October 1, 2012

Epcot at 30: Delayed Gratification

October 1, 1982 seemed so far away once the announcement came that the Disney company was finally building a version of Walt's final dream- EPCOT Center. And now, 30 years later, the promise of the future and the excitement that came with it seems so long ago.

Since my wife and I were about to be married in April of that same year (Happy Anniversary again!), a trip to Walt Disney World to see the park would have to wait. However, our honeymoon to the Bahamas did include a couple of nights at the Florida complex. It was with the glowing hearts of newlyweds that we rode the monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center to the new park. I should say through the new park, as it was still under construction and there was no scheduled stop. 

As we cruised through the darkness closer and closer to the site, my heart began to race as I excitedly shared what the Imagineers had planned for the new park. I couldn't wait to see it! My wife knew what she was getting into when she married me- I was a self confessed Disney park freak from the beginning (and in the years to come, she'd be so gracious with me as we enjoyed each new park as it came, including those in Paris, but not in Asia- yet.)

Spaceship Earth. I couldn't imagine the reality, I was stuck with the dream. Yet, the reality was as good as promised. It glowed under the Florida moon. What an icon! I could see the Universe of Energy and then the World of Motion. I knew I'd come back one day, but it was my first view of World Showcase that did me in. All those landmarks beckoned, but as fast as I saw everything, it all disappeared just as quickly. 

For every visit since, the monorail ride gave me a rush as I spied the countries alongside the World Showcase Lagoon. There have been many visits to the park, but I'll always remember this time when we couldn't get in. I'd hang in suspense for a year, but my day was coming...

(Photograph copyright Mark Taft.)

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