December 16, 2016

Friday at EPCOT Center, 1966

What you say? EPCOT Center didn't open until a good decade and a half later! Well, you're absolutely right- but that did not stop the Disney Imagineers from creating World Showcase on paper in living color- in 1966!

This top piece of concept art by Herb Ryman normally appears in the black and white version. In full color, this idea of showcasing the world under one huge roof seems very appealing. A new version of the WEDway Peoplemover zooms overhead, carrying passengers from one area to the next, Future World just beyond the horizon.

The more often seen black and white version.

Far off Japan and China are within reach as are the delights of France, Germany, the U.K. as well as many others, including our neighbors and friends in Canada and Mexico. The charms of the Old World hold many delights, but so does the future.

Future World, that is! The opportunity to explore the worlds of Energy, Communications, the Land, Transportation and more await us. Who would ever have thought exploring the more commercial side of the future would be so exhilarating? Those incredible Disney Imagineers, of course- working wth the leaders in science and industry to create a one-of-kind theme park not seen since. 

As Epcot approaches its 35th anniversary, the suits seem content to play both ends of the game. On one hand, they are content to have us look to the past so they can continue to milk fans for retro-inspired merchandise. On the other, they ignore its future so they can sell lots of booze, allowing the fans to forget what used to be. Word on the street is that Epcot 2.0 is on its way. Probably a full-fledged immersion into the world of Disney intellectual properties. (See Frozen Ever After leading the way.) Yet, it doesn't have to be this way. Does it?

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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