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Bob Chapek Confirms Disney Will Overhaul Epcot

RustySpork

Oscar Mayer Memer
I disagree because the idea was that people could go and learn about the future - today, we just need to open our phone.

At the rate AI, ML and immersion experiences are going they’d spend a fortune trying to stay even the slightest bit relevant. 5 years in tech now is like 25 when Epcot opened.

Thing of this: the iPhone is only 10 years old and didn’t have mass distribution until 2010/2

I do think they could use the tech to do coasters and rides that are similar to the stuff Unversal does which is far more tech reliant than actual tracks. It fits more into theme

They just need to add more screen rides, and plug and play theme modules. Oh, this IP isn't popular anymore? Wall, unplug IP, plug new IP, upload program, ???, profit.
 

Rich Brownn

Well-Known Member
Hate to be a stickler here but SSE jumped from the sistine Chapel to the Industrial Revolution (1860s) The (1969) moon landing was not even brought up in the ride at all until the 2007 refurb ( Never mind the big historical issue of a 1982 Beatles album being in said scene.)
You're correct. But again shows its flexibiklity
 

wedway6482

New Member
Survey says.. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRTTTT. Wrong - those are from the 1982 version.

And the other pieces were not just films to swap out... unless your entire point is 'screens vs sets' - of which, it's not even worth addressing as some future proofing plan.

Not taking a side in your discussion, but you're actually wrong Flynn. Those two scenes were additions to the 82 version under the Cronkite update. Rich is correct in referencing the scenes as being installed as part of an update to the attraction.
 

geekza

Well-Known Member
I disagree because the idea was that people could go and learn about the future - today, we just need to open our phone.
You can pull out your phone and learn about lots of things. When EPCOT Center was built, we could watch television shows or videotapes to learn lots of things. Learning about things on a ride with sets and robots is a totally different experience than looking at the same information on a tiny screen. Saying that EPCOT Center wouldn't work today because we can access information on our phones is incredibly short-sighted because it devalues the amazing ways that we were able to learn about things at EPCOT Center's attractions. The experience made all the difference. Think of it this way: When you were in school, there were some teachers who didn't make much of an impression because they were dry and stuck to the textbook. There were other teachers who made their classes exciting and interesting because of the different methods they used to teach the material. The difference wasn't the subject, necessarily, but the enthusiasm and care put into teaching it. EPCOT Center was amazing at making learning both entertaining and exciting, while offering tangible experiences that were unavailable anywhere else in the world.

I get that it's never coming back, but it's revisionist thinking to say that its demise was because people didn't find "edutainment" to be worthwhile and exciting and that the constant availability of information in today's world makes something like the focus of EPCOT Center obsolete.
 

jt04

Well-Known Member
I guess I meant the “how we build our future” anytime tech is involved (which it is on everything now) still is going to feel dated quickly as it moves so fast, it would need to be designed with 3-4 year refreshes in mind.


I think most of us under a certain age have always seen EPCOT as the place with the aquarium and to learn about different cultures ...

And without constant updates there was a problem with repeated rides. Like reading the same chapter of a text book over and over. I think this is why LWTL is often a walk on. Great the first time through put losses that edge with each ride. At least for most.

I wish they could send it over to KSC visitor Center and make it a Mars version.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
Not taking a side in your discussion, but you're actually wrong Flynn. Those two scenes were additions to the 82 version under the Cronkite update. Rich is correct in referencing the scenes as being installed as part of an update to the attraction.

Sorry, I was thrown off by @marni1971 's 82 edit - scenes I was referring to here - - but the network scene was in the 82 version (I guess @marni1971 doesn't have a full '82 ride through and that earlier edit is a blended 82/86 video). I apologize @Rich Brownn for the inaccuracy, but I don't think it changes the overall point. The attraction does include 'current', not just past.

I think Rich is overstating the purpose of the screens and smaller sets to mean the attractions were setup to be refreshed more frequently. Yes, clearly the smaller distinct scenes like the ones in SSE lend themselves to be changed out without modifying the entire attraction, and yes I can see how an Imagineer could be quoted saying as such. But I don't see that as a laid out plan for more refreshes.. it's more about the pros/cons of the design.

And the attractions weren't just all about the past except for horizons... as I laid out most very much used the current time to establish the continuity in how the story they told about the past, was leading to what we see 'now', and to be the stepping stone to the optimism and challenge to the audience the scripts laid out for the future

Most of the original FW attractions had this similar construct of illustrating how a central idea tied this evolution we are familiar with, to an optimism about the future. The emerging stuff about the leading edge in TODAY's context is used to build credibility in that story, and be the leap point to challenge the audience to say YOU can make that future happen.

That continuity through the 'now' is another major point that made the attractions age so quickly.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
You can pull out your phone and learn about lots of things. When EPCOT Center was built, we could watch television shows or videotapes to learn lots of things. . Learning about things on a ride with sets and robots is a totally different experience than looking at the same information on a tiny screen.

Sure, but most people didn't have video tapes.. TV had a dozen channels (most did not have cable at the time).. TV you did have was low quality and non-interactive.. and books were just static flat images.

Contrast that with the last 10 years... people have hundreds of channels of specialized TV covering every topic imaginable... specialized content abound... we have media we can interact with and control... now people can even 3D look around things on their phone.. everything is HD quality video we can look at on demand, etc.

You can't discount that the type of immersion available at our fingertips now is RADICALLY different from a suburban home of 1981. And entire generations have grown up in this mass media world now.

Yes, being there trumps watching a video... but it's not nearly as big of a jump from your youtube videos to the real thing... as it was from your encyclopedia photos to what EPCOT was.

The jump needed to be impressive on new audiences is far more now... than it was in 1979. Disney is no longer unique in bringing these foreign or even fantasy things to life either.
 

mikejs78

Premium Member
It was not about learning about the future... It was inspirational about how we can build our future and the possibilities ahead of us. The points could all still be relevant today, but there are so many that think it was as simple asd "This is about learning about the future" Which it clearly was not...

This is exactly right. EPCOT center was about inspiration, not prediction or "learning about the future."

I guess I meant the “how we build our future” anytime tech is involved (which it is on everything now) still is going to feel dated quickly as it moves so fast, it would need to be designed with 3-4 year refreshes in mind.


I think most of us under a certain age have always seen EPCOT as the place with the aquarium and to learn about different cultures ...

Looking at your profile, I'm a year older than you - and it's always been a lot more than an aquarium and place to learn about different cultures. EPCOT Center inspired me to go into the technology field because it presented an optimistic vision of the future. Yes, technology moves fast, but that doesn't mean that you can't speak about the future in terns of decades rather than years. Most of Horizons (which of course is the old EPCOT attraction the most about the future) is still applicable today. Horizons would only really have needed a refresh in terms of style (getting away from 80s color schemes, etc) and a few things that didn't pan out.. Technology doesn't move as fast as you think. For those of us in the technology field, I can easily think in terms of a future 15-20 years out, and it likely won't come to pass in 3-4 years as you suggest.
 

marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
Sorry, I was thrown off by @marni1971 's 82 edit - scenes I was referring to here - - but the network scene was in the 82 version (I guess @marni1971 doesn't have a full '82 ride through and that earlier edit is a blended 82/86 video). I apologize @Rich Brownn for the inaccuracy, but I don't think it changes the overall point. The attraction does include 'current', not just past.

I think Rich is overstating the purpose of the screens and smaller sets to mean the attractions were setup to be refreshed more frequently. Yes, clearly the smaller distinct scenes like the ones in SSE lend themselves to be changed out without modifying the entire attraction, and yes I can see how an Imagineer could be quoted saying as such. But I don't see that as a laid out plan for more refreshes.. it's more about the pros/cons of the design.

And the attractions weren't just all about the past except for horizons... as I laid out most very much used the current time to establish the continuity in how the story they told about the past, was leading to what we see 'now', and to be the stepping stone to the optimism and challenge to the audience the scripts laid out for the future

Most of the original FW attractions had this similar construct of illustrating how a central idea tied this evolution we are familiar with, to an optimism about the future. The emerging stuff about the leading edge in TODAY's context is used to build credibility in that story, and be the leap point to challenge the audience to say YOU can make that future happen.

That continuity through the 'now' is another major point that made the attractions age so quickly.
That’s an old edit I’m afraid. My more recent version had the home and office computer omitted as they should be.
 

wedway6482

New Member
Sorry, I was thrown off by @marni1971 's 82 edit - scenes I was referring to here - - but the network scene was in the 82 version (I guess @marni1971 doesn't have a full '82 ride through and that earlier edit is a blended 82/86 video). I apologize @Rich Brownn for the inaccuracy, but I don't think it changes the overall point. The attraction does include 'current', not just past.

Yeah, it's often mistaken. Here is a post where I asked @marni1971 about it: https://forums.wdwmagic.com/threads/spaceship-in-spaceship-earth.76004/post-8303409

You're right that there were two chunks of emphasis on "present day" in the original version of Spaceship Earth. One current day moment in the original SSE was the infinity cove transition combined with network control, the second was a portion of the script in the descent. For most guests once you passed the family room, the scenes all bled into a future vision, due to set design, lighting, transitions. In my opinion, most didn't think they were looking at a glimpse of current day, but rather immediately the future.

Spaceship Earth is tough because as often pointed out the grand finale can be considered 180 top, which originally was already set in the future. That gave them the option to squeeze in present day between the family room scene and 180 top, or use some convoluted reverse time-travel excuse, that most guests wouldn't get, to talk about present day in the descent. I think the Cronkite update did a good job trying to put more present day emphasis into the attraction prior to 180 top, and taking more of it out of the 82 descent. The 94 version took it the other way and added additional futuristic elements in those spaces before 180 top, really eliminating any present day in the attraction.

I do believe there was some intelligence and intention from the original EPCOT designers (remember pre-Eisner) to update the 3 act structure on an ongoing basis. IMO, this goal was evident based on the obvious heavy investment made in most Act 1s (The Past), which theoretically wouldn't require as much continual TLC as the Current Day and Future Day portions of the attractions. I think the additional present day computer scenes in the Cronkite update reinforces this and shows they knew the original current day portion didn't read well. Less investment, time, thought, went into Act 2 (Present) and Act 3 (Future) for a number of attractions, but it is my opinion some of that was intentional based on the sponsorship model and financial realities of phase 1 EPCOT.

Generically speaking the way Act 2 (Present) & Act 3 (Future) were set up for a number of attractions, they were obviously the more flexible spaces to update. Often the present day portion was a very small percentage of the attraction's running time.

WOM = Speed Tunnel 1 (Present), Speed Tunnel 3, Centercore & Postshow (Future)
Horizons = Omnisphere (Present), rest of the attraction (Future)
Energy = Jack Boyd's rich animated film in Theater I (Past), Sponsor's dry film in Theater II (Present), Communicore Postshow Future
The Living Seas = Preshow film (Past to Present), Hydrolaters-on (Future)
SSE = mixed bag based on update

As the beaten horse will tell you, it all broke down when updates stopped happening and Epcot 94/Innoventions was the new implementation course. Without question the Cronkite update showed a little bit of their early willingness to keep investing in the formula, and it also showed how quickly they could turn around an update when not trying to reengineer an entire ride.
 
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imsosarah

Well-Known Member
This is exactly right. EPCOT center was about inspiration, not prediction or "learning about the future."



Looking at your profile, I'm a year older than you - and it's always been a lot more than an aquarium and place to learn about different cultures. EPCOT Center inspired me to go into the technology field because it presented an optimistic vision of the future. Yes, technology moves fast, but that doesn't mean that you can't speak about the future in terns of decades rather than years. Most of Horizons (which of course is the old EPCOT attraction the most about the future) is still applicable today. Horizons would only really have needed a refresh in terms of style (getting away from 80s color schemes, etc) and a few things that didn't pan out.. Technology doesn't move as fast as you think. For those of us in the technology field, I can easily think in terms of a future 15-20 years out, and it likely won't come to pass in 3-4 years as you suggest.


I’m very aware of how fast it moves - I also work in the technology field and look at future trends and tech to help decide what to invest in for the future :)

And I never went in the 80/90’s so maybe a better way to say it is for some of us that missed what it was in its original days and came in after some of the legacy stuff was out and the tech vision of future wasn’t as much of a focus...
 

geekza

Well-Known Member
Sure, but most people didn't have video tapes.. TV had a dozen channels (most did not have cable at the time).. TV you did have was low quality and non-interactive.. and books were just static flat images.

Contrast that with the last 10 years... people have hundreds of channels of specialized TV covering every topic imaginable... specialized content abound... we have media we can interact with and control... now people can even 3D look around things on their phone.. everything is HD quality video we can look at on demand, etc.

You can't discount that the type of immersion available at our fingertips now is RADICALLY different from a suburban home of 1981. And entire generations have grown up in this mass media world now.

Yes, being there trumps watching a video... but it's not nearly as big of a jump from your youtube videos to the real thing... as it was from your encyclopedia photos to what EPCOT was.

The jump needed to be impressive on new audiences is far more now... than it was in 1979. Disney is no longer unique in bringing these foreign or even fantasy things to life either.
I disagree. By 1983, the first video stores were opening and, odds are, you knew at least someone with a VCR in your circle of friends. It just ballooned after that. Heck, I grew up in West Virginia and still had access to a ton of information through home video, television, and my public library. We weren't exactly living in the Dark Ages in the early-1980's. It's true that we didn't have immediate access to information like we do today, but I would argue that the smaller number of available informational and entertainment outlets actually meant that more people were exposed to certain types of programming like Nova, nature shows, documentaries, etc. because we didn't have such a fragmented number of choices. Also, newspapers and magazines were everywhere. Having information thrown at you 24/7, if anything, has made teachers, librarians, and organizations who are able to sift through all the nonsense in order to present real information, whether it be history, science, or, sadly, news even more desirable. EPCOT Center was able to take complicated topics and distill them down to easily-digestible and, yes, entertaining experiences. I can't tell you how many people of my generation had their interest in science, technology, design, and history set in motion by both EPCOT Center and Disney's educational and television output. "One little spark," if you will. If done well, as EPCOT Center's attractions and pavilions unquestionably were, I am convinced that the central idea of EPCOT Center would be just as popular today as it was in the 1980's. I know that there are those who feel just as strongly that the opposite is true, but, sadly, the argument is academic at this point. The experiment is over and commerce and cheap thrills are now the norm.
 

flynnibus

Premium Member
I disagree. By 1983, the first video stores were opening and, odds are, you knew at least someone with a VCR in your circle of friends

'at least someone...' compared with elementary school kids who have their own supercomputer in their pocket. "known" vs "readily immersed"

It just ballooned after that. Heck, I grew up in West Virginia and still had access to a ton of information through home video, television, and my public library

And compare the number of hours a week spent at those things vs what the nearly 1:1 computer ratio has done to recent generations.

I am convinced that the central idea of EPCOT Center would be just as popular today as it was in the 1980's

I don't disagree at all - the problem is you can't achieve that in a format you expect to build once, sign a sponsor for 10 years, and have it run unchanged for 10+ years or longer - which is the model Disney took with EPCOT.. and what I criticize.
 

mikejs78

Premium Member
I’m very aware of how fast it moves - I also work in the technology field and look at future trends and tech to help decide what to invest in for the future :)

And I never went in the 80/90’s so maybe a better way to say it is for some of us that missed what it was in its original days and came in after some of the legacy stuff was out and the tech vision of future wasn’t as much of a focus...
That's fair. I think it's really hard to imagine if you missed it in it's early days. For me as a kid, it opened my mind to a whole world of possibilities. Home computers were still a novelty, the Internet was something that only the military and higher education had any access to or knowledge of. It was at Epcot in 1988 that I first learned about the idea of an 'Information Superhighway', or what would eventually become the Internet. And through the early 90s as we got Prodigy and AOL at my home, I saw the first glimpses of the future that Epcot had inspired me to take an interest in. I learned how to program, and decided that this is what I wanted my career to do - to be on the cutting edge of technology.

Obviously predicting the future is futile. It's likely you'll get just as much right as wrong. But to be able to inspire a young kid about the possibilities that the future has is what EPCOT Center was about, and there's no reason it couldn't be that again, in a more modern context, while still appealing to the masses. EPCOT Center in its heyday was enormously popular. But in the mid 90s, it got watered down by new management who really didn't understand the park. And now here we are, with a park that's still great, but is a shadow of its original greatness. I still love it - it's my favorite park, and even the recent changes that take it further from its original vision aren't enough to change that fact for me.
 

Rich Brownn

Well-Known Member
Survey says.. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRTTTT. Wrong - those are from the 1982 version.

And the other pieces were not just films to swap out... unless your entire point is 'screens vs sets' - of which, it's not even worth addressing as some future proofing plan.
The imagineers stated that was the intent of the designs to future proof them.
Sorry, I was thrown off by @marni1971 's 82 edit - scenes I was referring to here - - but the network scene was in the 82 version (I guess @marni1971 doesn't have a full '82 ride through and that earlier edit is a blended 82/86 video). I apologize @Rich Brownn for the inaccuracy, but I don't think it changes the overall point. The attraction does include 'current', not just past.

I think Rich is overstating the purpose of the screens and smaller sets to mean the attractions were setup to be refreshed more frequently. Yes, clearly the smaller distinct scenes like the ones in SSE lend themselves to be changed out without modifying the entire attraction, and yes I can see how an Imagineer could be quoted saying as such. But I don't see that as a laid out plan for more refreshes.. it's more about the pros/cons of the design.

And the attractions weren't just all about the past except for horizons... as I laid out most very much used the current time to establish the continuity in how the story they told about the past, was leading to what we see 'now', and to be the stepping stone to the optimism and challenge to the audience the scripts laid out for the future

Most of the original FW attractions had this similar construct of illustrating how a central idea tied this evolution we are familiar with, to an optimism about the future. The emerging stuff about the leading edge in TODAY's context is used to build credibility in that story, and be the leap point to challenge the audience to say YOU can make that future happen.

That continuity through the 'now' is another major point that made the attractions age so quickly.
The design of the rides were intentionally made to be updated with minimum work. That was stated by the designers. You have a problem with that concept, take it up with them. So far all your points just cement what I stated, Peace out.
 

CinematicFusion

Well-Known Member
The thing with IP based attractions is you never know why people are lining up for them. Are they lining up because they like the movie Frozen or because it's a good ride? Recognizing those aren't the only two reasons some gets in line for a ride, I think the overall point is relevant.

Attractions tied to movies are easier to market. The decisions are largely based on the initial marketing push and not the long term "fit" or performance of the attraction. The long term concern is primarily their ability to depreciate the cost and draw crowds. The long term concern is exactly the same on a non-IP based attraction.

My objection is that aside from the initial marketing push, there's very little reason to break with the thematic integrity of an area. With Frozen, I almost understand it sadly because I'm sure the initial mandate was "what's the quickest way we can get Frozen into the parks". When you make decisions based on "the quickest way to do something" you're going to make poor decisions. When those decisions are likely going to last for 20+ years it's that much worse.

I'm with you. I think Frozen was a great IP and the characters will last. Instant classic for Disney. However, I think it should have gone in DHS to balance out that park, Maybe even create a little land.
I don't care that it went into Norway....but it wasn't really necessary. A simple refurb of Maelstrom would have worked also. The big key of World Showcase was adding Ratatouille.
 

Bocabear

Well-Known Member
I guess I meant the “how we build our future” anytime tech is involved (which it is on everything now) still is going to feel dated quickly as it moves so fast, it would need to be designed with 3-4 year refreshes in mind.


I think most of us under a certain age have always seen EPCOT as the place with the aquarium and to learn about different cultures ...
Wow that is really sad...Sad that the messages of the original EPCOT Center did not translate, because it was amazing...Inspirational, Aspirational...It was way bigger and broader than what people seem to remember... The [people that just wanted a rollercoaster and princess interaction would go to the other parks...EPCOT was it's own thing...
 

HauntedPirate

Sheltered-at-home Park nostalgist
Premium Member
This is just so sad and frustrating. Disney is a multi billion dollar company, yet they are too cheap to throw us a bone and rework Imagination or give us a new non-IP ride in Japan, unless someone else pays for it. There's no excuse for having JIIWF still around in late 2018. It should have been a temporary solution to the disaster that was JIYI, and it should have been permenantly fixed 5-10 years ago.

I guess buying the rights to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Ice Age is just so much more important. :rolleyes::banghead:

It just highlights that the focus of TWDC management is stock analysts and quarterly profits (and large shareholders), not the guests. My, what a turn they have taken from 20 years ago...
 

geekza

Well-Known Member
I don't disagree at all - the problem is you can't achieve that in a format you expect to build once, sign a sponsor for 10 years, and have it run unchanged for 10+ years or longer - which is the model Disney took with EPCOT.. and what I criticize.
That point, I completely agree with.
 

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