Happy Birthday EPCOT!


#1

Tomorrow is EPCOTs 25th birthday! No public celebration planned by the Walt Disney Company but that can’t stop us from having a party here!

Post your stories and photos!!!


#2

Here is a story from today’s Orlando Sentinel

25 years of Epcot fun
Epcot has always had a futurist bent, but today, the eve of its 25th birthday, we stroll through the past and present of the second theme park built at Walt Disney World. Here are 25 things to know ab

Epcot has always had a futurist bent, but today, the eve of its 25th birthday, we stroll through the past and present of the second theme park built at Walt Disney World. Here are 25 things to know about Epcot.

Coined. Opening-day cast members received a packet with a commemorative coin displaying Spaceship Earth and the text “The dawn of a new Disney era.”

Small world, after all. When Epcot opened, it was thought that more national pavilions – possibly 30 or 35 – would arrive. But since the original nine, there have been two added: Morocco (1984) and Norway (1988), which brought us Maelstrom, one of two rides within World Showcase. (The other one is Mexico’s Gran Fiesta Tour.)

The price was right. Prices from 1982: Soft drinks at Odyssey restaurant, 65 cents and 80 cents; bottle of Beck’s beer, $1.50; Epcot sweatshirt, $10; Pringle of Scotland wool tam, $18.50; Leather jacket from Canada, $300. Price of an annual pass to Epcot and Magic Kingdom in 1982: $100.

Sweatin’ to the Epcot. On opening day, there were live TV reports by Today anchor Jane Pauley and weatherman Willard Scott. After the 9 a.m. ribbon-cutting, WESH-Channel 2 joined The Richard Simmons Show in progress.

Cheers! During the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Disney expects to go through 33,000 bottles of wine and champagne, 600,000 forks and 2.1 million napkins.

(E)OMG! Captain EO was a 3-D presentation but so much more: a caped Michael Jackson playing the leader of a band of furry outer-space warriors. EO featured two Jackson songs, moonwalking and a group dance-off, plus in-house fog and lasers. Very '80s. EO was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and also starred Anjelica Huston as The Supreme Leader. The film left Epcot in 1994, and the space is occupied by “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience.”

Not so fond of the wand. In 1999, in conjunction with the company’s millennium celebration, a structure representing Mickey Mouse’s arm waving a wand and featuring the number “2000” was erected next to Spaceship Earth. The script later was altered to read “Epcot” but, to some Disney fans, was considered a gaudy irritant. Its dismantling began this summer.

The need for speed. Test Track, a move that would rev up Epcot, encountered speed bumps on the way to its debut. The ride was announced in February 1996 with an opening date of spring 1997, which was pushed to August 1997 . . . then October 1997 . . . then “next year,” meaning 1998, after testing revealed woes with computer software and wheels allegedly coming off the cars. Delays eventually gave this indoor-outdoor thrill ride an opening date of January 1999.

Name game. EPCOT begat Epcot Center begat Epcot 94 begat Epcot 95 begat just plain Epcot.

It’s all wetsuit. Certified divers can take part in Divequest, an additional-fee excursion into the ginormous aquarium within The Living Seas. Folks can access sealife, including sharks, and be observed by landlubbing parkgoers.

Nation hopping. A not-uncommon-but-in-no-way-Disney-sanctioned activity is the “drink around the world” game featuring libations of World Showcase. For instance, a drinker meandering counterclockwise could consume Moosehead in Canada, Harp in United Kingdom, Grand Marnier orange slush in France, Tangierine cocktail in Morocco, sake in Japan, Sam Adams in America, a bottle of Chianti Classico in Italy, Beck’s in Germany, maotai in China, Carlsberg in Norway and finish with Mexico’s margaritas. But should you really need a designated driver for theme parking? We recommend being more selective.

Thinking globally. By opening day, Disney had hired 90 World Showcase Fellowship Students to represent the countries. Today, that role is filled by 1,300 “cultural representatives.” (Thirty-two of the originals recently had a reunion in Germany.)

World beat. In Ellen’s Energy Adventure, when the Jeopardy! announcer says the program is sponsored by energy and intones “Energy, you make the world go 'round,” it’s a cheeky nod to the previous attraction on the site. The original ride featured a catchy song titled “You Make the World Go 'Round.”

Welcome, welcome. Epcot is the sole Walt Disney World park with an alternate entrance for guests. The International Gateway, built in 1990, is tucked behind the United Kingdom pavilion and allows entry from Disney’s BoardWalk and the Swan and Dolphin hotels.

Hot enough for you? Nineteen torches ring the Showcase lagoon and make their fiery presence known during the IllumiNations show (left). (Epcot Vice President Jim MacPhee refers to the spectacle as the park’s “goodnight kiss.”)

Face the music. There are 550,000 tiles on the Leave a Legacy monuments at the front of the park, Disney says, but the stamp-sized likenesses of heads no longer can be added to the project. And that’s the way it was. Broadcaster Walter Cronkite’s voice has been heard in two distinctly different attractions. He provided the narration on the Spaceship Earth ride, beginning in the mid-1980s. (He was later replaced by Jeremy Irons.) Cronkite also hosted, through a voiceover, the annual “Holiday IllumiNations” fireworks show. His voice can be heard wishing holiday cheer in the current seasonal addition to “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.”

In the beginning. Meg Crofton, current president of Walt Disney World, was working in a small telecommunications equipment room backstage on Oct. 1, 1982, watching the Epcot opening ceremonies on a monitor.

Westcot goes south. In the early 1990s, plans for a Westcot, a West Coast edition of Epcot, were considered by then-Disney honcho Michael Eisner. But by the mid-'90s, the idea was scrapped. Plans reportedly included a 300-foot version of our 180-foot Spaceship Earth.

It smells like a million dollars. Amongst the current retail offerings: David Beckham’s cologne, Instinct, at Sportsman’s Shoppe in the United Kingdom pavilion.

Fur flies. The early years of Epcot were relatively free of traditional Disney characters, but more have seeped in. Donald Duck and pals now squawk away through the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico, and The Seas’ newest stars are Finding Nemo characters. And now, costume characters are permanently stationed at Innoventions for autographs and photographs.

It’s your imagination. The character Figment was developed for Epcot, but on rare occasions has made appearances outside the park.

Initial reaction. Sure, EPCOT stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. But there are fun variations. Our favorite clean one, courtesy of a tram driver: Every Person Comes Out Tired.

Heads up, thumbs down. The Orlando Sentinel’s front-page headline following the opening day of Epcot was SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEPCOTALADOCIOUS! Even the sight of it is something quite atrocious.

link


#3

Happy birthday epcot…25 already? wow.


#4

Here is a picture of what Walt had originally intended for the Experimental Community of Tomorrow:


#5

Wow, I wouldn’t have guessed a day over 20!!! :laugh: :laugh: She looks pretty good for a park that is a quarter of a century old. Happy Birthday EPCOT, hope you have many more.


#6

Make sure you tell her in person when you visit in a few days!


#7

Happy Birthday EPCOT,
I love you!!!

:tongue:

PS: I am also upset that you aren’t getting a huge celebretory party hosted by Disney, what’s up with that? Maybe it’s a surprise? :sad:


#8

Well Said Wishy!!!

I was upset too that Epcot didn’t get a huge celebration to celebrate a wonderful park, and Walt’s dream. Epcot is a special place for me, and so many fans. Infact my first trip to Epcot was very inspiring, and a life changing experience for me.
Here’s to 25 more wonderful, magical years!!!


#9

a Cm told me last week that there were some things planned for that day - wouldn’t say what. and that they were going back to “old school” epcot. hmmm??!! I did notice several pins saying Epcot 25th anniversary at the pin shops.

we had a voice mail at POP that said not to be alarmed if we heard any strange noises, that epcot was testing new fireworks.

not sure that is related or not…

I am sad there isn’t a big celebration planned, it’s my favorite park!!


#10

Happy Birthday see ya soon!


#11

Wednesday night Chast and Cub told me there was a notice in their room at the Beach informing them there would be a fireworks test that night. We didn’t get a similar warning at the Boardwalk.
When Gail and I finished dinner (Yachtsman’s Steakhouse), I wanted to take a panoramic night time pic of the Boardwalk from the lighthouse at the Yacht. Lucky I had all my stuff with me. I had the still camera up on the tripod when suddenly, I’d say around 11:15, there was a shot and burst over Epcot. Then another. And another. Nothing rapid, all single shots, but all seemingly new patterns or colors. I quickly ripped open a fresh tape, went without the wide angle lens, and quickly put the camcorder on the tripod to catch the rest of the test. Well, that was an anti climatic 10 minutes. They never strung them together into the show order. Now, for the next 20 minutes after they did the fireworks, I could tell that they were running through lighting cues and then testing what seemed to be new additions to the sound system around the lagoon. I gave up waiting for a full up test after a while and finished the picture and headed back to the Boardwalk. Up in our room, I heard them continue to test the audio system (we could see the back of France and Morocco from our balcony), so I set the camcorder back up still hoping they’d run a full up test. No such luck, but I did hear the audio portion of the Epcot 25th birthday tag at the end of Reflections of Earth.
That’s right, at least in the short term, Illuminations will have a special ending for the 25th birthday. I got a confirmation on this from a cast member who works in Epcot. I don’t know if the video globe refurb is still happening, or if that was a cover for them developing new air bursts. It still could be possible that the video globe is going to be refurbished and it is also still possible that Reflections of Earth will be replaced by Skydance in the near future, as I heard several different things from different CMs in and around Epcot.

Maybe I ought to put all this together in my trip report that i just don’t want to start.


#12

Happy Birthday Epcot…

oh and to SpaceShip Earth… i’ll see you next year my friend


#13

We ARE having a big party tomorrow! Rededication cememony at 10:01, Marty Sklar is here, having a couple of conversations with guests, there is an extra special once-in-a-lifetime tag for Illuminations. Also there will be special merchandise, limited edition pins, a vintage map, some restaurants are even bringing back old menu items for the day.

So we really are going to have a big party! I’ll be there, will anyone else?


#14

KEWL. DH and I will ne there tomorrow. Our flight lands at 1030 am so we should be at epcot in the afternoon and the rest of the night. I cant wait…


#15

Happy Birthday!
Here’s to the NEXT 25!


#16

Happy Birthday!!!


#17

Well that’s good!! Glad to hear it, I would DIE for one of those vintage maps, I SO wish I could be there. :sad: Anyone willing to get a map for me and I will pay you back & for shipping?:heart:


#18

Wish I could be there! Epcot is our favorite park. It has been our tradition to go to Epcot the first night we arrive at WDW. And this is after driving 21-24 hours straight! We drop off our bags and get to Epcot to…ride Spaceship Earth and see Illuminations, our favorite show! So sorry we will not be there. And if anyone gets extra maps, I will pay for shipping too to add it to my scrapbook.
Just wondering…does anyone have the inscribed messages on the walls when you enter Epcot? (Sorry, don’t remember what it is called.) We have 2 of them.


#19

If I’d had a clue when I booked everything, I would have shifted my stay by 4 days, arrived on Sept 25 and stayed through Oct 2. I just have to hope that the special Illuminations tag is performed more than once.
On the other hand, if it is only the one time, that only serves to reinforce the rumors about Skydance replacing Reflections of Earth sometime in the near future.

What? The Leave a Legacy tiles? We’ve got one and had vouchers we could have used for 3 more, but never bothered.


#20

Happy Birthday EPCOT!