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Matt and Scott's Be All, End All, EPCOT Center Thread


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A while back Scott (Beemerboy) and I started batting around the idea for a retro EPCOT thread. Something we could both post all of our random items, PTR's etc., involving EPCOT. Well it starts today.

 

For those of you in the "un-know," I have an serious affliction. It's called fanboyism, and it's for EPCOT. And not Epcot, but EPCOT Center. Yes, I'm an old coot that was around when it first opened it's doors. When it was awesomer than it is awesome now. When Figment was relevant, and they didn't stick him in a ride because the over the top fanboys pissed Disney off so much that they had to bring him back.

 

My first trip to EPCOT Center was in the first week of November of 1982. Four weeks after it opened, and during my families annual trip to Disney World. For months I sat glued in front of the TV watching shows on EPCOT's construction, and the immense planning that was going into Disney's second gate. I was mesmorized, and that first trip would not only make me have joygasms over that park, but no matter what, I still get goosebumps when I see Spaceship Earth.

 

First up in my collection of EPCOT Center stuff, is the first Pictorial Souvenir book. It's not too exciting unless you like conceptual art, as there isn't a photo in the book from the actual park. Some of these you'll see on other fan sites, some I don't think I've ever seen anywhere else. I'll post a retro PTR in a few days, of the same trip where we purchased this book, and you can see me in knee high tube socks.

 

Enjoy!

Edited by mcjaco
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I am really looking forward to seeing all the retro EPCOT stuff you guys got!

 

I actually don't mind Test Track. It at least was a decent replacement.

 

And no argument from me on Horizons.

 

Thanks Matt for sharing!

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I never saw Epcot till 2002, so I missed some good stuff. Somewhere around here, I have an Epcot guide from about 1983 or 1984 that a friend brought me from his trip there.

 

Thanks for sharing some great stuff.

 

Eric

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Strangely, it is so great and so sad to see EPCOT Center as it should be.

 

Is it me, or does Future World seem like a complete disaster now? I so miss Horizons and World of Motion. Sure, Test Track is a moderately pleasant attraction, but in EPCOT? Also, Mission Space is just a steaming pile.

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^I wouldn't call it a complete disaster. The problem with keeping all the rides the same, is that not everyone loved the nostalgia of them. Disney felt like they needed new rides to freshen things up. Plus, technology and time was catching up with Future World. Same deal with the Tomorrowlands. I just wished they hadn't messed with Figment or taken out Horizons.

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If anyone wants hi res copies of any of these PM me. Each full page is about 11MB. I wanted to get these saved ASAP, it only took me two years to find the book!

 

I'm hoping to get the PTR portion up by the end of the week.

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Ohhh so Figment was a character that Disney brought back....

 

I went to Disney for the first time two years ago and the group that I was with had a "WTF" moment after going on that Journey Into Imagination ride. The ride seemed so out of place and unimaginative.

 

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What a great thread. I really enjoy seeing the concept art for EPCOT. Luckily I was able to visit EPCOT in it's opening year and many times since then. I enjoyed it in it's original state but I also enjoy it as it is today. Thanks for posting. Can't wait to see more!

 

I wish they would build a new Country in World Showcase. And wasn't there talk of building a "Matterhorn" type ride as Mt Fuji in the Japan pavilion?

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I guess I should chime in since my name is attached, huh?

 

Awesome start, Matt! I've been pretty busy the last couple days, but I hope to add some Epcot Center awesomeness by tonight for everyone to enjoy.

 

I wish they would build a new Country in World Showcase. And wasn't there talk of building a "Matterhorn" type ride as Mt Fuji in the Japan pavilion?

I've heard so many rumors of that type of thing over the years. For a while it was Switzerland with a Matterhorn. Then the in-thing was Russia. Then it was Isreal, then Spain, then Australia, then Compton with a Snoop-themed ride featuring lowrider ride vehicles. Okay, I'm kidding about one of those. I never heard Australia mentioned.

 

Anyway, I'm with you, Shane. I've been wishing for a new country for years. It's quite overdue.

 

Finally, Matt, that last pic of the back cover is pretty freakin' sexy, if I do say so myself.

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Here's your brain on Disney.

 

LOL!

 

Thanks for all the incredible scans and great captions. Your love for EPCOT Center is shared by many. Including me. My first visit wasn't until 1988--right around the opening of Norway. Absolute magic.

 

Can't wait for the next update! Kleenex ready!

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While I enjoy EPCOT, I am not a huge fanboy of the park so I am not up on all the stories...Can you EPCOT fanboys explain a few things for me...

 

-Why did they have to remove the Horizons pavilion, that seems like that would've been an added expense rather than just building Space in a different area of the park. Is there no more room in Future World?

 

-Why is that MetLife Body Pavilion always closed, is it also on it's way out?

 

-Also over in World Showcase, there is that little snack stand themed like Africa, what is the deal with that????

 

-and lastly I hardly remember the first Journey to Imagination ride, why was it changed and what is the story behind Figment?

 

You have really peaked my interest in EPCOT now

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"And wasn't there talk of building a "Matterhorn" type ride as Mt Fuji in the Japan pavilion?" (montezooma)

 

At one time, there was talk of opening a Swiss pavilion with a Matterhorn ride, but, of course, that never happened. I never heard of a Japanese version, though. It would be interesting.

 

Eric

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-Why did they have to remove the Horizons pavilion, that seems like that would've been an added expense rather than just building Space in a different area of the park. Is there no more room in Future World?

 

Shane, I'll tackle this one real quick since I've only got a minute to post. Stupid work.

 

Anyway, the general theory seems to be building failure. As with anything Disney, it's so expansive, and so many people have a hand in building anything there that it's tough to get a decisive and correct answer to anything, really. Horizons1 is a pretty good site to read up about the history of the ride.

 

Glad we sparked your interest in Epcot.

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-Why is that MetLife Body Pavilion always closed, is it also on it's way out?

 

MetLife pulled the plug on sponsorship. That typically seals the end of a pavillion's life. Quite honetly, I never thought highly of Wonders of Life. I think I went in once or twice.

 

-Also over in World Showcase, there is that little snack stand themed like Africa, what is the deal with that????

 

That is actually where the original "Coming Soon - Equatorial Africa" sign once stood. That's why I implied Disney was 1/2 of 3 right in their coming soon revelations. So Africa is somewhat "represented" with that silly little food kiosk, but not like it was supposed to be. Isreal was also somewhere in that same general area.

 

-and lastly I hardly remember the first Journey to Imagination ride, why was it changed and what is the story behind Figment?

 

Figment is an amalgamation of all the things you create in your head. That's probably the worst way to describe him. The original ride (which I have a video of in the Pro Amateur Forum OR click my www button), explained where he came from. The original ride literally made you go through different portions of your creative genesis. For whatever reason, Eisner and the Kodak CEO did not get along really well, for version 2. Basically, the ride sucked, was Figment free, and got horrible fan response. They reinstituted Figment ASAP, but did a half assed job and you get what you see now. Imagineer's gave the FIgment fanboys a big middle finger with the Figment F U room at the end.

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and lastly I hardly remember the first Journey to Imagination ride, why was it changed and what is the story behind Figment?

 

Why did they change Journey? Hmmmm...well, I suppose the meeting could have gone something like this...

 

Suit 1: Ridership is dwindling on Journey. Let's revamp the whole story, remove the dated parts, and give it some new effects.

 

Imagineer 1: I don't think we need to re-do the whole story. It's about journeying into the imagination. That's its story. It doesn't need one of those 'Something goes horribly wrong' overlays. Let's re-do some of the audio-animatronics, use new technology to 'plus' the scenes, make it look really cool.

 

Suit 2: Hey, I got it! Let's turn it into the Imagination Institute! People LOVE institutes, right?! Institutes sound fun and whimsical, don't they! Like a tour of an imagination factory! A factory! Isn't that the coolest idea?

 

Imagineer 2: Uh no. That sounds incredibly boring.

 

Imagineer 1: A factory might work for something like a space pavilion, where we could show how rockets and shuttles are made. That would be--

 

Suit 1: No! The factory/institute idea would be great for a creative pavilion dealing with imagination. Doesn't an institute just scream color, sound, whimsy? I love it! We could show how spreadsheets can be done in all these fanciful colors. People would dig it! It relates to today's audience, who are more sophisticated.

 

Suit 2: And let's rip out that weird red-headed dude and his little purple friend. They don't really go with the institute back story. [picks up phone, dials] Hey Eisner, we're gonna re-do Journey by turning it into a tour of an institute. [pause] I know! Isn't it great! [pause] I came up with the idea. [pause] Okay, I will. [hangs up phone] Sorry about this Imagineering guys, but you're fired.

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Wow, those are great! I was a stupid kid and never fully appreciated the awesomeness of Epcot when my parents used to take me there. Now it's one of my favorite theme parks!

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I wish they would build a new Country in World Showcase. And wasn't there talk of building a "Matterhorn" type ride as Mt Fuji in the Japan pavilion?

 

I recall hearing this back in the day. Supposedly the drawbridge was to be the entrance to the ride, which would be behind the whole fortress.

 

Germany was also supposed to have a ride thru train that never came to be, but the queue was built, I think. I also remember hearing about the proposed Russia and Switzerland areas, sad they never came to be.

 

Awesome stuff so far, Matt. I miss EPCOT Center, especially the old Journey and Horizons.

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^ Germany was supposed to have a boat ride through the Rhine River. Honestly. How many boat rides does one park need?

 

I'm scanning Little Matt pics as we speak.....and about to make a phone call.

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OK, onto the pictures of my first visit. My Father dated the pics, and we were there 11/2-4/1982. So, just a little over a month after opening. We typically went to WDW every year from when I was two years old until I was Freshman in highschool around the first week of November. Like now, crowds were light. Although, as you'll see, much lighter than they are now, thanks to the awesome Food and Wine Festival.

 

Things to note, is for one, the size of the trees. Countries could easily be seen from one another due to the sheer small in stature trees. Two, notice how nice the Fountain of Nations courtyard is without all the silly shade tarps. And why I love SSE without the wand. Three, there's alot of empty space. There's no Horizons, Living Seas, Spain....errr Morocco, and Norway.

 

As Peter Pan says, "Off we gooooooo."

Edited by mcjaco
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Your family FAILED!!! for going during such crowded days.

 

Seriously, even during my last visit in October 2006---while the International Food & Wine Festival was going on, there were a few times where crowds were on the thin side. It's really very nice like that.

 

Thanks for sharing your pictures.

 

Eric

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