The Legend of the Three EPCOT Center books…

A few weeks ago, AmyBethCombs posted the following image on twitter:

I noticed that she had two of the three Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center books by Richard Beard. It has long been an integral part of my Disney library and it is a title that every Disney enthusiast should own.

When I mentioned that she had two of the three, she questioned me about how to tell the differences between them.

There are three different version of the book:

The 1982 editions are similar except for some of the photos. The pre-opening version often has photographs of models instead of photographs of the pavilions. There will also be some differences in the interior shots. Scott Otis (fellow librarian and Disney book fiend) provided the following two shots for me from his personal collection, as I have three copies of the pre-opening version.

In this instance, you can see that the pre-opening version is on top. It has a picture of the model of the Living With the Land boat ride and another photograph of castmembers and Imagineers on the not-quite-finished attraction. The post-opening has a shot of the pavilion during a balloon release and shows guests on the finished ride.

There is not a discernible difference if you are hunting the 1982 books online. I would suggest contacting the seller to see if they will verify which edition they are selling.

Either way, the 1982 edition is a must have title for every Disney fan!

An older shot of Scott’s Disney library. Thanks for the help, Scott!

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8 thoughts on “The Legend of the Three EPCOT Center books…

  1. Actuallyyyyyy…. 🙂

    It’s easy to tell the difference. The 1982 long version has “Walt Disney’s EPCOT” on the cover; the later version is “Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center”.

    Also, my edition of the shorter version is from 1982…

  2. After my first trip to EPCOT in 1984, my grandfather bought me the post-release long version. I must have spent hours staring at the Bob McCall paintings in the Horizons chapter, and even more hours trying to reconcile the painting of Seabase Alpha’s exterior with what I actually experienced when the Seas pavilion opened in 1986. Sadly, that book spent most of the ’90s in my parents’ garage and suffered insect and water damage. I recently acquired the 239-page pre-release version, though, and it’s fantastic.

    I always sigh a little when reading about Equatorial Africa or WED’s original Living Seas concept, though.

  3. If you’re ever up for parting with one of your three pre-opening copies, please let me know.

    I have the post-opening version, (the longer one) which I acquired recently and came with the bonus of some EPCOT postcards and other paper ephemera inside the front cover. I’m very happy with this version.

    However, our public library has the pre-opening version with the model photos, and as much as I like mine, I’m a sucker for concept art and models and really want that version.

    I’ve had mixed luck with online sellers being able to accurately distinguish books, especially when they come from a home library, and think this book would be pretty tough to explain to someone in an email on what to look for inside.

  4. I bought a pre-opening version a few years ago during my old Disney book binge. I knew we had the book as a kid, but was shocked at the magnitude of the thing. The cover and a lot of pictures inside were absolutely familiar but i never recalled having that kind of information at my disposal. I then came to realize that was a smaller version that my family probably had. A few months back, my Dad was doing some house cleaning and brought me a few Disney books. One was that smaller version. I almost was like “why do I need this?” Memories is why. And the collectability of having two of the 3 versions!

  5. I purchased mine on March 29, 1985. As a 12 year old kid I must have been pretty excited to have gotten this book, as I wrote the date inside the front cover. All these years I thought I had one of the Disney holy grails of books, and really its the shorter version. Besides photos of models as opposed to attractions, what else is different? Is the text shorter too?

  6. Great post for a couple of reasons. First off, I didn’t realize there were 3 versions of this book. I see it all the time at thrift shops etc and don’t take a second look as I figured I already have it. I have the 85 version. I also found that I had somehow missed adding it to my Delicious Library – its added now! And that photo of Scott Otis’s Disney library was incredible! Would love to get a chance to peruse his collection!

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