Epcot: The Original Plan For Walt Disney World’s City Of The Future


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Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Of all of the Disney theme parks world wide, fairly presumably essentially the most attention-grabbing is Epcot. Whereas the park has gone via many modifications in its almost 40 yr historical past, it is nonetheless the placement that, in some ways, nonetheless does not really feel like a theme park within the conventional sense. This was by design, as a result of not solely did these behind the creation of Epcot Middle, because it was initially referred to as, need it to really feel separate from Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s personal Magic Kingdom, however initially this City of the Future was by no means meant to a theme park in any respect.

Whereas Walt Disney by no means obtained to see his Disney World undertaking come to life, he had large plans for the lots of of acres of swamp land he bought in Florida within the 1960s. An East Coast Disneyland was just one small a part of what Walt had in thoughts; the centerpiece of the brand new undertaking was imagined to be an precise metropolis run by Disney, and the town was referred to as EPCOT.

Pre-EPCOT: The Florida Undertaking

Walt Disney obtained his begin in animation, however from the second the Disney Bros. Studio began to change into profitable, plainly Walt Disney was perpetually in search of the following large problem. After he conquered animated shorts, he obtained into making animated characteristic movies. After Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs grew to become the largest film ever, and his subsequent couple options didn’t mild up the field workplace in an identical method, he started to concentrate on live-action movies.

Ultimately motion pictures of any variety appeared to bore him, so he then set his sights on the undertaking that finally grew to become Disneyland. After Disneyland’s success and the 1964’s World’s Honest confirmed that there was curiosity on the East Coast for an additional Disneyland-like undertaking, Walt Disney started to significantly examine the thought, however virtually from the start, he did not wish to simply make one other Disneyland.

His reasoning for getting as a lot land as he did in Florida was twofold. First, he wished to have the ability to management the world surrounding his building, one thing he regretted not doing in Anaheim. Second, his preliminary plan to construct an East Coast Disneyland was actually only a means to an finish. He was going to make use of the enterprise from the theme park resort to fund a a lot bigger idea: the Experimental Prototype Neighborhood of Tomorrow, EPCOT.

EPCOT: Walt Disney Plans His City Of The Future

When Walt constructed Disneyland, he wished to take an idea that he thought had severe flaws, the carnival, and repair these issues to make one thing higher. If Walt may do it with one thing like Disneyland, may he do the identical factor with a complete metropolis?

Cities have been soiled and transportation inside them was difficult… and likewise soiled. They have been extremely inefficient in so some ways. The drawback was that taking an present metropolis and fixing it was primarily inconceivable, as the entire largest issues have been intrinsic to the idea and primarily baked in. However should you constructed a whole metropolis from the bottom up with fixing these issues in thoughts, may you make one thing higher?

The metropolis would use a radial design not in contrast to Disneyland itself, utilizing a central core that might be the city heart, with the city density shrinking the additional out you went. Transportation inside the town could be dealt with by automated Peoplemovers, precisely just like the attraction nonetheless discovered at Magic Kingdom at the moment. That is how residents would get to the greenbelt space for leisure and even make a journey to the grocery retailer.

Transportation from the town to different components of Disney World, like the economic heart (the place most individuals dwelling within the metropolis would have jobs), the devoted airport or to Magic Kingdom itself, could be dealt with by monorail.

Since no one dwelling at EPCOT would want a automobile every day, automobiles would not be allowed on the town stage and the town may very well be designed extra effectively because it would not require area for cars for both parking or roads. EPCOT could be a metropolis for pedestrians and public transit. If residents owned a automobile for taking journeys outdoors of EPCOT and Disney World, it could be stored in a separate stage beneath the primary metropolis, which can be how vans carrying the products the town wanted would transport them.

Residences would take the type of residences on the skin fringe of the town. The factor that might set these residences other than different residences is that Walt Disney wished the folks dwelling in EPCOT to be on the forefront of know-how. The thought was that the businesses that had companies on the industrial park space would use the residents as testers for brand new merchandise, so folks dwelling at EPCOT would have entry to the reducing fringe of know-how.

The Dying of Walt Disney and the Dying of EPCOT

Walt Disney died in December of 1966, years earlier than even Magic Kingdom could be open to the general public. Walt’s brother, Roy E. Disney, took on the obligations of main the corporate though he’d been planning to retire. His objective was to finish Magic Kingdom and get Disney World, which might be renamed Walt Disney World, up and working.

In 1967, the Reedy Creek Enchancment District, a particular Florida district which encompasses Walt Disney World, was authorized by the state of Florida. The course of for creating the particular district was began largely as a result of the EPCOT undertaking was going to require such a particular district to ensure that Disney to have the management that Walt wished in designing the town.

Nevertheless, spearheading EPCOT would show to be an excessive amount of, and in order that undertaking was put apart. The easy reality was that with out Walt, there simply wasn’t anyone passionate sufficient, or who understood precisely what Walt wished effectively sufficient, to maneuver it ahead. Entering into metropolis planning simply wasn’t one thing that the brand new Walt Disney Firm wished to do with out Walt there to run it.

The Epcot Middle Of As we speak

Within the 1970s, Disney CEO Card Walker reconsidered the EPCOT idea, however there was nonetheless little curiosity in getting concerned in metropolis planning. As an alternative, the Epcot thought was used as inspiration for what would change into a model new theme park. As an alternative of a futuristic metropolis, Epcot could be designed to be a everlasting world’s honest. Epcot Middle would come with an space that was referred to as Future World, a hat tip to Walt’s need that EPCOT the town could be pushed by the latest know-how. The different half could be the World Showcase, with a number of pavilions every devoted to completely different cultures and nations world wide.

As we speak, the park is solely referred to as Epcot, and whereas a variety of Disney IP has change into a part of the park that initially had none, the core of Epcot continues to be there. The park is at present present process a significant renovation that may cut up up Future World into smaller areas, however there’ll nonetheless be a house for the celebration of know-how and the long run in addition to the opposite parts that make up the world we dwell in.

May EPCOT Have Labored?

On its face, there’s a variety of potential issues that an precise EPCOT would have needed to overcome. The thought that every one the residents would largely dwell, work and play on this identical area solely works so long as all of the items operate. If an organization determined to go away the economic park, or not sufficient firms may very well be discovered to inhabit it within the first place, then the remainder of it could break down. The continuous rotation of merchandise into the houses of the residents additionally appears like a logistical nightmare ready to occur.

On the identical time, each different time Walt Disney had a loopy thought, he discovered a technique to not solely make it work, however make it an unparalleled success. I definitely would not have wager towards him. And there is undoubtedly loads interesting concerning the idea. A self-contained metropolis the place shifting round was simple; every little thing you wanted was shut at hand and there was additionally a theme park only a monorail journey away? I am certain discovering individuals who wished to dwell in a group deliberate by Walt Disney would have been one drawback EPCOT would have by no means had.

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