Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The 21st century begins October 1, 1982

With October 1st looming ever closer, I thought it was time to get back to our celebration of the 25th Anniversary of EPCOT Center. In doing so, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the pre-opening publicity materials provided throughout 1981 and 1982.

This particular brochure was sent out to members of the Magic Kingdom Club who had booked a vacation and were traveling to Walt Disney World prior to EPCOT's opening. It is an amazing encapsulation of what the Walt Disney Company's vision of EPCOT was, and showcases the park's overriding themes of forward-thinking idealism and international community. I have reprinted the text passages under each image for easier reading.

Travel to the frontiers of imagination and discover the EPCOT Adventure.

EPCOT Center: The newest Wonder of the World
A few miles from the Magic Kingdom — and beyond the boundaries of imagination — Walt Disney's greatest dream is becoming reality. EPCOT Center opens October 1, 1982. A showplace more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center represents the ultimate in Disney-imagineered entertainment. An entertainment experience that will thrill your most "thrillable" sense of all — imagination.

Come ... imagine yourself the EPCOT traveler, exploring the corridors of time and the countries of this world today. Discovering exhilarating new visions of the future and the family of man.

Future World

Travel the corridors of time and discover the future.

Standing 180 feet above the entrance, its reflective surface fired by the Florida sun, EPCOT Center's colossal globe is your gateway to Future World. It is the largest structure of its kind anywhere, a dazzling statement to the extraordinary wonders that await you. Wonders in energy. In communications. In transportation. In the limitless potential of the seas... the land ... and most of all, in the limitless potential of human imagination to chart the course for this, our Spaceship, Earth.

Travel the realms of Future World and discover each of these wonders brought to life through the marvelous wizardry of Disney imagineering. Imagineering pushed to unprecedented heights for shows and adventures never before possible on such a grand scale. For you, an entertainment encounter of the ultimate kind.

Spaceship Earth
Spiral through the vast interior of the EPCOT Center globe aboard Spaceship Earth, presented by the Bell System. You're on a time journey from the dawn of recorded history to the sunrise of another future. Under the starry blackness of the world's largest projection dome, you'll see Earth as few have seen it before — a Spaceship adrift in the midnight sky.

Universe of Energy
The creation of fossil fuel out of the chaos of storms, volcanoes and earthquakes is part of the drama that surrounds you on your voyage through the Universe of Energy, presented by Exxon. Set within a solar-powered building the size of three football fields, this electrifying show will dazzle you with some of the most sophisticated special effects ever developed — putting you in the center of the action on your energy chase to the future.

A kaleidoscope of lights from a futuristic city-scape sets in motion the grand finale of your travels through the Transportation Pavilion, presented by General Motors. The pavilion is large enough to cover all the Magic Kingdom's Main Street, U.S.A., and presents one of the most whimsical "road shows" ever — a tongue-in-cheek adventure past the milestones of man's ever-accelerating mobility.

The Land
In the six-acre Land Pavilion, presented by Kraft, you'll explore Nature in both her wildest and most cultivated states You'll see actual experiments in futuristic farming, like lettuce thriving in outer space, tomatoes growing from ceilings and melons from walls. Plus, you'll enjoy a zany cast of incredible edibles serving up some of the most palatable entertainment this side of the refrigerator.

EPCOT Computer Central
EPCOT Computer Central, presented by Sperry Univac, is one of the many exhibits in Communicore — Future World's global Main Street of ideas and inventions. Here, you'll have a first­hand look at the computer wizardry that helps make Disney imagineering possible.

Journey Into Imagination
Almost castle-like in grandeur, the Imagination Pavilion, presented by Kodak, is the fantasyland of Future World. From the Dreamport, you'll follow Dreamfinder and his delightful sidekick, Figment, into the wondrous worlds; of art, literature, science and technology. In lmageWorks, a fun-packed electronic factory, you'll try your own hand at creative experiments. Then enter the Magic Journeys Theatre for a multi-dimensional motion picture of almost unimaginable scope.

New Horizons
An underwater colony is one of the future habitats highlighting your journey through New Horizons, presented by General Electric, In the Omnimax Theatre, you'll spiral through eight-story-high projections of the macro and micro worlds that form the building blocks of our future. And you'll take a whimsical look backwards at the tomorrows imagined by visionaries of the past.

World Showcase

Travel the countries of the world and discover the family of man.

Imagine in one day... you've breakfasted on tea and biscuits in England... followed the roads leading to Rome. Lunched in a Bavarian Beer Garden during Oktoberfest. Explored the interior marvels of a Mayan pyramid. Crossed the vast expanse of Canada and the Great Wall of China. Relaxed by a clear blue pond in the formal gardens of a Japanese pagoda. Dined in gourmet splendor under a moonlit Eiffel Tower. And watched more than 350 years of American history come to life in one of the most inspiring theatrical experiences ever conceived.

In World Showcase, you will do all this and more. Here, amidst nations standing in friendship beside a broad lagoon, you'll live adventures that only weeks of world travel could surpass. You'll explore shops filled with unusual foreign goods. Dine in restaurants filled with the aroma of authentic foreign foods. And meet the young people of foreign lands, working together in a true family of man.

American Adventure
In the American Adventure, presented by American Express and Coca-Cola, you'll join Ben Franklin and Mark Twain for a soaring historical overview of America and her promising future. Perhaps the most breathtaking show ever presented about "the nation of many nations," the American Adventure is a theatrical production unparalleled in Disney annals — combining large-screen projection, inspiring music and special effects with performances by, the most lifelike AudioAnimatronic figures ever developed.

A giant red Torii proclaims good luck as you pass the massive gateway to the Japan pavilion. Beyond it, an ornate pagoda invites you to explore beautiful Japanese gardens. The towers of an impressive feudal castle loom in the background. And in a large department store presenting the best in Japanese art and industry, you'll enjoy an exciting adventure in Oriental dining prepared at your table by Japanese master chefs.

From a northwest Indian village to a 19th century French chateau and the winding, narrow streets of Quebec City, the remarkable diversity of Canadian cultures and the awesome majesty of the wilderness are captured in Canada pavilion.

United Kingdom
Green lawns, gabled rooftops, shops along cobblestone streets and a charming waterside pub provide a typically "British" setting for the United Kingdom pavilion.

In the China pavilion, you'll be surrounded by Circle Vision 360 presenting spectacular — never before filmed — footage of the dramatic landscapes, architecture and culture of the People's Republic.

Surrounded by picturesque medieval shops filleg with porcelain dolls, cuckoo clocks and hand- carved music boxes, a Bavarian Beer Garden; in the midst of a continuous Oktoberfest celebration is the centerpiece of the Germany pavilion.

Beyond the tall Mayan pyramid of the Mexico pavilion, you'll enter a lakeside pueblo village complete with shops, a restaurant and a grumbling volcano spewing lava in the background. You'll then embark on a boat ride through Mexico's colorful past, discovering along the way the festival and dance of the great Mayan, Toltec and Aztec civilizations.

The flavor and romance of Paris at the turn of the last century come to life in the France pavilion, where your discoveries include the marketplace des Holies, small Parisian shops and a bistro and sidewalk cafe presenting the classic cuisines of three internationally famous French chefs.

A Venetian canal takes you to St. Mark's Square at the Italy pavilion. Handcrafted leather goods, pottery and glass figurines fill the shops. In an exquisite facsimile of the world famous Doge's Palace, you'll find a treasure-trove of fine art, jewelry and crystal, plus a splendid Italian restaurant operated by Alfredo's The Original of Rome.


Unknown said...

But Jeff!

There is no mention of Nemo or a giant sorcerer's wand.

(sarcasm)You mean that wasn't the original intent of the park?(/sarcasm)

Thanks for sharing these great historical documents with us.

Jessica said...

What a great treasure! Thanks for reprinting it Jeff, it's wonderful to get a chance to step back to that time period.

Disneyana World said...

I've got some great stuff lined up for my blog when Oct. 1 rolls around

Steve Tanner at Magical Trash said...

Jeff, thanks for sharing this!

Disneyana World said...

Jeff are you attending the fan gathering?

Jeffrey Pepper said...


I'm planning to be there on vacation at the end of September, but not sure if I can swing October 1st. It's definitely something I want to do if I can get it to work out.

Anonymous said...

There is actually a book... I believe published in '82 or '83. It has all of those images and more.

Anonymous said...

There is actually a book... I believe published in '82 or '83. It has all of those images and more.

I think I have that book. At least I'm pretty sure, because I definitely recognize some of the same images. It was a promotional book that was given out at Epcot after it first opened.

Anonymous said...

Yay! Thanks for sharing! I turned 25 in January and didn't realise all the things that are almost my same age. When I was an infant, my parents pawned me off on my grandma and totally went to epcot. I love epcot. It's the business.

Unknown said...

My family went to Disney not too long after Epcot opened -- probably in '82 -- and several times within the next few years. Fast forward 20 or 21 years. My wife and I took our young daughter there four years ago, and I was appalled. What was so "futuristic" 20 years ago is now quaint, antiquated, and downright silly. Epcot is very much in need of an overhaul on so many different levels.

Funny though -- I'm pretty sure I have that very same brochure in a scrapbook somewhere from my first visit back in '82.

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of that stuff. My father worked for a division of Disney called MAPO in the early 80's. I haven't been to EPCOT Center, but I've seen the interior of every ride mocked up in Glendale, Burbank and other parts of the San Fernando Valley.

David Elg said...

I never realized the countries of Morocco and Norway were not part of the original World Showcase. Good find, and a good read.

Rustin Allison said...

Thanks for posting this! It is very cool to see how Epcot has changed over the years. Brings back some great memories!

Rustin Allison

Anonymous said...

Absolutely great to have this online!

BTW, there are very good indications that the wand is coming down. :-)

quak3r said...

while I can't say what Disney has done to Epcot (IE Living seas turned into Nemo with half-thought up rides, and journey into imagination) this place is still near and dear to my heart. Lets hope spaceship earth doesn't get "reinvented"