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EPCOT: 1982 vs. 2022

mharrington

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This should probably go into that one thread on whether WDW was better years ago, but this is probably more specific than that...

As you know, EPCOT is going through a big transformation, part of which involves the breaking-up of Future World into several smaller lands, just for example. There is even a new slogan reading "On the brink of a new age...".

I personally think this might be a great thing for EPCOT, but what about you? Does anyone think that the EPCOT of 2021-'22 is straying too far from (indeed, a betrayal of) the EPCOT Center of 1982? Or does it seem like things are progressing the right way? Let's be honest, for better or worse, there's really no going back to the EPCOT of 1982.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
1982 EPCOT was missing a significant portion of what made EPCOT the best theme park in the world -- no Horizons, no Journey into Imagination, no Morocco pavilion, no Norway pavilion, no Living Seas pavilion, no Wonders of Life pavilion -- but what was there was still enough to be great.

The 2022 version doesn't appear to be even remotely comparable. It will be full of worse attractions in place of the original better ones (and sometimes worse versions of original attractions, like current Spaceship Earth). 2022 EPCOT will almost certainly be better than, say, 2017 EPCOT, though.
 

mharrington

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I just realized this is supposed to go in the "General Discussion" section, not the "News and Rumors" section. Could someone please relocate it to the "General Discussion" section?
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Mission: SPACE is better than Horizons. Test Track is better than World of Motion, which is almost entirely redundant with Spaceship Earth.

*runs and hides*

The only obvious "this was better in the good old days" to me are The Living Seas and Journey Into Imagination.
 

sullyinMT

Well-Known Member
1982 EPCOT was missing a significant portion of what made EPCOT the best theme park in the world -- no Horizons, no Journey into Imagination, no Morocco pavilion, no Norway pavilion, no Living Seas pavilion, no Wonders of Life pavilion -- but what was there was still enough to be great.

The 2022 version doesn't appear to be even remotely comparable. It will be full of worse attractions in place of the original better ones (and sometimes worse versions of original attractions, like current Spaceship Earth). 2022 EPCOT will almost certainly be better than, say, 2017 EPCOT, though.
This is my reference, so as a newcomer, I'm a little excited for "new" EPCOT. We went to WDW a very small handful of time when I was a kid, on one day tickets as a parental prerequisite for my parents who would have rather been on Daytona Beach. My only parks I visited then were MK and MGM.

Fast forward to us having kids, and disposable income, and my wife and I have slowly become Disney fanatics. It started with DCL and eventually bled to WDW, but not until October 2016 for Orlando. So, the EPCOT of then was awesome for WS. But, Character Spot and empty buildings everywhere left us both wondering would could be done with what was obviously a once bustling area. Even Energy was closed by the time we got a taste of the park, but we still look forward to EPCOT with every visit.

Now, with all of the additions, it's a place I'm looking forward to visiting beyond The Land and Seas pavilions up front. Mission: Space is enjoyable enough, and TT just doesn't do it for me (the boys love it, though). I'll withhold judgement on the architecture of the France expansion until I see it, but the additional ride capacity and (hopefully well executed) restaurant are big plusses, IMO. I know my wife is excited for what the Moana water thing could be aesthetically, and it ties in well enough with the spirit of Land and Seas, even if I'm not overly thrilled with slapping IP on everything and calling it good. If nothing else, it's a visual improvement way above what 2016 EPCOT was.
 

EPCOT-O.G.

Well-Known Member
The beauty of late-80's EPCOT was it was still relatively fresh and new and optimistic before the sullenness of the 1990's and inattention and ambivalence and obsolescence took its toll on this once beautiful park.
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
Mid-to-late-80s EPCOT was fantastic... for the mid-to-late-80s.

I've said this previously and I'll say it again. The opening concept for EPCOT (not counting Walt's bold but completely unworkable original idea) for a permanent World's Fair only works with nearly constant and expensive updates. That's the reason why World's Fairs were held every few years. What was once new quickly became old. I think it was obvious by the early 90s that except for maybe Communicore/Innoventions, Disney wasn't going to put in the effort to keep the older attractions updated and relevant.

I loved that Epcot originally evoked the spirt of those old World's Fairs I'd heard so much about (but never personally visited), but these events, that once occupied a huge chunk of the public's imagination have now faded into an historical footnote. I had to look it up on Wikipedia to know that World's Fairs even technically still existed, but they're now called "Expos" and are really nothing more than industry trade shows. It wouldn't surprise me if COVID-19 completely killed them off for good. It's a concept that just doesn't excite people like it used to.

I'm actually quite intrigued by what's coming to EPCOT, but I also fear in the back of my mind that Disney under Chapek will turn it into nothing more than an IP-dumping ground, with more merchandising opportunities than attractions. I look back fondly at old EPCOT, but I don't really see how it could have realistically lasted. Whatever willingness Disney had in the 90s to keep the pavilions updated probably evaporated with the initial financial failure of what was then called EuroDisneyland.
 
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Aaronardo

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
Yes
Looking at it without the context of "this had a better attraction in its place once upon a time," 2021-22 Epcot is pretty bad regardless.

Test Track has a fun ride system, but its theme is pretty muddled and doesn't give riders "a way in" to the world of the ride. Mission: Space is a good idea that underdelivers -- in the case of the Orange side it wants to be something legitimately thrilling and the centrifuge offers a pretty unique element of intensity, but the other motion simulation bits have no bite to them giving a very confused ride experience. JII is just... really annoying. Young Nemo fans might get a kick out of The Seas, but otherwise the dark ride is pretty bare bones. Soarin' is another good idea that is completely muddled by its film -- a ride that tries to suck you into the hypnotizing beauty of the Earth features many jarring transitions that would take anybody out of the mood. Spaceship Earth and Living With The Land are fantastic, but exist in a Future World where each experience feels very disconnected from one another, rather than part of a cohesive park. I don't like talking about the attractions of a park with such a rigid structure, but current Future World doesn't give many other options.

World Showcase fares much better, and the "many nations, one world" message is well-conveyed through each pavilion's unique architecture, food & drink, shopping, and performances. However, Gran Fiesta Tour does feel like a cheap overlay to an pre-existing ride, and Frozen is way too short. Rat is a decent addition to France.

I'm worried that Epcot will become pretty infested with the "more timeless, more Disney" nonsense as the park continues to change over the next years. It's anybody's guess if Guardians will turn out to be a worthwhile addition to FW, and even if it does, that section of the park is in such a state of conceptual disrepair (regardless of if you know about pre-00s Epcot) that it may never recover. Journey of Water has potential, though, so there's a little bit of hope. Maybe.
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
World Showcase fares much better, and the "many nations, one world" message is well-conveyed through each pavilion's unique architecture, food & drink, shopping, and performances. However, Gran Fiesta Tour does feel like a cheap overlay to an pre-existing ride, and Frozen is way too short. Rat is a decent addition to France.
The pre-existing ride wasn't exactly a masterpiece. It felt like low-budget It's Small World, with an opening that kind of evokes Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean.
 

ArmoredRodent

Premium Member
Actually, I loved the "old" Epcot for what they tried to do with it: educate people. The first day I went into Epcot (1983-ish), I hated it. It was so slow. But it gradually dawned on me that it was a different kind of park, where I didn't just get banged around on coasters or dropped from high places. And what I really liked was that it treated me like I had a brain, instead of just senses.

Wonders of Life was a wonderful pavilion, as were the "fairs" they put on outside. "Cranium Command, " anyone? "Making of Me?" "Body Wars?" "Wonder Cycles?" For example, they had a booth outside where a Cast Member let you understand gene therapy by shooting a Nerf(tm) gun dart into a model nucleus.

The Land, pre-Soarin', had Kitchen Kabaret "veggie, veggie, fruit, fruit" long before hungry patrons were stealing cucumbers.

Exxon's pavilion (oops, I mean Energy) was a slow dino ride, but it did get its point across, until Ellen came in. And it was solar-powered and trackless, before that was cool.

Communicore was the first place I ever rode a Segway (for about ten feet, but still ...). Sperry-Rand (remember them) had a great exhibit about computers showing how they ran the place. Before Test Track, you were able to design and test roller coasters (which they did much better in Disney Quests, where you could ride the coaster you designed). The video game exhibits were always packed. Always something new to try. The fountains were actually an event, programmed for special attractions and performances. You could phone a friend long-distance (back when that was expensive).

And so on. One of the ways "new" Epcot failed was that it forgot that you can both educate and entertain people. So it just stopped trying. (Except the Festivals do educate people better on the cultural/food side.)
 

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