This is not about a park this is about a history of the original plans for Epcot and how the Epcot park came to be.
This project was dear to Walt Disney because it crystallized his dreams and planning solutions for the future. Unfortunately he died before the start of construction of the first park in Florida, the Magic Kingdom. The project changed much to become a park. Epcot is a park with impressive technological attractions (Future World) and flags of nations whose architecture is carefully reproduced (World Showcase).
The park is educational, which contrasts somewhat with other theme parks of Disney, which are more leisure-oriented (apart from Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and is the source of what some consider Epcot’s failure. Other Disney fans fill that Epcot is not at all what Walt had in mind and that without Walt the vision of Epcot was lost.
From the 1950s, Walt Disney had become passionate about city planning and new technologies, reading books on the subject and hoping to help cities solve their problems. He conceived a city of the future based on some futuristic visions in his own time. These visions seem dated today but in the late 1950s, early 1960s, it was futuristic. The mixed city as a place to live, a workplace, and place of leisure, all connected by means of transport such as monorail or electric vehicles.
From the early 1960s, the idea of a second Disney park on the east coast of the United States has emerged. Disney participated in the New York World’s fair in 1964-1965. Walt then envisioned his city, EPCOT, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow or an experimental prototype community of the future. In October 1966, he commissioned a film called EPCOT in which he explains his vision.
Unfortunately Walt Disney died in December 1966, just as the construction of the Magic Kingdom had just begun. The film that comes out the next year is the last film in which Walt appears in and the project for EPCOT then undergone many changes until it becomes a theme park.
EPCOT The name is an acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”, a utopian future city designed by Walt Disney. Sometimes he used the word “City” instead of “Community”. The words of Walt Disney were: “… EPCOT will take its roots in new ideas and new technologies now emerging creative centers of American industry. This is a community of tomorrow that will never be complete, but still will evaluate and demonstrate new hardware and systems. And EPCOT will always be a showcase for the world of ingenuity and imagination of American free enterprise. “
The original vision of Walt Disney’s EPCOT was a model community, home of twenty thousand inhabitants, as a test bed for urban planning and organization. The community was built in a circle, with offices and shopping areas in its center, public buildings, schools and sports areas around residential areas on the perimeter. Public transport would consist of monorails and “people movers” (like Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom). The car traffic was kept underground, leaving pedestrian safe on the surface. A giant dome could be built to cover the city and regulate the climate. Walt Disney said, “This is a community planned and controlled, a showcase for industry, research and American schools, opportunities of culture and education. In EPCOT there will be no ghetto because we will not let them develop. There will be no landowner and therefore no voting control. People rent homes rather than buy, at modest fees. There will be no retirees, as each citizen must work to benefit the community. “
You can see a model of the model of this original vision of EPCOT going in the Tomorrowland Transit Authority attraction in the Magic Kingdom; Peoplemover when entering Space Mountain, the model is visible to the left behind some windows.
Roy decided to continue the work of his brother Walt. Roy decided that Walt Disney World should include a theme park in addition to EPCOT. The Magic Kingdom opens in October 1971 but Roy died in December. The vision of EPCOT was not achieved but many elements were in place in parallel with the construction of the park.
The Walt Disney Company later decided it would not enter into the management of a city. However, the idea of EPCOT helped prompt the state of Florida to create the Reedy Creek Improvement District (CSIN) and the cities of Bay Lake and Reedy Creek (later renamed Lake Buena Vista), a legislative mechanism that allows the Walt Disney Company to exercise governmental authority on Walt Disney World Resort. Control over the RCID is invested by landowners in the area and the possibility of a real city in the area meant that the powers of RCID were distributed among the landowners of EPCOT who is Disney. Because the idea of EPCOT was never implemented, the Walt Disney Company has remained almost the only landowner in the area allowing it to maintain control of RCID and cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista. That RCID is now primarily intended to be an instrument of the Disney Company was confirmed when the RCID amended its borders to exclude Celebration, which would dilute control of Disney on RCID.
The model community of Celebration has been said to be a realization of the original vision of Disney, but Celebration is based on the concepts of new urbanism, which differs radically from the modernism of Disney and its futuristic visions. After Roy died the heads of the company decided to make a second theme park and decided that basing it off of Walt’s idea for Epcot was a god idea since the people always loved what uncle Walt came up with and it could be the last golden egg that Walt Disney would provide the company. The Epcot park follows Disney’s original dream only in showcasing the future, also as Disney expected many large corporations to have their research facilities there as a way to showcase their latest work to the world like a year-round worlds fair Epcot has corporate sponsors of many of its attractions who do just what Walt had intended them to do at Epcot. So in some small way Walt’s dream is still alive.
Imagineering Field Guide to Epcot by the Imagineers
Koeing, David Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney Imagineering by the Imagineers.