Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Park by Any Other Name

EPCOT Center vs Epcot. What's the big deal?

When EPCOT Center was changed to Epcot, Disney World was changed forever. On face value, its not a huge difference. You just hit shift instead of the caps lock button when you type it. But on a spiritual level, it's much more important.

EPCOT Center was a celebration of Walt Disney's grand vision. It's a permanent world's fair with tributes to innovation and world cultures. Sure, it wasn't exactly what Walt wanted, but it was close enough. EPCOT had a purpose. It revolutionized the theme park business. Edutainment was born. For the first time in Disney World, people learned something while having fun. EPCOT center was something different. Something spectacular. Something special.

The name Epcot, signaled a difference in the history of the park. It was a change in direction away from it's original vision. It was no longer Walt's park. Since the name change, Epcot has suffered from a lack of vision. This has resulted in a lack of consistency. Wonders of Life now sits empty and dormant. Thrill rides, not edutainment, have become the mission. Spaceship Earth is no longer a grand and miraculous spaceship. Even it has given way to cartoons and simplicity. Pixar even found it's way into the Living Seas. Through all this change, however, World of Showcase has remained remarkably stable. But is no change, good change?

Now by all means, this isn't bashing Epcot. I still love the park. But it is no EPCOT. There is still hope, though. Like a great attraction once said, "If we can dream it, then we can do it." And I for one certainly dream of a future more like EPCOT than Epcot.


  1. I understand the sentiments, but again, I never experienced the park in the 80's or 90's. And as you say, it is no EPCOT. I don't think it ever was...not what Walt intended, at least. Walt wasn't looking at it as another theme park at all. It became something pretty cool, though (at least it sounds like it did). And it's still pretty cool in my opinion.

    EPCOT becomes a word, Epcot, much like SCUBA becomes a word, scuba. While I understand how much it bothers some people, it doesn't bother me. (And I don't know if I dream of a future controlled by corporations anymore...it was a different world back then...)

  2. You represent the other side of the coin pretty well Scott. While I never experienced a true form of EPCOT, I understand the ideals pretty well. And you're right, corportations are not the answer either. I would just like to see a return to the old EPCOT spirit. Where it wasn't about being another theme park.

  3. Interesting posting and, actually pretty important. The difference isn't trivial but part of a large cultural change. I tried to address a bit of it in what I wrote about the opening of California Adventure and is posted here


    Thanks for writing this. Mike Linton