Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Epcot's 30th Birthday!

Walt's vision of a futuristic city opened in 1982 to much fanfare.  EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tommorrow!) Center was amazing in the early days with the CommuniCore hub, World Showcaser and a bunch of amazing pavilions and rides that were educational, as well as amazingly fun.

I read something this morning in last week's issue of the All Ears Net newsletter- my favorite email once a week- about the fountain that sits just beyond Spaceship Earth (the actual name of the giant golf ball thing, in case you didn't know).  

Before the park opened on October 1, 1982, representatives from 23 countries and regions collected water from their lakes, streams, rivers and seas.  These were not just the countries that are represented in the World Showcase!  Each country kept their vessel of water and then during the opening ceremonies, in what was called the "International Ceremony of the Waters", one by one, they poured their water into the fountain to symbolize the international understanding and cooperation for which EPCOT Center stood.

It was hard to find a good picture!
The regions that participated in the ceremony were: Canada, Denmark, Italy, Korea, Japan, Africa [several countries included in a group], Egypt, Morocco, Colombia, Mexico, Barbados, Puerto Rico, China, Philippines, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia. Water came from as far away as the Arctic Ocean, the Nile River in Africa, and Yangtze River in China.

 The guy who was then CEO and Chairman of Walt Disney Productions, Card Walker, said:
 "Joining us around this magnificent fountain are representatives of nations from around the world. They have brought with them waters from the great oceans, the seas, the rivers, and the lakes on our planet, Spaceship Earth. These waters will flow together as a symbol of the oneness of humankind and the hope for peace among nations, making this truly a fountain of world friendship... And now it is my great pleasure to read the bronze plaque officially dedicating EPCOT Center. I'll read it right here: 'To all who come to this place of joy, hope, and friendship, welcome. EPCOT Center is inspired by Walt Disney's creative vision. Here human achievements are celebrated through imagination, the wonders of enterprise, and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all. May EPCOT Center entertain, inform, and inspire, and above all may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere in the world.' Thank you."

Come on!  That's awesome and moving and every time I read it I end up with a tear running down my face.

That thing is hideous.  Good riddance!
In the thirty years since that day there have been a lot of changes at Epcot.  The "Center" was dropped from the name.  For awhile there was this ugly magic wand stuck to Spaceship Earth.  The original logos were changed and many wonderful rides went extinct to be replaced by less than stellar newer rides and shows.

Right now at Epcot, there are a lot of pavilions that stand empty and I am really hoping and praying that after this year, when the Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom is done, Disney Parks will focus their attention on Epcot and fill those empty pavilions and fix the horrible atrocities that linger (cough, cough, the Imagination debacle!)

In the meantime, there are a lot of great websites dedicated to remembering Epcot as she was originally.
E82 The Epcot Legacy
Mesa Verde Times
The Original Epcot Center
Epcot Central
Lost Epcot

If you've got 50 minutes, YouTube actually has the opening ceremony dedication that aired on TV!


  1. I had no idea about any of this. This is pretty cool and you're right - I did get chills when I read the opening address. Thanks for sharing! :D

  2. Our first trip to Disney was in early November, 1982 - over the NJEA convention weekend plus a few days. We were lucky to visit and enjoy Epcot soon after its opening. I believe Kevin still has his Figment toy that we bought at the Kodak pavilion. Fond memories!