History of Walt Disney World Part 2: EPCOT

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Epcot, an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, one of the most interesting and also most depressing developments in theme park history. Originally Conceived by Walt Disney as part of his “Florida Project”, Walt had a very ambitious vision, a vision of unity and of a bright and prosperous future. A vision that sadly was ahead of its time, and even if he had been able to make it some believe his “Experiment” would have failed.

 

The original concept was, well, and actual living and thriving community, where people from all over the world would live. Walt wanted to create a community where it would be easy to solve problems, where people and communities would live in harmony. The overall design was like a Wagon Wheel, where paths/walkways and people movers would move between the 3 sections.

The first section in the center would be the Business and Commerce, where shopping centers and restaurants reflecting culture and locations around the world, and its centerpiece being a 30 story cosmopolitan hotel & convention center.

The second section was the high density housing and apartment area and would be constructed to allow new products to be tested in the homes.

The third section is the green belt & lower residential area which contained schools, churches and residential neighborhoods. It was expected that all residents would be employed at the nearby theme park, industrial park, airport, welcoming center and shopping centers as to keep a thriving community within the “Florida Project”.


Walt was unable to see his project come to life as he passed away in 1966 due to lung cancer. Most people at the company abandoned the project when he died because they didn’t want to get into the business of running a city.

Roy Disney decided to try and salvage what he could and in 1971 opened the Magic Kingdom. 3 months after its opening Roy passed from a intracranial hemorrhage.



The EPCOT Project was revived and heavily altered from a city to a theme park.

In 1974 Then Disney President, Card Walker, announced that EPCOT would in fact become a reality. The park finally opened on October 1st, 1981, as The EPCOT Center, where a number of attractions based on technology and learning would be featured at the front of the park. Moving through that area would lead you to a World Showcase where you xould see various countries from around the world represented. While each country pavilion would have Cast Members from those countries.

The World Showcase was originally planned to feature 20 Countries but due to a number of budgetary and political reasons the park instead opened with 9, which is a shame since many of those canceled countries are ones that are heavily requested today. A large amount of attractions planned for the World Showcase never saw the light of day.



EPCOT is a park meant for the family, for learning, for seeing places around the world without having to leave the country, but in recent years the park has gone through many large scale changes, some that would even be considered controversial.

Sadly, due to the Coronavirus Shutdown, the park is currently in a state of dismay and repair since they never fully completed the changes they initially planned, changes that many longtime Disney Fans objected to.

To me EPCOT is a fascinating concept for a park, meeting new people, seeing new things and exploring places around the world all in one spot. Hopefully EPCOT will pull through as it is one of my favorite parks to visit in Florida.

Let us continue our journey in Part 3…

If you missed Part 1 about the Magic Kingdom you can read it HERE.


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.