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sshindel's Epcot Manifesto

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
Or like I have said in other forums... Convert the CoL theater into a new AA theater. Considering that it's already completely a theatre and that there's enough space to do this. :)
Since's I'm a MASSIVE fan of AA attractions, and AA shows specifically, this idea is what I would love. Sometimes I feel I'm one of the few who really love a good AA show though, so I worry that I'd be suggesting adding an attraction that would be sparsely attended.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
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Just a quick note
I wanted to point out that this sucker right here I've cut and pasted about 4 pages of my original thread. That means that this is one massively long first page. Longer even than the one that I thought was insanely long when I posted the 1st page in my other thread. I realize that there will be very few that will read any of this. I feel that if I can get this all out, out in the open, I can stop ranting about Epcot in various forums. My opinions on the park will be well documented. I don't have to clog up other threads rehashing my opinion.
Really, I'm just looking out for all you guys... Not feeding my massive ego. I swear... :cautious:;)
 

WondersOfLife

Blink, blink. Breathe, breathe. Day in, day out.
Since's I'm a MASSIVE fan of AA attractions, and AA shows specifically, this idea is what I would love. Sometimes I feel I'm one of the few who really love a good AA show though, so I worry that I'd be suggesting adding an attraction that would be sparsely attended.
I'll join you in that list of few.

The Land pavilion technically needs an attraction that is very good and sparsely attended.. Because the popularity of both the food court and the massive amount of people heading to Soarin really crowd the pavilion up. This is the only reason why I think the CoL film still exists.. But a AA musical show would be more impressive, even if it's just for that sparsely attended group of people.

I personally loved Food Rocks. I believe that AA musical shows work the best as parody shows in this day in age. This would be why the Country Bears and Enchanted Tiki Room are looked on as just kinda "meh" by the average theme park guest. But since they have a very important piece of history tied into them Disney-wise, the fans love them, therefore they're still here.

When I say parody-style show.. I'm referring to the concept of Food Rocks or Country Bear Christmas special/Vacation Hoedown. Because this adds a huge comedic affect depending on how well its written. My dad was really into the type of music used in Food Rocks so even though I was so young, I remember every piece of it because we would see it multiple times in one trip. Food Rocks did have one flaw though.. And that would be the laziness put into the animatronics. Like.. Why put all that time into a great humorous script and then waste all that effort with cardboard cut out AAs??

Sorry I'm going on and on here. Kitchen Kabaret was amazing for its time as well. Back on topic though.. The Land needs this type of show. The pavilion holds 3 attractions, one popular, the other semi-popular, and that's all it needs to hold up. A magnificent quality AA show would be even more impressive to that small group of people rather than a film in my opinion.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
I'll join you in that list of few.

The Land pavilion technically needs an attraction that is very good and sparsely attended.. Because the popularity of both the food court and the massive amount of people heading to Soarin really crowd the pavilion up. This is the only reason why I think the CoL film still exists.. But a AA musical show would be more impressive, even if it's just for that sparsely attended group of people.

I personally loved Food Rocks. I believe that AA musical shows work the best as parody shows in this day in age. This would be why the Country Bears and Enchanted Tiki Room are looked on as just kinda "meh" by the average theme park guest. But since they have a very important piece of history tied into them Disney-wise, the fans love them, therefore they're still here.

When I say parody-style show.. I'm referring to the concept of Food Rocks or Country Bear Christmas special/Vacation Hoedown. Because this adds a huge comedic affect depending on how well its written. My dad was really into the type of music used in Food Rocks so even though I was so young, I remember every piece of it because we would see it multiple times in one trip. Food Rocks did have one flaw though.. And that would be the laziness put into the animatronics. Like.. Why put all that time into a great humorous script and then waste all that effort with cardboard cut out AAs??

Sorry I'm going on and on here. Kitchen Kabaret was amazing for its time as well. Back on topic though.. The Land needs this type of show. The pavilion holds 3 attractions, one popular, the other semi-popular, and that's all it needs to hold up. A magnificent quality AA show would be even more impressive to that small group of people rather than a film in my opinion.
I'd truly love it, and maybe it's the right solution. When I get more into the imagineering part of this sucker, you'll see I kind of punt on things here, because the "right" idea hasn't hit me yet.
Maybe a Wall-E AA stage show would work, and work well with the theme of the pavilion. They could do some great work with some of the robots from that movie, maybe as they learn to re-plant the earth.
This thread soon starts to move in a heavy imagineering direction. Less talking about what was, more talking about one possible version of what could be.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
I'll admit. On my way in this morning, I really thought the first thing I was going to talk about is World Of Motion and Test Track. Then, when looking for a podcast to listen to after I finished this week's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, I popped on Star Talk Radio and found myself listening to Neil Degrasse Tyson talking to Elon Musk and I realized I'm not 100% ready to talk about transportation and what should be represented at Epcot.

When I got to work, I opened up D-cot and started listening to the various versions of Spaceship Earth that they have. Am I missing where they have the Judy Dench version on there? I didn't see it. I was hoping to do a decent side-by-side comparison.
Editor's note: @Bob pointed out to me it is on D-cot, marked "Epcot - Future World - Spaceship Earth 2007"

Spaceship Earth is still a great Epcot attraction, even if it's only 60/70% of what it once was. The intent, the skeleton is still there. The idea of looking back at the history of communications is a great one. You can see how far we've come. I've got one suggestion about this that I'd like to try and remember to make in a little while. Note to self. Remember to talk about the thing. Ok. I'll remember.

Most people agree that the Jeremy Irons version was the best version of SSE. I think if I try and remove nostalgia from the equation, I agree. I still associate SSE with Cronkite, and still almost expect his voice to come booming out of the speaker of the omnimover cars as soon as we start ascending. What you had with Cronkite was only America's most trusted communicator. You trusted Cronkite almost implicitly. I think I was too young, or I went too often in the Cronkite years, to remember the Vic Perrin version, so it is really hard to compare that version. It was only around for 4 years before it was replaced by Cronkite.

I do think that the Irons version had a few things going for it. First, it had a score integrated into the narration, and it was a great score. It added to the mood of wonder that the attraction really creates. I think that the script was a little better as well, and the score and script both really built to the climax the scene at the top of the sphere where we are viewing Earth from space. That scene really felt like an amazing scene, pointing out the fact that on Earth, we're all really one "people".

An aside. Listening to some astronauts speak, the one thing almost all of them have in common is that they say when they go out into outer space, it really changes their perspective. The thing they all point to is looking down on the Earth and having that realization that states/countries/nationalities doesn't really matter. We're all one, all together, all living on this pale blue dot together. You know what? This is my manifesto. I can do what I want. I'm putting Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot speech in here. I'll put it in a quote block so you can minimize it if you want, but it's gorram relevant topic at hand.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That still gives me chills. It's also to some degrees what that crowning scene in SSE is meant to convey, and IMO, the Irons version did this the best.

I want to get to a whole post later about music, but I also want to note here that Tomorrow's Child, while likely outdated, really added to not just the message of this pavilion, but also set the stage for all of Future World. SSE was the first attraction that most people did when entering the park. Long before FP+, before sprinting to get a FP for Soarin', before people just wanted to get to WS faster to get their drunk on, SSE was stop 1 for most guests. You'd see it's line swell in the morning, and get shorter as the day progressed. With this fact meant that for a large portion of guests, their first impression of the park was built upon a global message, and a song about children building the future. IMO, this was important.

That leads to what everyone knows is the problem today with the attraction. The unfinished descent with the terrible touchscreen technology. Again, my manifesto, my opinion, but nothing lessens the impact of the pavilion more than a cheesy touchscreen video that can be done on a child's tablet these days, telling you about some repetitive and vague future. It sends you on your way with a silly and poorly done message. It destroys so much of what the rest of the attraction builds.

What should be done with SSE? Thankfully, here's one place where I'm likely not going to spend a bunch of Disney's dollars.

The attraction needs a new score, a new script, a new narrator, and a new ending.
I've mentioned this before, but I think that Ann Druyan is the person who should write the script for the next iteration of Spaceship Earth. If NDT is not too busy with his work on the space pavilion, he'd make a fine narrator. There are thankfully other people who could fill this role well if we want NDT to give all his focus to Space. I've thrown out Morgan Freeman before because I think that he's got that "trusted" voice that would work. Sir Patrick Stewart would be another great narrator (plus, a fun little nod-and-wink with the spaceship thing).
The score just needs to help present and build the material. It needs to build towards the climax and hit it's high-point when the ride vehicle hits that pale blue dot in the top.

For the descent, that is tricky. I mean, we went from the old lights and silhouettes of children running around to some additional scenes, and now, shoddy Jib Jab work. I am again, not an imagineer, so while I can brainstorm an idea, there are likely 100 that are better.

The one idea that I was reminding myself earlier to talk about was that I think it would be an interesting companion piece to what we saw above by pointing out the timeline covered by the attraction, to demonstrate how fast the changes have sped up in the past century. Show that long build between previous advancements taking centuries/millennia and today things changing on a dime.

Now, the potential issue here is the nature of what I just described. The previous update was done in 2008. Think of where we are just 7 years later. I think that this though means that we do need some sort of screen-based solution, and we need a commitment to update the content on the screens as soon as things change.

I was thinking potentially of a long, continuous screen that went the entire descent, like a long ribbon. This could be used to display a timeline, but a visual one. Show the distance between advancements, with action (cartoon/CGI? photos and video clips when applicable?) showing each advancement. As you reached the end, the sense of speed of advancement should really show (maybe even using the screen to trick the mind to think you are descending faster). Show these things to show how fast our global community is transforming it's methods of communications. This should be done to some new piece of score, or preferably, a new song (or updated version of Tomorrow's Child).

But, as I said, that is just one potential idea. Whatever it is, it needs to be finished, and it needs to not detract from the attraction itself. So, call up Ann and get her writing. Get some musicians on hand to start the scoring of the attraction, and start bidding on the best way to make it look like one long, continuous screen, or something else. This update is likely one of my only cost-conscious updates in my manifesto!

Editor's note: I come up with a better idea for the descent later, and it was right here, staring at me in the face. Ohhh... a teaser!
Sagan's Pale Blue Dot in SSE...That just moved into my top ten list of things I want to see happen in my lifetime. I want that even more than a jet pack.
 

WondersOfLife

Blink, blink. Breathe, breathe. Day in, day out.
I'd truly love it, and maybe it's the right solution. When I get more into the imagineering part of this sucker, you'll see I kind of punt on things here, because the "right" idea hasn't hit me yet.
Maybe a Wall-E AA stage show would work, and work well with the theme of the pavilion. They could do some great work with some of the robots from that movie, maybe as they learn to re-plant the earth.
This thread soon starts to move in a heavy imagineering direction. Less talking about what was, more talking about one possible version of what could be.
Have you ever seen any of the threads on here discussing the use of Inside Out in the Cranium Command theatre?
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
Sagan's Pale Blue Dot in SSE...That just moved into my top ten list of things I want to see happen in my lifetime. I want that even more than a jet pack.
Funny you mention that. I was just going to get to the part where I cut/paste a little more on that from the thread. Spoiler Alert... It ends up as my idea to fix SSE, and do it without requiring a massive overhaul.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
Editor's note: The following is three quick posts I had made within a short amount of time as I brainstormed, consolidated here for ease of reading.

I need to figure out how long the descent to SSE actually is. I'm now semi-convinced that playing Sagan's Pale Blue Dot speech would be the perfect thing for the entire descent.


It's looking like 5-6 minutes, based on the 2007 audio and the length of Tomorrow's Child.

So, what we do is we set up the clip a little. As we start the descent, we take on the role of Voyager.
Starting when we turn around, we're faced with the Earth.


We then progress backwards, getting farther away from Earth as we do. We pass the moon, we pass Mars, the asteroid belt, Jupiter, etc...

If we can have one consistent view of the Earth as we go backwards, that would be best. Maybe we still need my constant video screen. This takes 2-3 minutes. Music soundtrack, some of the narration script continues to set up the shot.

When we reach Saturn, we pass through the rings and freeze frame on the classic Pale Blue Dot picture, or if we wanted for effect, the one that Cassini took:


Then we queue Sagan's speech.

Plus, telling Ann Druyan that we're going to use Carl's speech would be a great way to get her on board to write the script.

Ohhh.... Maybe we can incorporate her work on Voyager's golden record in the 2-3 minute intro. Sounds from the golden record playing while the script describes it's purpose, to try and communicate with any intelligent life that might encounter Voyager. Communications outside of our Spaceship Earth!
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
I've got a bit of an admission. I've been busy the last few days with actual work, dusting off my "learn a new language and write a program" skills that it's been a while since I've used.

But that is only 1/2 of why I have not continued on my manifesto.

I'm also having a rough time on "what's next" and "how do I really feel about what's left?"

The things I haven't really covered would be Test Track/WoM, WoL, and some odds and ends before I start outlining one plan that could never happen because of budget.

I'm not really sure how I feel about the last few pavilions. I guess I'll have to just start writing and see what happens.

Let's cover the transportation pavilion first.

It's a hard one to tackle. Each iteration has had strengths and weaknesses. They have both served different messages to the public. The current version of TT can be fun, has some interesting pieces to it, and somehow still feels like it is missing something.

World of Motion was another great long dark ride. It's one that doesn't come up as often when people pine for EPCOT of old the same way that Horizons or Imagination do. I'm not sure if it was because less people held it dear, it's humor tone did not leave the same imprint, people like Test Track better, or some combination of the above.

I think what sets it apart from the other original dark rides was the sense of humor that the attraction used throughout the entire ride. The attraction was a spiritual kin to the old Goofy "The Art Of..." Series from the 40s, and Gary Ownes (of Laugh In fame, just passed away) really was a fantastic narrator. Almost every scene had Gary Owens saying a serious point about the history of transportation and the scene would have some sort of humorous outcome.





The theme song "It's Fun to be Free" was top notch. Again, I think I want to talk music later, so I'll leave that for now.

I think that what WoM brought two aspects that are missing today.
1) a focus on all transportation, not just cars
2) it's sense of humor amidst all the super serious pavilions in FW

My biggest issue with Test Track's theme is its narrow focus on cars, which is understandable given its sponsor. I do think though that the world of the future needs to rely less on cars, or traditional cars at least. A future world pavilion that basically says "come, look at a dumbed down version of what we do today while designing cars" just doesn't work for me like it should, as fun as it is to build an absolutely ridiculous car.

All that said, I can't blame GM or Disney for looking to go another direction. Epcot's long dark-ride-a-palooza just wasn't what the 90s corporate sponsor was looking for.

Test Track is a fun ride. The new build a car is fun. The fast part outside is oddly fun, seeing as how it's basically driving under the speed limit. It's all ok. I think that the integration of your "designed" car into the ride itself is poorly done. I know what it's supposed to do and most of the time can't really see how I did. The people I've been with who didn't know about it had no clue whatsoever what was going on.

So it's a mixed bag. WoM was great, but I understand why it's gone.

Test Track is not quite great, but I know why it's not going anywhere.

While I'd prefer a switch either to a general transportation theme, or a partnership with a company focused on future auto technology (Tesla, Google Self Driving Cars, etc) I just don't see it happening.

So when I get around to building out my plan for the future, I don't expect to change much here. I just hope to find a way to bring this ride up to its potential.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Funny you mention that. I was just going to get to the part where I cut/paste a little more on that from the thread. Spoiler Alert... It ends up as my idea to fix SSE, and do it without requiring a massive overhaul.
You are quite correct that SSE does not need a major over haul. 90% of what needs to be done can be done in a audio studio. The last 10% is simply finishing the decent.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
Well @WondersOfLife, time for me to tackle Wonders of Life

Looks like I have some free time to tackle the last Future World pavilion left on my list.

I've been putting this one off for another good reason. I don't have a huge connection to it. The pavilion opened October 1989. I graduated high school in 1994 and then, during college, only went to WDW maybe once. So, between June of 1994 (senior trip, I took some park hopper tickets with me so we could hop from MK to Epcot) and 2000, I think I went 1 time, and then I was a broke post-college student and only went a couple times in the early 2000s.

That means that I really only got the 4 years from 90-94 and then maybe 1 or 2 visits in the 00's before the pavilion was shuttered. I probably got to visit the pavilion 5 or 6 times in total. Enough that I remember it, not enough for me to form an emotional connection with it on the same level as some of the other pavilions.

Wonders of Life was a fantastic looking pavilion on the outside. The huge golden dome, the double-helix DNA structure outside, and the big light, open feel of the inside. This was a pavilion that, like The Land, wasn't basically an attraction and a post-show. The pavilion itself contained different things to do alongside the Body Wars ride and the films. Stations around where you could ride a stationary bike while a video monitor in front of you made you look like you were peddling through some other place. Sports areas, areas about the 5 senses, optical illusions, lots of little stations. It kind of felt like Innoventions with a couple larger attractions.






Body Wars was, IMO, poorly done. It feels like it should have worked. The concept was tight, basically an update of Fantastic Voyage. The technology was there, as Star Tours tech was used. It's just something about the ride itself was off-putting. I felt like it was rough. I vividly remember the feeling as the "blood pumped you through the veins", rocking back and forth, back and forth. Ugh. It was a letdown once this finally opened and you realized it kinda sucked.

I really can't remember if I ever watched The Making of Me. I think by the time that this pavilion opened, I was already aware of how babies were made and spent my time not wanting to watch educational films about sex, rather trying to, ummm, yeah...:cautious:

The real great attraction in WoL was Cranium Command. I think that I had skipped it the first time or two, only to hear from my folks what I was missing. It really was a great show, inventive, well made, well voiced. The idea of being inside a child's brain was pretty out there for the time, and seems to have made a big impression on some young kids who went on to work at Pixar. The fact that it looks like we're going to get a phenomenal film this year in Inside Out that could be integrated seemlessly into Cranium Command, yet this pavilion is effectively gone, is sad to me. Once again, I've never been one about deriding any and all character integration into Epcot. I'm against poorly done character integration! Done with care, Inside Out and Cranium Command would be a no-brainer of an update to freshen up the attraction.

It's sad to me that this pavilion sits in Future World as a defacto festival headquarters. A place to watch a cooking demonstration, or buy a Food and Wine bottle opener.

This was a pavilion dedicated to health and fitness! We are a country in the throws of an obesity epidemic! Long dead diseases are making a return based on nothing more than (well meaning) ignorance! We've sequenced the human genome! We're using 3D printing technology in medical techniques that would have been something we wouldn't believe if they would have shown it in Horizons! A pill can give grandpa a ... ok, I'll stop now.

Point is that medical technology, health, fitness are as important now as ever, and inspiring the future generations to go into medical related fields, or to live healthier lives seems like a topic of outrageous importance. This is a topic that is in dire need to be represented in Epcot.

So, while I do love my idea earlier of making WoL a massive Space pavilion post-show, it's not the one I really feel needs to be in Epcot. We need Mission:Space to be a better attraction so that we can use this pavilion for a reinvented WoL.

This pavilion should be pretty easy to bring back as well. Cranium Command gets an Inside Out update. We replace some of the Innoventions style exhibits with new ones, ones focused on showing the kinds of interesting things that everyone needs to be focusing on. Make a film in the Making of Me theater that is often updated, and contains information about cancer. What it is, what it does, what we know about it. Update it annually. Parnter with the US Dept of Health if you have to and get some US Gubmint Money. Have a section explaining what vaccines are, how they work, and why they are so important.

That just leaves us with the main attraction. How do we update that so that it's a worthy draw?

I still think that a Body Wars style attraction could be successful. They just need to really look at what worked and what didn't. The simulator tech should be brought up to date. Throw away the old Star Tours 1.0 tech and get latest-and-greatest stuff here. Update the film, learn from Star Tours 2.0 and make it randomizable. Sometimes you are going in to trace down a new retrovirus, some times you are going in for precision surgery on a tumor, have different diversions, different areas of the body you visit. Don't make it as rough and prone to motion-sickness as possible.

I think that this could still be a solid pavilion today if done correctly, and I think it is something that Epcot needs to have. Update WoL to 21st century, be forward thinking in how bits and pieces can be easily swapped out and upgraded if new information or techniques come into use.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
I've been mentioning this from time to time throughout this manifesto that I wanted to talk about the music in a later post. Well, now that I have time to do that, I don't know if it really is an entire post. At least not one on the same level as some of my other over-long missives.
Editor's Note: Guess what, it ended up being over-long. Shocked I know.

The point I wanted to make is that music was once very important to Epcot/Future World. Marty Sklar talked about it in his seminar and his book, but he made it a point to have unique theme music built for each and every pavilion. He thought it was something that Disney had gotten away from doing for it's attractions, and that it would be an important part of Epcot as a park.

Music is one of the keys to making something leave an emotional connection. It happens throughout all kinds of entertainment. A movie with a terrible score will not work. Would Splash Mountain be anywhere near as good of an attraction without the music? What about PoTC? Pirates without "Yo Ho?" It's not even remotely the same attraction.

Original music was all over original Epcot.
Tomorrow's Child
Listen to the Land
One Little Spark
It's Fun to be Free
Universe of Energy / Energy, you make the world go round
New Horizons


Heck, even people who were not a huge fan of my beloved Kitchen Kabaret will smile and say "Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit" if you mention the show.

Those are some classic pieces. And not only were they catchy, each one really drove home the message of the pavilion. You were activating multiple parts of your brain on these attractions, and adding the layer of music enhanced them drastically. The lyrics really told the stories that the attractions wanted to tell. I could sit here and pull quotes from each song/attraction, but maybe I shouldn't. Well, this is a manifesto isn't it? Always err on the side of too much information.

Tomorrow's Child
Children: Tomorrow's child
Female: Searching through time
Longing to find
Answers to guide us
And dreams to unite us
Reaching for hope and desire
Building a world to inspire

Tomorrow's child
Tomorrow's child
Charting a brand new way!
For the Future World is
All: Born today!

Listen to the Land
The seasons come, and the seasons go,
nature knows everything that it must know.
The earth and man, can be good friends,
let's listen so our harvest time will never end.

Let's listen to the land we all love,
nature's plan will shine above,
listen to the land, listen to the land.

One Little Spark
We all have sparks, imaginations.
That's how our minds, create creations.
For they can make, our wildest dreams come true.
Those magic sparks, in me and you.

Imagination, imagination.
A dream, can be a dream come true.
With just that spark, in me and you.

It's Fun to be Free
It's fun to be free
To be on the move
You go where you please
With comfort and ease to
See all there is to be seen
It's fun to be free


Energy, You make the World Go Round
Listen and you'll hear the heartbeat,
of a universe teeming with force.
See all the forms and the faces,
of nature taking its course.

...

Energy, there is no living without you,
we must keep learning about you.
Now is the time to find how to.

Energy, you are profound,
you make the world go 'round and 'round.
You make the world go 'round.
You make the world go 'round.
You make the world go 'round.

New Horizons
All: And it will be
A future built with care
For you and me
A world we all can share

Male & Female: For today holds the challenge
To make this world a better place to be
All: New Horizons for you and for me

Children: If we can dream it, then we can do it....


Now, I know that today's Epcot still has some music. Everyone loves the score for Soarin' (I think my brain is shut off anytime I'm on the ride, because I couldn't hum you 3 bars of it, but to each their own). They have that Blue World song they swiped from the Nemo stage show. Even Mission Space has music, or so I find when I google.

The thing is almost none of this music is really memorable. The most effective one is just score. I feel that this really impacts the park as a whole.

I know that some of the music was likely something that could be considered outdated. I don't feel that means you throw it away. Just update it! Bring it back, updated for today! Craft new theme music for the new attractions that will help make that emotional connection.

It's something really missing today.

Just think about watching American Adventure. Think about Golden Dreams. If you hear that music, does it get a little dusty? That's the emotional connection right there. We need more of it.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
One last rant for the day (I think).

Festivals

Let's talk about the love/hate relationship I have with Epcot and it's festivals.

First off, I think that the festivals that they have are well done. They are fun, they give people a chance to see/taste/hear things that most people wouldn't normally get to do.

I've not been to Flower and Garden, but my folks go every year for a couple days. They make the trip down to Florida every year around to spend 2-3 days at Disney, usually catch some sort of concert of the remaining living members of some 50's band, spend a day at MK or something, and then go on to do other things. They bring back copious pictures and it looks lovely.

Food and Wine I've been to a few times. I've done the 1/2 marathon, I've been now with and without kids. I've never done a seminar, paid extra for an event, or gotten bombed out of my mind at F&W. I did get a little tipsy on the PML trip though, just ask @Tiggerish about me ranting on about The Clash. What, me rant? NO!

So, I enjoy the festivals for what they are. Some decent food, decent drinks, a nice day walking around WS, and a festive atmosphere.

I don't however like how much they've taken over Epcot. I think last I saw Epcot had festivals going for over 120 days out of the year. Is it really special when 1/3 of the year (or more if you count the holiday stuff like Candlelight Processional and the Holidays around the World stuff) is a "special event"?

I feel like the festivals have helped hide the issues at Epcot for far too long. I think that the park management can look at the end of the year spreadsheet and show good guest spending numbers and decide that nothing else needs to happen to the park, or that the park can get by with minor changes, like Frozen-Maelstrom. I think that I'd love to get my hands on the daily attendance numbers throughout the year, and watch the peaks and valleys brought on by the festivals. I'd love to see the plots being shown of guest movement patterns from the MagicBands, showing people spending very small amounts of time in Future World to hit the couple rides, then spending all day traipsing around WS.

The festivals have been bandaids for the park. They have allowed the attendance numbers to not drop negative, though Epcot last year was the only non-SeaWorld Orlando park with under 2% attendance growth.

I may be wrong but I blame a lot of this on the reliance on festivals to pump up their numbers in order to hide issues. They are like the idea behind the (false IMO) complaint saying Disney was converting rack rooms to DVC in order to hide low occupancy rates.

I also am now old, and seeing groups of women (likely my age or older) wearing tutus and T-shirts proclaiming on how wasted they are going to get "Look like a Beauty, drink like a Beast" is kind of antithetical to what World Showcase was once about.

I know people have talked about adding a Tech festival. Let me say that I'm against it. Not because I'm against Tech. No. I'm against another festival, bumping festival days up over 1/2 of the year. I'm against Future World becoming stomping grounds for a festival, once again ignoring real issues, to put up booths to showcase your latest RunDisney lightup FitBit.

I'd like to see the Food and Wine festival integrated into the pavilions a little more. I spent a great deal of time in World Showcase on the PML trip, and I think we only spent maybe 20 (non American Adventure) minutes actually in any pavilions, total! The rest of the time was wandering around the rim going from booth to booth.

Mainly, I don't want the festivals to continue to take focus away from fixing the actual issues with the park.
 

George

Liker of Things
Premium Member
Ok, Lets start with the biggie. I've ranted and railed about Epcot of today not holding up to the original mission of EPCOT Center. I've had questions about what I mean about it.

Stating the obvious, the EPCOT Center that opened in '82 is not what Walt had announced back in '67 (I think that was the year). His idea was an actual community, but one where both people and industry lived and worked together. Companies side by side, working on solving the problems of the future. City planning, transportation, medicine, etc. He wanted to build a utopia, something like a community living together on one of those crazy Google campuses out in Silicon Valley, but with more emphasis on urban planning and whatnot.

Here's a good Walt quote that speaks to his vision that I pulled off my book "Walt Disney's EPCOT Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow"

EPCOT will be an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow that will take it's cue from the new ideas and new technologies that are now emerging from the creative centers of American industry. It will be a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing and testing and demonstrating new materials and systems. And Epcot will be a showcase to the world for the ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise
--Walt Disney​

Now, that was not what the company decided to move forward with in '75 after Walt's death when they decided to revive the plans for EPCOT Center. Gone was the actual community, but they wanted to keep as much of the spirit of industry involved as possible.

I'm no EPCOT historian, really. What I can reference really that speak to what they were trying to achieve I think I can pull from 2 places.

First quote comes from the dedication of EPCOT by E. Card Walker:
To all who come to this Place of Joy, Hope and Friendship
WELCOME

Epcot is inspired by Walt Disney's creative vision. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, wonders of enterprise and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all.

May EPCOT Center entertain, inform and inspire and, above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere.

E. Cardon Walker
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Walt Disney Productions
October 24, 1982

The other quote I fall back upon is one of my favorites. It's from that Walt Disney's EPCOT book I quoted from Walt earlier. It was put out by Disney at the same time Epcot was opened as a kind of publicity book, and it's filled with construction pictures, concept art, and it was put out before a few of the major pavilions were even completed. Horizons is spoken of in the future tense. There is a whole section devoted to the soon to be built "Africa" pavilion in the World Showcase. Anyway, the quote:

While entertainment will continue to be a highly visible attraction at Epcot Center, it is the underlying educational value of Future World that is it's most important contribution. Exciting, amusing, and fascinating as each pavilion is in itself, it is but an element of a project that may well be viewed as a springboard to our discovery of new worlds​

All lofty speak, I know.

The thing is, I didn't know any of this growing up. Heck, it wasn't until I found these here WDWMagic forums that I really looked into any of the above. But I knew all of these things. Not by ever reading the books or memorizing the quotes, but that is how Epcot felt. It dripped out of every pour of the park. It was apparent from the entrance to the exit. The whole park seemed to work together in concert that screamed that this was no ordinary theme park, it had a purpose. It felt (to me at least) that this was important, and that the future was going to be built by those of us where were visiting. I have no question that Epcot was a major player in my interest in the sciences, and was likely what drove me towards computer science as a major in college.

The topics it covered: The oceans, the earth, energy, transportation, communications, (later) the body. They all seemed like they were the pillars that were important to the future. There were two other pavilions though, and they always felt like they were the most important ones. Horizons, which was the future, and Imagination, which I felt was the linchpin. I know that at one point I went through the scripts of each original pavilion and noted multiple references to "dream" and "future" throughout them all. Both of those pavilions were among the favorite of most Epcot fanbois, and it was because they were truly something special.

Most of the old pavilions fell into a similar format. Through knowledge gained by understanding the history of a technology, and through the dreams we have for the future, we can work together to accomplish anything.

This brings me to something I wrote a while ago that I wanted to add in here and maybe expand upon:

EPCOT Center's Future World was not about "Here's the future, come look at it". Not really. Sure, there were attractions that presented the future (RIP Horizons), but Future World was about inspiring people to help build the future.

Yes, by the mid-90s much of Future World was outdated, and it's hard to remain on the bleeding edge of technology that is moving at such a rapid pace. But that was never the point! Update/remove/replace, it doesn't matter, but what Disney has done is remove what made the original place so special to people, and that is the feeling that we're all in this together, and that it's part of our mission, every one of us, to build the future. It wasn't "Hey, look at what the smart people at <insert corporation> are doing to build the future for you."

"If we can dream it, we can do it."

"Tomorrow's Child -- charting a brand new new way, for the future world is born today."

"For we welcome you now to take the first steps into that future. We welcome you to The Living Seas. We welcome you to Sea Base Alpha."

"We all have sparks, imaginations.
That's how our minds, create creations.
For they can make, our wildest dreams come true.
Those magic sparks, in me and you."

"Ladies and gentlemen, General Motors now invites you to share the challenge of the future. We need you to help us shape tomorrow's mobility."

"Energy, there is no living without you,
we must keep learning about you.
Now is the time to find how to."

"The seasons come, and the seasons go,
nature knows everything it has to know.
The earth and man, can be good friends,
let's listen so our harvest time will never end.
"

See how everything in there is inclusive? It was what WE could do, together, to make the future better. That is one of the things that I really feel is missing today. None of the pavilions inspire me to do more. None inspire me to look more into the topic being presented. Some really don't try to do anything at all (I'm looking at you Soarin' and Nemo).
In all seriousness this is one of the best posts in the history of magic. No, I'm not going to say "in my opinion" because even though this is all subjective, we're close enough to fact vis a vis the quality of the post that I feel like I don't have to do the opinion thing. You are wrong on one important point. EPCOT is kind of a real community now that I live in the abandoned upstairs of the Imagination pavilion with the rat colony as has been well documented on these here message boards.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
In all seriousness this is one of the best posts in the history of magic. No, I'm not going to say "in my opinion" because even though this is all subjective, we're close enough to fact vis a vis the quality of the post that I feel like I don't have to do the opinion thing. You are wrong on one important point. EPCOT is kind of a real community now that I live in the abandoned upstairs of the Imagination pavilion with the rat colony as has been well documented on these here message boards.
Are you the king of the rainbow tunnel? Are you learning to communicate with the rats, leading them in their eventual uprising and overthrow of civilization as we know it?
Also, are you and your rat friends open to relocating to another abandoned part of the parks if I have plans for Imageworks in the future? I hear River Country is nice. There is some good real estate available in DHS.
 

George

Liker of Things
Premium Member
The Living Seas. This is a major rallying point of people against the "toonification" of Epcot, and a place where I think I differ from most.
While I hold The Living Seas in the highest regard, I have no real issues with Nemo being incorporated into the pavilion, or even becoming the focus of it. My problem lies with how it was done instead.

For background, The Living Seas as a pavilion when it opened in 1986 consisted of the following:
You would walk in, past the existing rockwork water feature with the crashing waves. No seagulls obviously, just the occasional crashing waves.


The queue wound through the initial portions of the current queue fairly similarly to what exists now, but as you walked, you walked past historical pictures and examples of man's exploration under the water. Graphics showing the design of early snorkles, or diving bells, actual early dive suits (the whole steel diving helmet, etc).

You'd walk to a section that served as a waiting area for a preshow film. Once the previous film moved along, you were put into a small theater to watch a short film, which I'll once again admit a deep and undying love for and bias towards. The film, entitled The Sea, in 8 minutes covered the creation of Earth, the creation of the oceans, the importance of the ocean to life, and the fact that we know next to nothing about them and are still discovering new things.


Pausing for a brief moment,as a child, this is the first time that any of this had ever even come into consideration for me. I had never thought about how the Earth was created. I had never thought about how the oceans came from rain. RAIN! There are so many lines that stuck in my head during this film, but the one that always had it's intended effect on me is "...waiting in a world where we've spent less time than on the surface of the moon." It was meant to convey the idea that there is so much there yet to be discovered, and it worked like gangbusters on me. I have an audio version of this film, and I honestly listen to it in my car when driving, and it still excites me. I just listened to it again, and I still have that feeling.

Once you left the film, with it's fade from a "computer drawn" version of a seabase and the hydrolators that would take you to it into the real video of them, you were ushered into another room to await boarding your hydrolator.

Now, that is an odd word. Hydrolator. I'm guessing they made it up for Epcot, but I have never researched it. Anyway, you boarded what amounted to a fake elevator. This was going to "take you down to Seabase Alpha". The floor shook, bubbles went up, the side moved like you were going down deep under the sea, and a minute later, the other door opened up and you were under the ocean. The effect was simple, and honestly stolen by Universal in the brand new Gringotts ride. You know what, as a kid, it worked like gangbusters to me. I don't remember how many years I truly believed that those things really did move, even if it was just taking me down a floor. My disbelief was suspended enough to really buy into the fact that we were on a seabase under the ocean, even if I knew it not to be true. You boarded a clam shell vehicle which took you on a quick ride into the Seabase itself, and it was kind of useless as a ride honestly.
Once you arrived in the area that now makes up the post-ride pavilion, it was themed to be an actual seabase.


The huge aquarium was not just an aquarium, but it was part of the show. These were windows out into the ocean. The little side alcoves had different things to see and do. I remember a little cartoon film in one that I used to love, with Atlas explaining plate techtonics. It was the first I leanred of Pangia, the super-continent. A lot is very similar to what exists now. Things to see, learn, do. Touchscreen computers, a section about undersea exploration robots and suits where kids could "get in" a suit and try and manipulate the pincer hands, etc. The main room had the big water tube, and divers would constantly be coming and going from there into the main aquarium space.
All together, it added up to one pavilion, one purpose. You were arriving at a seabase, which was being used to explore the world under the ocean. It taught and entertained.

So, we look at the pavilion as it stands now. We have the Nemo ride itself. The queue IMO is well done and fun. I enjoy the idea of walking down the beach and under the water. For what it is, I'm ok. I obviously prefer the history version, but I accept that the queue is well done for it's designed intent. The ride itself feels like an odd bird. It is telling some weird version of the original story, with Nemo missing again, taking us through a "greatest hits" of characters. The video technology is cool, but the ride just feels poorly made somehow, ending in that Blue World song that they used from the Nemo musical. It's an odd mix between a Fantasyland "book report" dark ride, but a different story, but a story that is a rehash of the film, but not the film... It just looks like they said "Well, what if Nemo got lost again and we asked all his friends to find him, but the little guy is just playing hide and seek so there is no actual drama".

The pavilion itself is ok, standard aquarium fare. I enjoy Turtle Talk with the kids, have no problems there really aside from the fact that it really doesn't tie into the story of the pavilion more than it's related to Nemo. The huge aquarium here though somehow feels like an afterthought to me, not the focus. Here you have a 5.7 million gallon aquarium that does not feel like the star attraction. I'll bet there are plenty of people that don't even walk out to the observation area.

What would I have done here?

I don't know. I can pinpoint what I think that the faults are in the existing attraction. I wish that undersea exploration were still the focus of the pavilion. I wish that it tried to inspire people to want to think about how we explore and use our oceans in the future. I wish that this pavilion is where they had chosen to partner with James Cameron on, as his love for undersea exploration is well known. Cameron could have knocked it out of the park.

Or if they really wanted Nemo, I'd be ok with it honestly. It is a masterful movie, it is beloved by people everywhere, and it has a tie in naturally. But instead of "Where's Nemo?", what if Mr. Ray was our guide taking us to a seabase where we could view his friends? Or Nemo himself? What if they took us through, explaining facts about the coral reef system, or things that scientists are studying in the oceans today. Post ride, we arrive at the seabase, which could be very similar to what we have now. The one change I'd make though is the massive aquarium. It was part of the show previously, and the sparse nature of the aquarium setting was that we were on a sea-floor outside a seabase. It was meant to look like an ocean floor, disappearing off into the distance as we looked out the windows. Now that we are focusing on Nemo, the most impressive part of Nemo was the coral reef area. Build a massive coral reef system in the tank, heck, you could do it only in parts and have some of the large area as "the drop off". But give us something impressive to look at in that 5.7 million gallon tank, and make it the star. Later here, I've got a few ideas that expand upon this.

I don't know. I know some of the faults of the previous pavilion as well. People just wanted to go see the fishes after a while. Most people were not like me, they didn't want to see the film for the 10th time, or ride the fake elevator. They just wanted to go in and look at the fish, which they eventually allowed for (allowing people to bypass both film and hydrolator).

Anyway, as I said, it's a tougher thing to say what should have been done than it is to criticize what actually was done, if that makes any sense. Mainly, I think what is missing is that sense of purpose. The previous version was meant to teach you about the ocean, while making you think "Why don't we know more about something that makes up 70% of our planet?"
The new one feels, to me, more like "come ride our ride and maybe look at some fish".
I don't know if I skimmed this in the PML thread and the idea was put in my mind, but I was thinking just the other day that having Mr. Ray take us on a field trip to teach us about the coral reef environment would be a huge improvement. You could even incorporate some story telling elements (Bruce acts like he's going to eat the class, but it is all a huge joke, etc.). I even think an updated, high def, super dramatic film done in the style of the old deluge lady with the unnecessarily foreign accent film would work. How many times have you had to watch some film in class before going on a field trip? In my case, it was a lot. The film wasn't even related to the field trip oftentimes. In the 6th grade we always watched the animated Johnny Appleseed film before going on a field trip, even though there aren't really any apple orchards of note in central Florida and it was wholly unrelated to whatever field trip we were going on. Really, though, this speaks to a problem that even extends beyond EPCOT. In recent decades Disney when incorporating a film into a ride, they just re-tell the story of the film instead of providing us with something new. Ultimately, it comes down to some kind of creative laziness or fearfulness or both.
 

George

Liker of Things
Premium Member
Are you the king of the rainbow tunnel? Are you learning to communicate with the rats, leading them in their eventual uprising and overthrow of civilization as we know it?
Also, are you and your rat friends open to relocating to another abandoned part of the parks if I have plans for Imageworks in the future? I hear River Country is nice. There is some good real estate available in DHS.
So, I don't have to reiterate the sad state of affairs that my life has degenerated into -

Not sure of any major work. Since I live up there from time to time (as proof, I proffer a post from an esteemed wdwmagic visitor and member) -



I have noticed a rather large family of rats living in the rainbow tunnel and they have been louder of late. I tend to avoid them since staying on top my rabies shots is a challenge and for right now, I'd rather not know that the extra noise is coming from recent additions to the already rather over-large family.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
Premium Member
Original Poster
I don't know if I skimmed this in the PML thread and the idea was put in my mind, but I was thinking just the other day that having Mr. Ray take us on a field trip to teach us about the coral reef environment would be a huge improvement. You could even incorporate some story telling elements (Bruce acts like he's going to eat the class, but it is all a huge joke, etc.). I even think an updated, high def, super dramatic film done in the style of the old deluge lady with the unnecessarily foreign accent film would work. How many times have you had to watch some film in class before going on a field trip? In my case, it was a lot. The film wasn't even related to the field trip oftentimes. In the 6th grade we always watched the animated Johnny Appleseed film before going on a field trip, even though there aren't really any apple orchards of note in central Florida and it was wholly unrelated to whatever field trip we were going on. Really, though, this speaks to a problem that even extends beyond EPCOT. In recent decades Disney when incorporating a film into a ride, they just re-tell the story of the film instead of providing us with something new. Ultimately, it comes down to some kind of creative laziness or fearfulness or both.
Breaking form a little, I'll skip ahead to another teaser post. One which I found myself doodling one night during dinner.
And yes, I know I'm not a great artist.


You'll know I've really gone over the edge when I invest in coloring products that are more than Crayola colored pencils...

 
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