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Has EPCOT failed?

copcarguyp71

Well-Known Member
No, EPCOT is awesome. Things change. So what. Ideas change. So what. Enjoy it for what it is. Ride the rides, walk around the showcase, smile and laugh.

I hate to be the old head here but at 29 you most likely never experienced EPCOT in its' true glory (94-97) but I could be wrong about that. There used to be Horizons (yes, I do enjoy Mission Space but Horizons was so much more about the spirit of EPCOT), Wonders of Life, Odyssey, and actual upstairs of World of Imagination that was its' own attraction. I also enjoyed the original Sea Base Alpha to a lazy Nemo overlay. I guess my biggest issue is that they are turning it into pablum instead of inspiring thought and wonder as it once did. I am not saying I do not try to enjoy it for what it is however it is very difficult to not miss what it no longer is. Point and counterpoint I guess but I just kinda had to throw my $0.02 in there.
 

dizda

Well-Known Member
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Epcot didn't fail.

Disney failed Epcot.
Disney did not invest the money to keep Epcot's pavilions relevant. Having the future as a theme is not a "set it and forget it" decision. It requires periodic (perhaps continuous) re-investment.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Disney did not invest the money to keep Epcot's pavilions relevant. Having the future as a theme is not a "set it and forget it" decision. It requires periodic (perhaps continuous) re-investment.
That is somewhat how it happened, however, it is a little more complicated then that. When they envisioned EPCOT they thought two things... One that industry would want to display their new "toys" there and therefore provide free future things to look at and keep the thought current. That, of course, is Future World. The timing was also terrible, because by the time it opened, or shortly after, technological advancement came at warp speed. There wasn't anyway anyone could have kept up. By the time they upgraded, things had changed so it was time for something new again. I honestly think that they didn't know what to do, so they did nothing for a long time. The old Energy was a godawful, commercial for Exxon. Horizon was still futuristic, but, focus had changed and those looks at the future were no longer what we were looking to do. WoM was a fun show with catchy music and funny scenes, but, it was really just a commercial for General Motors. The Seas were still relevant due to the fact that a fish is a fish, but, undersea systems were no longer considered the direction to go in. The land was nice, but, it didn't exactly increase your heart rate. It was more an old persons place to be. (Sort of like Cyprus Gardens, and we know what happened to that.) Basically all of it had started to be ignored by the public. Yes, of course, there were always people there, but the repeat-ability only existed with the die hard EPCOT fans. The lines were no more. The crowds were becoming smaller and smaller. Imagination still had a mind blowing beginning, but, the rest of the ride was pretty boring. Again the repeat-ability was less then stellar. They really didn't know what to do. If they decided to do what they are presently doing and do a little Synergy, they got the disdain of the Epcot purist. They couldn't just tear it all out. They needed to find a way to keep what was there with a new slant. Wonders of Life was a great pavilion if you didn't mind being reminded that all that stuff you are doing (except walking miles a day) was bad for you while you were on vacation. Those Turkey legs, Mickey Bars, Dole Whips were all things that WoL made you feel guilty about. Body Wars made people motion sick and the best part of Cranium Command was the pre-show unless you were a pre-teen.

In my mind, it didn't stand a chance. They have now dipped their toes in a few things. M:S replacing Horizons was not received by many as an improvement, except the younger set, those people that eventually would be deciding where to bring their own kids on vacation. (Oh, yea... and me a full fledged senior) The switch from WoM to Test Track was another shout out to youth, however, still a commercial for General Motors (later, Chevrolet division) Then along came Soarin followed by Nemo in The Seas. The massacre of Imagination was of no benefit to anyone. Then along came the Three Caballeros in Mexico and now I heard a small rumor that Frozen was in Norway. It will come fast and furious for awhile now, I think, the foot is in the door and the gap is getting wider. For those of us that really enjoyed the original EPCOT it is a bitter pill to swallow, but, I don't see where they had any choice other then to close the place up. The demand just plan was no longer there for what was.

As for World Showcase, it was designed to copy something that at the time was very popular and that was a World Fair. Countries and Cities used to bid to get a worlds fair in there cities. It brought in tourists from all over and was a very popular venue to show of the virtues of specific countries, states, provinces, etc. Very shortly after EPCOT opened the idea of a Worlds Fair went out of style. Everything you wanted to know about other countries was starting to get available on your computer, if before the internet (yes, the internet has not always existed) through video, etc. Anyway people were no longer willing to travel all over the place to just see one thing, it was passe. So many cities having to upgrade their highways, bridges, subways and more, nearly went bankrupt in the process. Some did! Even today the biggest thing to see in the Japanese pavilion is Pokemon, etc. China really is the only one that still maintains a pure sense of China and it's culture, maybe, Canada and the U.S. as well. The whole place needed help and upgrading the pavilions with the same things, just newer was not going to fix anything. It still has lasted longer then one would have expected. It needed change, it had to have change, but, many don't like the changes. That doesn't mean that the overall place will be revived by the new direction, but, it is better then ignoring it completely. And who knows, it just might bring the old girl back to life.
 
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bpadair32

Well-Known Member
Anyone else doubt that GotG is gonna bring any educational value to Ipcot?

Maybe I am the only one, I don't know, but quite frankly I don't care. I am not on vacation to be educated, I am on vacation to be entertained. I work with technology on a daily basis and learn about it constantly, I would rather have a break on my vacation.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Maybe I am the only one, I don't know, but quite frankly I don't care. I am not on vacation to be educated, I am on vacation to be entertained. I work with technology on a daily basis and learn about it constantly, I would rather have a break on my vacation.
Ah, yes... the guest anthem of the 90's. It was OK until people found out that it was Edutainment, and then it became something that people didn't want to do on vacation. :)
 

bpadair32

Well-Known Member
Ah, yes... the guest anthem of the 90's. It was OK until people found out that it was Edutainment, and then it became something that people didn't want to do on vacation. :)

I don't mind the edutainment, Epcot has always been one of my favorite parks, my point was that I don't care if the educational aspect stays or not. I am far more interested in being entertained.
 

MaryJaneP

Well-Known Member
Guess it is a good thing that Walt seemed to try to include entertainment value with a heavy dose of education value. We are hard pressed to envision an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow being dedicated to entertainment value only. Perhaps being a leader simply means parroting the "trend du jour". Not our idea of why we were drawn to either Future World or the World Showcase. We actually thought we might see something that we hadn't seen before and have out minds expanded by what we saw. GotG doesn't do this for us, but YMMV.
 

YozhikRoth

Active Member
I've covered this in earlier posts, so pardon my redundancy:
  1. I think WS is fine, for the most part it operates along its original mission statement-to bring a sanitized taste of other countries to the WDW public. I think refreshes of the films in Canada, China and France are long overdue, but I am not concerned about the lack of attractions at some pavilions.
  2. On the other hand, FW needs a ground-up redesign. This has to start with Disney deciding what the purpose of the space is, and how they are going to execute on it. The problem, which was experienced to a lesser extent in Tomorrowland, is that if your POV is the future, you're always going to be facing obsolescence. Right now, the only pavilion that really executes on it's theme is the Land, The Living Seas has been stripped down, Mission Space desperately needs a refresh, and Test Track will always be seen as a GM puff piece.
  3. Even back in the days of Communicore-I though the Innovention spaces were poorly planned spaces. I have absolutely no problems with keeping them as retail/dining/character greeting spaces.
  4. I would like to see the WOL/Energy space redeveloped into something big.
 

SteamboatJoe

Well-Known Member
Epcot is and always has been a sign of the times and a reflection of the morals, ethics, attitudes, priorities, and dreams of the company that owns it, the corporations that sponsor it, and humanity as a whole. The current condition and trajectory of Epcot is very emblematic of the fear, uncertainty, and general pessimism that has, more or less, dominated pretty much every part of the socioeconomic and political spectrum during the 21st century thus far. It is a rather sad commentary when you think about it.
 
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zengoth

Well-Known Member
Epcot's biggest challenge is that it's so unique. There is literally no other Disney Park like it. (DAK has a similar boast) Besides Soarin', I don't believe there are clones of any attractions in Future World or World Showcase anywhere else. Dealing with Epcot requires not only imagination but also a willingness to go out on a limb and not play it safe. I don't know if a conglomerate with so many properties around the globe is willing to come up with experiences that won't serve more than one property.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Disney did not invest the money to keep Epcot's pavilions relevant. Having the future as a theme is not a "set it and forget it" decision. It requires periodic (perhaps continuous) re-investment.

That was the plan until Disney realized they'd have to pay for the updates by themselves.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Epcot's biggest challenge is that it's so unique. There is literally no other Disney Park like it. (DAK has a similar boast) Besides Soarin', I don't believe there are clones of any attractions in Future World or World Showcase anywhere else. Dealing with Epcot requires not only imagination but also a willingness to go out on a limb and not play it safe. I don't know if a conglomerate with so many properties around the globe is willing to come up with experiences that won't serve more than one property.
I'd say it is a combination of willingness (not having it) and ability to (also not having it). It all very simple to think it can be done easily or even with difficulty, but, then comes the realization that perhaps it isn't possible in the 21st century. That is the problem with expecting Disney to be miracle workers. There was a time when their motto was "the difficult we do right away, the impossible takes a couple of days longer". That, of course, has now changed to "the difficult seems insurmountable and the impossible is just plain impossible". I won't go so far as to say that it is all their fault, the world and it's workings have changed an awful lot since 1982.
 

bpadair32

Well-Known Member
Guess it is a good thing that Walt seemed to try to include entertainment value with a heavy dose of education value. We are hard pressed to envision an Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow being dedicated to entertainment value only. Perhaps being a leader simply means parroting the "trend du jour". Not our idea of why we were drawn to either Future World or the World Showcase. We actually thought we might see something that we hadn't seen before and have out minds expanded by what we saw. GotG doesn't do this for us, but YMMV.

Well first of all, it has not been the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow for quite a while now, it is simply Epcot. Also, I have no problem with the educational aspects, and I would have no problem with them keeping that. However, I also have no problem with them going away from that into a more entertainment only direction. I think that either could work. I also think that in the age of the internet and computers in everyones pocket, there is not really going to be a need to go someplace to have your mind or knowledge expanded. Anything you want to know on virtually any topic is already available at your fingertips.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Well first of all, it has not been the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow for quite a while now, it is simply Epcot. Also, I have no problem with the educational aspects, and I would have no problem with them keeping that. However, I also have no problem with them going away from that into a more entertainment only direction. I think that either could work. I also think that in the age of the internet and computers in everyones pocket, there is not really going to be a need to go someplace to have your mind or knowledge expanded. Anything you want to know on virtually any topic is already available at your fingertips.
Actually, it has never been the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, at least how Walt envisioned and defined it. It was a tribute park that vaguely touched upon the heart of the dream, but, mostly just in their own minds. However, that said, you are correct. Today's communication age makes the need for EPCOT as opposed to Epcot completely unneeded and irrelevant. It was a perfect idea when it was created. Many of us got a lot of enjoyment out of it when it was in it's glory because it was so unique and innovative. Now all that is, as you say, at our finger tips and since we have that ability 24/7 there is more of a need to be entertained then educated. Like the original Model T Ford, it was a great idea in it's time that no longer is sufficient in today's world. We still use the horseless carriage, but, it isn't what it started out to be.
 

maelstrom1988

New Member
I'd say Epcot did not fail per se. Epcot has been overtaken by the pace of astronomical,, biological and technological research, discovery, and invention.

Our knowledge of the universe, the organisms on our planet, our ability to use and control various energies (through optical, copper, radio, etc) has grown so tremendously and rapidly.

There is a lack of corporate initiative to look beyond the Today, into a future as little as 20 years away. If 20 is too intimidating and unknown to them, then there is no way they have the imagination or Risk Appetite to showcase possible futures of 100 years from now.

Epcot was a showcase of ideas, of the possible futures. The company decided the public didn't want that anymore.
This is beautifully written. I searched this topic of EPCOT failing just out of curiosity on the truth in that concept because I took an EPCOT behind the countries tour and the tour guide surprisingly said “even though the dream of EPCOT failed” or “didn’t come to fruition”, or “didn’t turn out how the Disney’s initially wanted it to so many years ago”. This tour was really great, the tour guide said something like this and it caught me of guard because I was unaware of the “failed” notion but sure enough I found a presence for this notion or idea on the internet.

Vacationing to Disney World maybe 15 times at least over the last 30 plus years, EPCOT was always our favorite. The last time we went maybe five years ago we did notice dated aspects. The writer above my comment does a great job in identifying why.

From another EPCOT tour I remember being told how Kraft was an older sponsor of The Land and when that contract or relationship expired they changed the food decorations hanging from the ceiling to eliminate the Kraft food brand or referring to it in someway. Another interesting (or depressing) part of the tour was seeing the ballroom in The Living Seas and being told the real hey-day for the place was in the 80s.

EPCOT is still my favorite because of the circle of countries. I did find the Frozen ride underwhelming similar to the Avatar ride in The Animal Kingdom (line was very long for the small number of animatronics in ride). Our favorite was always Maelstrom in the older days.

There will always be a majesty and enchantment to Epcot. It’s true however that equaling the awesomeness that was future world in the 80s will not happen in today’s economy and in how theme parks have evolved or devolved to short attention spans and high or quick profit margins (exit through the gift shop rides).
 

John park hopper

Well-Known Member
Kraft was one of the original sponsors of the restaurant "Good Turn Restaurant".


The Good Turn Restaurant and Land Grille Room
An opening day EPCOT Center restaurant, the name changed on May 14, 1986 to the Land Grille Room. It went by this name until October 4, 1993 when Nestle became the new pavilion sponsor. The name changed to the Garden Grill Restaurant when it reopened on November 15, 1993.
The Good turn revolved and as it did you got to see the the Land exhibit growing food. Having first seen and eaten at the Good Turn and seeing what it evolved too in 2019 IMO the original restaurant was miles above what it is now. In the one small case EPCOT has failed.
 

LittleMerman

Active Member
If by "fail" you mean it's changing from what it originally was, then yes a little bit. Like Hollywood Studios has. But I understand the decisions behind it. Bringing IP's into Epcot creates more demand and ticket sales for that park. It's still about discovery and other cultures which is cool but the educational aspect is pretty much gone. But maybe that wasn't a big draw? I personally liked it but maybe a lot of vacationers just want to ride fun rides and what not.
 

WondersOfLife

Blink, blink. Breathe, breathe. Day in, day out.
It was fantastic for the time frame it existed in. Culture has changed since then. Disney is just bending with the times. We can complain about what "once was" all we want where we're safe to do so on our little forums surrounded by Disney fanatics/freaks that are just like us. But the general population (sadly) found it boring.

EDIT: Or, at least, they definitely would today.
 

Trackmaster

Well-Known Member
I think that this is the problem with Epcot:

People (idiots) have decided that its a good idea to give tons of money to Disney for the rights to buy upcharged merchandise, eat upcharged food, and drink upcharged booze with almost no alcohol content.

Now, its a free country and people can be as irrational as they want with their money, but I don't like it when their terrible decisions affect me. Park execs have done the research, and they've found that they can invest a lot of money, and people can enjoy rides for free with admission, or they can invest less money, and for some reason idiots will actually pay the park beyond what they already paid in admission for it. Personally, I can't compete with those people, so my interests and desires get drowned out.

People already have shopping malls and restaurants. They don't even need to leave their communities for them. Why do those things have to invade theme parks and stand in the way of rides that we can go only get there?

I guess that the main appeal to Epcot are those "festivals" now. Where you wait in line for an hour to pay $12 for a drink with a splash of booze and the rest of mixer. Or Disney has just moved the food from the the counterserve, and put it a booth on the midway and that's a "special event." So before, I was about to eat in the comfort of an indoor counterserve location in peace, but now I have to wait in long lines for it, fight with the birds trying to steal it, and put my food on a trash can while standing.

Meanwhile, Disney hasn't invested in the rides or interactive fun science stuff in years. Its trying to trot out a B ride like Frozen as its #1 ride.
 

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