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News Big changes coming to EPCOT's Future World?

creathir

Premium Member
Zach’s enthusiasm for materials and textures is really unsurpassed by anyone really.

His travels to extreme examples during his annual 2 month sabbatical have enabled him to really become aware of what defines a paving surface. This past spring he spent countless hours roaming the parking lot of the Mall of America and Dodger Stadium in search of the perfect balance of support, yet springiness within the asphalt to minimize the negative reinforcement of exertion.

He even ruined several pairs of shoes with the amount of gum they picked up during his travels! His dedication is truly inspiring.
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
The difference is that John Hench's book centered legitimate and valuable insight into the creative process, diving deep on beloved projects AFTER they had demonstrated the ability to connect with an audience.

Zach's Instagram is pimping new granite tiling as if it's a FEATURE of Epcot and not just an element of it.

Now, John Hench did write about the significance of the color of the Pavement in Future World, explaining how it was chosen to optimize the coloring in guests' photographs and make every shot look fantastic. But if Hench went out of his way to regale us with that story BEFORE the park had even opened, we'd have likely said the same thing; "This whole big project is ahead of us, representing a huge financial investment, and THAT'S what you want us to be excited about??"

Add to it that this new tiling doesn't even pass the Fiber Optic Sidewalk for the most interesting pathway in the park (or the OG John Hench slurry color for considerate decision-making) and maybe you can see why it starts to ring hollow.
I guess, for me, the posts are what they are: PR aimed at fans designed to drum up interest in an upcoming project. The fan sites are, after all, full of extensive photo essays of the smallest developments that can be glimpsed over construction fences. Regarding the content, I also honestly don't think they're claiming that much. This one, for example, just shows some samples of the paving for the area and has text stating that, while they don't necessarily want you to notice it, a lot of consideration goes into the color, materials, and texture of the pavement.

In terms of hyping projects before they open, they've always done that, haven't they? It was just that with something like the original EPCOT Center they had to produce their own newsletter and feed information to the press. I also think they've played up the attention to detail and creative process prior to opening attractions rather than waiting several decades to see if they have been successful.

I'm sure my comments on this are just as tiring for everyone, but when I see the chorus of groans and eyerolls that greet Zach's every post I just feel like I've read just as grand if not grander claims about the far more mundane painted slurry you mention over the years. The same goes for the selection of colors for structures, etc. If Zach had of included Hench's point about making people's photos look better, I suspect the eye rolling competition would have been amped up yet further along with commentary about what's wrong with the kids these days.

Perhaps it's the messenger and the tone that provokes so much ire, or perhaps people are primed to hate everything about this project. Either way, I will be interested to know if WDI persist with Zach as the face of their social media PR. If this board is anything to go by, people seem to have an allergy to him.
 
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Bocabear

Well-Known Member
"We wanted warm grays in a range of hues to complement the silvers and off-whites of Spaceship Earth and many of our new World Celebration facades."
The new facades are just the original facades with years of misguided additions and horrific paint schemes... The original Hench buildings were simple, modern and timeless.
While I like the pavement sample, like so many others have pointed out, this is a stupid substance-free post...
 

Communicora

Premium Member
I guess, for me, the posts are what they are: PR aimed at fans designed to drum up interest in an upcoming project. The fan sites are, after all, full of extensive photo essays of the smallest developments that can be glimpsed over construction fences. Regarding the content, I also honestly don't think they're claiming that much. This one, for example, just shows some samples of the paving for the area and has text stating that, while they don't necessarily want you to notice it, a lot of consideration goes into the color, materials, and texture of the pavement.

In terms of hyping projects before they open, they've always done that, haven't they? It was just that with something like the original EPCOT Center they had to produce their own newsletter and feed information to the press. I also think they've played up the attention to detail and creative process prior to opening attractions rather than waiting several decades to see if they have been successful.

I'm sure my comments on this are just as tiring for everyone, but when I see the chorus of groans and eyerolls that greet Zach's every post I just feel like I've read just as grand if not grander claims about the far more mundane painted slurry you mention over the years. The same goes for the selection of colors for structures, etc. If Zach had of included Hench's point about making people's photos look better, I suspect the eye rolling competition would have been amped up yet further along with commentary about what's wrong with the kids these days.

Perhaps it's the messenger and the tone that provokes so much ire, or perhaps people are primed to hate everything about this project. Either way, I will be interested to know if WDI persist with Zach as the face of their social media PR. If this board is anything to go by, people seem to have an allergy to him.
For me, the issue is that his posts feel inauthentic. I would imagine he's an interesting person to talk to but his posts feel like they were crafted by a committee.
 

mightynine

Well-Known Member
For those who want to compare Hench's EPCOT pavement story vs. Zach's Epcot pavement post - there's a big difference between the two that comes across, at least to me.

Hench's story about the process has a payoff that is to the guest's benefit - what was chosen would help make guest's pictures look better. Could be true, could be BS, but ultimately what was put forward was that they wanted to make the guest's experience the best it could be.

Zach and the PR posse's post is very much about us, not you. These pavement samples compliment OUR buildings, OUR works, and whether or not there's any benefit to the guest, subminimal or otherwise, does not appear to come across. And that thread goes through pretty much all the posts he's made so far about the gift shop, Club Cool or whatever - it's a lot of "Look at what we did" and not "Here's why we did it for you".

And I still think it's funny that his posts on things like pavement and parti have more details than his one about the upcoming nighttime spectacular.
 

trainplane3

Well-Known Member
Just for kicks, here's Joe Rohde's pavement post from 2015:

I think the differences here are its a quick paragraph just saying "people know we had to make up a fortress that looks real but isn't. People don't know this actually isn't asphalt as they'd expect" with a single picture showing it. Quick and to the point.

Zach on the other hand is really dressing it up. He really could've posted the last two bits of his Insta post and it would've been nice. Quick, to the point, and some pictures to show what they're doing.
 

FerretAfros

Well-Known Member
I'm glad that they're finally discussing the extensive changes they've slowly but surely been making to the pavement throughout the park since the renovations began. With various parts of Future World, the main entrance, and now the World Showcase promenade near Morocco all getting new styles of pavement, it's clear they have bigger (if subtle) changes in mind for the entire park.

One of the biggest project management challenges of the park's original build was the huge amount of concrete pavement that had to be poured after construction equipment was gone, but cured before the park opened to guests. It's typically one of the last steps in construction, but due to the scale of the project it had to be done in a patchwork style as construction wrapped up in individual areas. Placing many acres of pavement is difficult in a park that's under construction, but even more challenging in one that's open daily for guests.

When the first changes to the pavement appeared at the newly-expanded walkway next to Imagination, I posted the following in the old Rosewalk thread:
I can't help but notice that the sandy color of the new sidewalk (as nice as it is) is a distinct departure from the subtly iconic pink walkways that have been an important part of the park from its early stages. The original hue was chosen in concert with Kodak (a major WDW & DL sponsor at the time) as a neutral color that would make photos look better on Kodak's red-centric film. It was sort of an early precursor to the Purple Wall and its ilk.

Given the extensive repaving that will take place in the coming years as part of the various projects throughout Future World, this would seem like a ripe opportunity to change the color, if only for WDI to partially justify the cost of the work. Surely this color would be easier to maintain and match in the future than the unique pink color, but it would be yet another step away from the thoughtful elements that made the park unique.

As construction wraps up at the entrance and other early projects, it will be worth keeping an eye on what they do. It's plausible that this area might have unique pavement, similar to within the World Showcase pavilions themselves, but it's also possible that this is an early hint at some of the changes to come.

I personally don't dislike the new color, but it would be a shame to lose something unique and historic in favor of something more generic simply for the sake of change.

Of course film isn't used by average guests any more, nor did I mean to suggest that the color of the pavement had any practical purpose these days. However, there are countless things throughout the Disney parks that have long since outlived their original purpose, and remain in place as subtle nods, easter eggs, or purely out of convenience. In many cases, they're the small things that add depth and texture to the experience, revealing layers of history, rekindling fond memories, or creating that ephemeral “magic” that’s Disney likes to tout so much.

Similar to the old pavilion logos and original songs, the colored pavement served as a unifier among the disparate elements throughout the park. Even if you couldn't pinpoint exactly where a photo was taken, it was easily identified as Epcot. I doubt anybody has ever claimed to love the park because of the sidewalk color, but it's one of those subtle elements that’s instantly recognizable and distinctly Epcot.

The original pavement choice was a deliberate decision, and a distinct departure from Disney's typical approach at the time of using colored slurry that varied from one land to the next to match the park map (still widely used in TDL). Changing the color in 2019 isn't an inherently bad thing, but I just hope that the new designers are being as thoughtful and deliberate as the original team. How it pans out obviously remains to be seen.
These posts were written in mid-August 2019, a few weeks before the big D23 announcement about all of Epcot's various changes. As we've watched the various updates roll out over the last couple years, the line about replacing the old pavement "simply for the sake of change" really seems to hit home. Whether "the new designers are being as thoughtful and deliberate as the original team" remains to be seen, but it doesn't seem especially promising: at best, they're restoring elements that have been forgotten to time; at worst, they're giving us an empty shell and trying to make us believe there's something inside it.

So many of the changes they're making are fine in their own right, but aren't necessarily an objective improvement over what was there before. And when they're spending hundreds of millions of dollars and creating massive operational impacts to accommodate the extensive construction, it really makes you wonder about the purpose of it all. Is it worth the trouble, when ultimately so much of it is simply style without substance?

The benches were what Walt Disney himself wanted for Epcot! <Insert Walt Disney quote out of context>
And we all know just the quote they'll use too. There's already an awkward shrine to Walt's (in)famous Griffith Park bench at the entrance to DL's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and we all know that Walt is every bit as deeply connected to the Epcot theme park as he was to Disneyland, which is why he's going to have his new statue there. Without benches, DisneyParks™ wouldn't exist, so it's really just a return to their most pure and original form. It's "Walt Disney's Dream," don't cha know?

disneyland1.jpg
 

hpyhnt 1000

Well-Known Member
Only the dove is real. This is not asphalt. No car ever drove here, wearing off the painted lines. No cracks were formed by the expansion and contraction of the surface. It's one thing to create a convincing wall of a crumbling Indian fortress, in a place where almost no one has ever seen real crumbling Indian fortress. But to create a convincing abandoned parking lot for people who see parking lots every day? That's actually really hard. This surface is so convincing that it is ignored completely. But there is no way this surface could stand up to the traffic it receives on a hot summer day if it were actually asphalt. It is sculpture.
Funny, because I wouldn't say it's ignored completely. Guests, even first time visitors in my experience, notice the asphalt of Dinorama, because it's ugly and unbefitting an otherwise exquisitely designed park.

The sooner it disappears the better.
 

brettf22

Premium Member
I appreciate posts about the little details. But as others have said, the inauthentic PR-speak doesn't help.

What I find most telling about this last post is that the most numerous (and highest liked) replies/comments refer to the fiber-optic sidewalk. I cannot fathom why they would not recreate something that seems so straight-forward to install and maintain. I guess maybe I answered my own question. Maybe it wasn't as easy/inexpensive to install and maintain. Otherwise, I would think installing a new version would be a huge win for everybody.
 

James Alucobond

Well-Known Member
These posts were written in mid-August 2019, a few weeks before the big D23 announcement about all of Epcot's various changes. As we've watched the various updates roll out over the last couple years, the line about replacing the old pavement "simply for the sake of change" really seems to hit home. Whether "the new designers are being as thoughtful and deliberate as the original team" remains to be seen, but it doesn't seem especially promising: at best, they're restoring elements that have been forgotten to time; at worst, they're giving us an empty shell and trying to make us believe there's something inside it.
I feel like you outlined why it's not "simply for the sake of change", though. This will be much easier to maintain since adjacent sections of pavement now seem much more intentionally variegated, and the color itself will be something easier to match. While there's something to be said for leaving well enough alone, if you're digging up basically the entirety of the park, you may as well make this update since the technology it was originally targeting is obsolete. Why deal with the hassle for something that no longer benefits guests in any tangible way? I do feel some nostalgia for the old color, but I think it's more 80s nostalgia than Disney nostalgia.

What I find most telling about this last post is that the most numerous (and highest liked) replies/comments refer to the fiber-optic sidewalk. I cannot fathom why they would not recreate something that seems so straight-forward to install and maintain. I guess maybe I answered my own question. Maybe it wasn't as easy/inexpensive to install and maintain. Otherwise, I would think installing a new version would be a huge win for everybody.
Is it confirmed there will be no fiber optics or dynamic lighting? I had always assumed the magenta path to the festival center in the concept art was trying to convey that since the alternative was that, well, the pavement was actually magenta, which seems kinda crazy.
 

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