News Big changes coming to EPCOT's Future World?

olie64

Premium Member
Put a "Best Presidents" exhibits in the waiting area for American Adventure. Use the most popular AA's from Hall of Pres, put the rest in storage. Avoid the controversial ones, and free up the space in Liberty Square.


"Best" could be subjective and cause just as much controversy I think. But that could be a neat idea.
 

rushtest4echo

Well-Known Member
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Put a "Best Presidents" exhibits in the waiting area for American Adventure. Use the most popular AA's from Hall of Pres, put the rest in storage. Avoid the controversial ones, and free up the space in Liberty Square.
POLITICS ALERT...
 

The Empress Lilly

Well-Known Member
What I'd like to see, for what it's worth:

1. A Dr. Who attraction of some kind somewhere.
2. A return to the transcendent stuff like Tapestry of Dreams that were not IP based.
3. Something clever and sciencey in Innoventions. Science doesn't have to be dull.
4. National and/or international science fairs hosted at Epcot.
5. Different scenarios at Soarin' and Mission Space ala Star Tours.
6. An attraction at each of the World Showcase countries.
7. Free Beer.
8. Free admission for guys like me.
9. Speakers and Events, like Nobel Prize stuff. Why can't the year's Nobel Prize winners be hosted at Epcot for something?
10. Use some of the dead space to salute the World's Fairs of the past. A Hall of Innovation would be a nice rainy day thing.

Epcot should not just be profiting on innovation and scientific history, they should be making it. Why aren't people like Bill Gates giving their TED talks at Epcot? Why aren't actual scientists giving presentations at Epcot? Why isn't Neil DeGrasse Tyson premiering the latest Cosmos series at Epcot? Why aren't ambassadors and foreign leaders stopping by for a photo op and speech at World Showcase? Why isn't Josh Gates giving an Expedition Unknown presentation at Epcot or AK? Make the place not just a thrilling and international funland, but scientifically and culturally relevant. I think it would be great if there was so much of relevance going on at Epcot that a permanent press corps could be stationed there. Use the Odyssey and that big tent thing between UK and Canada.

Remember, Nixon's "I'm not a crook" speech took place at the Contemporary. The final documents to break up the Beatles were signed by John Lennon at the Polynesian. Real history happened (notoriously). For a modest price, it could happen again (positively). Now, I know that the vast majority of guests won't step away from Test Track in order to hear an esoteric talk from the latest Nobel Chemistry winner, but such an event would be cheap to put on, and give real gravity to the place. Science teachers might stop in, and a permanent press corps could have a story from the place every day. Have a big display at the entrances: Today's feature event: John Smith, the Nobel winner of Physics, will be speaking at the Odyssey. Fly him in, put him up, and give him a host to ride the rides. Cool, deep and cheap.
I think your number 7 led to your number 1. :hungover:

"Now, I know that the vast majority of guests won't step away from Test Track in order to hear an esoteric talk from the latest Nobel Chemistry winner"​

If EPCOT were to have been, or were to be, developed along your lines (yes please! / not holding my breath), then eventually it would draw an audience that would prefer a Nobel Prize winner over a $29.99 limited edition Anna and Elsa Throw a Royal Welcome To Rat pin.

Let us not forget that WDW has already replaced its audience before. And constantly changes its audience, slowly. There is nothing inevitable about the current WDW demography of hillbillies, New Jersey's and Britain's underclass, the moneyed but a-cultured part of South America's elite and assorted slobs wearing identical shirts.
 

Ralphlaw

Well-Known Member
I think your number 7 led to your number 1. :hungover:

"Now, I know that the vast majority of guests won't step away from Test Track in order to hear an esoteric talk from the latest Nobel Chemistry winner"​

If EPCOT were to have been, or were to be, developed along your lines (yes please! / not holding my breath), then eventually it would draw an audience that would prefer a Nobel Prize winner over a $29.99 limited edition Anna and Elsa Throw a Royal Welcome To Rat pin.

Let us not forget that WDW has already replaced its audience before. And constantly changes its audience, slowly. There is nothing inevitable about the current WDW demography of hillbillies, New Jersey's and Britain's underclass, the moneyed but a-cultured part of South America's elite and assorted slobs wearing identical shirts.

Thanks for the comments. For those of us who like a little substance on our vacations, the option of seeing Nobel Laureates would be a cool thing. No, I may not understand a word of what they say, but just knowing that an amusement park is an attractive place for a Nobel Laureate raises who I perceive myself to be.

Plus, it's cheap. Flights per guest would be something like $1,000. Handlers, food, and gate passes, a thousand or so more per day, maybe. Putting on a talk or presentation, yeah, a bit of infrastructure and tech people to make it all work. Probably in the neighborhood of half a million dollars per year, which averages out to about $1,500 per day when divided up over 365 days. What's our total at this point? About $3,500 per day, which is about 20 cents per guest. Even at five times the cost, that's still only $1 per day per guest. Sounds like a bargain to me. In the meantime, the whole image of Epcot is raised, and professor types might come down and spend real money. What local professors and high school science teachers wouldn't buy an Annual Pass? And get dinner and a souvenir several times a year. Also, people like me might avail myself of a seat in the audience for an hour or so instead of standing in line for Spaceship Earth. It would gobble up people who might otherwise crowd up the more popular attractions.

Plus, many such presentations could be more people friendly. For example, have Discover magazine unveil its 100 top scientific discoveries of the year edition, with an exciting countdown of the top 10, and some kind of presentation. I just think that science and tech, and even culture, are such changing and dynamic areas that there is no way that multi-million dollar attractions can stay relevant. If the park, and the entire resort, can stay relevant by having learned scholars talk and hang out in the place, we'll forgive a slightly out of date Mission Space. Plus, get a big photo of Buzz Aldrin standing outside of Mission Space, and suddenly we have giddy adults and kids standing in the footsteps of giants.

Five years ago, my family ran into Marty Sklar at the Land Pavilion. Gracious man. I have a picture of us with him sitting on my desk right now. Imagine the awesomeness of having him give a talk on something at Wonders of Life, with a meet and greet afterward. People would show up. Distant guests would plan their trip around it, and certainly plan their day around it.

How inspiring. And what a great retort to the teacher who bucks at the idea of Johnny and Jill being pulled from school for a trip to Disney. "We're going to meet a real astronaut, and see the Ambassador of Norway, and watch the unveiling of the top 100 scientific discoveries, and hear the man who helped build Disney parks." Heck, for a premium price you can now have lunch with an Imagineer. Why not hear a presentation from a rotating panel of Imagineers every day at 2 pm at the Imagination Pavilion? Make the presentations great, and leave time for questions afterward. I would probably show up several times per vacation. And then Disney could sell a bunch more lunches with Imagineers while there. Yeah, synergies, and truly making Epcot a cutting edge great place again with true depth.
 

MaximumEd

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the comments. For those of us who like a little substance on our vacations, the option of seeing Nobel Laureates would be a cool thing. No, I may not understand a word of what they say, but just knowing that an amusement park is an attractive place for a Nobel Laureate raises who I perceive myself to be.

Plus, it's cheap. Flights per guest would be something like $1,000. Handlers, food, and gate passes, a thousand or so more per day, maybe. Putting on a talk or presentation, yeah, a bit of infrastructure and tech people to make it all work. Probably in the neighborhood of half a million dollars per year, which averages out to about $1,500 per day when divided up over 365 days. What's our total at this point? About $3,500 per day, which is about 20 cents per guest. Even at five times the cost, that's still only $1 per day per guest. Sounds like a bargain to me. In the meantime, the whole image of Epcot is raised, and professor types might come down and spend real money. What local professors and high school science teachers wouldn't buy an Annual Pass? And get dinner and a souvenir several times a year. Also, people like me might avail myself of a seat in the audience for an hour or so instead of standing in line for Spaceship Earth. It would gobble up people who might otherwise crowd up the more popular attractions.

Plus, many such presentations could be more people friendly. For example, have Discover magazine unveil its 100 top scientific discoveries of the year edition, with an exciting countdown of the top 10, and some kind of presentation. I just think that science and tech, and even culture, are such changing and dynamic areas that there is no way that multi-million dollar attractions can stay relevant. If the park, and the entire resort, can stay relevant by having learned scholars talk and hang out in the place, we'll forgive a slightly out of date Mission Space. Plus, get a big photo of Buzz Aldrin standing outside of Mission Space, and suddenly we have giddy adults and kids standing in the footsteps of giants.

Five years ago, my family ran into Marty Sklar at the Land Pavilion. Gracious man. I have a picture of us with him sitting on my desk right now. Imagine the awesomeness of having him give a talk on something at Wonders of Life, with a meet and greet afterward. People would show up. Distant guests would plan their trip around it, and certainly plan their day around it.

How inspiring. And what a great retort to the teacher who bucks at the idea of Johnny and Jill being pulled from school for a trip to Disney. "We're going to meet a real astronaut, and see the Ambassador of Norway, and watch the unveiling of the top 100 scientific discoveries, and hear the man who helped build Disney parks." Heck, for a premium price you can now have lunch with an Imagineer. Why not hear a presentation from a rotating panel of Imagineers every day at 2 pm at the Imagination Pavilion? Make the presentations great, and leave time for questions afterward. I would probably show up several times per vacation. And then Disney could sell a bunch more lunches with Imagineers while there. Yeah, synergies, and truly making Epcot a cutting edge great place again with true depth.

Thats one of the best ideas I've heard for Epcot. I love it, and, like you, would certainly attend something like this.
 

The Empress Lilly

Well-Known Member
Although the existing exhibits could stand to be updated more frequently (Morocco, I'm looking at you!), most of them are very well done and a great way to spend 10-30 minutes. They generally do a good job highlighting aspects of the country's culture, have almost no operational costs, and stay true to the park's original mission. Although they certainly wouldn't drive new attendance, I would fully welcome additional exhibits throughout World Showcase as a way to flesh out some of the pavilions that people tend to bypass completely
The WS exhibits are fantastic!

They could drive attendance if the rest of WDW were (re)developed to attract the audience that enjoys these exhibits. As it stands, on the bus EPCOT is marketed as Nemo, Soarin and Frozen (I believe this was the latest spiel?), and consequently attracts the audience to match. While WDW is otherwise being dumbed down, moved lower on the cultural ladder. It's a pity. WDW, certainly vintage WDW, is more sophisticated than it is recognised for.
 
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hpyhnt 1000

Well-Known Member
What I'd like to see, for what it's worth:

[ ... ]

Epcot should not just be profiting on innovation and scientific history, they should be making it. Why aren't people like Bill Gates giving their TED talks at Epcot? Why aren't actual scientists giving presentations at Epcot? Why isn't Neil DeGrasse Tyson premiering the latest Cosmos series at Epcot? Why aren't ambassadors and foreign leaders stopping by for a photo op and speech at World Showcase? Why isn't Josh Gates giving an Expedition Unknown presentation at Epcot or AK? Make the place not just a thrilling and international funland, but scientifically and culturally relevant. I think it would be great if there was so much of relevance going on at Epcot that a permanent press corps could be stationed there. Use the Odyssey and that big tent thing between UK and Canada.

Yep, Epcot could (relatively) easily be a hub for speakers, conventions, seminars, expos, etc. I never understood why Epcot couldn't achieve a status similar to that of, for example, Smithsonian or SWSX, where the name is synonymous with learning and innovation. All the pieces are there, and certainly the park area is more than big enough to support such an endeavor.

In my "ideal" vision, the Innoventions area becomes the centerpiece of this new EPCOT Foundation if you will. The buildings are fully expanded out to the monorail beam (as they're designed to do) with a 2 story interior in some parts. A good chunk of the building area is designed as flexible convention-like space to accommodate rotating exhibits or to act as an auditorium. There would also be permanent exhibit areas showcasing a range of topics, created and run by staff and curators dedicated solely to this area of the park. Funding would come from sponsors, donations, admission cost, and/or Disney itself. But critically this section of the park would act as its own space, a quasi independent institution, but with the assets and area of the larger theme park at it's disposal for larger conventions or events. A reduced admission option would offer access only to this area (but would automatically be included in the more expensive theme park ticket).

If anything, I'd like to think the well received Festival of the Arts showed "the powers that be" that a more academic and inspirational Epcot can still be successful. It was an event that, for the most part, talked up to its audience with thoughtful exhibit areas, demonstrations, and presentations. Now take that spirit and run with it across the park (or at least, for the love of Mickey, don't dumb down FotA into F&W version 3 next year). All this would require a bit of vision and risk no doubt, but the payoff could be huge, and would make Epcot the world class theme park it was always meant to be.

Besides, it's not like the current Innoventions is anything worth saving. What is there to lose?

[end of dreaming tangent]
 

rushtest4echo

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the comments. For those of us who like a little substance on our vacations, the option of seeing Nobel Laureates would be a cool thing. No, I may not understand a word of what they say, but just knowing that an amusement park is an attractive place for a Nobel Laureate raises who I perceive myself to be.

Plus, it's cheap. Flights per guest would be something like $1,000. Handlers, food, and gate passes, a thousand or so more per day, maybe. Putting on a talk or presentation, yeah, a bit of infrastructure and tech people to make it all work. Probably in the neighborhood of half a million dollars per year, which averages out to about $1,500 per day when divided up over 365 days. What's our total at this point? About $3,500 per day, which is about 20 cents per guest. Even at five times the cost, that's still only $1 per day per guest. Sounds like a bargain to me. In the meantime, the whole image of Epcot is raised, and professor types might come down and spend real money. What local professors and high school science teachers wouldn't buy an Annual Pass? And get dinner and a souvenir several times a year. Also, people like me might avail myself of a seat in the audience for an hour or so instead of standing in line for Spaceship Earth. It would gobble up people who might otherwise crowd up the more popular attractions.

Plus, many such presentations could be more people friendly. For example, have Discover magazine unveil its 100 top scientific discoveries of the year edition, with an exciting countdown of the top 10, and some kind of presentation. I just think that science and tech, and even culture, are such changing and dynamic areas that there is no way that multi-million dollar attractions can stay relevant. If the park, and the entire resort, can stay relevant by having learned scholars talk and hang out in the place, we'll forgive a slightly out of date Mission Space. Plus, get a big photo of Buzz Aldrin standing outside of Mission Space, and suddenly we have giddy adults and kids standing in the footsteps of giants.

Five years ago, my family ran into Marty Sklar at the Land Pavilion. Gracious man. I have a picture of us with him sitting on my desk right now. Imagine the awesomeness of having him give a talk on something at Wonders of Life, with a meet and greet afterward. People would show up. Distant guests would plan their trip around it, and certainly plan their day around it.

How inspiring. And what a great retort to the teacher who bucks at the idea of Johnny and Jill being pulled from school for a trip to Disney. "We're going to meet a real astronaut, and see the Ambassador of Norway, and watch the unveiling of the top 100 scientific discoveries, and hear the man who helped build Disney parks." Heck, for a premium price you can now have lunch with an Imagineer. Why not hear a presentation from a rotating panel of Imagineers every day at 2 pm at the Imagination Pavilion? Make the presentations great, and leave time for questions afterward. I would probably show up several times per vacation. And then Disney could sell a bunch more lunches with Imagineers while there. Yeah, synergies, and truly making Epcot a cutting edge great place again with true depth.


Not that I'm disagreeing with the idea, or that Disney couldn't afford it regardless of the costs. But speaking engagements for well-known scientific authors/lecturers are usually in the five or six figures. Academic conferences are of course usually cheaper- they'll often even do it for free, but nobody's going to convince a decent scientist/speaker to waive their fee for Disney. But that's no different from the costs/fees when the broadway people came in a couple of months ago (which was fantastic)! I'm sure some wonk from MIT would accept whatever they gave Ashley Brown to come out for a couple of weekends. :)


As others have mentioned, they could really spin all of this through some kind of EPCOT science foundation scheme, similar to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. In fact I'm sort of wondering why this all hasn't been done at least on a small scale. Seems like fish in a barrel easy and another seasonal event is actually a good thing for EPCOT at this point. I know most purists hate the concept of the festivals, but a science one (even if light on the actual science) would be awesome. Maybe we'll get another "festival" for future world this time, it can be the EPCOT international science & technology expo. Have something permanent in innoventions, and then do a month long deal where schools can have science fairs, speakers come in, and maybe they can partner with Discovery/Smithsonian/Science channel (though sadly most of those channels have little to do with their namesake at this point). Still though, I think Disney really could make something like that work. They could even have "mixologists" describing all of the cool booze that they'll no doubt be able to hawk. ;)

Not trying to get political here, but if people really want to know why EPCOT's original mission is gone- it's because Disney would rather make more money than function as some beacon of the future. Controversy doesn't make money at a theme park, nor does alienating a large part of the populace who don't want to be talked down to about science either on vacation or during any other time in their life (including science class). I'm sure it would damage Disney's standing if they were to bring in climate scientists, behavioral theorists, or evolutionary biologists. And if topics of that sort were avoided, that would create even more controversy. At this point it's a wonder that people like Jane Goodall have been invited to events since her research is "controversial" in the eyes of so much of the American electorate. The most hard hitting Disney has been willing to go in the last 15 years was to have Bill Nye say "it's a hot topic with lots of questions" in response to coal and global warming.Even something like describing the concept of photosynthesis like the Living Seas originally did would be seen as "liberal indoctrination" now by some- enough people to keep stuff like that out of the park (and schools) I'm afraid. Next time you're on Energy, look around and watch the squirming/contempt on some people's faces when the Big Bang sequence is happening. I can promise you that guest relations hears from some of those people about how it's ruined their vacation.

EPCOT could go back to functioning as a sort of vanguard of knowledge and science in a theme park setting. But in the last 30 years since they've opened with that ideal- most science based things have grown (nonsensically) more political and controversial. In fact, I don't even know if EPCOT worked in the 80's (it didn't according to non-superfans it seems). Seemed like the product of 1940's/50's/60's idealism that's all but gone today.
 
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flyerjab

Well-Known Member
The WS exhibits are fantastic!

They could drive attendance if the rest of WDW were (re)developed to attract the audience that enjoys these exhibits. As it stands, on the bus EPCOT is marketed as Nemo, Soarin and Frozen (I believe this was the latest spiel?), and consequently attracts the audience to match. While WDW is otherwise being dumbed down, moved lower on the cultural ladder. It's a pity. WDW, certainly vintage WDW, is more sophisticated than it is recognised for.

It's why I love DAK so much. There is a lot to learn about the natural world there. The 2 animal trails alone are fantastic. Talk to the CMs on those trails, read the observation notes along the way. You come out of those trails having been educated. Something WDW was synonymous with years ago apparently is still alive and well in DAK.
 

rushtest4echo

Well-Known Member
It's why I love DAK so much. There is a lot to learn about the natural world there. The 2 animal trails alone are fantastic. Talk to the CMs on those trails, read the observation notes along the way. You come out of those trails having been educated. Something WDW was synonymous with years ago apparently is still alive and well in DAK.


Unless you ride Kilimanjaro anymore. :(

I got an excellent (way off script) driver a few trips ago who really knew his stuff, constantly described the plight of almost every animal on the ride, brought up conservation 10-20 times and spent a great deal of his speaking time trying to actually engage guests. It was wonderful.

But you're right, Animal Kingdom is still closer to "on topic" than EPCOT has been for quite some time. At least they're trying to justify Pandora (quite well IMO), whereas it's obvious that they've given up on that at EPCOT a long time ago. But as I mentioned above, I just don't think EPCOT's concept just isn't viable for a theme park especially given our political and social climate over the past few decades. There really is a war raging against science and people who appreciate EPCOT's intentions are vastly outnumbered I'm afraid.

Then again, we have an arts festival at a time when arts are being slaughtered in the US. We have "international" festivals year round when nationalism is currently trumping international cooperation. So maybe it's time to do a science festival since we're going to see a bloodbath in the sciences.
 
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larryz

Today's Maytag Repairman
Premium Member
Thanks for the comments. For those of us who like a little substance on our vacations, the option of seeing Nobel Laureates would be a cool thing. No, I may not understand a word of what they say, but just knowing that an amusement park is an attractive place for a Nobel Laureate raises who I perceive myself to be.

Plus, it's cheap. Flights per guest would be something like $1,000. Handlers, food, and gate passes, a thousand or so more per day, maybe. Putting on a talk or presentation, yeah, a bit of infrastructure and tech people to make it all work. Probably in the neighborhood of half a million dollars per year, which averages out to about $1,500 per day when divided up over 365 days. What's our total at this point? About $3,500 per day, which is about 20 cents per guest. Even at five times the cost, that's still only $1 per day per guest. Sounds like a bargain to me. In the meantime, the whole image of Epcot is raised, and professor types might come down and spend real money. What local professors and high school science teachers wouldn't buy an Annual Pass? And get dinner and a souvenir several times a year. Also, people like me might avail myself of a seat in the audience for an hour or so instead of standing in line for Spaceship Earth. It would gobble up people who might otherwise crowd up the more popular attractions.

Plus, many such presentations could be more people friendly. For example, have Discover magazine unveil its 100 top scientific discoveries of the year edition, with an exciting countdown of the top 10, and some kind of presentation. I just think that science and tech, and even culture, are such changing and dynamic areas that there is no way that multi-million dollar attractions can stay relevant. If the park, and the entire resort, can stay relevant by having learned scholars talk and hang out in the place, we'll forgive a slightly out of date Mission Space. Plus, get a big photo of Buzz Aldrin standing outside of Mission Space, and suddenly we have giddy adults and kids standing in the footsteps of giants.

Five years ago, my family ran into Marty Sklar at the Land Pavilion. Gracious man. I have a picture of us with him sitting on my desk right now. Imagine the awesomeness of having him give a talk on something at Wonders of Life, with a meet and greet afterward. People would show up. Distant guests would plan their trip around it, and certainly plan their day around it.

How inspiring. And what a great retort to the teacher who bucks at the idea of Johnny and Jill being pulled from school for a trip to Disney. "We're going to meet a real astronaut, and see the Ambassador of Norway, and watch the unveiling of the top 100 scientific discoveries, and hear the man who helped build Disney parks." Heck, for a premium price you can now have lunch with an Imagineer. Why not hear a presentation from a rotating panel of Imagineers every day at 2 pm at the Imagination Pavilion? Make the presentations great, and leave time for questions afterward. I would probably show up several times per vacation. And then Disney could sell a bunch more lunches with Imagineers while there. Yeah, synergies, and truly making Epcot a cutting edge great place again with true depth.
Not enough additional ROI.
 

Ralphlaw

Well-Known Member
Not that I'm disagreeing with the idea, or that Disney couldn't afford it regardless of the costs. But speaking engagements for well-known scientific authors/lecturers are usually in the five or six figures. Academic conferences are of course usually cheaper- they'll often even do it for free, but nobody's going to convince a decent scientist/speaker to waive their fee for Disney. But that's no different from the costs/fees when the broadway people came in a couple of months ago (which was fantastic)! I'm sure some wonk from MIT would accept whatever they gave Ashley Brown to come out for a couple of weekends. :)


As others have mentioned, they could really spin all of this through some kind of EPCOT science foundation scheme, similar to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. In fact I'm sort of wondering why this all hasn't been done at least on a small scale. Seems like fish in a barrel easy and another seasonal event is actually a good thing for EPCOT at this point. I know most purists hate the concept of the festivals, but a science one (even if light on the actual science) would be awesome. Maybe we'll get another "festival" for future world this time, it can be the EPCOT international science & technology expo. Have something permanent in innoventions, and then do a month long deal where schools can have science fairs, speakers come in, and maybe they can partner with Discovery/Smithsonian/Science channel (though sadly most of those channels have little to do with their namesake at this point). Still though, I think Disney really could make something like that work. They could even have "mixologists" describing all of the cool booze that they'll no doubt be able to hawk. ;)

Not trying to get political here, but if people really want to know why EPCOT's original mission is gone- it's because Disney would rather make more money than function as some beacon of the future. Controversy doesn't make money at a theme park, nor does alienating a large part of the populace who don't want to be talked down to about science either on vacation or during any other time in their life (including science class). I'm sure it would damage Disney's standing if they were to bring in climate scientists, behavioral theorists, or evolutionary biologists. And if topics of that sort were avoided, that would create even more controversy. At this point it's a wonder that people like Jane Goodall have been invited to events since her research is "controversial" in the eyes of so much of the American electorate. The most hard hitting Disney has been willing to go in the last 15 years was to have Bill Nye say "it's a hot topic with lots of questions" in response to coal and global warming.Even something like describing the concept of photosynthesis like the Living Seas originally did would be seen as "liberal indoctrination" now by some- enough people to keep stuff like that out of the park (and schools) I'm afraid. Next time you're on Energy, look around and watch the squirming/contempt on some people's faces when the Big Bang sequence is happening. I can promise you that guest relations hears from some of those people about how it's ruined their vacation.

EPCOT could go back to functioning as a sort of vanguard of knowledge and science in a theme park setting. But in the last 30 years since they've opened with that ideal- most science based things have grown (nonsensically) more political and controversial. In fact, I don't even know if EPCOT worked in the 80's (it didn't according to non-superfans it seems). Seemed like the product of 1940's/50's/60's idealism that's all but gone today.

Good points, all. How else can you make it relevant without real substance? I think we all would gladly welcome such substance, so we're primarily preaching to the choir here.

Love the idea of a foundation, but I also think the controversy complaints will be minimal because these science people wouldn't be talking at an attraction that shuffles thousands of guests through it everyday. Instead, it will be smaller numbers of discerning people with some intelligence, and hopefully with some tolerance of views not identical to their own. Plus, balance it out with scientists who espouse intelligent design or a more moderate view of global warming. Add a channel in the guest rooms to see last week's presentations. I can tolerate contrary views from my own, and I assume most thinking people can as well, assuming they even care enough to stop by or tune in.

The fee for hugely popular scientific heavyweights is a concern, of course, but somehow they get the Super Bowl MVPs to come down every year. I don't see such fees as insurmountable problems, although certainly some folks will be too pricey. Of course, letting them sell merch might help, especially for people like Neil Degrasse Tyson who has dozens of videos and books to peddle. Slap an ad for cosmos, or the Science channel, or Smithsonian channel, or National Geographic channel a few times a day on ESPN, ABC or Disney channels, and they will come. I also note that pretty big Hollywood celebs are booked for the Candlelight Processional every year. They pay for them somehow, although many are under contract with Disney already, I know. Disney also has the power to pay in kind with ultimate fastpasses, annual passes, or even a free cruise or Broadway Ticket package.

Anyhow, real substance can make Epcot relevant again. Happiness and fun are the primary reasons most of us go, but I also assume that a touch of true learning and being in a vital place with true greatness walking around would be an immeasurable image booster. I'm glad so many people like us would seem to agree. Come on, Disney. Don't dumb us down, smart us up.
 

Ralphlaw

Well-Known Member
Not enough additional ROI.

Sadly, probably true. The ROI would be difficult to track. How much more money could be made for a modest daily investment in real science or culture at Epcot? It's impossible to measure, but it would seem that an intangible image of "Walt's original vision" would ultimately bring in money. They still try to sell the idea that true innovation occurs at Epcot. Livin' with the Land and the Seas both try to sell that idea, to what actual scientific achievement is beyond me.

Put another way, Epcot wants to be a place where the image of actual onsite scientific advancement is occurring, just like Studios was originally supposed to be a working TV and movie studio. Neither occurs now to any serious degree, but the idea of actual science and culture would seem to legitimize the place and thus ultimately lead to more guests and more money. But, yeah, it's a tough sell to the bean-counters. Sticking tens of millions into rides is easier to track. Being cutting edge and thought-provoking has its place, but not with any serious dedication. OF course, slapping a bunch of Stormtrooper suits on CMs gives the illusion of legitimizing Studios, but bringing in actual people of great achievement would probably be deemed a non-ROI extravagance. Sad.
 

prberk

Well-Known Member
Yep, Epcot could (relatively) easily be a hub for speakers, conventions, seminars, expos, etc. I never understood why Epcot couldn't achieve a status similar to that of, for example, Smithsonian or SWSX, where the name is synonymous with learning and innovation. All the pieces are there, and certainly the park area is more than big enough to support such an endeavor.

In my "ideal" vision, the Innoventions area becomes the centerpiece of this new EPCOT Foundation if you will. The buildings are fully expanded out to the monorail beam (as they're designed to do) with a 2 story interior in some parts. A good chunk of the building area is designed as flexible convention-like space to accommodate rotating exhibits or to act as an auditorium. There would also be permanent exhibit areas showcasing a range of topics, created and run by staff and curators dedicated solely to this area of the park. Funding would come from sponsors, donations, admission cost, and/or Disney itself. But critically this section of the park would act as its own space, a quasi independent institution, but with the assets and area of the larger theme park at it's disposal for larger conventions or events. A reduced admission option would offer access only to this area (but would automatically be included in the more expensive theme park ticket).

If anything, I'd like to think the well received Festival of the Arts showed "the powers that be" that a more academic and inspirational Epcot can still be successful. It was an event that, for the most part, talked up to its audience with thoughtful exhibit areas, demonstrations, and presentations. Now take that spirit and run with it across the park (or at least, for the love of Mickey, don't dumb down FotA into F&W version 3 next year). All this would require a bit of vision and risk no doubt, but the payoff could be huge, and would make Epcot the world class theme park it was always meant to be.

Besides, it's not like the current Innoventions is anything worth saving. What is there to lose?

[end of dreaming tangent]

I have always said that Epcot should be the backdrop for a Discovery-type of weekly television show that showcases innovation. The "EPCOT World of Discovery" would be the type of program shown late Saturday mornings, and could be filmed a Epcot in front of a live audience. Just like Walt used Disneyland as a backdrop for his weekly show and cross-promoted the park, Epcot would do the same thing.

To wonder why Disney, the perfect multimedia company, doesn't do that is beyond me. Overall I would guess that some of the reason has to do with that the powers that be in Burbank never think of WDW as anything more than a vacation place. They never see its other potentials. Sad thing is that they used to.
 

jmuboy

Well-Known Member
Good points, all. How else can you make it relevant without real substance? I think we all would gladly welcome such substance, so we're primarily preaching to the choir here.

Love the idea of a foundation, but I also think the c/ ontroversy complaints will be minimal because these science people wouldn't be talking at an attraction that shuffles thousands of guests through it everyday. Instead, it will be smaller numbers of discerning people with some intelligence, and hopefully with some tolerance of views not identical to their own. Plus, balance it out with scientists who espouse intelligent design or a more moderate view of global warming. Add a channel in the guest rooms to see last week's presentations. I can tolerate contrary views from my own, and I assume most thinking people can as well, assuming they even care enough to stop by or tune in.

The fee for hugely popular scientific heavyweights is a concern, of course, but somehow they get the Super Bowl MVPs to come down every year. I don't see such fees as insurmountable problems, although certainly some folks will be too pricey. Of course, letting them sell merch might help, especially for people like Neil Degrasse Tyson who has dozens of videos and books to peddle. Slap an ad for cosmos, or the Science channel, or Smithsonian channel, or National Geographic channel a few times a day on ESPN, ABC or Disney channels, and they will come. I also note that pretty big Hollywood celebs are booked for the Candlelight Processional every year. They pay for them somehow, although many are under contract with Disney already, I know. Disney also has the power to pay in kind with ultimate fastpasses, annual passes, or even a free cruise or Broadway Ticket package.

Anyhow, real substance can make Epcot relevant again. Happiness and fun are the primary reasons most of us go, but I also assume that a touch of true learning and being in a vital place with true greatness walking around would be an immeasurable image booster. I'm glad so many people like us would seem to agree. Come on, Disney. Don't dumb us down, smart us up.

What if the park hosted TED talks speakers as well?
 
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