EPCOT’s Future World was a cornucopia of greatness filled with attractions that inspired, dreamed and spoke to a reality, a future that while beautifully distant was still seemingly, perfectly, achievable through the power of the human spirit. That EPCOT is gone and the question is can the lowercase Epcot ever recapture that magic? Of course the answer should be simple, Yes. With Disney’s vast resources, technological prowess and imaginative thinking you’d think it would almost be too easy. Yet the reality is, Future World is a disaster, a shell of its former self when over 30 years later it should be a shining beacon of progress. But how can you have progress when the last new attraction of import to arrive at Epcot was the ported attraction Soarin’ that arrived on the scene back in 2005. Just for clarification that is two years before the launch of the original iPhone. We live in the interconnected future that EPCOT spoke of, it should be Epcot’s mission to help show humanity what our next future should be. Filled with those seemingly outlandish realities that seem impossible but not improbable that we innately understand we shall arrive at despite not having a single clue about how to get there other than pure will and heart. And that’s just it, Epcot a theme park that I adore because whilst nothing like what Walt dreamed it would be is still an amazing testament to humanity and the Walt Disney Company but I fear it’s losing its heart.
Walt called EPCOT, “the heart of everything we’ll be doing in Disney World.”
It is a fear that doesn’t arrive by itself nor by a changing paint scheme at the place Walt called, “the heart of everything we’ll be doing in Disney World.” My visits to Epcot are a continually expanding juxtaposition of emotion that brings ultimate joy and utter sadness. I can’t help but still be mystified as if it were my first visit every time, by the sheer force that is the sight, the wonder of the iconic Spaceship Earth. Yet that ride’s ending was never completed after its last major refurbishment (late 2007) and what is there is nothing short of subpar. I can’t say I’ve ridden the refurbished attraction once and immediately thought, “I want to ride that again!” But that’s just nitpicking compared to the other far more dreadful realities of the day at Epcot.
Future World is missing an entire Pavilion.
Future World is missing an entire Pavilion, the now defunct Wonders of Life Pavilion that couldn’t be any more relevant than in our world today where advances in medical science and beyond might spur the next real technological revolution. And other Pavilions at Epcot don’t even deserve the title. The Imagination Pavilion is a barren wasteland of shame that everyone associated with the Walt Disney Company directly or indirectly such as fans and media should be more than ashamed of. It is disgusting that anything under the name of Walter Elias Disney and especially EPCOT that meant everything to him could be allowed to be vanquished in this manner. Innoventions should be the hallmark of Epcot, the attraction that everyone wakes up from bed at their Walt Disney World Resort early in anticipation of. Instead it’s a bastion of mediocrity with tiny glimpses of hope. All of this and more are why more often than not, I’m racing past today’s version of Future World and into the World Showcase as if half of Epcot, my favorite half, didn’t even exist.
A theme park without a steady and grandiose vision, when its theme utterly depends on it.
So when I walked into Future World to see a color scheme that reminded me more of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream than it evoked any sense of anything remotely about the future, it didn’t shock me. It was just more of the same. Another poor decision amongst a sea of them that has led to a theme park without a steady and grandiose vision, when its theme utterly depends on it. The color scheme is flat-out hideous and hopefully just a really great April fool’s joke, with stripes running through the former Communicore in shades of brown, blue, white and seemingly no end in sight. You can see the colors for yourself and arrive at your own conclusions but for me, I’m already there.
I dream of an Epcot, so fantastic that you have to turn away the crowds due to capacity.
I dream of an Epcot, where what is at the park is so fantastic that you have to turn away the crowds due to capacity without the need of special events filled with seasonal enticements of food and drink. But to achieve that you have to inspire and renew the magic not just by harkening back to what was there but by honoring it with what should be there now. We are far from that day, as anyone watching the paint dry can attest to, but I know it can be done, I know that one day I will look back and look at how far we have come from the days of Epcot’s rocky road.