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Oct 01

Happy Birthday Epcot – Celebrating 31 Years of Magic and Innovation!

EpcotSpaceshipEarthToday, Disney World’s Epcot is celebrating its 31st year of bringing magic and innovation of technology and international diversity to millions of guests. Epcot is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely technological innovation and international culture, and is often referred to as a “Permanent World’s Fair.”

Epcot opened on October 1, 1982, as the second park of Walt Disney World. Epcot is said to be the third most visited theme park in the world, with an estimated 11 million guests (2009). Originally called Epcot Center, than later changed to Epcot, Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. The joke told by the bus drivers is that it stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired. Very True! The place is huge!

Walt Disney’s original plans for Epcot were not to be a theme park, but it was to be a working, futuristic city. Walt Disney had died before funding and permissions were established for Epcot, and the Walt Disney Company decided that it did not want to be involved in building a city. The Imagineers had conceived two concepts for a theme park, but they were not convinced on either one of them. One concept was a theme park to focus on futuristic technologies and advancements, while the other concept was about cultures from around the world. Eventually, some of the Imagineers put the two park concepts together, and Epcot was born. The park would consist of two entirely different sections: Futureworld, focusing and showcasing modern and futuristic technologies, and World Showcase, focusing and showcasing various cultures and traditions.

Construction began on October 1, 1979, and at that time, it was the largest construction Epcot2project in the world. The cost was somewhere between $800 million and $1.4 billion. Epcot covers 300 acres of land, which is more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom park, with a parking lot that holds 11,211 vehicles. Construction took three years to complete, finally opening on October 1, 1982.

On opening day, Future World showcased seven pavilions that consisted of Spaceship Earth, Communicore East and West, Universe of Energy, World of Motion, Earth Station, Land Pavillion and Journey into Imagination. The World Showcase opened with nine countries which were Canada, France, United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, China, Germany, Mexico, and the American Adventure. Today, those same countries remain in addition to a couple new ones that include Norway and Morocco.

Even though Epcot today is not what Walt had originally envisioned it to be, I think he would be extremely proud to see the incredible educational and innovative technology that’s being shared in the exciting attractions that the Disney Imagineers have created over the years. And add to that the incredible opportunity that guests have to experience the food and cultures of so many different countries from Cast Members who have grown up and live in those very countries, providing an added element that adds to the unique magic of this theme park. Epcot is truly unique in its ability to inspire the young at heart to laugh, play, and learn in this one-of-a-kind theme park.

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“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 a man’s ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere in the world.“ E. Cardon Walker, Disney’s Chairman, October 1, 1982

 

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