1980

Here's a rare historical gem from Walt Disney World's history: the 15-minute long promotional video for Walt's utopian EPCOT Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow).

The Disney Parks Blog writes that they pulled it out of the "video vault" for Epcot's 35th anniversary:

This film, which offers a look inside WED Enterprises during the “Imagineering” of EPCOT Center in the 1970s, originally ran on a loop in the EPCOT Preview Center at Magic Kingdom Park. The purpose of the film was to introduce a new kind of Disney theme park to guests, showcasing exciting experiences they could have in the park’s Future World and World Showcase areas. The film offered sneak peaks at attraction models, renderings and animation for The Living Seas, Horizons, World of Motion, CommuniCore and Spaceship Earth, as well as early construction footage. It also offered a first-listen to some of the fun music composed for this new park, including songs like “It’s Fun to Be Free,” “Universe of Energy” and “Listen to the Land.”

As a bonus, here's the TV opening special for EPCOT which aired on October 23, 1982 (the park opened on October 1st of that year). It's hosted by Danny Kaye:

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Disney will pivot Epcot away from its "sponsored content" model

Epcot Center (now "Epcot") is a weird stepchild among Disney themeparks; it started as a kind of ghastly parody of Walt Disney's plan to build a totally controlled domed company town on the enormous tract of central Florida land that is Walt Disney World, and became a cash-cow-oriented park whose radical break with themepark design norms was a blessing and a curse. Read the rest

The incredible true story of the Epcot Horizons superfans who ruled the ride

In 1995, after a year-long closure, Disney re-opened Horizons, the GE-sponsored original Epcot ride devoted to showcasing different ideas about the future, a kind of heir to the Futurama at the 1939 New York World's Fair; fearing the ride was likely to be shuttered soon, two Epcot superfans began covertly exploring and documenting the ride, figuring out its ways and means until they learned how to penetrate it and hide from Disney employees while sneaking in their friends and having little celebrations. Read the rest

Video from the opening of Epcot Center's Spaceship Earth

Dan R sez, "This corporate news piece from the opening of 'Spaceship Earth' has plenty to offer the casual to semi-rabid technology fan who is also partial to World's Fair-esque exhibits about the FUTURE! Great footage of 'Spaceship Earth's' exhibits abound, and the film also features other highlights of EPCOT, including Exxon's 'Universe of Energy,' replete with animatronic dinosaurs."

I got trapped on Spaceship Earth during opening month (it had been going down sporadically all day, resulting in heroic queues), just as we reached the top. After a long wait at the apex, we all got to walk down the stairs to get out. It was my first look backstage at a ride. It was seminal.

Chronicle News Update: EPCOT

(Thanks, Dan R!) Read the rest