Epcot Center: Then and now Part 1

Okay, first of all, this is my first attempt to write an article; so I will try and do my very best. If all goes well, I will write more about what I loved as kid, but first, I will write about my one favorite place in the whole world.



That is correct; Walt Disney's greatest dream that came to be reality. Sadly, Walt passed away and looked like Epcot with him, thanks to the dreamers and imaginers, they were able to keep the dream alive and his legacy lived on. Epcot Center opened on October 1, 1982, and since then, has become the most visited theme park in all of Disney World. Epcot is an acronym for “Experimental prototype community of tomorrow”. It is made up of two parts. Future World and World showcase. Future world is an area that shows the concept and hopes and dreams for tomorrow and is the setting of a futuristic Utopia; it also shows different types of methods that we will use for the future like energy, transportation, agriculture, sea life, and imagination. Its one true purpose to entertain, inform, and inspire. The other part is World Showcase; it brings some of the most important countries in the world and shows everyone about their culture.

This is a two part article, so I am going to tell about the history of each attraction on what it was before and what it is now. To start, I am going to talk about Future world. The first time I remember going to Epcot was when I was nine years old, I was so mesmerized by what I saw the first time, I never wanted to leave, some of the attractions sort of frightened me, I am not afraid to admit that, but I got used to it when I went back the second time, when I was thirteen. Sadly, most of the old Epcot attractions have been replaced with newer rides in their place and updated versions as well. I will also rate them in total as to what I think about them. Anyway, here's a rundown of the attractions of what they were and what they are today.

SPACESHIP EARTH


The main icon of Future world and Epcot, it is the most popular attraction in all of Disney World, every time I go to Epcot I always got to ride this ride and I always do. This ride was created by Science Fiction writer Ray Bradbury and tells about the history of human communications starting with the dawn of man writing on cave walls, to ancient Egypt and writing on paper, the Phoenicians creating the first alphabet, Greek theatre, the Roman road system, the Dark ages, the Renaissance, Guttenberg's printing press, the telegram, telephone, and computer, to the internet. It all comes to life as we see how the word spreads quickly today. There have been four versions of this attraction recently. The first one was by late actor, Vic Perrin and lasted from 1982 to 1986. The second version was narrated by famous news anchor, Walter Cronkite and features a famous theme song for the finale “tomorrow's child” beautiful song I might add; this version lasted from 1986 to 1994. The third saw some major changes and updates, this time, actor Jeremy Irons took over narration and I think he was perfect for this version, the finale was different and I think was way better than the first two from what I remember. Finally in 2007, it received another update, only this time, it got an interactive feel where at the end; here, you get to choose your own future. The narration changed with Judi Dench being our narrator. I have not gone on this version yet but people I have talked with say it is not good. When I go back, I will have to find out for myself. After you finish the ride, you enter an area called Earth Station; this lasted from 1982 to 1994. Here, 7 screens adorn above guests and shows them all the attractions in Future world, they can also choose to interact with a cast member, and make reservations for restaurants, and help them give more in depth views on what attraction is mostly popular. Global neighborhood came in 1994 and the one thing I remember is there was this mini ride where you place your hand on a control or whatever and it goes back and forth, I do remember anything about this hardly, that is all know. Global neighborhood a lot of changes over the years, and in 2004, a new post show called project tomorrow came. All in all, I miss the second and third version of this ride, but I give it 5 stars.

COMMUNICORE

This area served as the nerve center for Epcot. Everything was run and operated by this attraction. There was this show called “Backstage Magic” where guests could see the main computer bank of Epcot, this was during the time that computers were on the high rise in the 80s so it was something that fit easily. I somehow remember a few things that I saw, one thing I remember is that there was an interactive game where you can create your own roller coaster, and the other was you can talk to a robot; he'll talk back to you. In 1994, communicore closed down and Innoventions took its place. I think this still is the nerve center of Epcot, whether it was or not I will never know. I give 3 stars.

UNIVERSE OF ENERGY

On a side note, I have to say that this is my second favorite attraction in Epcot. Here, guests take a trip back to the prehistoric era riding through a Jurassic park kind of setting; the traveling cars are all solar powered through the roof of the building that has been cover in photovoltaic cells, which means guests ride on sunlight. In the pre show area, guests see a film made up of 100 rotating screens, then proceed to the ride itself, after viewing a second film about potential uses for energy in the future, the ride ends with a great musical number and a great finale I cannot even remember, I remember there were two theme songs, the first was “Energy makes the world go around” and “Universe of Energy”. In 1996, the ride changed with a new show called “Ellen's energy crisis” It starred Ellen Degeneres, Bill Nye the science guy, Alex Trebek, and Jamie Lee Curtis. Ellen falls asleep and dreams about being on Jeopardy, where all the categories are related to energy, she is faced off by her college roommate, Judy Peterson, (Curtis) and Albert Einstein. In the first round, Peterson has taken a huge lead while Ellen is way behind, Bill Nye steps in to try and help Ellen out by showing her the history of energy starting with the creation of earth and the formation of fossil fuels explains about the future of energy, in the second round, Ellen has managed to tie Judy, so they face off in the final round where Ellen wins. I have gotten used to this new version, it is funnier, and however, I miss the old one even more. 5 stars for this ride.

WONDERS OF LIFE

This attraction did not open until 1989, but I still feel that it deserves some notion. Here, we learn about the human body and how it operates and how important health is to us all. One of the most famous attractions is Body wars, where guests ride through the human body to show how the immune system prevents infection from a splinter. This was directed by Leonard Nimoy and I think did a great job at it. Other attractions are Cranium Command, where we learn about the human brain, an animated presentation shows General Knowledge recruiting a boy named Buzzy and he has chosen to pilot the brain of a twelve year old boy. We enter a theater that is designed to resemble that of inside the head of the boy itself. Buzzy must try and help the boy through the everyday struggles around him. Along the way, Buzzy is helped by left brain (played by Charles Grodin), the right brain (Jon Lovitz), adrenal gland (Bob Goldthwait), The left and right ventricles of the heart (Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, in their original skit from Saturday Night Live.), it was pretty funny and I think this was a Disney version of SNL itself. Another attraction was “The making of me” hosted by Martin Short, it focused on childbirth and…, let's just keep it at that, shall we? Even though this pavilion does not operate, the building still stands and holds private meetings from what I have heard. I rate it 3 stars.


A most important part that played in Future world, I think this needs to be spoken of carefully. This pavilion served as many elements about the future; it showed about life in the future will be lived on land, sea, and space. Guests ride through the life of a family, hosted by the parents, to see how they live and work in the future environments. After seeing visions of the future from the past, we see an enormous Omni screen. Now we come to the future itself. After seeing how the future will be, in the finale, we get to choose how we come back to the present by choosing a push button selector. We get to choose the land, sea, or outer space. Not only did Horizons close permanently in 1999, but the whole building was demolished to make way for “Mission: Space” The current attraction in its place. Horizons will always live and will continue on. They said that the 21st century would bring us hope, but I haven't seen anything like that yet.

WORLD OF MOTION

The history of transportation is told in “World of motion”. The building is shaped like that of a wheel takes guests back in time to show about how man moved around a lot. It starts with the invention of the boat, to the creation of the wheel, to modern transportation today. After going through three speed rooms, you enter to see a futuristic city, the best one I have ever seen so far, and then you see yourself in a mirror like version of yourself in a futuristic car. When you exit, you enter an area called transcenter, here you can see examples of different types of automobiles, how they run, and even vehicles of the future. There was a show I remember called “Bird and the robot”, Where Bird and his robot, Tiger, explain to everyone about how cars get made. I think I only saw this show just once. The attraction was replaced with Test Track in 1999. I miss this one a bit, I did not like it all that much. I give it 3 and a half stars.


I can really relate to this attraction. In Journey into Imagination, our hosts, Dreamfinder and Figment, show us how creative we can be with imagination. This part lasted from 1983 to 1998, there was a newer version of the ride, however, it would not star Dreamfinder, and figment was only seen in the queue. This newer version was hosted by Dr. Nigel Channing (Monty Python's Eric Idle), he takes us and helps us try and be a bit more creative with our minds. That is all I have to say about this because I know that this version was not well received by the public. So in 2002, it got a new kind of version that was well received. Also inside is an interactive playground called the Image Works, a few things I Remember is Dreamfinder's School of Drama, where guest put themselves in a TV show behind a blue screen format, I remember I was in an outer space version when I did this. Also, there was stepping tones where you step on panels of light and they make different sound effects. That's all I remember doing. There was also a 3D film called Magic Journeys, I never saw that one, so I got nothing to say about it, but what followed after that, Captain EO, which starred Michael Jackson, blew my mind, I was huge Michael Jackson fan back then and I tried to be like him but never could. The next film was called “Honey, I shrunk the audience”, it was alright, but not as good as EO was. All in all, this attraction was for the young and the young at heart. 4 stars.

THE LAND

I was never born with a green thumb, but after seeing this, I got a better understanding. In “The Land” we see about how man and his relationship with nature can co exist. We enter to the bottom and enter a food court, and then we take a boat ride. There have been 2 versions of this ride recently; the first was called “Listen to the Land” which came with its theme song showed us about how we must respect the land, when you first enter, you come to this speciation of lights and plant life called “symphony of the seed” then you move to the rainforest, the desert, and the prairie; from there, you ride through greenhouses and see crops that are grown in different types of ways. The newer version, “Living with the Land,” had only a few changes, the only thing that changed where the beginning where you see a rainstorm, and a new musical number. There was also a film called Symbiosis, It gives a more brief description on man's ability to try and respect and take proper care of the land, the show was replace by the Lion King's Simba, Timon, and Pumba, and it gave a more fun look. There was another show called “Kitchen Kabarat” which showed Bonnie Appetite hosting a singing sensation of fruits and vegetables. “Food Rocks” followed; this show was hosted by Food wrapper (Tone Loc), it featured a spoof of different famous songs by famous bands. Recently, a new ride had filled the land called “Soarin” I have to say this is the best thing that's happened to Epcot recently and for the land pavilion as well. I give this whole attraction 5 stars.

THE LIVING SEAS

This one I think was not all bad; “The living seas” opened in 1986, and explored the history and formation of the seas. After viewing preshow about sea life, guests descend to sea base alpha an aquarium and view different exhibits about the sea as well as view different sea mammals and learn about their habitat. The attraction was changed to “The seas with Nemo and friends.” It was more for children; this is the only one I do not like. I give it 2 stars.

Well, there you have it. The Future world attractions that we have come to love. I will be doing the second part on World Showcase. I hope you can understand what I have written. Drop me a line and please leave positive feedback.