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“To reach out and touch tomorrow, take the future in our hands…” if you know where this line comes from, it means that you know which Disney theme park I am referring to. EXACTLY! IT’S EPCOT. I remember the first time I stepped foot in that park, I could realize that there was something special, maybe a little spark of inspiration, an idea behind those words. If you are one of those people who think that Epcot has something especial, you are not wrong. I invite you today to learn about the history of Epcot and what it became. If you are new in the World of Disney, stay with us, so when you visit for the first time this spectacular park, you will be able to see behind the name.
As many people know, Walt Disney passed away before the opening of the parks in Florida, thereby his legacy had to be represented by the company. His ideas were well embodied with respect and dignity, but there was an idea that never became a reality: E.P.C.O.T. You can tell, “But Epcot does exist, it's one of the theme parks at Walt Disney World,” and you are correct, but Epcot and E.P.C.O.T are two different projects—the last one never was done by the Disney company.
What is E.P.C.O.T? This word stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow; it was supposed to be a city, a city created to show new ideas and new technologies that were emerging in the American industry of that time, with the purpose of—being community of tomorrow—never being completed, but it would always be introducing, testing, and demonstrating new materials and new systems. Epcot was presented to be a showcase to the world.
Disney thought that one of the greatest challenges for humanity was to find solutions to the problems of our cities. For that reason, he wanted to build a place called E.P.C.O.T to stimulate Americans to develop new solutions that will meet the need to people of our community. We can say that E.P.C.O.T was meant to be a city were future was no longer something to imagine, but to live it. Sadly, it was never completed. The company thought that was going to be too complicated to make it come true, and without Walt Disney by their side, it would never be represented as he wanted to. We have to remember that Walt Disney was a person way ahead of his time.
What happened next? When the project of creating Disney World in Florida began once again, the company wanted to represent E.P.C.O.T ideas no longer as a city, but as a Theme Park; a place where people can enjoy attraction based in technology of humanity like “Mission Space,” where you can experience an authentic NASA-style training, or “Test Track,” a vehicle that goes for a high-octane spin, and one of my favorites, “Spaceship Earth,” an attraction where you can travel in time and explore the history of communication on a ride that takes you from the Stone Age to the computer age.
Even thought this attractions sound amazing, the best of this Theme Park is what is called THE WORLD OF SHOWCASE—a place where you can find different representations of 11 “countries” and 4,000 years of history, culture, and food. These countries share in the middle a lagoon, a sign of union between countries. The importance of The World of Showcase is that it represents one of the Walt Disney previous ideas, a global community where visiting guests could assimilate the sights and sounds of the world. But this is not all. At the end of the day, when the sun is set, there is a show around the World Showcase Lagoon. This is the heart of the park named “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” that represents three meanings:
- The Earth is born
- The Triumph of Earth
- Hope for the future
THERE IS NO DOUBT WHY EPCOT IS SO POPULAR AND LOVED AMONG DISNEY PEOPLE!
Now that we know what E.P.C.O.T means and it story, it's important to highlight that the company uses the name Epcot in the current Theme Park because it does not represent the ideas of what Walt Disney had in mind, but we cannot deny that the Company knew exactly how to represent the spirit and heart of the man behind the mouse. Epcot is a park that everyone should visit once, a place that can show us culture, technologies, and that, at the end, we are citizens of the world—a World that we have to cherish, respect, and love.