Need a quick and relaxing trip to Epcot? Check out my video featuring the new entrance plaza, World Showcase, the Friendship, the Italy Pavilion, the Norway Pavilion, Spaceship Earth, and the Imagination Pavilion. Just a video for you to sit back, relax, and enjoy a few moments or respite in your busy day.
Quiet Moments at Epcot at Walt Disney World
George shares short videos from around the World Showcase at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort.
Where is your favorite place to relax at Walt Disney World?
Back in 2008, I posted about a surprising tableaux on the bridge between the UK and the France Pavilions at Epcot. During subsequent visits, I would check on the area to see if the painting was still there. For a few years, the painting disappeared but returned some time in the past year or so.
In a previous video, I looked at a proposed concept for a redo of the Horizons pavilion. This 1996 concept would have kept the original Horizons building intact and kept most of the interior attraction layout…and added a second attraction with it’s own pre-show: The Speculator.
This concept for a Space Pavilion would have straddled pre- and post-millennium Epcot with an attraction that, well, had the best of both worlds. The first segment, which would have retained a major portion of the original attraction layout showed us how we saw space throughout our history. It would have been a bit slower, like World of Motion and Spaceship Earth, as it explained how we came to understand outer space. The second half of the attraction took us into another pre-show and debuted a fairly new style of vehicle that would have been a cross between Soarin’ and Flight of Passage. Sort of…
Back in the mid-1990s, Disney was looking to redo the Horizons Pavilion. G.E. decided not to renew their corporate sponsorship back in 1993. This left the pavilion without the deep corporate pockets to spring for a refurbishment. The original EPCOT Center sponsorship contracts were for ten years and only Exxon signed up for affectional terms with the Universe of Energy. Horizons officially closed December of 1994, but was brought back online a year later since the World of Motion and the Universe of Energy both went down for refurbishment (and more, in the case of the World of Motion).
One idea kicked around since the beginning planning stages for EPCOT Center has been a Space Pavilion. The lack of a sponsor and an unattainable scale kept this pavilion firmly grounded. I ran across an amazing 26-page document from 1996 that offered a vision for a Space Pavilion that re-used most of the Horizons building and ride system. And offered a tantalizing new ride system called The Speculator. So why didn’t we see a Space Pavilion until 2003 with the opening of Mission: Space (still one of my least favorite attractions)?
Space Pavilion Concept Video Part One
Part two of the video will take us to the Digital Imaging Center of the Space Pavilion and we’ll take a ride on the attraction’s new experience: The Speculator.
What Do You Think About This Concept for the Space Pavilion at Epcot?
It took the Imagineers and Disney Executives years to nail down a viable concept for EPCOT Center. Multiple plans were created, revised, shelved, and the process started over. Check out my video for EPCOT Center Master Plan 5. The Spring 1976 Disney News magazine offers a tantalizing view of the progress of EPCOT Center thus far.
In explaining how the company proceeded with Walt’s plans for EPCOT Center after his passing, then-Disney President Card Walker stated:
“The first phase has been the recreational community,” he said. “The Magic Kingdom, the hotels and lakes and campgrounds. Now we are launching the second phase of Walt’s idea: the scientific, industrial, communication, world co-operation aspects of EPCOT.”
Most of the original plans called for EPCOT Center to be broken into multiple areas. Most incarnations had an EPCOT Theme Center, which would be equivalent to what we know as Future World. World Showcase evolved from the World’s Fair idea and International Village would be housing and public areas for international cast members.
Accordingly, Phase II will include the EPCOT Future World Theme Center, the hub where guests will first come to the 43-square-mile development, which will also include a World Showcase and International Village.
The Theme Center will be the heart of EPCOT, where 360-degree movie screens and various displays will offer guests an overview of current EPCOT projects. Guests can then visit the areas, called satellites, of particular interest to them.
These satellites will surround the Theme Center, each one devoted to research in a different area of study—energy, agriculture, communications or medicine, for example. At each satellite, dedicated men and women will work to develop new technology in their field, seeking solutions and exchanging ideas in broad areas affecting the quality of life for people throughout the world.
“EPCOT will be a forum where creative men and women of science, industry, government and the arts from around the world can present and demonstrate new concepts and systems,” said Walker. “It will be dedicated to the advancement of new technologies and approaches to meeting the challenges we face throughout the world today.”
The EPCOT Theme Center does get us closer to Future World. Based on the concept art, you could boat or take the People Mover to get there. It appears as if there is very limited parking, so the Transportation and Ticket Center would be the central area for parking and getting to your destination.
The first area to be actually built in Phase II will be the World Showcase, a permanent international exposition. Member-nations will each occupy a pavilion in one of two massive, semi-circular buildings, not far from the EPCOT Theme Center.
Each pavilion could include a ride or similar attraction designed by lmagineers at WED Enterprises in Glendale, CA. WED is the master planning, design and engineering arm of Walt Disney Productions.
The pavilion could also include cafes, shops or other displays of national wares to offer guests a foretaste of an actual visit to the country. National musical groups or other performing artists could present special entertainment.
Each country would have ample space inside its pavilion for trade center activities ranging from product exhibits and industry displays to cultural presentations and business meetings.
Construction of World Showcase is scheduled to begin by late 1977 on a tract of Walt Disney World property between the present Transportation and Ticket Center and U.S. Highway 192. The eventual size of the Showcase is estimated to cover 100 acres, with from 10 to 30 nations of the world participating.
The 200 or more people staffing each pavilion, many of them young men and women from the country represented, will be a key aspect of World Showcase. Not only will they operate the pavilions, but they will also live with representatives from other nations in the nearby International Village. A part of this “world community” could also be themed for public visits.
“We hope that the nations of the world will send their young future leaders to operate the World Showcase, and build a base for international understanding for the years to come,” said Walker.
“In World Showcase and International Village we will have an example of men and women, as citizens of the world, sharing their cultures, history and aspirations. It will be a true people-to-people exchange.”
“Walt believed that solutions to the great challenges we face are indeed possible in today’s world,” Walker continued. ” He believed that we must look not only to our past and our problems, but more significantly, to our future and our potential.”
“We’re dedicated to fulfilling the promise of Walt Disney’s greatest dream. We seek the participation and cooperation, the talents and the skills of people around the world in order to make his dream a reality.”
EPCOT Center Concept Art
The article included a few choice images of the potential displays and attractions from the EPCOT Theme Center and World Showcase.
Concept art of a pavilion in the EPCOT Theme Center, presumably the fore-runner to the Astuter Computer Revue or the WorldKey Information Center.
This is a spectacular rendering of the cope of the potential Space Pavilion for EPCOT. I am assuming that it would have been an IMAX screen with multiple ride vehicles, similar to Horizons, that would have moved around the central arm.
Concept art for a laser show .
Preliminary designs for a solar power show or pavilion that predates the Energy Pavilion sponsored by Exxon.
The Arab Pavilion concept art shows what the World Showcase would look like on the interiors of the show buildings. One version of World Showcase called for multiple countries to share equal storefront space, like at a mall, but they could purchase additional space to extend their individual pavilion.
Check out my video review of the 1982 must-have EPCOT Center book!
Sunday, March 15, 2020, was the last day to visit any of the Disney Parks. Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were open normal hours and crowds were light. Rumor was that the college program kids were unblocked from Hollywood Studios for that day before they were sent home this week. I hope they got to enjoy Rise of the Resistance.
Epcot is in a weird transitional period with walls, new signage and new pathways appearing almost daily. I spent most of the last day washing my hands and maintaining social distance while touring what remains of Future World. Check out my video from October 2019 about the walls and construction at Epcot.
This is the promenade that leads from the tram pick up area to the handicap and employee parking. The Guardians of the Galaxy show building is hidden by the clubmp of trees on the right side.
This is the new security and bag check to the left of the monorail. It’s similar to the new security check at Hollywood Studios. I imagine that Epcot will have three distinct stations: parking lot, monorail and buses. You can see how empty the park was at 10:30 in the morning.
Even with all of the walls, you can still get some great shots of the park.
There were many hand washing stations throughout the walkways. People seemed to be using the hand sanitizers more than these stations, but I wangled to see them and use them.
The Outdoor Escapes presented by OFF! was new and a nice temporary re-do of an area. It is located across from Test Track, sort of. There were seating areas, shade and lots of plants (that I’m assuming repel mosquitos).
I’m glad that Imagineering and Operations are able to plan areas like this, especially when the park is in such upheaval.
This is the former Mouse Gear entrance near the children’s play area (leading to Test Track).
It is amazing to see the Communicore, er, uh, Innoventions…wait…what are they called? Anyway, it’s difficult to see these buildings come down after 38 years.
Bo Peep’s Playtime Training Grounds takes over the former Wall-E area which was just a play ground before that. It’s a great use of a current IP, but does show how much Epcot is changing.
Monkey in a tree!
The planters are pretty freaking adorable!
I love seeing how the construction walls are taking advantage of the themes and characters of the past, present and future of Epcot. And I love the font!
Another hand washing station. I don’t know if the color is on purpose or just what was available.
Another shot of the changes happening to the central buildings of Communicore (I know) and the Fountain of Nations area.
There’s new signage inside the Living Seas Pavilion. Again, it feels modern yet still harkens back to the days of early EPCOT Center.
So, there was no line for Spaceship Earth. It did stop a few times during my ride and I assume it was for loading and unloading. Still, the attraction is supposed to go down for an almost two-year rehab and at this point, it might not be open when the parks are open again.
There are more cast members than guests at in the queue.
Kudos to the team that created the new signage and graphics for the park. I love how the hard science side is red (World Discovery) and the softer science side (World Nature—The Land, Imagination and Seas) are green. They’ve even created blue signage for Spaceship Earth and the Park Exit, which will eventually be World Celebration.
I even waited less than five minutes for the Green side of Mission Space.
Yeah…I didn’t think I was going to see anyone playing in the Mission Control play area of Mission Space.
The Central Florida skies really are breathtaking. But, if I have to be honest, I’m not a fa of the paint job for the Odyssey building. It’s just a little too stark to be the transition from Future World to World Showcase.
So, I’ve never seen the Mexico Pavilion this empty. The line for the La Cava del Tequila had at least 20 people. There aren’t enough guests in this shot to fill a boat on the Gran FiestaTour.
There were plenty of spots for Epcot Forever. I had friends that said the final showing of Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom had people in tears. And no, I didn’t hang out to watch Epcot Forever. I’ve seen it twice and that was more than enough.
With the new pathways surrounding Spaceship Earth, I feel like I’m running into new angles and shots of the geosphere. Plus, the monorail zooming by is kind of cool.
Farewell, Epcot. At least for a Few Months.
It took me along time to get this shot to line up so well.
The Art of Disney Gallery at Epcot recently moved to the former Heritage Manor Gift Shop in the American Adventure Pavilion. The Heritage Manor space is much smaller than the former Art of Disney Gallery. During my visit, most of the art on display were canvasses and prints and not as many collectibles.
In one corner you see a display entitled The First Disney Artist. It’s near an animation desk in which a Disney artists sits throughout the day and creates art, presumably for sale.
The First Disney Artist
Presented in a bookcase, there is a display of photos of Walt Disney in his pre-Disney Brothers Studios days. There are images from his World War I service and his time in Kansas City. There are also items and paraphernalia representing Walt’s early days in cartoons and animation.
Walt Disney’s Service Days
While working for the Red Cross during WWI, Walt was a driver for the American Ambulance Corps. In his free time, he drew caricatures of fellow soldiers and whimsical cartoons of the people and places he saw oversees.
The letter behind the jars of ink was sent by Walt to his school in April of 1919. It includes various caricatures of doughboys and world leaders.
Walt’s First Art Venture
After Walt returned home from the war, he began working at a small ad agency in Kansas City, Missouri,, where he illustrated advertisements and drew fun cartoons for local businesses. It was here that he fell in love with a new at form known as animation. Before long, he branched off to start his own animation studio named Laugh-O-Grams Films.
There’s also a mock-up of a poster for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in Ocean Hop. The studio artists would have created this bill as an advertisement, usually for a movie house display or poster.
Part of the display is a series of film canisters featuring Laugh-O-Gram films:
Alice in Wonderland 1923 (should be Alice’s Wonderland–Walt used it to get a distribution deal with Margaret Winkler)
Tommy Tucker’s Tooth 1922 (commissioned by Kansas City Dentist Thomas B. McCrum)
Jack and the Beanstalk 1922
Goldie Locks and the Three Bears 1922
Martha 1923 (presumed lost and no prints are known to exist)
It’s not a complete listing of the eleven shorts created by the Laugh-O-Grams Studio.
As expected, what caught my eye was the series of books on the bottom shelf. Two of them should be very familiar to readers of ImagiNERDing.
Both of these amazing books focus on Walt’s career before moving to Los Angeles and opening the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy.
The other books feature Gedeon by Benjamin Rabier, a French illustrator, animator and comic book artist that was well known for animal adventures. He might have been an inspiration for some of the Alice comedies and other animal antics-styles films. There’s a copy of Pinocchio and several titles about drawing and technology.
What Do You Think About This Display Featuring Walt’s First Art Ventures?
Part of the experience included the hallway surrounding the 360 degree theater. On the outside wall, there are attraction posters and a large-format map of the proposed future of Epcot.
Let’s take a look at the different Epcot attraction posters that were created for the Epcot Experience.
The first grouping of posters consists a a future attraction (Mary Poppins), four current attractions or countries (China, France, The American Adventure and the United Kingdom), and three extinct attractions (the Universe of Energy, the Wonders of Life and Maelstrom).
The rest of the posters are along the curved wall, opposite of the Epcot Center mural.
Epcot Experience Attraction Posters
Above is a poster for the Germany Pavilion and the future Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. I hope that Remy’s is an engaging and repeatable family experience.
The next posters feature The Canada and Germany Pavilions. What do you think about the proposed changes to the Circle Vision film in Canada?
The Mexico Pavilion poster pays homage to Coco while the Norway poster is more about the pavilion and less about Frozen.
The Soarin’ Around the World attraction poster shares some of the iconic locations that you visit while the Morocco poster encourages you to spend some time shopping.
The Italy Pavilion focuses on the architecture and the juggler.
World Celebration is a future attraction. There hasn’t been much published about the new attraction that is taking over the former Communicore West building in Future World. It is purported to be a three-story festival center with some unique architecture. The Land Pavilion poster has a very classic EPCOT Center feel and features details from Listen to the Land. Er, Living With the Land.
A Closer view of the World Celebration poster and the Journey of Water area for Moana.
A stunning poster featuring the World of Motion. This might be one of my favorite posters from the exhibit. The World of Motion was a gargantuan animatronic-based ride that offered some incredibly rich and enormous show scenes. There is also the Turtle Talk with Crush poster.
The Japan Pavilion poster features the taiko drummers (Matsuriza) and the pagoda framed by fireworks. The Seas with Nemo and Friends poster is eye-catching and I love that the clam-mobiles are featured in the design.
I’m conflicted on the presentation of the extinct pavilions. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing, but Disney ignored its past for so many years, that it feels like pandering. Still, the Communicore poster really does a great job of encapsulating the two buildings that carried one of the true messages about EPCOT Center.
There has been a lot of flack about adding a thrill ride featuring Marvel characters, but if it is half as amazing as Mission Breakout at Disney California Adventure, then we are in for a fantastic attraction. Based on the poster for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, the ride vehicle might be similar to the ones in Spaceship Earth…or Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
Who doesn’t love Donald, Jose and Panchito? With the previous Mexico Pavilion poster featuring Coco, there’s the rumor that the Gran Fiesta Tour will be replaced by Coco. What do you think?
Despite the ridiculous wand hand, the Millennium Celebration was pretty magical. I love that the large puppets were incorporated into the poster.
I haven’t heard much about the Space 220 Restaurant, except that it is supposed to make you feel like you are rotating 220 miles above the earth. Hydrolators, anyone? And another image of the wonderful World of Motion poster.
The Spaceship Earth: Our Shared Story poster surprised me. The Our shared Story subtitle gives us a clue about the future of the attraction, yet the vehicles are the same.
No, this isn’t the old EPCOT Center poster…check out the tag line: On the Brink of a New Age October 1, 2019. I do love that it harkens back to the original EPCOT Center poster.
One of the last sets (or first, depending on which way you turn) shares a different grouping of posters. The extinct attractions features are: Illuminations and Kitchen Kabaret. The current attractions are: Test Track; Mission Space; and Frozen ever after. The future attraction posters are: Imagination; HarmonioUS; and PLAY!
What Do You Think About the EPCOT Experience Attraction Posters?
Special thanks to Wes B., Aaron R. and Nicole S. for supporting me on Patreon.
The Epcot Experience and Epcot Forever are two new attractions at Epcot that seem to be in opposition to each other. Sort of. One talks about the future of the theme park while the other reminisces about everything that is gone; it’s a weird juxtaposition.
Big changes are coming to Epcot and Disney has started (slowly) rolling out their plans and new developments. The Epcot Experience is a multimedia preview that (sort of) debuted at this year’s D23 in Anaheim. The version at the Odyssey is a 360 degree experience that allows you to get closer to the Epcot model.
They also debuted Epcot Forever, a temporary nighttime spectacular that hearkens to the early days of Epcot Center. Except Soarin’ doesn’t really feel like classic Epcot Center to me.
Check Out My Video Featuring the Epcot Experience and Epcot Forever
The Epcot Experience surprised me and I didn’t expect to be so enthralled with an attraction that was simply supposed to be a preview.
The Epcot Experience is located in the Odyssey Events Pavilion and takes up a majority, minus the food services area.
Disney has staged an impressive preview of the future of Epcot, especially highlighting all of the pavilions and themes through projection mapping.
The Epcot Experience is something that you need to see to truly understand. Epcot will be an experience like no other if Disney can manage to pull off half of what is promised. Although, the videos and models show a relatively uncrowded park…
Epcot Forever is a gorgeous nighttime spectacular, but the majesty of Illuminations is missing. Based on the preview of HARMONIOUS, it is going to be a crowdpleaser as it is based on the much-loved Disney films. I can’t really say I’m against that, but I do miss the fact that Epcot wasn’t a traditional theme park.
Have You Seen the Epcot Experience or Epcot Forever? What Do You Think About Them? Are You Excited About the Changes?
Have you visited the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival this year? I spent a Saturday doing a quick tour of the spring festival at Epcot to see the topiaries and check out the offerings. Check out my video featuring some of the highlights from the Food and Garden Festival.