Monday, May 07, 2007

The Original EPCOT Character Connections

Ah, characters in Epcot; the debate rages on . . .

Despite being initially and intentionally void of traditional Disney personalities when it opened in 1982, EPCOT Center was in fact never without characters. While most folks are quick to associate Figment (pictured above with pal Dreamfinder in an early postcard illustration) with Disney World’s second gate, there have certainly been a number of other animated characters, both traditional and animatronic (and sometimes even both) who over the years have called Epcot home.

Just for fun, a quick roll call of some of Epcot’s other animated denizens, both past and present:

The cast of Kitchen Kaberet, the Land pavilion’s audio-animatronic floor show that debuted with the park in 1982. It evolved into Food Rocks in 1994, but was then removed completely to make room for Soarin’ in 2005. It’s stars included host Bonnie Appetit who was joined by fellow performers Mr. Dairy Good and the Stars of the Milky Way, the Boogie Woogie Bak’ry Boy, the Cereal Sisters (Mairzy Oats, Rennie Rice, and Connie Corn), the Fiesta Fruit, and Mr. Hamm and Mr. Eggz. Among the Food Rocks incarnations were Fud Rapper, the Peach Boys, Neil Moussaka, Chubby Cheddar and the Get-the-Point Sisters.

Not quite gone and certainly not forgotten are the characters featured in Cranium Command. The Wonders of Life pavilion currently sits sadly without activity behind a row of potted plants, denying access to the broad and colorful characters of General Knowledge and Buzzy. Like Figment, Buzzy was also brought to life in both cartoon and animatronic representations.

While not as readily apparent as other early Future World characters, there were a few animated characters that resided in the Seas pavilion long before Nemo and friends swam in and took up residence. The talking submersible Jason existed in animatronic form, while mythological character Atlas starred in the 7 ½ minute cartoon The Animated Atlas of the World. In another cartoon film, Suited for the Sea, two unnamed fish explained the history of the diving suit.

Scattered across other Future World post-shows and exhibits were the likes of Bird and Robot at World of Motion’s Transcenter, SMRT-1 at Communicore, I/O from Backstage Magic and mini-robot Tom Morrow at Innoventions.

And please folks, this post was not meant to re-engage the Epcot character debate. My intention was solely to revisit some earlier EPCOT nostalgia and continue our celebration of EPCOT's 25th.


FoxxFur said...

Ah, Dreamfinder & Figment... *single tear*

There used to be a cute little robot who rolled around outside Universe of Energy and made fun of people. I can't recall his name, but I may have a photo of him somewhere. That's a very clear memory of Olde EPCOT from my childhood.

Let's not forget Ben & Mark in American Adventure, who were marketed about as heavily as the Kitchen Kabaret cast back in EPCOT's early days.

And finally, more obscure, Girly the Pearly from The Astuter Computer Revue - I have a video clip of him performing at the grand opening of Communicore, complete with a backup of silvery polyester clad dancers, which I keep meaning to capture and upload; it has to be seen to be believed.

"That's why I'm a rooter / for me computer / everybody needs a friend!"

Jessica said...

And there was also Gyro, the GE robot that roved around Horizons and FW East.

Sigh... the good old days! :-)

Unknown said...

Great post, Jeff.

And great reply, Foxfurr.

I missed Kitchen Kabaret. Not "miss," but missed. I never got to see it.

I always thought I would have the opportunity later and we always went after "bigger" and "better" things.

Now some of the bigger and better are gone. Horizons...