Is Epcot's theme/mission changing?

RandySavage

Well-Known Member
A bit of imagery of World's Fair/Expo areas that would recreate far-flung places or lost to history... the roots of EPCOT's World Showcase.
Worlds Fair 3d.jpg

Worlds Fair 9.jpg

Worlds Fair 7.jpg

Worlds Fair 5.jpg


Some were more ambitious - a century ago - than modern theme parks in the scale & detail of the environments created (see the full & exacting replica of Angkor Wat in Paris for the Colonial Expo):
 

Heppenheimer

Well-Known Member
Maybe it's just me but would a Ferris Wheel at EPCOT be so bad?
Also, back when Disney really cared about maintaining sight lines and hiding back-stage infrastructure, the elevated views from a ferris wheel could have shattered the illusion. I don't think this concern really matters to management anymore, though.

However, now that I think about it, you could easily see the plain industrial roofs of the Magic Kingdom's show buildings (even the castle) on the old Skyway, so maybe that was never really an absolute rule.
 

Cmdr_Crimson

Well-Known Member
Also, back when Disney really cared about maintaining sight lines and hiding back-stage infrastructure, the elevated views from a ferris wheel could have shattered the illusion. I don't think this concern really matters to management anymore, though.

However, now that I think about it, you could easily see the plain industrial roofs of the Magic Kingdom's show buildings (even the castle) on the old Skyway, so maybe that was never really an absolute rule.
It worked with the ToT/Morocco skyline during the day..
D2XKWXZWwAEk-LN.jpg


Shame they could incorporate the darker lights they use on the Tower during the night for Morocco tho..Just looks unbalanced...
d79b0374bc026c6ac83b754b351d9e52--epcot-morocco.jpg
 

tl77

Well-Known Member
It's not even what it was intended to be..
d290060cc94bd87b6aa63aa345de7286.jpg


And having this statue in the park makes no sense as it isn't what Walt wanted..
EC1zrsDWwAEdCiS.jpg

If anything it should be Card Walker instead..
This statue SHOULD NOT be built at Epcot, and the name "Dreamer Point" is extremely disingenuous... Walt was dreaming of his Progress City while lying in his death bed, he wasn't dreaming about roller-coasters based on comic book characters and ways to monetize Disney IP... I understand why they didn't go ahead with "Progress City" Epcot, and why the "Permanent World Fair" version 1 of EPCOT Center wasn't sustainable, but what's there now is in no way connected to Walt Disney or anything he "dreamed of"
 

tl77

Well-Known Member
We all know Epcot is in a state of overhaul (with a few parts still up in the air (such as the Spaceship Earth overhaul and the Play pavilion)), but as it changes physically, does this mean that its mission/theme is changing overall? All I know is, I seriously doubt that the Epcot we all know and love from1982 is ever coming back.
The Epcot from 1982 died in the mid 90's when most of the corporate sponsors declined to renew their 15 year contracts, only GM/Chevrolet has been there from the beginning... but EPCOT '82 was supposed to be a "Permanent World's Fair" and a "World's Fair" was basically what today is called a "Trade Show". It's just a place for companies to showcase their latest products/technologies, and only GM/Chevrolet is still on board with that in the "post show" area of Test Track. The rest of Epcot is becoming a place to "Monetize Disney IP" ...so as long as that bald bean counter is in charge? NO! The Epcot of 1982, or anything even vaguely "idealistic" will be coming back to that park, and they ditched the name "Future World" because "Now is the Time! Now is the Best Time! Now is the Best Time to sell Disney Merch!"
 

KaliSplash

Well-Known Member
Most of that 'original Epcot' has been gone since the early 90s. I get that it's cool to rant about the current leadership team but the transformation of Epcot began under Eisner. And the reason it is gone is that guests told Disney they were not interested in that version of Epcot by not visiting and responding to guest surveys that it was 'boring' and there was nothing for their kids to do. Guests expected rides, not 'edutainment', and Epcot did not deliver that. In fact from 1987 to 1994, annual attendance at Epcot dropped by over 30%- the guests were telling Disney they didn't like what they were selling.

I get that there are a small number of die-hard fans (a far smaller number than those fans are willing to admit) of the original themes of Epcot but the mass public didn't care at all and as a result, didn't spin the turnstiles. So Disney had to make some changes to things which brought us things like Test Track followed by the closure of Horizons to be replaced with Mission:Space. And continuing forward it brought us Soarin' and Frozen in Norway. Disney listened to their guests and adapted the park to changing demographics and demands.

I get that some like it to be a museum but that museum would not fund itself and would have otherwise closed.
Excellent analysis. This is exactly what happened. Remember, Walt wanted Epcot to be a community of the future where people worked and lived in harmony, not a theme park at all.
 

Djsfantasi

Well-Known Member
EPCOT should be judged on what it is and might be, rather than what it was thought of in the past.

City of the Future, Edutainment and permanent World’s Fair/Expo are concepts of the past. Sorry, but it’s so and we should stop judging EPCOT on these outdated concepts. Give it up! That train has passed.

What is EPCOT? It’s an entertaining experience based on four visions. World Showcase being the most expansive, presenting entertainment with an international flavor. Not a showcase of the country anymore than the country’s contribution to entertainment. Not a projection of 70s technology. As Bill Belichik says, “It is what it is!”

What do you say about HS? It has matured from an operating studio to entertainment based on Hollywood. I don’t hear as many complaints about the problem with HS concept. Do you?

I’ve been to WDW since the year after it opened. While I enjoy the memories of the past, I can also enjoy the maturation of the concept. I say how many people expect their three year old grandchild not to change? How many do enjoy their grandchildren’s journey?
 

BlakeW39

Well-Known Member
Original EPCOT fans: what would you have Disney do? I'm sorry but this wasn't the case of Disney building the perfect theme park and poor management tearing it apart to its own detriment. This was a case of Disney building a park with x y characteristics, to find out guests didn't like x y characteristics, and Disney responding in kind by changing it drastically. I agree they did so poorly but what would you have them do instead.

In my opinion, an example of "edutainment" done right is Disney's Animal Kingdom. It has a way more nuanced approach, based on story telling and immersion; EPCOT feels really heavy handed by comparison. DAK feels like it weaves its ideas into the park naturally, EPCOT feels like its hitting you over the head with them, maybe that's too harsh, but it feels a lot more direct. There are ways it could have been done, in my opinion, to where it could have remained more in tact.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
Original EPCOT fans: what would you have Disney do? I'm sorry but this wasn't the case of Disney building the perfect theme park and poor management tearing it apart to its own detriment. This was a case of Disney building a park with x y characteristics, to find out guests didn't like x y characteristics, and Disney responding in kind by changing it drastically. I agree they did so poorly but what would you have them do instead.

In my opinion, an example of "edutainment" done right is Disney's Animal Kingdom. It has a way more nuanced approach, based on story telling and immersion; EPCOT feels really heavy handed by comparison. DAK feels like it weaves its ideas into the park naturally, EPCOT feels like its hitting you over the head with them, maybe that's too harsh, but it feels a lot more direct. There are ways it could have been done, in my opinion, to where it could have remained more in tact.

That's not really accurate -- EPCOT was very successful for the first decade or so of its existence.

The issue was that the park stagnated because they didn't spend money to keep it updated. Requiring somewhat regular updates is arguably a flaw of the park's design (I personally wouldn't consider it one), but the original incarnation drew consistent crowds.

The "perfect theme park" is also relative. Original EPCOT was the closest thing to a perfect theme park that's ever been built for my interests. It wasn't actually perfect, but even though a lot of it would be incredibly outdated now, I'd still have more fun at early 1990s EPCOT than any current WDW park. The attractions there were simply more entertaining than most of what currently exists at WDW. DAK is excellent, though.
 
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HauntedPirate

Park nostalgist
Premium Member
For the love of God…. NO ONE WANTED DISNEY TO KEEP EPCOT CENTER THE SAME FOR 40 YEARS. I’m so sick of that “argument” from people trying to validate their love of this crap fest.

Lack of vision, lack of leadership, and lack of updates (stemming from the first two) have brought us to the mess Epcot is today.

Epcot is no longer inspirational or aspirational. It’s simply a place for management to insert movie IP. End of discussion.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
For the love of God…. NO ONE WANTED DISNEY TO KEEP EPCOT CENTER THE SAME FOR 40 YEARS. I’m so sick of that “argument” from people trying to validate their love of this crap fest.

Lack of vision, lack of leadership, and lack of updates (stemming from the first two) have brought us to the mess Epcot is today.

Epcot is no longer inspirational or aspirational. It’s simply a place for management to insert movie IP. End of discussion.
I have often thought of it as DHS 2.0.
 

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