April 14, 2014

The Elegance of EPCOT Center

Long before the gorgeous Tokyo Disney Sea, the best work of Imagineering was actually found Stateside. In a park that has never been recreated, EPCOT Center was a brand new theme park, a World's Fair built to last, a playground where education met imagination.

From Future World to World Showcase, at opening, the park was an optimistic statement of achievement and possibility. It was also incredibly beautiful, elegant from top to bottom.

Imagineer Herb Ryman created this masterpiece in 1978. Designed to establish a feel for the park, this rendering of the plaza around Spaceship Earth is at once compelling and full of charm. The environment sparkles, and the children exploring the park convert it was meant for all ages to enjoy. (Click to see it in very large format.)

With the dumbing down of Epcot in the late 1990's and into this century, the place is no longer what it once was. There's still delights to be found, but now characters invade where they do not belong, attractions thrill but forget to build much story, education or anticipation, and the boozy Fall Festival becomes an excuse to get sloshed. 

Gone are the original Journey into Imagination, Universe of Energy, and the World of Motion. Younger fans of the park must know it was something special in 1982 because old timers like me keep talking about it. You Tube and old photos cannot capture the majesty of Walt's last dream turned theme park.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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