Epcot opened 25 years ago (October 1st). I was 23. A friend of mine was an Imagineer on the project. Shortly after Epcot opened I flew out and stayed with him for a week. He had a trailer at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. He worked a lot so I had tons of time to myself. I got into everything free, thanks to him.
One day he drove me into Epcot through the back gate. Since he is an Imagineer and he has a good "show sense", he took a certain route he had worked out where we went up over a rise (there aren't any hills around) and he had carefully timed the music on his cassette tape recorder to match. So my first experience of Epcot was coming over this rise with Disney music playing and World Showcase laid out before me.
25 years ago is a long time ago, and I can't remember some details. I know I had some kind of backstage tour of Journey Through Imagination. I think it was partially open. I've been saddened at how the ride has been torn apart and reconstructed and made cheaper over the years. I suspect the original version cost too much to run - it was pretty clever.
I love Epcot even though it is overall pretty boring. It's hard to justify the cost of spending much time there. If I lived in the area and had an annual park hopper I would go to Epcot a lot. As it is, when I travel from Washington State, I spend just a day there - and maybe some extra time in the evening for the fireworks.
Of course, I loved Progress City and the vision for a whole new city with all new cool tech. It might have been built if Walt Disney's charisma had carried the day, but he passed away. I have to hand it to the Imagineers that turned it into a Disney park. That had to be really hard to do. But the original vision was bigger than the remaining Disney Corporation could handle without Walt.
Someday I want to rent a condo in Celebration for a month and pretend I'm living in Epcot.
Irvine, CA, has a lot in common with the original vision of Epcot. The president of the Irvine company was a board member at Disney. Irvine is a planned community. UC Irvine, in a sense, is at the center, with a beautiful park, and then the various parts of the University extending out, hub-style. I lived in Irvine a long time and I went to UCI for 10 years. That was sort of like living in Epcot.
Now I live in Washington State where they can't plan their way out of a paper bag. But at least the water we need falls out of the sky. That's a good thing.
© 2007 Stephen Clarke-Willson - All Rights Reserved.