Throwback Thursday- Epcot’s World of Motion

(Photo Credit: Disney)

Welcome to a new series I will occasionally do on PNP called “Throwback Thursday” where we take a look at Disney things from the past.

Today we are going to take a look at one of my favorite attractions as a kind, The World of Motion.

It used to love this attraction when I was a kid!

The World of Motion was sponsored by General Motors and opened in 1982 (as an opening day attraction.) It remained until 1996 when it was closed and Test Track was brought in to replace it.

World of Motion was a four to six person Omnimover experience that took guests through the history of transportation from the invention of the wheel until present day and into the future.

(Photo Credit: Disney)

The scenes

After you boarded the Omnimover it would transport guests to a scene for the first transportation: Foot power.  A lot of people loved this scene because it showed a caveman and cavewoman blowing on their feet.

I think after walking all over Epcot we all might need to cool our feet.

Water Transportation

Projected boats and a man sleeping on a raft with a crocodile coming towards him were featured in this section.

Animal Power

Here we see several animals with riders and a flying carpet with a man seated on it. I was never sure why that was “animal power” but he was there.

The Wheel

Now we get to see the invention of the wheel at Babylon. There are three men holding different shapes spinning them like wheels, while one man is in front of the king with his circular wheel.

After passing by guests would move past projections of spinning wheels and onto screens featuring a chariot and a rickshaw. Then pass an ancient building and a centaur and then onto a chariot dealership that offers many options, including the Trojan Horse.

(Photo Credit: Disney)

The next scene is one that many know even if they had never ridden the attraction and that is the ships area.


Guests will pass move out of the wheel area with a projection of the winds blowing a boat across the screen and off the edge of a flat Earth.

Here we see a sailor looking through his monocular scope while a sea serpent looks back. This is one of the most iconic scenes in this attraction. After the World of Motion closed it was used at Disneyland for a time but it was taken down awhile ago.

Age of Flight

Next in our adventure through time and travel we enter Leonardo Da Vinci’s studio where the Mona Lisa model waits impatiently while the master uses one of his apprentices to test his latest design for a flying contraption.

After the Renaissance we move a bit forward in time to a man in his hot air balloon flying over London.

Steam Power

“From hot air to the power of steam” we move on to the next section featuring a bull challenging a vehicle and then projections of various steam powered transportation.

Then guests see a Mississippi Riverboat and then onto a montage of the Western expansion where people are crouched behind their wagons while a projection of American Indians run in the back ground. (I don’t think this would fly today.)

Next on our journey is a steam locomotive in the middle of a train robbery with the joke that a new horse will “bring safe travel to the new frontier.”

The Bicycle

As we change into another area of the attraction we see a man on and old high wheel bike yelling at a dog while a woman laughs at another man who has fallen into the mud with pigs.

(Photo Credit: Disney)

Another man shows off on a unicycle.

The 20th Century

This section starts off with projections and animatronics of early cars and trolleys.

Then we come upon yet another highly iconic scene from the attraction the “world’s first traffic jam.”  A horse has been spooked while vehicles are honking and trying to get by. Chickens and produce are all over and ice has spilled out of a truck. A man pops out of a man-hole with a tomato on his head.

Then onto a man and woman on a picnic with a projection of early bi-planes flying behind them.

The focus here is the Sunday drive and we see an airshow sign with projections of various planes. Then onto a scene with a plane and a pilot and woman posing in what looks like the 1920s.

Time is progressed with the use cars and families from different decades, with each car getting closer to present day. After this is an odd transition that looks like you are sledding or in a bobsled before you go into the “speed tunnels.”

Speed Tunnels

This are was an homage to the tunnels from the If You Had Wings attraction that used to be in the Magic Kingdom.
Omnimovers traveled through the tunnel with various lighting effects including a Tron-like landscape.


After you exit the tunnels guests entered the CenterCore, city of the future area. Ending with guests passing mirrors and, using a similar effect to the Hitchhiking Ghosts in the Haunted Mansion, have a “vehicle of the future” projected into the mirror over their omnimover.

(Photo Credit: Disney)

The TransCenter

When the ride was concluded guests would exit their vehicles and enter the TransCenter.

Here guests could explore several exhibits about transportation, see prototype cars and show called The Water Engine.

The Water Engine was show that featured nine animated characters, each with an alternative fuel-system, as they debated over which design was best to power cars.

Bird and the Robot was another popular attraction featuring a toucan named Bird and an assembly-line robot named Tiger.

I remember the attraction and some of the concept vehicles the best. But I always loved this attraction. I can see why it was a bit redundant as it was similar to Spaceship Earth and Horizons.

What I really remember is the song “It’s Fun to Be Free.”

There you have it. A look at the World of Motion that once was. I hope those that remember can have a nostalgic look and those that never saw it, but wish they had, got to see what it was.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Sources: Wikipedia, Disney Tourist Blog, Disney Parks, flickr, Widenyourworld YouTube, WDWFacts YouTube,

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