Saturday, April 29, 2006
Epcot at 25
I'm back online after a couple of weeks away ... unfortunately, my trip didn't take me to Walt Disney World -- though I will be going soon.
Meanwhile, I've received several e-mail responses to my blog, which I appreciate tremendously.
In 2007, Epcot will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and here's hoping against hope that the new regime at Disney and Imagineering will actually care about that fact. Based on recent managerial/organizational changes to the way Theme Parks & Resorts are operated and marketed at The Walt Disney Company, that's sadly doubtful. Nonetheless, as EPCOT Center taught us, we can always dare to dream of a brighter future.
Before proceeding, I should say that if anyone at Disney (or Pixar) actually does read this blog, my suggestions below are absolutely given wholly and completely as food for thought. I renounce any right to them as "creative ideas," and they are presented here without any claim of ownership. In other words, Legal Suits, let those who care deeply about Epcot have a say in things.
Here are my thoughts on how Epcot's 25th anniversary could be celebrated in a meaningful way that brings new life and excitement to the world's most unique theme park:
* Start by rechristening Epcot with its original name EPCOT Center. A simple Google or Yahoo! search shows that most people still refer to it by this name, and using the "EPCOT" name as an acronym instills a sense of curiosity in people about what it means any why that name was chosen. Explain that "Center" means it is the center of Disney's thinking about the future and the possibilities that humans collectively have to make their future better by working together (combining the Future World message of technological advancements with the World Showcase message of community).
* Remove the hand and wand. Its time is way, way past. Restore Spaceship Earth's majesty and grandeur.
* Create and install a new, Animatronics-based attraction within the Universe of Energy; make it the grandest ride-through attraction Disney has created to date. Explore humankind's reliance on energy and the preciousness of our earth.
* Remove the awful "Finding Nemo" overlay to The Living Seas and re-promote this attraction as an experiential one, encouraging guests to take part in the dive options by reducing the price and thereby offering something that no other theme park (even Discovery Cove) can replicate.
* Though it's not possible to actually design and build new pavilions for World Showcase in such a short amount of time, announce two new additions that will open in 2008 or 2009, more accurately representing the world today. (Suggestions: Brazil and Australia for their great tourism profile and their importance to the world's geo-political climate.)
* Design and install a new attraction within Spaceship Earth, one that reflects today's modern and rapidly changing modes of communications and that upgrades the Audio-Animatronics tableaux that have been integral to the ride's success since 1982.
* Update the Carousel of Progress and move it into the rarely used Odyssey restaurant building, offering a literal "bridge experience" between Future World's message of exploration and World Showcase's humanistic elements.
* Produce a new film for the France pavilion and upgrade Mexico's Rio del Tiempo attraction with better lighting, a new song and new filmic elements.
* Lastly, remove much of the extraneous design and decorative elements that have come to clutter Epcot -- such as the garish banners and bunting throughout Innoventions Plaza and the "freeway look" that Re-Imagineering has so astutely observed makes the sleek, beautiful lines of the Test Track/World of Motion building seem so ugly.
A lot to ask? Absolutely.
Then again, when a park has been neglected as long as Epcot has, there's a lot of ground to make up ... here's hoping that something will happen there soon!